• Americas Travel Guide

TSR Wiki > Life > Gap Years and Travel > TSR Travel Guide > Americas Travel Guide

Thanks to Findagap.com for the original content of this page, now updated by TSR users.

The Americas offer a wide range of experiences to travellers. From the modern cities of North America to the island resorts in the Caribbean to the ruins of ancient civilisations in the South there is something to interest everyone.



Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda are two interesting islands in the Caribbean. Colonized by the English in 1632 - they left a few forts scattered around Antigua. {Barbuda} mainly served as a stud farm for slaves and actually slavery continued longer there than anywhere else in the British Empire.

Antigua went from crushing poverty after the abolition of slavery and the collapse of the sugar cane market to a top holiday destination. The island combines charming towns with cobblestone streets with old forts and great beaches.

{English harbour} and {St. Johns} offer the best places for sightseeing. English Harbour has a big old fort with cannons used by admiral Nelson in his Caribbean campaigns. St.Johns has many small streets, a nice cathedral and some good museums.

Other attractions include Stingray City and a Rain Forest Canopy Zipline Tour.

There are said to be 365 beaches on Antigua, one for every day of the year. Perhaps the most famous of all is Dickenson Bay which only last year ranked 6th in The Times World's Best Beaches poll.

For nightlife the Sunday night BBQ at Shirley Heights cannot be missed. It is at the old lookout post over the English Harbour and has beautiful panoramic views to all 360 degrees. It starts at 4pm and runs until around 10pm with live steel band and reggae performers.


This beautiful tropical island is one of the safer and more famous of the Caribbean Islands. Despite its reputation as a holiday retreat for the rich and famous and the up-market resorts dotted around, it is possible to enjoy and explore the island on a budget, with guesthouses available from as little as £9 a night. Click here to book a bed in Barbados with the Cheapest Net Rate Guarantee.

Barbados' capital is Bridgetown, a busy town in the south west of the island. Barbados was part of the British Empire until its independence in 1966, and British colonial influences are still obvious, particularly in Bridgetown, which has its own Trafalgar square and Nelson's column.

Sugar cane and rum distillery is big business in Barbados, so be sure to go to the rum distillery, where they will provide you with enough tasters to leave you walking out with a swagger!

The highlights of the island are the beaches, beaches and more beaches. The pure white sand and azure sea of the postcards comes alive, and it is breathtaking. Palm trees skirt the beaches and stalls sell the characteristic bright fabrics of the Caribbean and fresh juices and cocktails.

To explore the tiny island's 75km of beaches you can hire a car, book a coach trip or take your safety into your own hands on the noisy and colourful route taxis.

Nightlife in Barbados is vibrant with Caribbean rhythms and clear starry skies. No visit to Barbados is complete without a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night visit to the tiny fishing town of Oistens to sample the fresh, outdoor cooked seafood, the reggae music and the vibrant locals out to party. This epitomises the larger than life atmosphere that Barbados' people bring to the sun-drenched tropical paradise. Enjoy!


Even with the best efforts of the ‘big brother’ to its north, they haven’t managed to stop the sun shining on Cuba. The largest of the Caribbean’s islands, it is also one of the world's last strong holds of communism. Havana is only a mere 170km from the U.S.A.’s own Florida's Key West. At the most westerly point of the province of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba is a hop, skip and a jump, at 210km away, from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Cuba, an island by both geographical and political constraint, with the self-imposed political isolation, it may be restricted by the government, but it’s driven by the people. All Cubans are born with a single-minded passion for living life the way it was intended – to be enjoyed! The locals are sincerely warm and friendly to those who venture across the turquoise blue waters into the red Island of the Caribbean.

It is the exuberant friendliness of the islands inhabitants that makes Cuba truly special, that and the minor fact that it’s also an idyllic island paradise. Sit back and soak up the atmosphere, while sipping on a fresh Mojito (a little sugar, mint, fresh lime juice and rum!). Drown yourself in the music, art and culture of the island that have made Cuba legendary. Once known as the “Vienna of the south”, Cuba is still awash with glorious Spanish colonial architecture, historic theatres, cabarets, fabulous nightclubs and music venues that will exhaust even the most hardened traveller.

Havana is the centre of all things Cuban. There's an air of faded glory about the city, as big '50s and '60s American automobiles chug through the streets whilst plaster peels off the walls of buildings. The Havana Carnival in late February and early March features parades in front of the Capitolio or along the Malecón on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Carnival in the east is celebrated in Santiago de Cuba, during the last two weeks of July and the first week of August to coincide with the holidays around July 26. Carnival marks the end of the sugar harvest and originated as a period in which the slaves were allowed to celebrate. For those 10 days the drum is king.


Christopher Columbus discovered Dominica on a Sunday and gave the island the Spanish name for Sunday. Locals claim that it's the only island the explorer would still recognize today and it's true it hasn't changed a great deal. It has the largest populations of indigenous Caribs in the Caribbean. Dominica has great mountain scenery - a 1500 meter high volcano , sparkling streams, waterfalls and lush green forests.

Most of the exciting attractions on the island involve hiking: a hike to Boiling Lake, Middleham Falls or the Valley of Desolation are great!

Roseau is the capital of the island. It's a nice and quite busy city that deserves a visit. It is also a good starting point for visiting Emerald Pool. Carib Territory is another must see. Here you find the Carib people living in a 3,700 acre reserve.

The main historic sight is Fort Shirley once an important English outpost but now reclamed by jungle. It's a lot like Temple of Doom!

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic covers the eastern half of Hispaniola, it has the share the beauty of the islands with Haiti. "The most beautiful island man has ever seen" is what Columbus said when he landed here in 1492. He was of course prejudiced in desperate need of a small success and hadn't seen any land for some time then, but there is still quite a bit of truth in his observation. One of the first things the Spaniards did in this charming new discovery of theirs is massacre all the inhabitants. Within 13 years 600,00 Taino indians were killed.

