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You need to visit Ecuador now

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This is no joke. You need to visit Ecuador now, right this minute, it’s a matter of life and…nah. The truth is, we live in a time where options are limitless and when it comes to travel, there are SO MANY incredible international destinations it gets overwhelming to make a choice. Sometimes you just need a convincing argument, or an easy-to-understand cost benefit analysis to conclude, “Yep, that’s definitely worth it.”

What’s the point in travelling to de-compress if simply choosing your destination causes you to stress? (That line is going in my next rap single, please don’t plagiarize.) Here are a couple legitimate reasons to book your next trip to Ecuador.

Quilotoa Lake Ecuador
A group of friends gaze upon Quilotoa Lake, while a rainbow appears above the Ecuadorian Andes.

Reasons why you should visit Ecuador

Fill in the blank with something that isn’t sexist: Ecuador is like a ____. Pretty, cheap and easy.

If you want three simple, yet highly convincing reasons to visit Ecuador, here they are. Let’s start with the first and, in many cases, the most convincing:

Ecuador is CHEAP. Please note that by “cheap”, we’re talking western hemisphere levels of affordability, not Nepal or Vietnam.

Compared to other bucket-list Latin America countries, like Costa Rica, Mexico or Chile, Ecuador offers a comparable quality of service for a lower dollar figure. Among some of the incredible things to do in Ecuador, you’ll visit places like the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon.

If you’re travelling here from the United States or Europe, you’ll be pleased to discover several cheap, and usually direct, flight options to Ecuador. From the U.S., you can find flights from Fort Lauderdale, FL with Jet Blue for as cheap as $380!

Once here, you’ll also find that bus travel is C-H-E-A-P. I’m talking $1.00 per hour of travel cheap. However, there are pros and cons to this, make sure to read the last section of this blog.

Cotopaxi Volcano ecuador
A traveler visits the Limpiopungo lake inside Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi Volcano is visible in the background. Photo by: Viaja la Vida travel bloggers.

Ecuador is PRETTY. Spectacular, in fact. This is highly subjective statement that can be proven true by simply asking anyone that’s traveled here. Now, don’t ask them about the markets, because things can get pretty ugly there, especially in the animal section, but ask them about Ecuador’s beauty GENERALLY.

You’ll find that there’s a consensus: Ecuador isn’t just beautiful, but diverse, which only adds to its beauty. In a day’s drive, you can go from the Amazon rainforest, past 5,000+ meter volcanic peaks, and down through the coastal cloud forest to the glimmering beaches of Mompiche (or another coastal village).

Where else in Latin America can you do this? If you can think of a place that isn’t Ecuador, please mention it in the comment section below. Seriously, I challenge you.

Ecuador Pacific Sunset
The sun sets in the Pacific Coast. This is a common image all year long because of Ecuador’s location on the equator. Photo by: Juan Pablo Verdesoto.

Ecuador is EASY. The reason you can visit such diverse geographic regions in one day is because Ecuador is relatively small (no bigger than Colorado State, for example). Its neighbor, Peru, offers similar geographic diversity but across 5 times the geographic area! It’s gonna take more than one day to drive from the Amazon to the Pacific Coast, that’s for sure.

Over the years, a significant increase in tourism has incentivized many Ecuadorians to invest in English language acquisition. While speaking and/or learning Spanish in Ecuador is highly encouraged, you’ll find that many locals (especially the younger generations) know their way around English and will be able to help you.

A final reason why Ecuador is an easy travel destination is related to its currency, which happens to be the US dollar. That’s right: greenbacks rule. If you’re coming from the United States, you have one less headache to deal with because in Ecuador, currency exchange is not a thing.

Wanderbus Ecuador
A traveler enjoys the Ecuadorian road aboard the Wanderbus. Photo by: Juan Pablo Verdesoto.

What is the best way to travel around Ecuador?

