Cheapest Days to Fly

cheapest day to fly

The New York Times just released an article answering the most googled travel questions. What I took away from it is that the cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays and Fridays (when flying back in on Monday for a weekend trip. Also Google Flight Search and Hopper.com (also available as a app) can be very helpful when searching for the cheapest flights and times.

Another recent NY Times article on finding the best deals on flights recommends when booking flights to Europe the cheapest price is usually available at least six months in advance. For flights to the Caribbean, a shorter window of two to four weeks in advance will lead you to the cheapest price. Happy Traveling!

Best Tips for Travel Savings in 2014

Happy 2014!

For many of you travelers, you may have made a resolution to visit new destinations. With these tips for travel savings, you will be able to check off each destination on your list and most importantly SAVE!

For those of you backpacker types, sites like HostelBookers.comHostelWorld.com and Hostelz.com will show you Hostel ratings, reviews and help you find the most affordable rate.

For those more comfortable in a hotel Tripbam.com monitors the hotel or hotels of your choice and updates you when the price drops.

When you book the hotel of your choice with TripRebel.com the site searches for price reductions of your booked hotel room every day, as soon as the rate you payed drops Rebel will refund 100% of the difference. Fully automatic.

Now getting to your destination…

WhichAirline.com can find you all low cost airlines including Ryanair, easyJet, WizzAir and many more. Don’t pay more than you have to and fly low cost! WhichAirline searches more than 100.000 routes to bring you the best cheap flights available.

Google’s Flight Explorer google.com/flights/explore, displays a bar graph for the best prices to a specific destination over any specified time range. You can be flexible about your destination and even pick a region. Google will show you those same bar graphs for multiple destinations, starting with the cheapest options.

Could Saving Get Any Easier!

Happy Traveling!

Five ‘5 Star’ Rio de Janeiro Hotels

rio de janeiro

Here are five ‘5 Star’ Rio de Janeiro Hotels

1. Copacabana Palace Hotel

copacabana palace hotel rio

Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Palace has been an enduring city landmark since 1923. With European-inspired interiors, spot-on service and multiple see-and-be-seen bars, the Copacabana is both the trendiest place to be and an established institution of Old World refinements. Counting royalty, celebrities and politicians among its guests, the hotel has built a reputation as one of Rio’s most prestigious addresses.

The elegant 5-star Copacabana Palace features luxurious rooms with marbled bathrooms and panoramic ocean views of Rio de Janeiro´s Copacabana Beachfront. Services include a spa and 2 gourmet restaurants.

The spacious rooms at the Copacabana Palace are individually decorated with English antique furniture and original artwork. All of the rooms have king beds, free use of internet and a free pair of Havaianas flip flops. Some of the rooms include private balconies with panoramic city or ocean views.

The hotel suites are designed by the Orient-Express French designer, Michel Jouannet, and feature 2 balconies and fine Trussardi bed linens.

Guests can enjoy a daily breakfast served in Pérgula restaurant, which also features Brazilian specialties and fresh seafood delicacies. Breakfast can also be served in-room and additional charges apply.

2. Hotel Santa Teresa

Hotel Santa Teresa

In a burst of tropical rain forest on a former coffee plantation, the design-forward Santa Teresa Hotel pays homage to Brazil’s multicultural roots. Its hillside location in the up-and-coming bohemian neighborhood of the same name gives it one prime advantage: unbeatable panoramic views. And the caipirinhas aren’t bad either.

More than an extraordinary hotel, the Hotel Santa Teresa offers peace-of-mind and safety to all guests with tropical gardens, panoramic pools, complete Natura SPA, a lounge bar classified as the most romantic in Rio de Janeiro, and famousTérèze Restaurant with contemporary Brazilian gastronomy .

The decoration and architecture design of the hotel was inspired by the golden ages of coffee and cocoa, in the search for sophistication and elegance through the use of noble and ecological material from the land and culture of Brazil. Burnt cement, bordeaux or golden slate, red and dark tropical woods, banana tree fiber and other tropical adorning blend with contemporary design by Sergio Rodrigues, Rock Lane, Studio Vitty, Zemog and Oficina de Agosto.

A thematic journey to the lands and roots of ethnic Brazil, the Xingu and Tupi Guarani Indians, Afro-Brazilian traditions and culture, offerings of Maranhão, St. Jorge Ogum, art work from Pernambuco and handicrafts from Piauí, sacred and mystical art from Bahia and the origins of Rio de Janeiro.

From all rooms and the gardens, panoramic views of the city, the harbor and bay of Rio.

3.The Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana

rio de janiero sofitel

The Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana is considered to be one of the most prestigious brazilian luxury hotels, matching french savoir-faire with Rio charm.

Located on the famous Copacabana beach and 5 minutes from Ipanema, the hotel has the best view of Copacabana beach and of the Sugarloaf. Enjoy the 388 rooms with balcony, the executive floor with Club Millesime services – a new concept in personalized services, beach service, exclusive service for women, 2 pools and many other facilities, in addition to the award-winning Sofitel cuisine.