Santo Domingo is the chief city of the Dominican Republic, the colonial zone is absolutely worth a visit -it features the Calle de las Damas, the oldest street in the new world. Unfortunately many tourists don't come farther than Puerto Plata City with its fabulous beaches....


Just south of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada's main claim to fame is the American intervention in the early 1980s. Those days of turmoil are far behind us now and we can start to appreciate the island for what it is: one of the greatest holiday spots on the planet.

Apart from all your lazy days bumming on the beach and or snorkeling, a visit to the island should include a tour to the Grand etang forest reserve and the crater lake, the rum distillery, Caribs leap, Iguacu falls and a spice factory. It is possible to see of all of the above in just one day starting from St. Georges, but you might as well take your time; that's what the locals do too.

Excursions to Carriacou and Manono island and apolima island are worth the extra effort. Martinique offers the possibility to hike to the top of the volcano and get a great view over the islands. Manono island and apolima island, Petit martinique and Manono island and apolima island are also popular excursions.


Originally this “Island of beautiful waters” was called Karukera but by Christopher Columbus renamed it in 1493 for Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Estremadura, just before he was driven from the island. Guadalupe is comprises of two large islands, Basse Terre and Grande Terre, and several smaller ones, of which St Martin is shared with the Dutch kingdom. In 1763 the isles came under French rule and they still occupy the island, now mainly as tourists. Pack a French dictionary if you plan a trip here for it’s still a part of France. The people and culture is a harmonious blend of European, African and East Indian origin.

Guadeloupe is well known for its spectacular beaches, most of which are well sheltered and wonderful for swimming and seaside fun. The natural beaches, range from the surf-brushed dark sands of western Basse-Terre to the long shiny white stretches encircling Grande-Terre. The two islands, separated by the narrow bridged strait of the Rivière Salée, are often seen as the wings of a butterfly, resting on the Caribbean. They’re actually a poor lesson in French for grand Terre to the east is the smaller of the two while Basse Terre has the great La Soufrière volcano.

Basse-terre on Basse-Terre is the administrative capital of Guadeloupe and the department. There are some very pretty and authentic old buildings of the colonial period in the city. There is an 17th-century cathedral and the ruins of Fort Louis Delgrès. Here you’ll also find Saint-Claude, a wealthy suburb and summer resort, surrounded by coffee trees and the most beautiful tropical gardens. Matouba, north of Saint-Claude, is an East Indian village known for its waterfalls and springs. There are hot springs and a bottling plant for the local mineral water, a bottle of which make an excellent souvenir.

Pointe-a-pitre on Grande-Terre is the commercial centre of Guadeloupe near both the airport shipping port. It is a quite compact and functional city. Its early colonial buildings were largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1843 and have been replaced with all kinds of new buildings. Also the Hurricane Hugo did a lot of damage, especially to the trees in the city. This makes the city less coherent ensemble as Basse-Terre is, but it’s all the livelier. The central Place de la Victoire once was the site of the guillotine. It’s the oldest part if town, which is reasonably intact, and it contains the oldest buildings.


If you are looking for everything Central America has to offer concentrated in one country, then Guatemala could be it. From the black sand beaches on the pacific coast to the tropical highlands of dense jungle, rumbling active volcanoes and lively market towns, Guatemala is nothing if not a colourful and diverse country. Despite a history of persecution, the Mayan Indian community is still flourishing in Guatemala and the evidence of this once great culture can be seen in some of the most impressive archaeological sites in the Americas. No visit to Guatemala is complete without a trip to Mayan ruins at Tikal. The spectacular pyramids rise up out of the jungle canopy and a bit of effort can get you to a ceremonial platform 144ft up. The view from the top of the pyramids shows you why in the Maya-Toltec language, Guatemala means 'land of trees'.

Many people wisely avoid the overcrowded and poverty stricken capital of Guatemala city and instead head straight for the beautiful Antigua Guatemala, one of the oldest and best preserved Spanish cities in central America. The town itself is worth a visit just for the atmosphere but three impressive volcanoes also overlook the town, all of which can be hiked by the more intrepid traveller. Antigua is also home to many of the Spanish language schools that Guatemala is famous for. You can study for a few days to pick up a few pointers or for up to a few months to really absorb the language and culture of the county. Add to that the stunning tranquility of the southern lakes and the hustle of craft markets in the highlands and you can see how Guatemala has attracted travelers over the years seeking the real Central American experience.


Jamaica is one of the bigger islands in the Caribbean. When you say Jamaica you immediately think of Bob Marley, Rum and Bobsleighing. Kingston the capital city is the first place many travelers arrive. It is located on the South coast of the island. The city offers world class business hotels, upscale shopping and top entertainment and dining.

The main tourist areas are on the northwest of the island. Montego Bay is probably the best known beach resort, further to the west Negril is also a good option with low rise buildings and high rise palm trees.

Ocho Rios and Port Antonio offer great opportunities to go hiking in the hills. If you want to go even higher you should head for Mandeville, located at 2000 feet above sea level.

Puerto Rico

What is Puerto Rico? Is it part of the United States, is it a country? Not many people really know. It is a bit confusing: technically Puerto Rico it is a territory of the USA, but it is not one of the states. The spirit of the Puerto Rico is very independent, however.

The travel hot spot of the island is the capital of San Juan del Ro. It is a modern city with ancient roots and lots of sights that date back hundreds of years. Many people do not care to venture any further. This is too bad. The rest of the island offers many beautiful places, great hiking opportunities and old colonial plaza's.

Other places of interest include Ponce and the Parque of El Yunque.

Saint Lucia

One of the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean, St. Lucia has two easily recognizable features: the twin volcanic peaks of Petit Piton and Gros Piton which are are visible from far out to sea. Most of the islands is covered with thick greenery - from wild forests to banana plantations.

Castries is the main travel hub. The 100 year old marketplace on Jeremy street is well worth a visit.

