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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 November 11, 2019

                                                              How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                                                              How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                                                              Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                                                              To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                                                              Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                                                              1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                                                              Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                                                              Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                                                              To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                                                              2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                                                              Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                                                              If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                                                              Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                                                              3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                                                              Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                                                              Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                                                              4. Feed Your Brain

                                                              Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                                                              This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                                                              Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                                                              Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                                                              5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                                                              According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                                                              Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                                                              Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                                                              6. Write it Down

                                                              If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                                                              It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                                                              You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                                                              7. Listen to Music

                                                              Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                                                              8. Visual Concepts

                                                              In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                                                              Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                                                              Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                                                              9. Teach Someone Else

                                                              Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                                                              Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                                                              10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                                                              Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                                                              So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                                                              Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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                                                              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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