25 September, 2014

Brazilian Carnival and Beyond

Carnival scene in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In the eyes of many, Carnival is the embodiment of Brazilian culture.  Most of us have seen the pictures, perhaps heard the music, and think we know what Carnival is all about.  But how well do you really know Carnival?

For example, it’s widely understood that Carnival is a celebration before Lent, the Catholic season of 40 days that precedes the Easter holiday.  But did you know that this is where the name “Carnival” itself comes from?  During Lent, it’s typical for Catholics to abstain from eating meat.  At the time of its naming, Italian was a dominant language in Catholic discourse, and in Italian carne levare means “to remove meat.”  Interesting, no?

So what else is there to know about Carnival?  Sure,
Colofrul Carnival, Rio
there’s music and dancing, but it’s not just people out on the street singing and moving their bodies around.  In fact, the festivities associated with Carnival are in many ways quite regimented, falling in line with specific regional traditions.

Carnival Capoeira
Let’s look at some examples: In Rio de Janeiro, home of the most famous Carnival activities, the celebration is focused around the music and dance style known as samba.  This is perhaps Brazil’s most famous contribution to international culture, and most likely what you see in your head when you picture Brazilian Carnival.  This isn't uniform throughout the country, however.  In the Bahia region, Carnival features a strong emphasis on African elements of Brazilian culture and much of the music shows influence from the reggae genre.  In Pernambuco, a style of music called frevo permeates the celebrations.  Frevo itself is highly influenced by capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, and as such has an entirely different feel from the samba we generally picture in our Carnival fantasies.  Meanwhile, in Brazil’s largest city of São Paulo, the main Carnival celebrations take place several days before they do in the rest of the country!

It’s clear then that Carnival is a much more diverse celebration than many foreigners often imagine.  Many people from outside Brazil learn this only after visiting Carnival for themselves, which many do—over 400,000 foreigners tend to come for Rio’s Carnival alone.  Even if you can’t make it during Carnival, Brazil’s beautifully diverse culture is worth getting to know any time of the year.  From Rio to São Paolo to Pernambuco and beyond, Brazil is a cultural hotspot that is not to be missed.

Before You Go... 


http://store.gpstravelmaps.com/Brazil-GPS-Map-Garmin-p/brazil.htm?click=1475
Pick up our Brazil map. This GPS map will give you turn by turn directions to your destination using a point of interest (POI), city point, and/or latitude and longitude, with the ability to preplan driving destinations before getting into your car.


The easy to follow instructions allow you to download and install the map into Garmin BaseCamp desktop software and transfer it to your Garmin GPS in minutes. This installable map is compatible with ALL Garmin GPS units .

It's like having your own personal travel guide with you on your trip!

Screen Capture from our Brazil GPS Map.
Screen Capture from our Brazil GPS Map.







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23 September, 2014

Brazilian Adventures—Take Your Pick!

Brazil is perhaps South America’s most emblematic country, but it’s also a regional anomaly.  It’s a Portuguese-speaking country surrounded by Spanish-speaking neighbors.  It’s one of the most ethnically-diverse countries found anywhere in the world.  It’s also massive in size and home to one of the world’s last true wilderness areas, the Amazon Rainforest.  It should come as no surprise, then, that Brazil is one of the world’s greatest destinations for adventure tourism—and like everything else in this country, there is so much going on that sometimes the array of possibilities can be overwhelming.  Let’s take a look at just a few of the choices that magnificent Brazil has to offer:

Paddling up the Amazon River
1. Exploring the Amazon

The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest, and it’s also home to the planet’s most massive river system.  The Amazon River itself is huge and is able to accommodate larger ships, making it a popular destination for luxurious “river cruises” that still provide a window into the natural beauty of the jungle ecosystem.  For a true adventure, however, take the opportunity to explore some of the river’s tributaries in smaller vessels or even a traditional dugout canoe.  In doing so, you’ll get up close and personal with the flora and fauna of both the river and the forest and you may even experience a chance encounter with one of the region’s many still-thriving indigenous tribes.



2. Adventures in the Big City

A Variety of Activities in Rio de Janeiro
Just because Brazil is renowned for its rainforest doesn’t mean you have to leave the city for an adventure.  Rio de Janeiro, one of the most exotic cities in the world, is cosmopolitan in every way, but it’s also surrounded by natural features stunning enough that they alone would make the city an attractive destination.  Within the boundaries of Rio de Janeiro itself, go cycling.  Go surfing or scuba diving off the city’s beach.  And, in the surrounding mountains, try hang-gliding, paragliding, or simply take a hike.