Marigot Bay is 12 km south of Castries and has a great natural harbour, boat rentals, a beach and good board sailing are on offer there.

Saint Lucia National Rain Forest is a must see for nature lovers. Over 19,000 acres of towering hardwoods filled with bird life. Soufriere and Sulphur Springs are other ineresting areas of the island.

Just off the coast are the Maria islands and the Fregate islands. Both are nature reserves, so contact the National Trust for permissions and a guide to visit the islands.

Trinidad and Tobago

Providing a neat link between the Northern tip of Latin America and the rest of the Caribbean are the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago (Commonly known as 'T&T'). The islands are fantastically diverse in terms of their environment, their culture, and their people. Most people travel to T&T to get away from the mass tourism of some of the other Caribbean islands and to experience not only the classic white sands and turquoise seas associated with this part of the world, but also its developing eco-tourism, conservation (turtles, manta rays, & rainforests) and its laid back lifestyle. T&T is as spectacular as it is easy going.

Trinidad is the larger of the two islands and its environment, with its rainforests and steep mountains rising out of the sea, is similar to much of South America. Port O'Spain, the nations commercial capital, is a bustling city with shopping malls, sports stadiums, colonial buildings and botanical gardens. The greatest event in the Caribbean is held on the Queen's park Savannah every February: The T&T Carnival is a must for all islanders. Lavish costumes, dances, steel drum bands, and litres of rum make this party more spectacular than an Olympic opening ceremony. Despite the carnival being only in February, it seems that the atmosphere continues throughout the year. T&T islanders are infamous for their partying or 'liming' as social gatherings at sunset are known.

Trinidad's little sister, a 15-minute flight away, is the undulating sun-swept land of Tobago. With its stunning coves and pristine beaches it's easy to be seduced by this beautiful isle. The ambience of the mountain and sea-side villages matches its beauty with a seriously laid back pace and flow of seafood, reggae and rum.

Central America


Belize is a Central American country with a definite Caribbean feel. It is a lively, welcoming place with plenty to see and do. From diving and snorkelling in the Caribbean to white water rafting and visiting ancient Mayan ruins. It is also small, only the size of Wales, so you quickly get your bearings and feel at home.

Belize is not a cheap country compared to the rest of Central America, but everything is reasonably priced and you won’t blow your budget.

You will do most of your travelling in the old American school buses which make up the public bus system and as such will get very used to travelling in very cramped conditions, especially when you have your rucksack with you. However these buses are a great experience. You never know who you will end up chatting too. There is also a ferry service out to the Cayes from Belize City.

There are plenty of cheep places to stay in the most of the towns, especially in San Ignasio and on Caye Caulker. The one place you don’t want to get stuck is Belmopan, the capital city based round the government with hotel prices to match. Most accommodation is clean and perfectly adequate with a shared bathroom, but always ask to see a room before you take it.

Belize cooking is fantastic, a real mix of Mexican and Caribbean. Chances are you’ll live off rice and beans but it is very good. As is plantain (a type of banana) whether it be fried, baked or as chips.

Costa Rica

It’s not hard to see why Costa Rica was christened the “Rich Coast” by Columbus’ ‘New World’ explorers back in 1502. It is host to some of the most stunning landscapes and friendliest people Latin America has to offer.

Costa Rica has become a traveller’s haven with its diverse adventure opportunities and unmatchable beauty. The capital, San Jose, is full of great places to go and you'll get the opportunity to visit many of the bars and restaurants that provide authentic Latino entertainment, including the number one dance - Salsa. San Jose is literally ‘slap-bang’ in the middle of the country which makes it a very easy base to travel out from. And because Costa Rica is about a fifth of the size of the UK it makes travelling short, quick and cheap!

Beyond San Jose, there are countless places to visit. You can enjoy the adrenaline-rush of sliding down a zip-line through the Monteverde cloud forest, or travel north and visit the active volcano of Arenal. Or head east to Cahuita beach to swim, surf and snorkel in the clear Caribbean waters, while sloths hang from the trees and the locals play reggae. Or perhaps you might watch sea-turtles hatch from their nests on the shores of Tortuguero. And then there’s Corcovado in the south which is home to some of the world’s most colourful tropical birds, the majestic jaguar and the deepest emerald canopies you could ever imagine. And with scuba diving, sports fishing and white water rafting, if you’ve got a taste for adventure there’s more than enough to wet your appetite!

Interesting Fact: Costa Rica is the only Latin American country not to have an army.

El Salvador

Once known as the coffee republic, El Salvador is the smallest country of Central America, yet it is the most populous. In the 1980's it was ravaged by a bloody civil war between the American CIA installed right wing military dictators and the socialist left peasant guerillas, which tore the whole country apart in civil strife. Since then, it has made considerable progress and it is a quite stable country now. El Salvador got its independence from Spain in September 15, 1821 together with the other Central American countries. When these provinces were joined with Mexico in early 1822 El Salvador resisted insisting on autonomy for the Central American countries. Although there was considerable pressure it has managed to stay a sovereign nation ever since.

San Salvador is the capital city. It is a modern city; the old capital was destroyed by an earthquake in 1854. Santa Ana is the second largest city of the country. It is only 50 km from the capital and lies in a rich coffee growing region on the slopes of the Santa Ana volcano. It is an attractive town with many old buildings. Excursions can be made to Lake Coatepeque and Chalchuapa.

Here are a few facts:

Full country name: Republic of El Salvador

Area: 20,752 sq km

Population: 6.59 million

People: 94% mestizo (Spanish-Indian), 5% Indian, 1% European descent

Language: English, Spanish; Castilian Spanish

Religion: 75% Roman Catholic, 20% Protestant

Government: Republic form

Currency: $ US dollar (official)

  • Warning *

Petty theft and U.S. gang related violence between the local Mara Salvatrucha and the 18 gang is a problem in El Salvador in certain areas.