For business travelers, the hotel offers an excellent Convention Center and Business Center, the Board Meeting Room – fully equipped with modern appliances, combining comfort and personalized services designed to stage strategic meetings.

4. Fasano Hotel Rio

fasano rio

The Fasano brings its incomparable hospitality to Rio de Janeiro. The new hotel is uniquely situated at the heart of Ipanema Beach. Imagined by Philippe Starck, the devor is elegant and understated with signed pieces of the 1950’s and 60’s. A meeting point for locals and travelers, the hotel features the lobby lounge, Londra, with live music and most prominently the Fasano Al Mare, Rogerio Fasano’s gastronomic restaurant, dedicated to traditional Italian seafood.

The rooftop is an area accessible only for hotel guests with spectacular views over Ipanema Beach featuring a pool, a fitness center, sauna, massage and coffee shop for drinks and light meals.

5. Royal Tulip Rio de Janeiro

royal tulip rio de janeiro

Located in front of Sao Conrado beach, The Royal Tulip Rio de Janeiro (formerly The Intercontinental Hotel Rio) offers 418 rooms, spread out into 17 floors of complete charm and comfort. Large bedroom with balcony, offers the finest views of São Conrado Beach or Gávea Stone.

Amenities include high speed Internet access, a two-line telephone with voicemail, mini bar, in-room safe, cable TV, alarm clock radio, work desk, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. The hotel also has a variety of facilities and services that assure to meet the needs of both business and leisure travelers: meeting facilities with capacity to accommodate up to 2.000 people, business center, 24-hour laundry and room service are available to meet your needs at any time.

The hotel also offers a large leisure area with two tennis courts, a swimming pool, a fully equipped gym with modern equipment, a Sauna, a Beauty Salon, a Convenience Store, a Gift Shop, a Newsstand, 2 restaurants and 2 bars.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Here are some things to do in Rio de Janeiro!

1) Arcos de Lapa

Arcos de Lapa

“Formerly the Aqueduto da Carioca (Carioca Aqueduct), this structure with 42 massive stone arches was built between 1744 and 1750 to carry water from the Carioca River in the hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa to Centro. In 1896 the city transportation company converted the aqueduct, by then abandoned, into a viaduct, laying trolley tracks along it. For decades, Santa Teresa’s rattling yellow street cars (the “bonde” or “bondinho”) passed over the aqueduct as they carried passengers from Centro up to the hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa. After an accident in 2011, however, when the tram’s brakes failed and six passengers were killed, the bonde was shut down pending major upgrades. New trams are expected to be in service by 2014, though this target may not be met.”

2. Corcavado

corcovado

“Rio’s iconic Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue stands arms outstretched atop 690-meter-high (2,300-foot-high) Corcovado Mountain. There’s an eternal argument about which city view is better, the one from Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) or the one from here. In our opinion, it’s best to visit Sugar Loafbefore you visit Corcovado, or you may experience Sugar Loaf only as an anticlimax. Corcovado has two advantages: it’s nearly twice as high, and it offers an excellent view of Pão de Açúcar itself. The sheer 300-meter (1,000-foot) granite face of Corcovado (the name means “hunchback” and refers to the mountain’s shape) has always been a difficult undertaking for climbers.

There are three ways to reach the top: by cogwheel train, by minibus, or on foot (not recommended without a guide for safety reasons). The train, built in 1885, provides delightful views of Ipanema and Leblon from an absurd angle of ascent, as well as a close look at thick vegetation and butterflies. (You may wonder what those oblong medicine balls hanging from the trees are, the ones that look like spiked watermelons tied to ropes—they’re jaca, or jackfruit.) Trains leave the Cosme Velho station (Rua Cosme Velho 513, Cosme Velho 021/2558–1329http://www.corcovado.com.br) for the steep, 5-km (3-mile), 17-minute ascent. Late-afternoon trains are the most popular; on weekends be prepared for a long wait. After disembarking you can climb up 220 steep, zigzagging steps to the summit, or take an escalator or a panoramic elevator. If you choose the stairs, you pass little cafés and shops selling film and souvenirs along the way. Save your money for Copacabana’s night market; you’ll pay at least double atop Corcovado. Once at the top, all of Rio stretches out before you. Visit Corcovado on a clear day; clouds often obscure the Christ statue and the view of the city. Go as early in the morning as possible, before people start pouring out of tour buses, and before the haze sets in.”

3. Grumari Beach

Grumari Beach

You won’t find beachfront restaurants, luxurious hotels, or plentiful kiosks here. Without them, you’ll have space to stretch out on the 1.5 miles of white and red sand to admire Rio’s beautiful scenery. A favored retreat by sun-seekers, this lovely beach is a ways away from the swooning tourists at Copacabana and Ipanema.

