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ESP_carnaval-canarias

Being twinned with the city of Rio de Janeiro thanks to carnival does not exactly speak of the celebration of a festival that passes unnoticed. This is the case with Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the city of the Canary Islands in which the carnival celebrations are one of the most important events of the year. That said, it isn’t the only one, as carnival in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has also become a reference point for all lovers of costumes.

Carnival in Tenerife is celebrated in all the towns and cities on the island, although it is Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz that receive the biggest crowds and reach a party level which is difficult for other parts of Spain to match. The party takes place in the streets, decorated with all kinds of objects which turn the island into a rainbow whose vibrant atmosphere only grows more and more intense. In fact, they say that carnival in Tenerife ends when your body can take no more.

In Santa Cruz, the election of Carnival Queen and her court, and the Children’s Queen and hers, is the cue for the procession that heralds the Carnival. From that moment on, murgas and rondallas (bands of street musicians), krewes, competitions and parades fill the week of activities whose final climax is the Coso, the big parade that begins in mid-afternoon and which this year will include more than 100 groups, each with an average of 50 members. The burial of the Sardine, with its mournful widows, men in costume and attacks of all types, signals that the activities are nearing an end and culminate with the Piñata Chica celebrations. Performances, open-air dances and exhibitions enliven a week that is very difficult to forget for anyone who has had the pleasure of experiencing it.

Gran Canaria, for its part, is also positioning itself as one of the most important in carnival destinations in the country. Galas for the election of the children’s, adults’ and seniors’ queens, competitions of adults’ and children’s murgas (bands of street musicians), krewes and music groups, band festivals and rondalla contests, orchestral performances and Carnival bands in the street make the great masquerade and costume party an event which should not be missed and whose annual theme is One Thousand and One Nights.

 

To eat: After a carnival parade, it is important to eat well. Cocina Urbana in Santa Cruz is a great option for discovering that the best is always on the plate. In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Deliciosa Marta is a great name for a place in which all the senses will be given a feast.

 

“IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts group has 7 hotels on the island Tenerife. These 4- and 5-star hotel complexes enjoy spectacular locations in Tenerife, on the ocean’s edge and in peaceful and relaxed areas to offer their guests the best services and the most fulfilling vacations possible in the Canaries.”

MED_El placer purificador de los baños árabes

The need for ritual purification before prayer and the frequency of prayer, makes the Islamic culture one of the most concerned with bodily hygiene. The thermal culture has been practiced for around 2 thousand years, since Roman times, when these thermal waters were venerated as a worship service, a source of healing and a way of life. This reverence has continued to the modern day.

The Hammam, also known as an Arab bath or Turkish bath, is a form of steam bath which includes cleaning the body and relaxing at the same time. By extension, the buildings in which they were situated and whose structure responded to the different areas required for the bathing process also bear this name.

In reality, the process of taking a Turkish bath is a humid variation of a sauna, although it is more related to Roman bathing practices. Taking a Turkish bath or hammam first requires relaxation in an area known as the tepid room, heated with a continual flow of warm air that allows the bather to breathe freely. Then they move on to a hotter room, known as the hot room, just before submerging themselves in a cold pool. After thoroughly washing their body and receiving a massage, they finally retire to the cooling room for a period of relaxation.

The secret is the black soap or beldi, made with black olive oil and with important natural exfoliating properties. The beldi is applied generously on the body and left to act for 10 minutes. With this, the skin is prepared for intense exfoliation with the black glove or kassa.

You will not usually find mixed public hammams in the Middle East. The largest have separate entrances and rooms for men and women, with some exclusively serving one sex or the other. Others have days of the week for men and other days for women.

But first and foremost, when you enter a hammam, relax and enjoy. It is a unique experience.

 

In Morocco: If what you want is to revive the spirit of “One Thousand and One Nights” and submerge yourself in an ambiance in true Moroccan style, the best option is to visit the renowned Hammam SPA Mille & Une Nuits in Marrakech.