Maintain a sensible level of personal security awareness, travelling in daylight hours, avoiding solo travel, and avoiding poor neighborhoods rural unescorted countryside. If you choose to stay downtown in San Salvador, you can try the Camino Real Hotel, which is a modern and safe hotel with its own taxi drivers. Try to avoid hailing imposter taxi cabs that will take you for a ride for your money. Cabs in the hotel area are your best bet and will drop you off and pick you up as well, if you let them know ahead of time.

If you want to go to the beach, El Salvador has its own Costa el Sol, near Zacetecoluca. Good black sand beaches and a few luxury hotels.

The famous national dish is the "Pupusa" pronounced: pooh-pooh-saah, which is a corn flour patty filled with delectable ingredients such as local cheese and pork or beans, served with a type of local sour kraut called "Curtido" pronounced: coor-tee-thoe. Simply delicious.



Honduras is a small country in Central America. It borders on El Salvador and Antigua guatemala in the north and Lake nicaragua in the south.

Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras does not look like a big town. There are few high rise buildings. It is a relaxed place and a good starting point for exploring the country. Many sights can be visited within a day from Tegucigalpa, be sur not to miss Comayagua at least.

Copan has some excellent Mayan ruins. The style differs a bit from those in Yucatan and Tikal. The many great carved stones or stelae are unique in their kind. The ruins are located in a tropical forest which makes the site even more attractive. San pedro sula is a good starting point for visiting Copan The Carribean Coast is worth a visit as well. Great beaches and completely different atmosphere with lots of Reggae and rum.


Before I ever went to Mexico, if you'd asked me what I was expecting, I probably would have said chillies, men in wide sombreros strumming guitars, tequila and dancing…

…And I would have been right. These things can all be found in Mexico in spades, but along with so much more. Geographically and culturally, Mexico is big - really big, and really diverse. With unlimited time and money I could happily spend years wandering its dusty roads.

I would trek the Sierra Madre Mountains, surf the Pacific Coast and dive on the Caribbean, drive across the deserts in the north and ride through the rainforests in the South. I would visit the remnants of the ancient civilisations in Palenque and Teotihuacán, the sprawling mess of Mexico City, the beautiful colonial towns and the indigenous Indian villages. In fact, the list is pretty much endless and I can't do these places justice in such a short space. The point is that there is something very alive and exciting in Mexico, something that makes you want to be a part of it.

I speak Spanish, I have great Mexican friends, I have tried (and failed - badly) to learn to salsa, I can cook tacos and I can hold my tequila (fairly successfully). However, I have done just a fraction of the things I want to do in Mexico. But you can't rush these things, especially there. In Mexico, trying to rush is like trying to walk up an escalator backwards - it's tiring and you don't get anywhere! Best to relax, see what happens, take your time. I'm not worried because I know I will be going back… a lot, I find it impossible not to.

You should go too, because you'll love it. And if you don't go, you'll regret it. Simple as that amigo…


Nicaragua is a small country in Central America. In the North it borders on Honduras and El Salvador , in the South on Costa Rica . The country is not really on the tourist's most wanted list. This has mainly to do with the the politcal turmoil it went through in recent times; not with a lack of interesting things to see and do.

Nicaragua is pretty stable now and for the traveler who is willing to go the extra mile to find the unexpected it is a great destination.

The capital city of Managua is the right in the center of the country. Many of the sights can be seen as a daytrip from there.

For real adventure head out to Bluefields the old pirates' nest on the Mosquito Coast. The atmosphere is Carribean there, with reggae and rum as central ingredients for a good time.

Spend time in the homes or visitors' cabins on the beautiful Miraflor Nature Reserve, near Esteli. Walk, ride, relax, swim in pools, look for quetzals and orchids; learn about fairtrade and organic coffee from the co-operative of small coffee producers and farmers, UCA Miraflor, which has an office in Esteli (website miraflor-uca.com). This is true community eco-tourism; young local guides have been learning English so you have a great visit even if your Spanish isn't up to much.


Panama is not a well known tourist destination. Nearby Costa Rica takes most of the regions incoming travelers, with some daytrippers to the Canal Zone. This is a pity, Panama has a great diversity of sights and activities that make it absolutely worth a visit.

The San blas islands are hard to get to, but offer a unique insight in Native Indian life. Panama city is a very lively capital. The Darien gap in the south is the most exciting bit of the Panamerican. There is a road all the way from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but here it just stops. Thick jungle that can be crossed on foot or in little canoes is what you'll find. As well as very friendly locals and a once in a lifetime experience.

If you want to go snorkeling, scuba diving and enjoy the Caribbean livestyle the Bocas del toro archipelago offer the finest possibilities in the country.

Northern America

  • Bermuda


Mounties, Mooses and Ice Hockey comes to mind when thinking of Canada but, once you have visited the country will also think of the friendly, welcoming people, relaxed atmosphere and beautiful landscapes.

Although Canada as a country has only been in existence since 1867, the history of the area has certainly been one full of events. In Central and Eastern Canada you will see evidence of the struggles of the British and French, the first European settlers. These ties may explain the great connection Europeans have with the residents of Canada and for this reason you will find Canadians very easy to get along with.

Today, alongside the original French and British settlers, you will find a host of communities who maintain the traditions of their homelands; Chinese, Ukranians, Portuguese, Indian, Dutch and Greek to name but a few. For the visitor, the result of is that one region can be completely different from another just a couple of hours away making a trip from one to the other seem like going to a different country in lots of cases. Each gives the visitor a completely different insight into past and present life in Canada.

Coupled with this is the Canada that no amount of immigration could ever change - the natural landscape. Soaring mountain peaks, alpine lakes, rugged glaciers, waterfalls and immense forests. Every natural feature you can possibly imagine is located in this remarkable country. All you have to do is ensure that you make the most of them.

