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30 Hidden Gems in South American World Cup-Nations

30 Hidden Gems in South American World Cup-Nations

The World Cup is a great opportunity to bring the soccer lover in just about anyone. In addition, with the World Cup being underway in Brazil, South American countries are given a new lens as a hit place to visit this summer and in the coming months. Lets take a look at the beauty found within many of the South American countries playing in the World Cup. If you are looking to visit the region anytime soon or currently planning a trip, this is the article you should read to start making your sightseeing list now.

Argentina

Patagonia

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    The Patagonia of Argentina isn’t just a city, town, or even small area of the country. It is a stunning region in the southernmost part of Argentina that is a breathtaking sight for all who come to visit it. It is diverse in biomes, with the Patagonian Desert being the 7th largest in the world, sharing the same region with the Perito Moreno Glacier that we will go more in-depth about later. The Valdes Peninsula is a great place to take in the fauna of the Atlantic Ocean. Patagonia is a must-see for all who enjoy taking in the natural sights and sounds of the Atlantic and South America.

    Perito Moreno Glacier

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      A glacier that is a part of the Argentine Patagonia you should visit is the Perito Moreno Glacier. As part of the Los Glacieres National Park, Perito Moreno covers over 96 square miles of land. Streams and lagoons are abundant throughout the glacier, ensuring that you are always entertained while exploring this natural wonder.

      El Chaltén

      View of El Chaltén, Argentina

        El Chaltén is a must-see for visitors of Argentina who want an amazing place to hike and climb. A part of the Santa Cruz province of Argentina, El Chaltén features Cero Torre and Cero Fitz Roy, both of which also share the province with much of the Argentine Patagonia. There are facilities available for those who wish to utilize the trekking environment that El Chaltén has to offer.

        El Bolson

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          Founded by German-Argentine immigrants, El Bolson has now flourished to become a destination for individuals who want to enjoy activities including hiking, rafting, and boating. There are a few restaurants in the region and the north of the region includes Rio Azul Natural Protected Area, the largest forest biosphere reserve in the world. Puerto Madryn

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            If you are in the Argentine Patagonia region and looking for some more developed entertainment, Puerto Madryn may be the destination for you. Here, you don’t find mountain or glaciers. Founded by Welsh immigrants, this is a ocean side town that draws people in to shop and take in the sun on the beach. The climate is comfortable, with the warmer (November – February) months reaching around no higher than 80 degrees fahrenheit.

            Brazil

            Bonito

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              Between December and April, this is the prime place to visit to enjoy all that under-the-sea has to offer. Bonito is the best you can get in underwater tourism in Brazil. Rio da Prata is the location of choice in Bonito to enjoy this beautiful aspect of the town. Of course, there’s more to the town than just it’s underwater tourism, from biking to enjoying the sun on the town’s beaches.

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              Jericoacoara

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                In the late 1990s, this was a part of Brazil largely untouched. With a myriad of protection rules and laws, this is sort of the case. However, Jericoacoara is still a place that draws in tourist who want to enjoy the quiet serenity that the town has to offer. Pedra Furada is the main attraction of the city, best visited in the beginning to middle part of the summer, around mid-late June and all of July. This is a beach town after all, and all that comes with that, including surfing and sunbathing prevails here. You’ll find it easier than ever before to find places to eat, sleep, and entertain here, making it unbelievable that this town didn’t even have electricity a few decades ago.

                Olinda

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                  This picturesque town is known for the colorful buildings that grace this town. Churches and museums are found throughout Olinda. Serenades is the place to go on a Friday night to enjoy street performances. While this city is quaint, it becomes alive during Carnival, making it a must visit destination during that time.

                  Ipojuca

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                    This affluent town of Brazil draws individuals into the beach life with the famous Porto de Galinhas. This is the main reason you’ll find yourself here and for good reason, it has been designated as the best in the whole country. You get the cleanliness and less crowded beach that you’d hope for from Rio de Janero because it isn’t a beach at the center of the radar.