 

In Tunisia: In Tunisia we recommend the Hammam El Kachachine which is located in the heart of the medina, in the souk of the booksellers. It is easily recognizable due to its door painted in black, green and red stripes. It is one of the most famous and oldest Turkish baths in the city.

 

“The IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts hotels in Tunisia and Morocco bring visitors closer to encountering unique experiencesduring their vacation in these countries.  The superb location of the IBEROSTAR hotels offers the best opportunity to truly experience Morocco and Tunisia and enjoy their culture and natural beauty to the full.”

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Chacala, in Nayarit, is an almost-unspoiled port which survives through fishing and tourism. Its beach is one of the most beautiful bays of the Riviera which gives the region its name, with white sand and multicolored waters, and it is also one of the best preserved. Surrounded by palm trees and a dense rainforest of mahogany, parota and rosa morada trees, mango and banana orchards, and animals such as the beaver, armadillo, mountain lion and ocelot, it offers travelers the possibility of enjoying one of the most authentic locations of this Caribbean region.

The charm of this coastal town and all that its name embraces lies, in addition to its natural attractions, in its people, their hospitality and the effort they make to adapt their lifestyle to the influx of tourists, who are becoming ever more respectful of the setting. Their houses, with traditional construction, coexist with the visitors and invite them to stroll through the streets and sample the incredible traditional gastronomy of fish and seafood.

It is precisely this sensation that will accompany you on its beaches, on which you will always find families and friends enjoying the tranquility or surfing the waves. Las Cuevas, Chacalilla and La Caleta are the destination’s main beaches. The first is characterized by its strong swell, Chacalilla has more tranquil waters, which makes it perfect for relaxation and family fun, while the third is the ideal destination for surfers.

What is more, just a few kilometers from the beach you will find the petroglyphs of Altavista, a stunning collection of rock engravings in the middle of the rainforest and on the edge of a stream. These artistic expressions, more than a thousand years old, attest to the mythological traditions and beliefs of the region’s first settlers.

 

Eat at a good price: In Mar 3, travelers who prefer good food to good views will find the ideal place to sample the homemade cuisine of the family that runs the restaurant. Perfect for lovers of fresh fish.

 

“IBEROSTAR Hotels and Resorts has a 5-star hotel in the Riviera Nayarit region. The distinctive architecture of the all-inclusive IBEROSTAR Playa Mita makes it not only a new IBEROSTAR destination but also a new and tempting opportunity for you.”

 

Salvador (BA). Foto: Bento Viana *** Local Caption *** * Prazo indeterminado

The cultural wealth of Salvador da Bahia has a clear ancestral component. The arrival of the Africans in the 18th century was decisive for the cultural development of Bahia as a whole. In fact, it is the region in Brazil which boasts the most varied culture. The immigrants added elements of their own culture to create one of the richest regions in terms of culture. Two religions, the African Candomblé and Catholicism, coexist there, and the region has seen the creation of its own music and dance, Samba de Roda; fighting technique, capoeira; clothing that mixes the African elements with the Portuguese; and its own language, which mixes Yoruba and Portuguese.

Hence the first thing that tourists will notice upon arrival in Salvador da Bahia is exactly that difference in comparison with the rest of the country. Gastronomy, religion, popular celebrations, architecture and crafts stand out as a mixture of influences of different races, generations and knowledge, and make it a city full of contrasts which never stops fascinating visitors.

One of these is the Candomblé religion, practiced by the Orishas, and its dances and rhythms of African origin and tradition, in particular Afoxê and Maculelê, which is based on the soul of nature. In fact, Salvador da Bahia is the place with most churches of this religion, with more than 350 temples, and it is known as the Roma Negra (Black Rome).

The gastronomy is another of the elements that stands out. The cuisine which traveled with the African immigrants gave birth to the Bahian cuisine. The lack of ingredients and the influence of the city’s residents made it necessary to invent new dishes based on palm oil and coconut water, and new desserts, the latter of Portuguese origin. Food such as moquecas, a mixture of fish and seafood with coconut milk, dendé (palm) oil and a great variety of spices; casquinha de Siri, crab meat served in its shell; or acarajé, which the Bahians sell in their carts on the street, will amaze the visitor, both for its texture and the mixture of ingredients.

