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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 March 13, 2019

                                                              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                              Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                                              You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                                                              Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                                              1. Work on the small tasks.

                                                              When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                                              Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                                                              2. Take a break from your work desk.

                                                              Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                                                              Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                                                              3. Upgrade yourself

                                                              Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                                              The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                                                              4. Talk to a friend.

                                                              Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                                                              Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                                              5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                                                              If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                                                              Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                                                              Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                                                              6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                                                              If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                                              Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                                                              Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                                                              7. Read a book (or blog).

                                                              The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                                                              Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                                                              Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                                                              8. Have a quick nap.

                                                              If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                                                              9. Remember why you are doing this.

                                                              Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                                              What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                                                              10. Find some competition.

                                                              Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                                              Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                                                              11. Go exercise.

                                                              Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                                                              Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                                                              As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                                                              Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                                                              12. Take a good break.

                                                              Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                                              Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                                              Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                                                              Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                                              More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                                                              Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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