3. Visit Iguaçu Falls

Iguacu Falls, Brazil
On Brazil’s southwestern border sit the Iguaçu Falls, some of the most impressive waterfalls found anywhere in the world.  Though most of the falls are technically on the Argentinian side, this means that Brazil has the superior view!  Companies located on the Brazilian side offer helicopter tours to visitors who want to get up close and personal, so if this sounds like an adventure you’d like to take we highly recommend it.


Before You Go... 


http://store.gpstravelmaps.com/Brazil-GPS-Map-Garmin-p/brazil.htm?click=1475
Pick up our Brazil map. This GPS map will give you turn by turn directions to your destination using a point of interest (POI), city point, and/or latitude and longitude, with the ability to preplan driving destinations before getting into your car.


The easy to follow instructions allow you to download and install the map into Garmin BaseCamp desktop software and transfer it to your Garmin GPS in minutes. This installable map is compatible with ALL Garmin GPS units .

It's like having your own personal travel guide with you on your trip!

Screen Capture from our Brazil GPS Map.
Screen Capture from our Brazil GPS Map.







Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


You can also connect with us on Google Plus, see our travel guide pictures on Pinterest, and view some of our videos on YouTube.

18 September, 2014

Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Most everybody who’s traveled or even researched a trip to the continent has probably come across the following claim—Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America. Is this true?  And if so, what does it even mean?

The city is certainly one of the most “European” found anywhere in the Americas.  Studying its wide avenues, cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafés, and myriad cultural venues, it’s easy to imagine oneself in some Old World capital.  That being said, this cosmopolitan city certainly doesn't strive to mimic the City of Light—porteños, as city residents are known, are proud of a culture that is all their own.

Tango in the Streets, Buenos Aires
Perhaps, for example, you've heard of the tango?  This world-famous dance style was born in Buenos Aires during the late-20th century and has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon.  The dance, which seems to bridge the gap between European style and Latin American passion, is still widely-practiced by porteños both young and old.  Whether your goal is to learn, find another master as a dance partner, or simply sit back and observe, Buenos Aires is the place to go.

Gaucho and Horse, Argentina
You surely won’t spend all your time in Buenos Aires dancing, however—not with everything else the city has to offer.  The city’s Teatro Colón is considered among the world’s finest venues for live music, offering performances ranging from opera to symphonies and beyond.  For more of that Parisian flair so often attributed to the city, check out the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Fine Arts Museum), whose collection of European art is sometimes considered the finest outside of the continent itself.  For outdoor experiences, head to one of the many city squares or to Recoleta Cemetary, whose massive mausoleums and graves are intricately and sometimes even bizarrely decorated—an experience that cannot really be summed up in words.

Though Buenos Aires is without a doubt the center of Argentine culture, traveling outside the capital can also give you a fine window into what certain critics might call the “true” culture of the country—for example, the gaucho, the South American cousin of the cowboy, is a national symbol and an important source of pride for Argentinians.  At the end of the day, no matter where you go in Argentina, you are sure to enjoy the country’s warm and nuanced culture in one way or another!

http://store.gpstravelmaps.com/Argentina-GPS-Map-Garmin-p/argentina.htm?click=1475 Before You Go... 


Pick up our Argentina map. This GPS map will give you turn by turn directions to your destination using a point of interest (POI), city point, and/or latitude and longitude, with the ability to preplan driving destinations before getting into your car.


The easy to follow instructions allow you to download and install the map into Garmin BaseCamp desktop software and transfer it to your Garmin GPS in minutes. This installable map is compatible with ALL Garmin GPS units .

It's like having your own personal travel guide with you on your trip!


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16 September, 2014

An Amazing Argentinian Adventure!

Cerro Torre, Patagonia, Argentina
When you think of Argentina, what comes to mind?  For many people, the answer might be wine.  It might be the seemingly-European streets of Buenos Aires, or it might even be the country’s financial struggles that seem to arise every decade or so!  One thing it almost certainly isn’t, though, is adventure tourism—but maybe it’s time for that to change.

The region of Patagonia is located at the country’s southernmost reaches, where the continent-long Andes Mountains come to an end amidst deserts and grasslands that seem to spread infinitely, as far as the eye can see.  This is one of the world’s most striking landscapes, and what makes it all the more powerful is the fact that it remains in a relatively natural state.  If you’re dreaming of a wilderness adventure to a destination that is somehow both beautifully familiar and strikingly alien, Argentina’s Patagonia might be your place.