Canada is a great vacation destination. And Whistler, nestled in the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia, is the perfect Canadian resort for winter or summer fun. Whistler-Blackcomb mountains are one vertical mile. Over 7,000 skiable acres. Two mountains. More than 200 trails. Three glaciers. 33 lifts. Twelve alpine bowls. The numbers speak for themselves.

Banff National Park is a nature-lover's paradise. Visitors will find more than ample space for a solitary experience in one of the world's natural wonders. Lake Louise is one of the park's most popular spots. Follow trails to Mt. Victoria's glacial viewpoints, enjoy skiing in the winter or canoeing in the summer.

Jasper National Park is the largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain national parks at 10,878 km square (4200 square miles) and is brimming with natural beauty and human history.


Greenland is probably one of the most beautiful and remote places in the world you will ever visit.

Around 90% of the country is covered in an ice cap and as such the settlements are scattered round the edges. Everywhere is so isolated that chances are you will only see a very small portion of the country, but this is not a problem. Everything is so breathtaking that you won’t feel as though you have missed out.

I visited the less populated eastern side of the country and was based around Tasiilaq. The transport in Greenland (in the summer) is nearly always by boat. One exception to this is the journey from Kulusuck airport which can be either by boat or by helicopter. The helicopter ride is an experience you’ll never forget. There are no roads between settlements so the fjords are used to get around. In winter this is no longer possible as they are blocked by pack ice.

One thing to be aware of is that all the settlements have both Greenlandic and Danish names. The Greenlandic names are becoming more commonly used but maps often still use the Danish versions.

Accommodation in Tasiilaq is limited to three options. A posh western style hotel, The Red House which is basically a hostel or the ‘campsite’ on the hill overlooking the towns rubbish tip. Not that you’re likely to be there long the great appeal of Greenland is not its towns but its unspoilt beauty when you trek into the mountains.

Whilst in Tasiilaq there are however a number of things not to be missed, the Inuit museum, the modern church, the fur and bone carving souvenir shop and trying seal meat.

United States

Huge cars, enormous theme parks, immense portions of food, everything in the States is larger than life! This includes the people who often go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome.

USA is an extremely diverse country, ranging from the buzzing New York metropolis to breathtaking landscapes such as the Grand Canyon. There is something for everyone in the States, whether you would prefer to learn to surf or snowboard in California, go clubbing in Miami or try your luck in Las Vegas.

Getting about is cheap and simple. Overland options include the Greyhound or taking a backpacker bus tour with companies such as Trek America or Green Tortoise. Rail travel with Amtrak is quick and best suited for traveling along the coast. Taking a cheap flight is a good option if crossing from coast to coast and can be often obtained for a very competitive cost.

An alternative method of getting around is to take a Road Trip. Auto Transport companies such as Autodriveaway.com & Driveaway.com can arrange for you to deliver customers’ cars to their desired location giving you free use of the car along the way.

With so much to see and do in the States, it is an idyllic spot for any budding backpacker. However, many travellers who visit USA near the end of their RTW trip tend not to venture further than LA or their city of arrival and therefore miss out on a great adventure.

From January 20th 2010, if you are a citizen of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program, you are now required to apply to the program online and are recommended to do so at least 72 hours prior to travel. More information on whether your country qualifies and how to apply, can be obtained from the official U.S Department of State website [1]

Boston, Massachusetts

Best places to stay

The cheapest way to stay is to go to the B&B's. They're really good value for money and are mostly near the centre of Cambridge. There are a handful of them - here are two:

  • Irving House
  • A B'n'B in Cambridge


Getting around Boston is easy thanks to the T system (shortened for MBTA - Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority). Journeys are $1.25 each, although sometimes they have exit fares, so when on the T, be sure to carry a big stack of quarters. For London visitors, remember that the space between T stops is quite a bit further than the space between central London tube stops. A "quick, relaxing walk" may actually mean "a 90 minute crawl". If you are sight seeing, buy yourself a day ticket for $7.50 and have fun.


Boston has a lot of shopping opportunities, and the area around Newbury Street in the Back Bay houses lots of big shops for fashion. If you are looking for something a little more nondescript and corporate, the Prudential Centre between the Back Bay, Berklee and the First Church of Christ Scientist, has all the big chain shops. If you are looking for books, there are numerous great book shops in Cambridge, especially the Harvard Book Store on Mass Ave. There is another book shop - the name of which I can't recall - on Mass Ave about half way between Harvard and Central. Also, Trident Booksellers on Newbury.

Places to See

Make sure you pop in to Boston Public Library just off Copley Square. This is a seriously impressive building, with beautiful ceilings and an exquisite courtyard. The Museum of Science.

I'm going back next month, and I'll put more stuff on here - if I remember.

Las Vegas

Recommended things to do and places to go

Most definitely, the Las Vegas strip... it offers the most spectacular hotels and casinos, each one having its own theme and feel. They're all unique and have their own special features, the main ones being:

