ALL POSTS IN [Beaches]

Most seasoned travelers have probably heard of (and dreamt about) the amazing train ride through the Tijuca Rainforest to see the 125-foot Christ the Redeemer statue high atop Corcovado Mountain. And who hasn’t heard the gossip about the Brazilians’ buff beach bodies and the droves of scantily-clad women who sunbathe on the world-famous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.

Well now, you can get your chance to see Rio de Janeiro – free of charge! Enter to win a trip for 2 to the Marvelous City and see why it’s such a hot vacation destination. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that tourists are flocking to the tropical city not only for its beaches, but also because it will host both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

See Rio for yourself! Explore this Brazilian city and its secret treasures like Leblon, Rio’s most affluent neighborhood with a beautiful beach that’s known for being much quieter than Ipanema or Copacabana. See Rio from above and go hang-gliding off Sugarloaf Mountain, or just lay low and spend the day on Paqueta Island, where it’s not uncommon to see a horse-drawn carriage.

There’s something for everyone in this Brazilian city, so take the first step and enter to win a free trip — your next adventure awaits you in Rio de Janeiro!

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is still a diamond in the rough, but it offers many of the same splendors that draw travelers to its neighbor to the south, Costa Rica — lush rainforest, beautiful white-sand beaches, volcanoes, and rich wildlife. Other draws? The great surfing, charming Spanish Colonial towns, enormous lakes, low crime rates, and friendly locals. With the opening of the rustic-luxe Aqua Wellness Resort in 2011 and the uber-luxuriousMukul earlier this year, the country is poised to become the next tourism hot spot. The country is already popular with the backpacker and adventure travel crowd, just as Costa Rica was before it saw an explosion of resort development.

Those planning a getaway to Central America should note that there are a few advantages to traveling to Nicaragua over Costa Rica. Nicaragua has much more Spanish Colonial history and charm, with historic churches and plazas in the towns of Granada and Leon. Because it is relatively undiscovered compared to Costa Rica, it also offers a more authentic experience — visitors might see locals riding horses and carts through the streets, fruit stands selling unripe mangoes and jocotes (tart snacks popular among the Nicaraguans), and one of the country’s many lively street festivals. Plus, prices for just about everything, including food and transportation, tend to be far cheaper.

- Oyster.com Staff

French bombshell Brigitte Bardot wears a bikini in a boat near Saint-Tropez, France, in 1968. (Photography by Robert Cohen/RDA/Getty Images)

This weekend marks the unofficial start to summer, and with that comes the unofficial start to bathing suit season. Whether that gives you cause for excitement or dred, it’s the time of the year to bare it all. To kick off the start of bathing suit season, we took a look back at how this article of clothing (in more recent times, a very itty-bitty, teeny-weeny article of clothing) has caused such a stir throughout history.

The first modern-day bikini debuted in 1946. (Photography by Keystone/Getty Images)

If the swimsuit has caused such a stir, then the bikini has caused a cannon-ball-sized splash. The first bikini debuted at the Piscine Molitor swimming pool in Paris in 1946. The bikini’s designer, Louis Reard, a French automobile engineer, named the 2-piece sensation after the Bikini Atoll where the US had recently conducted nuclear tests. The model, a 19 year-old dancer, forever changed swimsuit history that summer day by donning the original bikini, made from 30 inches of newsprint fabric.

Over 65 years after the original bikini debuted, another important swimsuit moment occurred this year: The Sports Illustrated 50th Swimsuit issue. Every year fans eagerly anticipate SI’s swimsuit issue to see what bikini babe will grace the cover, and this year was no exception. Travel Channel was there as SI combed all 7 continents, crisscrossing the globe from Easter Island to Africa to find the most exotic and sexiest shoot locations. This year’s anniversary issue also included another first — the first fashion shoot on ice-covered Antarctica. Who would have thought the snow-covered beaches of Antarctica would be steamy enough to grace the anniversary’s iconic cover? We imagine model Kate Upton’s physique had something to do with heating up the icy cover shot, too.


So whether you’re ready for bikini season or not, dive back into history with us as we look at Swimsuits Through the Years.

You May Also Like:
SI Swimsuit 2013
SI Swimsuit Destinations
Swimsuits Through the Years
Models Bare It All in Africa

Courtesy of Grace Hotels

As the weather starts to warm up, we thought we’d do a quick round up of the best pools around the world to take a dip in. Yes, it might be an expensive journey to swim a few laps in a pool located in Santorini or the Maldives, but we’re all about inspiring people to travel.

Take a few minutes to imagine yourself and someone special on a Spring Fling at the Ubud Hanging Gardens’ pool in Bali, surrounded by a lush rainforest, or image yourself hugging the edge of InterContinental Hotel’s infinity pool overlooking Hong Kong’s harbor. Get your feet wet and submerge yourself into our collection of perfect pools.

