So what if it’s winter time, imagine yourself on a steamy dance floor learning to samba from some of the best while all your friends are fighting the bitter cold in scarves and jackets. There are only so many trips to the ice skating rink a girl can take before she bores of this chilly season. It is time to use the equator to your advantage and fly south during the North American winter and enjoy the beauty and fun of summer down under. So ditch the wool coat, pack some sunblock and jump right back into a warm sunset with travel to the following hot spots.
1. Salvador, Brazil
Any description of this place must include words like ‘awesome’ and ‘incredible’. As capital city of the Brazilian state Bahia, Salvador, lives up to its title with great food, dancing, and people. What more does a girl need to have fun? Find a home away from home at Hostel Porto Salvador for as low as $25 per night! Stay in the center of city for $130 at the Pestana Hotel near the sea and many main tourist attractions. Definitely make time to visit Pelourinho, the oldest part of the upper city, during the day tour the city and learn of colonial times in Brazil. At night head to Sankofa African bar in Pelourinho for great samba dancing. Food in Brazil is known to drip of culture and the tasty Afro-Brazilian street food acarajé follows that standard. Easy to spot the street vendors who serve the dish are women, often called Bahianas, usually dressed in all white dresses and headscarves. There are numerous events in Brazil in during our winter but Carnival, in February, is the biggest parties of the year.
2. Punta del Este, Uruguay
Punta del Este is well known for its beautiful beaches, ritzy resorts and chic nightclubs. While this location is popular among South American television personalities due to its chic appeal, it is more than possible to enjoy this great place on a not-so-celebrity budget. You can stay at Hotel Marbella for around sixty dollars a night. For a more private visit enjoy the quaint Bed and Breakfast Camunda for $160/night. Nothing screams winter escape more than the beach so visit the trendy neighborhood of La Barra and beach hop the day away. Squeeze in time to enjoy, a chivito, the national sandwich of the county from a vendor at the beach. Do not end your trip without a visit to Casa Pueblo, an all-white stucco castle, complete with paintings from famous Uruguayan artist, Carlos Páez Vilaró. Note that Punta del Este has been praised for its New Year’s Eve parties and hosts a European film festival mid-January for all to enjoy.
3. Cape Town, South Africa
Full of vibrant life and people Cape Town, South Africa makes it hard not to be impressed. Drop your bags at the Sweet Ocean View Guesthouse for around $60 a night. Villa Sunshine provides its guests with a peaceful setting while still in close proximity to Cape Town tourist attraction for $140 night. Jump into the action at Mama Africa restaurant where you can bite into traditional African dishes and hear live marimba bands on the weekend. Do not leave town without checking out Mother Nature’s gift to the city, Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Forget the usual February frost as you chow down on fresh foods at the Hands-on Harvest Festival or dance in the streets at the annual Cape Town Pride Festival.
4. Wellington, New Zealand
New Zealand was the first country to have its three top positions of power held simultaneously by women so ladies why not check this land of equality out for a winter recess? Stay at Nomad Capital Hostel where you rent a private room for $30 a night or a dorm styled room for $19 a night. Museum Art Hotel is a great treat in the city with original artwork as well luxurious amenities this is a great spot for starting at $189/night. Also, make sure you get a plate of local fish and chips referred to as “real kiwi feed” by the natives. Enjoy a breathtaking moment with nature at Zealandia, formally known as Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, which is working to restore biodiversity of some New Zealand forests. Lastly, New Zealand is great because of the New Zealand International Arts Festival and Hawke’s Bay Annual Wine and Food Festival that both happen there during our winter.
– Kenyada McLean