  • The Mandalay Bay - one of the most beautiful, has a Shark Reef and a conference centre. Is one of the larger hotels and casinos. It also is home to the House of Blues.
  • Luxor - Egyptian theme. Stunning pyramid with strobe lights that can be seen for miles at night. The talking camels aren't to be missed!
  • Excalibur - Castle/medieval theme - has a Krispy Kreme and the Tournament of Kings dinner show.
  • New York New York - stunning hotel shaped like the Manhattan skyline. New York style bars and restaurants and a 203ft Rollercoaster with views of the Las Vegas Strip.
  • MGM Grand - the fabulous Cirque du Soleil show and its famous Lion Habitat. I went to the Rainforest Café there and would definitely recommend it. Also has lots of shopping and the Las Vegas Monorail.
  • Monte Carlo - its main attraction is the Lance Burton illusionist show. There is also Houdini's Lounge with piano music.
  • Caesars Palace - the Forum shops (160 boutiques and 13 restaurants). Celine Dion and Elton John also have shows here.
  • Bellagio - the ultimate luxury. My personal highlight were the beautiful dancing fountains and the botanical gardens. It is also home to designer boutiques such as Dior and Chanel. The "O" Cirque du Soleil is also a world renowned show. The fine dining there is phenomenal - with restaurants such as Le Cirque and Picasso which are pricey but pure luxury.
  • Mirage - the erupting volcano at the front of the hotel and the dolphins. Has shows such as The Beatles LOVE Cirque du Soleil and Danny Gans impressionist. Has international fine dine restaurants that are japanese, chinese, brazilia, italian - you name it, its at the Mirage. The pool/spa complex is also one of the best in Vegas.
  • The Venetian - Venice theme with gondolas which take you through the Grand Canal Shoppes, and shows such as The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Treasure Island' - Sirens Cove battle scene at the front of the hotel with a battle show between sirens and pirates. Italian American dining at Francesco's and Mexican at Isla's.
  • Paris - French theme. The 1/2 size Eiffel Tower with lift ride giving you a stunning, panoramic view of the Strip, from 460 feet above the ground.
  • Stratosphere - the Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the USA at 1140 ft. Visitors to the Tower are whisked from ground level to the observation decks in less than 30 seconds in double decker elevators traveling at speeds of 1,800 feet per minute or three floors a second. The views of the Strip are fantastic.

There are many more hotels on the strip, but I've listed the main ones with the best attractions.

Places to eat

Each of the hotels has an array of restaurants with both fine dining and casual dining - I've listed some of the best but there are literally hundreds to choose from.

Aside from the strip, I'd personally recommend the Hard Rock Café on Paradise Road and Tony Roma's in Henderson.

Great things to do whilst you're there

Aside from the strip, Vegas has lots more to offer. I went in a helicopter through the Grand Canyon and landed in a working western ranch. This is the experience of a lifetime, you'll never see views like it, and is totally worth the expense.

I'd also personally recommend taking a horseback ride through Red Rock canyon (in the Nevada desert). I went on the Sunset Trail and had a wonderful time. Although I've had 8 years riding experience, you don't need to have had any in order to go. Afterwards, there's a grill BBQ with fantastic chicken and steaks and you get to toast marshmallows over a camp fire!

Other attractions on the Strip

Aside from the hotels and casinos, there's so much more to do - M&M's World is definitely worth a visit to reveal the inner child in you! The merchandising is phenomenal and there's an entire WALL filled with M&M's! What's not to love?

Behind Treasure Island hotel there's the Fashion Show Mall with department stores such as Macy's, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus etc. There's also stores such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Hollister. The mall is huge and can take an entire afternoon to look round!

Las Vegas is possibly the best place I've ever been, and has so much to offer. Everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime!


Florida. The Sunshine State

Named after it’s average of 300 solid days of sunshine a year. It boarders with Georgia, and Alabama, and has the 4th largest population in the USA with 15,982,378 inhabitants. Florida thrives from tourism, with 60 million tourists visiting the state each year. The warm weather and the long, golden beaches attract many holiday makers from around the world, but of course, many people visit Florida for it’s theme parks.


Arizona is home to some of the United States' most incredible natural attractions including the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest National Park and Saguaro National Park. It also hosts a wide array of mountain ranges sprinkled throughout the state ranging from beginner to expert level difficulty.

For information on experiencing the natural beauty of Arizona, contact a local tour company.[2]

In addition to its natural attractions, Arizona is home to historical sites such as the legendary O.K. Corral, site of the famous gunfight between Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil and Morgan Earp against the Clantons and McLaurys.

For film fans, Old Tucson Studios, the studio where some of the most well known old age western movies were filmed, is available for tours.


California is very difficult to get around without a car. One of the best ways to get around is by using the Amtrak service. There are three routes that the Amtrak does including the pacific coast liner, the capital corridor and San Joaquins. Other than that your options are limited to taxis and either local or greyhound buses, which while relatively irregular, do offer a cost-effective way to get around. the greyhound station in LA is a complete dive though, I'd avoid it at all costs.

[Amtrak California][3]

Within California there are numerous activities such as; sea world: San Diego zoo: Universal studios: some of the best beaches in the world. San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge and a myriad of other great things, including Berkeley, MOMA and the Castro. It also has BART, which is a quick and easy way to get around. Best city in the world by far.

South America


Argentina is the land of Gauchos, Asado, Mate, Pampas, Tango, and Dulce de leche. The name immediately conjures up the image of big steaks, passionate men and women and long night of eating the best meat of the world and sipping mate, afterwards.

The capital city Buenos Aires is the center of the country in all ways except its geographical location. With the Río de la Plata, in the East of the country, it is actually the city that is closest to the Old Continent, and probably the most European city in South America.

Behind Buenos Aires the land of the Pampas begins. Many towns with historical centres that go back to colonial are worth visiting. In the West of the country the Andes mountains offer great outdoor opportunities: hiking, skiing and much more. {Patagonia}, the far south of Argentina is a rugged and cold land. It is great for the lovers of nature and wildlife; big glaciers that go directly into the Ocean, birds, seals and other arctic animals abound.

In the northwestern corner of this dreamed land, deserts and steppes are the most common geographical sites; and in the northeastern part of the country, the Cataratas del Iguazú, a gorgeous waterfall like the Niagara Falls on USA, complete all kinds of climate existing on the Earth... all in one beautiful country.

The people are awesome, full of kindness - at least most of the time ;) -, and the weather is mostly pleasant all the year.


Bolivia is one of the remotest and most isolated countries in South America - a country that is distinctly off the beaten tourist trail. Yet those that travel to this exotic and diverse country encounter a culturally rich and environmentally majestic landscape.

Unusually in Latin America, most Bolivians can trace their indigenous cultural traditions way back to long before the European conquest, making Bolivia a land of rich indigenous culture. Though many centuries of Spanish rule have left their mark on the nation's language, religion and architecture, Bolivians still fiercely guard their indigenous routes, culture and languages.