                    Fortaleza

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                      When you think of big cities in Brazil, you may have your attention brought to Rio De Janero or Brasilia. However, Fortaleza may be the next big city to go on your places to visit the next time you stop in Brazil. The city of over two million people is a hit for their beaches and surfing opportunities. If you are looking to enjoy the water for the day, a day Schooner cruise may be what you want to check out. Plus, it’s one of the hosting cities of the World Cup!

                      Chile

                      Valle De La Luna

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                        Valle de la Luna, or the “Moon Valley” gets its name based on how the ground of the valley resembles that of the moon. This is emphasized even more by the fact that the valley is very dry, not having experienced a rain event in over a century. Despite being barren and dry, Valle de la Luna still has a significant amount of tourist visitors a year, making it a must have addition to your list of places to visit once in Chile.

                        Torres Del Paine

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                          While the Argentine Patagonia gets a lot of attention by tourists, the Chilean side of the Patagonia is a great hotspot as well. Torres del Paine is the main attraction to the Chilean side and is made for being a vacation in and of itself. Park fees are a bit expensive and most individuals who come, look to explore what the national park has to offer for about a week. If you visit Torres del Paine, you are here for the national park itself. It’s not necessarily a place abundant with food options.

                          Parque de las Esculturas

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                            Parque de las Esculturas, of Sculptures Park, is an outdoor museum that is located along the Mapocho River. 59 miles long, this park is a day long trip for those looking to only enjoy a portion of what this attraction has to offer in the country’s capital city Santiago.

                            Robinson Crusoe

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                              Robinson Crusoe Island is truly a hidden gem of Chile. Less than a thousand individuals come here each year and the main attraction of the island are the scuba diving opportunities available here. You’ll find that your only way to enjoy this island is through a guided tour, however ferries and flights are available and make the island accessible in two-three hours.

                              Ritoque

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                                Ritoque, is truly unique in that it is a beach region that is complete with white sand dunes that makes travel by horseback the popular activity to partake in. The town also includes a resort and spa that allows individuals to experience the best of Ritoque while they are on their visit.

                                Colombia

                                Salt Cathedral

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                                  In the town of Zapaquira, the Salt Cathedral is built in one of the salt mines that made the town well-known and efficient. Recognized on the outside with its large cross, the magic is found inside, where the mine uses architecture to make the cove a religious sanctuary.

                                  El Penol Stone

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                                    In Guatapé, you’ll find an interesting formation known as the El Peño de Guatapé. However, it is also known in English as the El Penol Stone. The 7,000 ft granite formation took its climbers five days to reach the top. Now, there’s a 740 step path to the viewing peak. Regardless of if you are looking to go to the viewing spot or simply enjoy from afar, El Penol Stone is so important to Colombia that is considered a national symbol of the country.

                                    La Candelaria

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                                      This historic neighborhood in Bogota features homes, libraries, and other buildings that have been around for hundreds of years. Several museums, including the Gold Museum and the Boteo Museum are two attractions on the list of La Candelaria visitors. They both feature famous works from world renowned artists, including Picasso. Some have even claimed that the historic neighborhood is haunted!

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                                      Barichara

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                                        This picturesque town is on a higher elevation and comes with historic architecture to match its stunning views. As with any town, Barichara has it’s famous Cathedral that should be visited by all who step foot in the town. This is along with great shops, all within 2 and a half hours from the city center of Santanderian.

                                        Caño Cristales

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                                          In the National Natural Park La Macarena, you’ll find Caño Cristales. It is best to visit this river during the wet season, encompassing all of the summer and fall. This is when the river’s flowers turn red and give it a very unique and alluring appearance. You’ll also find other unique colors along the way, due to the rock minerals. This is a very untouched oasis that you have to visit and relish in.

                                          Ecuador

                                          Cotopaxi Volcano

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                                            Located in the Andes Mountain, the Cotopaxi Volcano of Ecuador is known as the world’s highest active volcano, standing at just over 19000 ft high. Due to it’s active state, with its last eruption being nearly 75 years ago, the volcano is expected to affect over two million residents if there is ever an eruption. However, as of now, it’s a great volcano to visit with glaciers and ice at the tip.