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
 The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of many located in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park, and almost certainly the park’s most famous.  Hiking the glacier can be physically taxing, but is an incredible experience.  Trekking across the full glacier can take up to five hours, but it’s the best way to grasp the true immensity of Perito Moreno, one of South America’s last still-growing glaciers.

Los Cuernos, Patagonia, Chile
For those who want to take their adventure to the next level, hiking the W Circuit might be the way to go.  This trip, which generally lasts between four and five full days, will bring you across glaciers, around lakes, and through forests.  This hike will take you past Los Cuernos (“The Horns”), granite mountain peaks whose appearance is true to their name, as well as Nordenskjöld Lake, a picturesque water body of nearly iridescent blue-green that is sure to take your breath away.

Perhaps the most magical part of any Patagonian adventure is not the scenery itself, but rather the fact that the only people you’ll meet here are looking for the same thing you are.  Patagonia attracts true adventurers from all over the world, and here a kindred spirit you are sure to find.

Before You Go... 


Pick up our Argentina map. This GPS map will give you turn by turn directions to your destination using a point of interest (POI), city point, and/or latitude and longitude, with the ability to preplan driving destinations before getting into your car.

http://store.gpstravelmaps.com/Argentina-GPS-Map-Garmin-p/argentina.htm?click=1475









The easy to follow instructions allow you to download and install the map into Garmin BaseCamp desktop software and transfer it to your Garmin GPS in minutes. This installable map is compatible with ALL Garmin GPS units .

It's like having your own personal travel guide with you on your trip!


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You can also connect with us on Google Plus, see our travel guide pictures on Pinterest, and view some of our videos on YouTube.

11 September, 2014

Amazing Pictures of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a beautiful and amazing place. It straddles the landmass of Central America, giving it both Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and has a wide, extremely diverse variety of plant and animal life. If you haven't been yet, we highly encourage you to plan your next vacation there. In the meantime, please enjoy this photoblog of Costa Rica. Then pick up our GPS Map and start planning!
Rainforest, Monteverde, Costa Rica by Michael Lanzetta.
Rainforest, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Rio Celeste waterfall, Costa Rica
Rio Celeste waterfall, Costa Rica
I zipped the largest zip line in the world ~  Arenal Costa Rica...thrilling!
Arenal, Costa Rica
Three fingered sloth. Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
Three-fingered Sloth

Volcan Poas, Costa Rica. www.selectlatinamerica.co.uk
Volcan Poas, Costa Rica
Black beach in Jaco, Costa Rica
Black beach in Jaco, Costa 
Bungee Jaco Costa Rica
Bungee Jaco Costa Rica
Costa Rica – Tortuguero trip: a jungle paradise | Imagine Travel ...
Turtles in Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Waterfalls, Monetezuma, Mal Pais, Costa Rica
Waterfalls, Monetezuma, Mal Pais, Costa Rica
Howler monkeys (Tamarindo, Costa Rica)
Howler monkeys, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Costa Rica Travel: Barra Honda National Park
Barra Honda National Park, Costa Rica
#La Fortuna Waterfall #Costa Rica # Travel
La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica 
tabacon hot springs, costa rica
Tabacon Hot Springs, Costa Rica
Learn more about Costa Rica, including other top destinations, major cities, hotels, and restaurants in our Costa Rica Travel Guide.


Before You Go... 


http://store.gpstravelmaps.com/Costa-Rica-GPS-Map-p/costa-rica.htm?click=1475Pick up our Costa Rica map. This GPS map will give you turn by turn directions to your destination using a point of interest (POI), city point, and/or latitude and longitude, with the ability to preplan driving destinations before getting into your car.

The easy to follow instructions allow you to download and install the map into Garmin BaseCamp desktop software and transfer it to your Garmin GPS in minutes. This installable map is compatible with ALL Garmin GPS units .

It's like having your own personal travel guide with you on your trip!


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You can also connect with us on Google Plus, see our travel guide pictures on Pinterest, and view some of our videos on YouTube.

09 September, 2014

Our Top 4 Costa Rica Destinations

One of Costa Rica's Harpy Eagles
Turtles on Parade in Tortuguero National Park
1. Corcovado National Park - Corcovado is a Primatologists dream. All the monkey species found in Costa Rica live here. In addition to primates, you can see Baird's Tapir and the rare Harpy Eagle, just two examples of the 140 species of mammals, 367 birds, 117 amphibians and reptiles, 40 types of freshwater fish, and it the estimated 6,000 types of insects. The abundance of wildlife is due to the amazing variety of vegetation, what National Geographic has called "the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity".