Bolivia is also blessed with an astonishing range of landscapes and climates. Amazing salt lakes, lush amazon basin, altiplano, to the ice capped peaks of the Andes mountain range.


It’s not all football, football, football…this tropical paradise ignites the Western imagination like no other South American country, and the people of Brazil delight visitors with their energy and joy. From the mad passion of Carnival, football and its fans, Samba, and not forgetting its legendary beaches, Brazil is simply, a country of mythic proportions.

Brazil, the world's fifth largest country with an area of 8,547,379 Km², manages to consume almost half the continent of South America. Sharing borders with every country in South America except for Chile and Ecuador. A populous of over 170 Million people with the Southeast home to nearly half of the population, found predominantly within the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.

As a country, Brazil, could be without doubt classed an over-achiever on the world stage, with a list of highlights and ‘must-sees’ that are simply endless. From legendary cities such as the ‘cidade maravilhosa’ of Rio, the sprawling metropolitan of São Paulo and Salvador; truly the black Rome of Brazil, steeped in African Culture and history.

Brazil also boasts some of the world’s finest natural wonders, from the Amazonian Basin, home of the worlds largest river, the Amazon, to the waterfalls of Foz do Iguaçu; again the world’s largest (surprise, surprise!), where visitors are treated to a spectacle of over 275 waterfalls, some more than 100 meters (300 feet) high. The falls at Iguaçu are five times larger than it’s more famous American cousin, Niagara. And, as if to prove that man can take on the challenge set by nature, visitors can also call on the site of the nearby Itaipu Dam, the largest hydroelectric plant in the world. You are of course also treated to some immaculate sprawling soft white beaches with the Northeast alone harbouring over 3,200 kilometres (2,000 miles).

The richness and diversity of Brazil's fauna is astounding, and the country ranks first in the world for numbers of species of mammals, freshwater fish and plants; second for amphibians, third for bird species; and fifth for species of reptiles. With so many podium finishes right across the board, it is no wonder that with dropping air fares Brazil is fast becoming the first choice in many peoples list of countries to visit. Oh and don’t forget the Carnival!


Chile has the honour of being the thinnest country in the world if you compare its length with its width. The country is so long that in the north you will find the dryest of deserts and in the south you are on the closest point to the South Pole.

The Atacama desert in the North has never seen rain (at least not since 1870 when a wheather station was put there) but you will still find plants growing - for the mystery check out the site about the Atacama desert. Nearby you will find the mysterious Nazca lines that are absolutely worth a visit as well. The best way to appreciate the lines that where made by the precolumbian civilization of the Nazca Indians is by plane or helicopter. Only from above you can fully see how special they are.

In the middle of the country the capital of Santiago de Quertaro is a very stylish city that deserves to be explored. It has the best nighlife of the country, most of the cultural institutions and some of the finest restaurants. From it you can visit Valparaiso as well as make some great trips in the high Andes including White Water Rafting & Horse Riding. Chile offers some of the easiest ascents to mountains above 6.000 meters in the world.

The Arctic south offers the opportunity to explore the incredible beauty of gigantic glaciers, the wildlife of birds, seals, sealions and whales.

If you have the chance to visit the Easter Island you will be sure to be surprised by the beauty of the place. It is way out in the Ocean and the island has had culture of its own for centuries.


Planning to visit us? First of all, get rid of all your prejudices. If something should be said about Colombians and Colombia, it is that everything here is done passionately: living, partying and arguing. "Intense" might be a word that describes not only 35'000.0000 warm hearted people but that also applies to the whole of experiencing Colombia: the lavish green of the amazon, the deep blue of both our oceans and one of the most exhuberant and diverse fauna and flora in the planet.

The country has everything for everyone, you like to Hike then go to Suesca near Bogota, you like beaches you have Nuqui in the Pacific Ocean and Parque Tayrona in the Caribbean Coast. If you like rafting go to Santander. If you want to meet the best people you'd ever meet then visit Bogota, Medellin, Cali or Manizales. There's only one risk in Colombia, falling in love with it and perhaps wanting to stay. So this is Colombia, drink coffee and aguardiente (alcoholic beverage), play tejo, eat sancocho or bandeja paisa. Colombia is the country were you arrive as a foreigner and leave as a Colombian citizen.

Colombia is a country for "travellers" more than tourists; if you are willing to spend some days babbling Spanish, dealing with a diferent perception of time and marvelling yourself at a country full of contradictions, this is your place. In spite of being a tropical country Colombia's weather is not the same across the territory: don't be fooled by a flat map and be prepared to visit a cold capital city 2.600 mt above the sea level, or the extense warm valley of the Magdalena river 300 mts above the sea level (only 150 km away). Geographical variety also implies cultural richness, which added to our colonial history results in a society where, racial, ideological and cultural ends meet. En Colombia hay de todo pa' todos.


Ecuador is small country in South America. It derives its name from the fact that it lies exactly on the Equator.

Ecuador neighbours Peru and Colombia, and although these two are a lot bigger in size and economic power, as a tourist destination Ecuador is their equal.

Ecuador offers beautiful old towns, such as the capital Quito, with its big and lively old town, filled with museums, churches, old mansions as well as shops and small restaurants. Then there are the highlands of the Andes, with their many Indian villages with colorful markets, that every photographer and shopper will find an absolute treat, eg Otavalo. High mountain tops and active volcanoes are never far away.

The Amazon basin with its tropical forest offers wildlife and hiking possibilities as well as the chance to get to know the habits of the Indians that live in the Amazon region. Finally you might be able to visit the Galapagos islands. These are a must to all nature lovers. They offer many animals you will not find anywhere else in the world.

Explore Ecuador and be sure to have a holiday you will never forget.

Falkland Islands

Falkland (Islas Malvinas) is famous for the war {Argentina valley} and the {United Kingdom} had over the islands. Thatcher's iron hand made sure the region is still firmly under British Rule.