Unkown Caribbean Islands

Aruba, Jamaica … Bermuda, Bahamas … for better or worse these Caribbean islands have been forever etched in our minds thanks to the musical stylings of the Beach Boys. But because of their staying power and relative proximity, these islands have become slightly blasé. They’ve “been done.” But don’t worry — before you jet off to somewhere more exotic like Tahiti or Koh Phi Phi — the Caribbean still has a few unknowns to consider.

Our writer says “from St. Martin’s sister island Saba, run by openly gay council members, to family-friendly Isla Mujeres in Mexico, there’s an island for everyone, especially those who seek solitude in a tropical setting.” Check out 6 islands to visit now before they’re completely taken over by crowds.

Every dream wedding needs a dream honeymoon to follow. After the Big Day has come and gone, where will you start your happily-ever-after? Every couple’s idea of a perfect honeymoon is different — some dream of lounging on a private stretch of sand, some dream of exploring a foreign city hand-in-hand. From a secluded island getaway to a romantic city escape, here are some unforgettable honeymoon spots.

Your Own Private Paradise in the Maldives

Start your happily-ever-after basking in the beauty of this romantic archipelago with crystal-clear water and pristine white beaches. You’ll find that many of the tiny islands have been converted into luxury resorts with private overwater bungalows. For a honeymoon that includes equal parts paradise and pampering, stay at Komandoo Maldives Island Resort.  In this adults-only resort, you’ll be in a world of your own with the ocean on your doorstep. For perhaps the most romantic meal of your life, enjoy a candlelit dinner on the beach with just your and your new hubbie or wife. Watch the sunset while you dine on a meal chef-tailored just for you.

Say Aloha to Romance in Hawaii

Hawaii has always been a popular honeymoon destination … and for good reason. It may still be in the US, but with its beautiful beaches, active volcanoes and lush rainforests, it seems a world away. And with 8 major islands, there’s something for every type of couple — from the beach bums to the adventurers.  For the couples who want to enjoy secluded beaches and adventure activities, Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort offers it all.  The only resort on Oahu’s famed North Shore, Turtle Bay offers a secluded location far from Waikiki’s crowds with breathtaking ocean views and 5 miles of pristine beaches. There’s no shortage of outdoor adventures on this 880-acre paradise: Go horseback riding, snorkeling, standup paddle boarding or hiking. Plus, the North Shore is one of the best surf spots in the world — so perhaps you can learn to hang 10 as a couple on the islands where surfing was invented.

Old World Charm Meets Modern Luxury in Portugal

Portugal has recently topped the list as a popular honeymoon destination.  Brimming with Old World charm and traditions, Portugal is the perfect European escape for newlyweds who crave culture.  You can’t spend your entire honeymoon sightseeing — most couples want to relax after the wedding is over. For a mix of modern luxury and historic charm, honeymoon at the The Yeatman hotel, a luxurious wine-spa hotel located on the banks of the River Douro in Porto. After a day of port wine tasting (this is where port comes from, after all) and taking in the classic architecture of one of the oldest European cities, you can relax in hotel’s infinity pool, in-suite Jacuzzi or on your private terrace.  With a glass of world-class port wine, of course.

For more inspiration for planning your dream honeymoon, check out our picks for the Top Honeymoon Hotspots and 2013’s Most Romantic Honeymoon Destinations.

You May Also LIke:
Plan a Spring Fling

World’s Sexiest Pools

Most Romantic Places to Watch the Sunset

 

San Francisco is a huge tourist destination, with Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge all drawing crowds. Sure, on my trip out west, I had to see the sights, but right across the famous red bridge was the best part of my getaway: The often-overlooked Mill Valley, located 14 miles north of San Francisco in the beautiful, mountainous Marin County.

What feels like a combination of beach town and Swiss mountain hamlet, Mill Valley offers a quiet taste of NorCal life, with boutique shops, eco-conscious restaurants and enough outdoor space to fill days and days with hiking. When I escaped to warmer climes for a week, stumbling upon Mill Valley was a happy accident.

My Top Picks in Marin County:

Mill Valley Inn
Imagine an upscale beachside hotel. But at the foot of a mountain. Surrounded by woods. With free breakfast, a free wine and cheese reception, a fireplace in the room and a balcony overlooking redwoods, this is my new favorite hotel. They’ll also offer you a bike, if you’d like to explore that way. But beware: there are a lot of hills.

El Paseo

Tucked away in a stone-covered alleyway, El Paseo is Tyler Florence and Sammy Hagar’s take on a traditional chophouse, serving up finely aged steaks and local, sustainable ingredients. The pair worked together to restore this historic restaurant, which was originally opened in 1948. El Paseo retains its rustic feel with exposed brick, reclaimed wood and plenty of candlelight. Also, you have to order a steak. And perhaps the crispy duck wings.

Bungalow 44
A stylish bar with large, cushy booths, Bungalow 44 prides itself on its California cuisine, as well as its creative cocktails. It doesn’t get much fresher than their cucumber margarita and perfectly cooked ahi tuna. Even though I ate here before the live Jazz started, I still felt like I was dining in a 1940s supper club.