                                            Mindo Cloud Forest

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                                              At the foothills of the Andes lies Mindo, a small Ecuadorian town. Famous for bird watching, the cloud forest features hundreds in its interior. The city also features waterfalls, various places to grab a bite to eat, and even some inner tubing fun! There are countless accommodation and restaurant options, along with a couple of bars. Mindo is certainly a place that will entertain many.

                                              Quilotoa Lagoon

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                                                Laguna Quilotoa is a hot spot for visitors to Ecuador looking for some active fun. There, you can find great opportunities to kayak and hike around the area. Cabanas and hostels are available in the city, however some may opt to camp on the beach, a popular pastime. Quilotoa is certainly a great destination for a day visit or spending a weekend. The small, quaintness of the town makes it nearly impossible to get lost.

                                                Vilcabamba

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                                                  Vilacabamba is a small Ecuadorian village that is known for not only it’s luscious greenery and mountains that grace the area, but also the longevity of the residents, who live well into their 100s. The most famous mountain of Vilcabamba is Mandango, which is said to protect the village from earthquakes and disasters. If you are looking for a small town engulfed with greenery, you’ve found it in Vilacabamba.

                                                  Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve

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                                                    Like other cloud forests, Bellavista is a reserve that is known for their prime bird watching. The award winning reserve includes accommodation within the forest, allowing you to wake to wonderful views of the forest around you. Bears and puma varieties have also found a home in certain parts of the reserve as well.

                                                    Uruguay

                                                    Punta Del Este

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                                                      If you are looking for a beach town that allows you to enjoy the summer months while sipping a drink, Punta Del Este is the town for you. This Uruguayan town includes tons of hotels and restaurants for you to take in the sights and stay for a bit. It draws individuals from all walks of life, making it a hit vacation spot for not only the countries citizen’s but also it’s visitors.

                                                      Colonia

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                                                        A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Colonia is certainly a travel back in time to the late 1600s, when the town was founded. Here, you’ll find that the historic center includes a famous lighthouse, an amusement park, and a myriad of places to enjoy great eats. A lot of the historic character remains and will allow you to get a feel of the European influence on Argentine agriculture and history.

                                                        Punta Del Diablo

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                                                          This seaside town is a must see for the surfer and beach hopper. It’s very relaxed and well populated, allowing you to enjoy the quietness of a horseback ride before hitting the club scene that night. It’s certainly a hip place to visit if you want to move at a slow pace, while still not moving at a snail’s pace. Punta Del Diablo is young at heart while still holding on to it’s natural character.

                                                          Salto

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                                                            Salto as a whole is a very agricultural town. However, the area is known for it’s thermal spa known as the Fuerta Salto. The area also has a great amount of zoos and restaurants that will keep you entertained for days. Salto is a great destination for individuals wanting to see the best of rural Uruguay.

                                                            Piriapolis

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                                                              Piriapolis is a famous resort town in Uruguay that attracts individuals to visit the famous Rambia de los Argentinos promenade, tons of places to stay, shop, and eat. The peak of the resort town also gives visitors unmatched views of the country’s coast. This is a coast where you can also enjoy your typical water sports that come with visiting a coastal town.

                                                              Featured photo credit: FIFA via img.fifa.com

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                                                              Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                                                              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                                              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                                              Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                                                              If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                                                              1. Breathe

                                                              The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                                                              • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                                                              • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                                                              • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                                                              Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                                                              2. Loosen up

                                                              After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                                                              Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                                                              3. Chew slowly

                                                              Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                                                              Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                                                              Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                                                              4. Let go

                                                              Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                                                              The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                                                              It’s not. Promise.

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                                                              Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                                                              Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                                                              21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                                                              5. Enjoy the journey

                                                              Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                                                              Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                                                              6. Look at the big picture

                                                              The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                                                              Will this matter to me…

                                                              • Next week?
                                                              • Next month?
                                                              • Next year?
                                                              • In 10 years?

                                                              Hint: No, it won’t.

                                                              I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                                                              Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                                                              7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                                                              You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                                                              Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                                                              8. Practice patience every day

                                                              Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                                                              • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                                                              • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                                                              • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                                                              Final thoughts

                                                              Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                                                              Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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