If you’re like most travellers to Ecuador, you’re probably considering bus travel. Makes sense: buses are readily available between every city and, depending on distance, cost around $1.00 per transit hour. However, safety and convenience tend to be an issue as bus terminals are where travellers are at their most vulnerable from petty theft, and are often difficult and expensive to reach (particularly at odd hours of the night).

For those that prefer to avoid bus terminals (despite the attractive bus prices), another approach to bus travel in Ecuador is available: hop on-hop off bus companies like Wanderbus Ecuador. Wanderbus will pick you up from central locations in town and take you to Ecuador’s top (and often difficult-to-reach) destinations, ensuring safety, access to like-minded travelers as well as an English-speaking guide. The flexibility of hop on-hop off travel is especially attractive if you don’t have a set itinerary and like to keep your options open.

If you haven’t quite decided on your next international destination, make sure to take a closer look at Ecuador, where you’re sure to get more bang for your buck.



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A holiday experience for all the family

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dog family holiday

Finding the perfect location for your family holidays is often a tedious task, especially when kids are involved in the equation. Thankfully, there is a new 5-star resort especially created for the whole family.

A place for everyone 

Planning the perfect family holiday is never an easy task. We need to look for a place that would make everyone in the family happy, no matter their age. Traditionally, parents had to adapt their holidays plans to meet their kids needs for fun and entertainment. Thankfully, the tourism industry is aware of this issue and, over the last years, alternatives that fulfill the whole family needs have been developing. 

A place that has become renowned for having the best all inclusive family resorts is ESTUDIO Playa Mujeres. ESTUDIO Playa Mujeres is a 5-star resort located in Mexico, on a paradisiac beach just 15 minutes away from downtown Cancun. It was especially designed keeping the needs of the whole family in mind. 

It does not matter if the visitor is a kid or an adult, relax and a pleasure experience are ensured in this place. 

The perfect location for adults to relax

family resort

If you are looking to get away from the world and relax, Estudio Playa Mujeres has everything you need in order to have the best holiday experience of your life. 

The resort’s luxurious design and its wide range of activities available make it the best spot for your vacations

All the suites vanguardist concepts were designed by Mexican artists and on them you can see a modern architectonic display along with some luxury items like the revolutionary Total-Rest Beds®. These beds are especially designed to ensure you have the best resting experience during your stay and feature top-quality bed sheets. 

The suites are also equipped with a modern private bathroom, a 24 hours room-service and a minibar that is restocked on a daily basis. 

Once you leave your suite, a world full of marvelous experiences awaits you. The whole resort is decorated with artistic pieces created by contemporary Mexican artists. There are multiple installations you can make use of during your stay.  The resort has a 18-hole golf course, 6 restaurants to meet even the pickiest gourmet needs and, our personal favorite, the nuup spa. 

The nuup spa is equipped with everything you may need for relaxing in your luxury Spa Vacations. Distributed among three different levels, this luxurious  spa includes:

  •  18 treatments cabins equipped with  private showers
  • Relaxing lounges to chill before and in between treatments.
  • A fully equipped hydrotherapy circuit which includes a sauna, a steam room, a sentations shower and a ludic pool. 
  • A tea station with all sort of flavours from around the globe. 
  • A beauty salon with the best hairstyling, pedicure and manicure experts. 
  • A Bridal Dress-Up Lounge®. On this private space brides and their maids can get ready for the ceremony while enjoying features like a private bar or bathroom. 

Let your kids have the time of their lives

family holiday kids

At Estudio Playa Mujeres, kids are very important. They have a wide range of activities to enjoy while their parents relax. Kids can enjoy the Doodle Land® program, where creativeness is encouraged by the means of interactive workshops and programs and fun activities by the beach and the pool. Kids up to the age of 15 can also join the kids club, where they will learn while having fun. 

Your pet also deserves the best holidays

Estudio playa mujeres are Pet Friendly Resorts. Pets are welcome and encouraged on their installations just as one more member of the family

The resort provides all the things our furry friends could need for a fun experience. Estudio Playa Mujeres counts with a team of professionals that offer doggysitting and veterinary services. 