More recently the islands were in the spotlights again, this time because of the behaviour their Pinguin inhabitants supposedly showed when jets flew over. Urban legend has it that our feathered friends tumbie and fall when an airplane flies by, because they try to follow the fast bird with their eyes.

Apart from pinguins, the falklands have a lot of sheep and rather few inhabitants, less than 5,000.

Stanley is the capital of the Falkland Islands and is the usual starting point for visits. It is in many ways like an English village, but with Government House, a Cathedral and a wide range of amenities and services. Stanley has a few historic buildings as well as a fe ships form the days when great sailing ships and early steam vessels called on their journeys around Cape Horn.

From Stanley you can easily visit Cape Pembroke (birdlife, lighthouse), you can make a boat trip around Stanley Harbour - (contact Dave and Carol Eynon, South Atlantic Marine Services Ltd., PO Box 140, Stanley, telephone 21145. E-Mail: [email protected]), or drive to Darwin (Argentine cemetery, the old Darwin cemetery, the memorial to Colonel H Jones, the grave of Flight Lieutenant Nick Taylor and the memorial to the Parachute Regiment.) One of the most southerly suspension bridges in the world, Bodie Creek Bridge, can also be visited.


Guyana, or British Guyana, was the first of the three Guyana's to be independent. Before may 1966 it was the only British colony on the South American mainland.

Guyana borders on Suriname , French Guyana and Brazil.

{Georgetown} the capital is the largest city. New Amsterdam is a an old Dutch town. The Dutch and the English had eternal wars in the Guyana's and the borders changed a lot.

Kaieteur Falls in the south of the country is a spectacular attraction. The falls are 5 times higher than Niagara and located in the middle of an unspoilt rainforest. A hike in the tropical rainforest will be an unforgettable experience.


Paraguay is an introvert country that borders on Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina. During a large part of this century it was one of the most notorious and durable police states, but it now is gradually getting used to being a republic. The Paraguay River divides the country into two contrasting regions, in the west, the Gran Chaco, or Paraguay Occidental, and in the east, Paraguay proper, or Paraguay Oriental.

The country has a relaxed capital, {Asuncion} on the east side of the river and which is about the only real city in the country. It’s the both political and economic center of the land. Most of its architecture dates back to the nineteenth century, when some charismatic dictators established the Paraguayan identity. Other cities that have their roots in history are: Conception, General Eugenio A Garay, Perdo Juan Caballero and Coronel Oviedo

The country’s main sights are the countless waterfalls, like the Iguazu Falls or the Guaira Falls, that are really worth a visit, but also some impressive Jesuit missions, several national parks and of course the plains swamps and forests of Gran chaco. Here you can also experience the real country life of the Paraguayan cowboys that breed one of the lands mayor sources of income.


A land of extreme contrast with arid deserts and immense tropical forests bisected by the jagged spine of the Andes on its journey from Venezuela to the Southern tip of Chile.

Peru has become an extremely popular destination for tourists who flock to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, the highest lake in the world, Lake Titicaca, the Inca ruins of Arequipa and the tropical rainforest and cloud forests of the Amazon.

You cannot go to Peru and not trek the Inca trail to the ancient city of Machu Picchu. Make sure you arrive at the great ruin sat the right time, as any later than 8 in the morning and you will be swamped by busloads of tourists. Get there nice and early, get your pictures and hen scurry back into the jungle.

Other activities in Peru include sand boarding and plenty of trekking. Trek high in the Andes, in the heights of the Cordillera Blanca. Camp in small villages on the mountain side and visit the lively backpacker town of Huaraz.

Read more about Peru.


Uruguay is a small, yet prosperous country sandwiched between Argentina valley and Brazil in the heart of South America. It is basically a European country, since the majority of its citizens are descended from Spanish and Italian immigrants. Spanish is the official language, but more than half the country also speaks English. Uruguay is more upscale with less poverty and strife than its neighbors. Montevideo seems safer than other South American capitals. The old city, Ciudad Vieja, has many colonial buildings that are now museums, art galleries, antique shops and restaurants. For nature lovers, the Eastern Wetlands contain swamps, lagoons, marshes, and streams with hundreds of bird species. UNESCO has declared the area a biosphere reserve. There are plenty of canoeing and fishing opportunities in both Uruguay and Negro River.

The most popular Uruguayan destination is Punta del este, with the Atlantic on one side and the River Plate on the other. It is an expensive jet set center for nightlife, casinos, and discos.Estancias, rural estates that are working ranches, are located throughout the country if you want a gaucho experience. Beef lovers will delight in grilled asado eaten in restaurants known as parrilladas or asados. Italian restaurants are everywhere. Try to rent a car to get to see the sights. Public transport in Uruguay is awful, unlike other countries, which have an extensive public transit system. Be prepared to pay much more than you would in Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador.

White sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean east of Montevideo compose Uruguay's version of the Italian and French Rivieras. This coastline stretches to the Brazilian border and holds some of the most impressive seaside resorts in South America. Colonia del sacramento is a coastal town just west of Montevideo and across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Charming Colonia, a legacy of the Portuguese colony, is an amazing historical site from the 17th century. Its Barrio Historico district is the perfect place for a scenic walking tour to see the colonial houses lining the area's cobblestone streets. Uruguay may be small in size, but the country is big in friendliness. The natives enjoy welcoming visitors from cold climates all over the world who travel to their sunny shores.


Venezuela is located on the Carribean coast of South America. It borders on {Guyana} , {Brazil} , and {Colombia} .Venezuela has produced more winners of the Miss Universe per capita than any other country; the statistical proof that the country has many beautiful women. But of course the country has a lot more to offer.

The capital city of {Caracas} is a busy place and there are always things going on there. You shouldn't miss out on it. The beach resort of {Manono island and apolima island} is popular with people looking for a place to relax and get a tan. {Angel falls} are one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world. If you think Niagara is great you should really go here.

The city of {Maracaibo} , an oil boom town, in the west of the country has little to offer to the tourist.

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