4. Sugar Loaf Mountain

sugar loaf mountain

Standing high above Rio’s bustling metropolis at 1,299 feet, Sugar Loaf Mountain cascades over the picturesque Guanabara Bay. From Praia Vermelha in the residential Urca district, you can take a three-minute cable-car ride up to Morro da Urca and then hop on another cable car up to the top of Sugar Loaf. From the glass-enclosed bondi (tram), you’ll get a dazzling view of the city. Visitors agree that the panoramic views at the top are breathtaking, particularly at sunset. Morro de Urca, an upscale village, rests against the mossy green backdrop of Sugar Loaf. Linger in the quaint town, and you’ll find lovely cottages, palatial mansions, and charming restaurants.

It’s easy to purchase a one-day adult pass from Praia Vermelha to Sugar Loaf Mountain, priced at approximately 53 BRL (about $33 USD). Sugar Loaf’s cable cars operate daily from around 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. However, the ticket office is only open from 8:00 a.m. until roughly 8 p.m. If you plan to visit Sugar Loaf during holidays, check the Pão de Açúcar website or call +21 (2546-8400) to confirm hours.

5. Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

This hilly bohemian district boasts an eclectic array of art and architecture. Strolling along Santa Teresa’s cobblestone streets, you’ll be enchanted by sidewalk mosaics, palatial mansions, and artsy galleries. Conveniently situated just southwest of Lapa, this neighborhood offers traditional Brazilian restaurants, bars, and craft stores.

Visitors recommend hopping on the Bonde de Santa Teresa, a free trolley that transports passengers across the old neighborhood. Unfortunately, after a tragic accident in August 2011, the trolley has not been in operation. The trolley is set to be running again towards the end of 2012.

6. Tijuca National Park 

Tijuca National Park

Outdoorsy types love exploring this expansive green rainforest. Covering 8,300 acres, Tijuca National Park is the largest urban rainforest on the planet. Here, you can do everything from hang-gliding to hiking, wildlife-watching to marveling at the Christ the Redeemer.

Experienced hikers can explore Tijuca National Park on foot. The park is open every day from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is free, although you will have to pay to visit Christ the Redeemer. We recommend taking a jeep to the park’s magnificent sights; you can also ask for an English-speaking guide when you book a Jeep Tour. For more information, consult the Tijuca National Park website (written in Portuguese).

7. Museum of Modern Art

museum of modern art rio

The Museum of Modern Art (Museu de Arte Moderna) houses an extensive collection of over 1,700 works of art. When you explore the second floor galleries, venture into the beautiful garden on the patio, which boasts an abstract landscape designed by Brazilian architect Roberto Burle Marx. Inside the Museu de Arte Moderna, you’ll also find a cinema, photography exhibits, and the Laguiole Restaurant, which infuses French and Brazilian cuisine.

The museum welcomes visitors Tuesday through Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on weekends. Admission costs 8 BRL (about $4.50 USD). The museum is located at the Parque do Flamengo in Centro, a short walk from the Cinelândia metro station. For more information, consult the Museu de Arte Moderna’s website (written in Portuguese).

Destination: Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

At once both a cinematic cityscape and a grimy urban front line, Rio de Janeiro, known as the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city), is nothing if not exhilarating. Flanked by gorgeous mountains, white-sand beaches and verdant rainforests fronting deep blue sea, Rio occupies one of the most spectacular settings of any metropolis in the world.

With all eyes on Brazil the next couple of years for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics now is the perfect time to visit.

5 Destinations for the Ultimate Adventurer

adventure

If you crave adventure these five destinations are a must for you!

1) Sand boarding in South Africa

sand boarding

Just 40 minutes away from Cape Town stands the majestic Atlantis Dunes, attracting professionals and amateurs around the world. Its pure white dunes are extremely popular thanks to the perfect sand boarding conditions and the magnificent view of the city and its surroundings. Its gentle slopes make it an excellent spot for beginners.

2) Rock Climbing – Jordan

RockClimbing

The eerie desert of Wadi Rum – with its psychedelic rock formations and vast wilderness – provides some of the best terrains for rock-climbing.

There are several routes, with the longest and toughest being the Towering Inferno. Combine a climbing trip in Jordan with a camping trip with the Bedouins – guarantee to lure you deep into the desert’s soul.

3) White Water Rafting – New Zealand

rafting

New Zealand has always been known as adventure travelers’ stomping ground. Queenstown, famed for the variety of heart-pumping activities, promises some of the best white-water rafting opportunities in the world. From Kawarau River for the beginners, to Shotover River suitable for the experts, there is something for every rafting enthusiast. Rapids range from Class II to V.

4) Scuba Diving- Australia

scuba-diving

The world’s biggest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia, has an amazing diversity of marine life never seen anywhere else– from huge barracudas, to schools of reef sharks and the famous green turtles. This dive mecca has always been on the top of many scuba enthusiasts’ bucket list.

5) Cave & Jungle Expeditions- Boreno

cave

Borneo is the Asian epicenter of adventure travel, drawing in travelers with the opportunities to do caving, wildlife watching and many other activities. The deep cave systems of Gunung Mulu National Park are some of the best systems to do caving: remember to explore the enticing Lang Cave and Clearwater cave. Outdoor enthusiasts will love to explore the surrounding jungle or climb the Mount Kinabalu peak.