The food necessities of our pets are fully covered with a luxurious 5 plates menu especially designed to meet their needs. 

Fun is also assured for pets within the resort. There are a wide range of activities and happenings along the resort that will bring our pets and us an unique experience. Toys and accessories are also provided inside the suites so our pets are always entertained and feel just like at home.

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The Must-Know Before Booking Your Next Flight

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aircraft flight travel packing

One of the essential things that will keep you happy throughout your traveling is booking a flight that caters for all your needs without necessarily paying much. Whether you are going on a business trip or you just want to spend your next holiday away from your country booking the right flight will be your very first crucial thing to do.

When it comes to flight booking, getting the right airline that will suit all your preferences, needs, and taste can be a bit tricky especially if it is your first time. Making even the minutest error in the choice of your flight can easily ruin your entire journey. That’s why in this article, you will learn some of the factors you need to know before booking any flight. So let’s get started.

Ticket Price

Of course, this is one thing that many people are sensitive to and definitely, it is one of the most crucial factors you should consider. Flight ticket prices usually vary depending on the airline you have chosen.

Definitely, you need an airline that will save some bucks for your ice cream, that’s more than often people tend to go for cheaper ticket prices. It is always advisable that you check whether the price of the ticket has included or excluded the taxes. Besides, check whether the luggage fees are separate.

The duration and stops of your flight

Sometimes, even if you are taking a direct flight, it has several stops before reaching the destination. It could be for technical checkups or fueling. By checking the number of halts and flight stops you will be having, you will easily determine the duration of your flight.

The actual value of your ticket will also largely depend on the number of stops and duration you will be in the air. The direct flight usually charge high prices because they are faster compared to indirect flights that have several stops. It is always advisable you check on the duration your flight will take besides the attractive ticket prices.

The Airline

This is one of the factors that cannot be overemphasized having in mind the many airlines that have stormed the air transportation industry. It is always advisable that you choose an airline that has a good reputation for its safety, prices, and treatment of its customers.

You also need to check the number of years they have been in the field and how well-maintained are their planes. Turkish Airlines could be your choice in your next flight because of their efficiency, effectiveness, the number of years in experience, and diverse quality services. Why not give it a trial?

Flight time

Well, the time of your flight is crucial in saving you some money and for your safety. You may have noticed that there is a peak hour where almost everyone likes flying. In such hours, you dig deeper into your pocket. Such hours are usually during the day, perhaps in the morning to afternoon hours.

It is advisable to travel at such peak hours if you don’t know your destination very well. However, if you are conversant with your destination, you can take odd-hour flights which are basically cheaper. 

Travel Dates

This is another crucial factor that you will need to consider. Always plan your trip very well to suit your preferred dates of travel. Choose different days for your flights and eventually choose the one that is best for you. However, this may be impossible if you are on an emergency schedule.

It is advisable that you be as much flexible as possible when it comes to the dates of your flights. If you stick to one particular date, you might end up spending more than you had planned for in case some ugly incident occurs.

The flight itinerary

For indirect flights, you will need to change your planes; you will need to take another flight to connect you to your destination. Some airliners are hostile enough that they don’t even provide you with transport to the next airport. If you have some tons of luggage it becomes chaotic for you.

Some passengers may be having Visas that don’t allow them in certain countries and this will be very frustrating for them. Always check at the distance between the airports and the entire itinerary to avoid frustrations in your flight.

Final Remarks: You can make your flight joyful or irritating by the choices you make. The above factors can make your flights comfortable. However, it is advisable that you book your ticket 6 weeks before your date of travel. This will save you some good money. Consulting travel agents is also a great idea. Now make it happen the right way.