Super Duper Burger
This place may claim to serve fast food, but it is anything but typical. There are 5 locations throughout San Francisco, and luckily there is one right down the street from the Mill Valley Inn. The beef is delivered from San Fran’s own Niman Ranch and ground fresh daily. The pickles are homemade and the buns are toasted. Top it all off with fries finished with fresh garlic and 6-month aged cheddar. I mean, come on.

Stinson Beach

Even on a foggy day, Stinson Beach is a beautiful place for a walk. Climb over rocks and watch the waves crash below you, or sit along the shore and watch the surfers take their chances. Hidden on the other side of Mount Tamalpais, (if you’re prone to car sickness, watch out – the road is CURVY) this beach feels worlds away from Mill Valley. On the drive back, pull over wherever you can find a parking spot, because sure enough, there will be a trailhead with spectacular views of the water.

Marin Headlands

If you pull off the road right before getting on the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll come across the Marin Headlands. Drive up the road a little and you’ll find overlooks that’ll take your breath away. After grabbing pics of the San Francisco skyline, hike a little further. Not only will the Golden Gate look so close you could touch it, but there you’ll also find the historic Fort Barry and Fort Cronkhite. Or what’s left of them.

Bermuda

Despite its proximity to the East Coast of the US, this tranquil archipelago oozes British tradition (judges still wear white wigs) with a touch of Caribbean pace: Speed limits are 15 mph in the busy areas, and 20 mph in the countryside. Narrow, winding roads will lead you to breathtaking pink-sand beaches with clear waters great for snorkeling and swimming, or to some of the world’s best golf courses.

Whether you stay in the city of Hamilton or decide to go parish-hopping (the islands are divided into 9 parishes for administrative reasons), you’ll see that there’s a lot to do besides sitting in the sun on one of the wonderful beaches: centuries-old sites, a long-abandoned railway trail where you can spot exotic wildlife, great shopping, bar-hopping in St. George … And all this without the crowds of more popular destinations farther south, like the Caribbean islands or the Bahamas. Cambridge Beaches, in Sandys Parish, is one of the most stunning properties on the island, located on a sprawling 30 seaside acres. It features several private beaches, beautifully manicured grounds, and a highly-rated restaurant. If you’re looking for something slightly more low-key and family-friendly, Grotto Bay is a fabulous option, often for a reasonable rate. Though kids enjoy exploring the on-site grottos, the natural caves also add a romantic element, and couples can enjoy massages under the stalactites.

- Oyster.com Staff

Palm Beach, FL, offers a mixture of old money and new-age sophistication, with an abundance of sunshine, grade-A golf courses, clean beaches, and even some cultural and historical exhibits. An enclave of the uber-rich, the beach destination caters to a well-established, traditionally upper-class crowd. Between Donald Trump’s exclusive spa, “Mar-a-Lago,” and the ritzy Worth Avenue, it’s safe to say that visitors need to be ready to shell out some serious green while vacationing here.

Most beaches are private, which means wide, uncrowded stretches of sand lined by beautiful oceanfront mansions and hotels. One of the most iconic spots is The Breakers, originally opened in 1896. This luxe hotel features 5 pools, two 18-hole golf courses, 10 tennis courts, 9 restaurants and 540 rooms. If you’re looking for something a bit more sleek and sexy, the Omphoy’s Asian-inspired décor, trendy restaurant, and beachside location attracts a fun, young crowd. Those looking to save some green may consider the Marriott. It’s not on the beach but amenities such as a heated outdoor, an on-site Starbucks, and a 24-hour fitness center make this hotel a solid value.

- Oyster.com Staff

Belize

Belize, a small country in Central America that shares a border with Mexico and Guatemala, is known for its lush rainforests and Mayan ruins. But it’s most famous for its snorkeling and scuba diving, which are among the best in the world: The barrier reef off shore is second only to the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, and visitors can see turtles (both green and leatherback), nurse sharks, stingrays, and a variety of tropical fish. Divers swarm the Blue Hole, a large sinkhole. The waters are clear and warm, but as in other reef destinations, the beaches are manmade; the reef prevents the breaking waves that create natural sand, and the seaweed can make swimming close to shore difficult.

Most tourists head to the Northern Cayes and Atolls, a string of small islands along the reef, where visitors will be a short boat ride away from world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. The Grand Caribe is a luxe family-friendly option in the area. Decor is high-end, and includes Brazilian tile floors, mahogany wood, and granite countertops. Plus, all units have private terraces with pretty pool or ocean views.

The inland Cayo District is the second most visited area, and home to beautiful countryside, lush rainforests, and perhaps the most impressive Mayan ruins in the country. When Prince Harry visited the area last year, he stayed at the rustic luxe Lodge at Chaa Creek. This eco-lodge sits on a private rainforest reserve, and myriad tours and outdoor activities are offered through the hotel. The more affordable Pook’s Hill also sits on a reserve, and offers on-site river tubing and bird watching.

- Oyster.com Staff

Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • The Preakness

  • Cinco de Mayo

  • Kentucky Derby

  • National Bike Month