2. Tortuguero National Park - This place is
popular because of the turtle species that give birth here every year. Visitors come across some unique specimens such as the loggerhead and the leatherback turtles. The park also has eleven different habitats, including rainforest, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches, and lagoons.


A View of Arenal Volcano from Tabacon Hot Springs
3. Arenal Volcano National Park - Arenal Volcano National Park is an amazing place with a wide variety of activities available. Come to visit the numerous hot springs, travel the Sky Trek, raft the Toro River, rappel waterfalls, check out the wildlife, or hike one of the many trails.

4. Tamarindo - Making your way to Tamarindo is not a problem as the beaches are within easy access from urbanized areas. Due to its tranquil atmosphere and beautiful beaches, when you think of a peaceful vacation, you may very well think of a place like this. It is great for traveling parties of all sorts.

You can find each of these destinations easily with our Costa Rica GPS Map. Click on "Buy Map" below.

Learn more about Costa Rica, including other top destinations, major cities, hotels, and restaurants in our Costa Rica Travel Guide.


Before You Go... 


http://store.gpstravelmaps.com/Costa-Rica-GPS-Map-p/costa-rica.htm?click=1475Pick up our Costa Rica map. This GPS map will give you turn by turn directions to your destination using a point of interest (POI), city point, and/or latitude and longitude, with the ability to preplan driving destinations before getting into your car.

The easy to follow instructions allow you to download and install the map into Garmin BaseCamp desktop software and transfer it to your Garmin GPS in minutes. This installable map is compatible with ALL Garmin GPS units .

It's like having your own personal travel guide with you on your trip!


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You can also connect with us on Google Plus, see our travel guide pictures on Pinterest, and view some of our videos on YouTube.

02 September, 2014

Historic Suchitoto, El Salvador

Some of Suchitoto's famous cobblestones
Suchitoto is an important historic and cultural town in the hills above Suchitlan Lake, well known for it's cobblestoned streets. It is a popular weekend and vacation destination for El Salvadorans and tourists alike.

About an hour northeast of San Salvador, travelers can find Suchitoto easily with our El Salvador GPS Map. Here are some things to see in Suchitoto:



Iglesia Santa Lucía - Built in 1853, the church is the focal point of the historic town, facing onto a plaza where residents gather in the cool evenings. The church is one of the best examples of post-colonial architecture in El Salvador and you'll often find the nuns visiting with town residents in the plaza.

Iglesia Santa Lucia
Cascada Los Tercios - A unique geologic waterfall made up of hexagonal columns of rock. Water flows
over them between May and November, however it is worth a visit to see the rock formations even in the dry season. The waterfall is located 1.5km from town and there is a small scramble through rocks and trees to see the best view of the falls. Salto El Cubo and Los Limones are other waterfalls in the area worth visiting.

Turicentro Puerto San Juan - Along the banks of La
ke Suchitlan down the hill from town is a small tourist center. Although there are some swimming pools, restaurants and craft sellers the main attraction is a boat tour around the lake. For a small fee you'll get your own private tour explaining birds, islands, the history of the lake and anything else from the friendly captains. Try to go in the early evening as the sunset is best from the water.

Cascada Los Tercios
Cinquera - A guerrilla stronghold during the civil war, this small town is a short drive from Suchitoto. Historical markers include touring through a guerrilla encampment and kitchen designed to disperse smoke to avoid detection. The Cinquera Forest provides 5,320 hectares of protected terrain with various hiking trails and lookout points.

Ciudad Viejo - Just 9km from Suchitoto, this archeological site is the original capital city of El Salvador founded in 1528. Foundations of the buildings are located there including the first Catholic Church in the country.

Learn more about El Salvador, including other Top Destinations, Major Cities, hotels, and restaurants in our El Salvador Travel Guide.


Before You Go... 


http://store.gpstravelmaps.com/El-Salvador-GPS-Map-p/el-salvador.htm?click=1475Pick up our El Salvador map. This GPS map will give you turn by turn directions to your destination using a point of interest (POI), city point, and/or latitude and longitude, with the ability to preplan driving destinations before getting into your car.

The easy to follow instructions allow you to download and install the map into Garmin BaseCamp desktop software and transfer it to your Garmin GPS in minutes. This installable map is compatible with ALL Garmin GPS units .

It's like having your own personal travel guide with you on your trip!


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You can also connect with us on Google Plus, see our travel guide pictures on Pinterest, and view some of our videos on YouTube.