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The 10 Best Design-led Hostels in Europe

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Hostels are no longer just for young people and travelers with low budgets. The once humble and cheap accommodation that connects people from different places has now evolved to poshtels, which allow you to spend less but still get access to the benefits of high-end hotels. A good location, careful decoration, a strong commitment to the environment and the common spaces is what offers this new concept that is getting huge in Europe. Here are some of the best hostels that you can find in the Old Continent.

Cats Hostel Madrid

Cats Hostels is the perfect option to stay right in the heart of the city when visiting Madrid, because the city centre is where all the cool stuff happens. Their fully equipped and comfortable rooms decorated according to the latests trends can accommodate from 2 up to 14 guests. 

The hostel stands out for its breathtakingly spectacular 17th-century Arab-Andalusian style patio, which is in fact a protected historical heritage site in the city. It has a stunning fountain right in the middle that is filled with sangria in their epic Sangria Party -they don’t claim to be the best party hostel in Madrid for no reason! Cats Hostel is perfect for group friends or solo travellers, since the common areas work as meeting points: a coworking space, a club, a bar or a multipurpose room where you can watch a movie on the big screen, chill on the couches, play board games, read, or sleep away your hangover.

For those who want to discover the city accompanied, there are activities in Cats Hostels every day of the week: from the city tour -where you can visit the most emblematic landmarks of the capital, to a pub crawl that costs 15 € and starts every day at 22:00 or a classic tapas tour (15 €), on Wednesdays and Fridays at 17:45.

Full Moon Design Hostel Budapest

Live music in one of the most vibrant cities, picturesque rooms, colourful common areas and a privileged location are just some of the things this designer hostel has to offer. But that’s not all this hostel offers: Morisons Music Pub 2 is in the same building. 

Generator Hostel Paris

Stroll through the city without leaving the building in this design-led hostel inspired by the photogenic character of Paris. Stay in the elegant lounge (with vintage armchairs and a large bar) or have fun in the game room when you’re not enjoying everything the French capital has to offer.

Cats Hostel Porto

Cats Hostel Porto is the first hostel of the brand to open in Portugal, and it brings to the city of the Duero river all the spirit that has made Madrid’s Cats Hostels famous: fun, activities and central accommodation to enjoy the city to the fullest.

ONE80º Berlin

This ’boutique hostel’ in the heart of Mitte stands out for having its own discotheque in the center of Berlin.  It offers music by its own resident DJs and other events. Guests can also use a special area to upload and share their photos. The interior is designed by Berlin artists.

Kex Hostel Reykjavik

Industrial aesthetics is the most characteristic feature of this Icelandic hostel that stands in an old biscuit factory (in fact, kex means Icelandic ‘biscuit’). Besides having all kinds of rooms, it stands out for its common spaces, such as a barber shop or a large library, where you can relax in the company of other travelers..

Casa Gracia Barcelona Hostel

The most modern hostel in Barcelona is just a step away from Paseo de Gracia and is all style and atmosphere. With its exclusive design and modern interiors, is the ideal refuge for any lover of modern and style. Enjoy the terrace, the lounges (it has spacious communal lounges to rest and chat) and its exquisite cuisine.

Youth Hostel Scuol Switzerland

This hostel is the most modern cabin in the Swiss country. This hostel, decorated to the last, has beautiful wooden interiors. Come out onto the terrace and breathe in the fresh air, while enjoying the splendour of the surrounding mountains. When the sun sets, make a ball in front of the fireplace and enjoy a hot chocolate before resting in your room.

Clink 78 London

Luxurious hostel frequented by young backpackers. It occupies what used to be a courthouse, where, by the way, the punk band The Clash was judged -according to their website. So if you book a room here, you can sleep in a cell or hang out in one of the courtrooms. And it’s worth attending one of the concerts at their nightclub, the ClashBAR. It’s ten minutes from King’s Cross train station.

Cocomama Amsterdam

It has a very exotic name, but a very European conception of design and decoration, with murals, paintings, ceramics and all kinds of elements that make up a beautiful environment. Everything is very clean and well cared for. There are cinema, communal kitchen and garden, as well as other spaces to share.


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