But if something in Salvador grabs the attention, it is the dances. Capoeira is the most exotic of its dances, although it has undergone a significant evolution from martial art to exhibition dance. You will see it on practically every corner and you can easily come across a group practicing it in the middle of the street. But, in addition, Samba de Roda has crossed borders and, thanks to the various modifications it has undergone over the years, it has evolved with the now famous samba.

Whatever way you look at it, Salvador da Bahia is one of the cities with greatest contrast in Brazil, in which travelers are certain to find much more than they bargained for.

 

To eat: They say that to win someone’s heart, first you have to win their stomach. If you want to let Salvador da Bahia win your heart, do not miss the moquecas of Ki Mukeka, a small family restaurant serving traditional food.

 

IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts has two 5-star, all-inclusive vacation complexes in Salvador da Bahia: the IBEROSTAR Praia Do Forte and the IBEROSTAR Bahía.  Both hotels offer guests the ideal Brazilian vacation and beautiful natural surroundings.”

 

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Cayo Coco is the largest of the Antilles and the fourth largest island in Cuba. Its 370 square kilometers offer more than 22 kilometers of white sandy beaches and crystal waters, complemented with the lush vegetation of mangrove swamps and coconut palms, as well as an immense colony of fauna and flora that adds an additional incentive for some wonderful vacations.

The island is connected to Cuba by a causeway, or pedraplén in Spanish, which forms a part of the chain of islands known as the Jardines del Rey (The King’s Gardens), in honor of Ferdinand, the Catholic. Its tourist offer, which includes hotels, artificial lakes, pools, entertainment activities and water sports, has been built while trying to disturb the national environment as little as possible, to guarantee the traveler an unforgettable stay. This conservation effort has been made to preserve one of the compulsory stop-offs of many colonies of flamingos and other migratory birds that choose these islets as a layover on their travels from one point of the Americas to another. In fact, the island takes its name from the white ibis, a bird of colorful plumage, popularly known as the Pájaro Coco (Coconut Bird), which lives on the island.

In addition, the 400 km long barrier reef, considered the second largest in the world after that of Australia, adds a significant incentive for visitors who place water sports, and especially snorkeling, high up on their to-do list when choosing a vacation destination.

 

To eat: Beyond all of the all-inclusive hotels, travelers can search somewhere in order to come into contact with the local people, and taste the cuisine and feel like a native. For this reason, the Ranchón Playa Flamenco is a great option, especially if you are looking for fish and seafood.

 

“IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts has a 4-star vacation complex very close to Cayo Coco, in Cayo Guillermothe IBEROSTAR Daiquiri. This luxurious hotel boasts 3 pools, modern facilities, meticulously designed services and a team of professionals who will ensure that guests encounter an unforgettable experience during their vacations in Cayo Coco. The IBEROSTAR Daiquiri is the perfect choice for those seeking rest and relaxation in Cuba, in a paradise of unrivaled beauty.”

caribe-jamaica-febrero

If Robert Nesta Marley, better known as Bob Marley, had not died of cancer on May 11, 1981, in Miami, on February 6, 2015, he would have turned 70. His music, his lifestyle, his pacifist and apolitical struggle and his defense of the Rastafari religion, of which he was a staunch member, made him an idol beyond his own borders and a character who, still today, carries on his legacy and philosophy of life through foundations and organizations all over the world. In fact, there are many cities that organize activities and concerts in his memory, mainly during the days before and after February 6, his birthday and a national holiday on the island of Jamaica.

These activities include those organized over 4 days in the parish of Saint Ann, in Nine Miles, the singer’s birthplace. During the festival, the city fills with spontaneous music, cultural activities, exhibitions and open-air concerts which commemorate and pay homage to the figure of one of the musicians who broke the records for concert attendance at the start of the 1980s, when he was topping the charts all over the world.

In addition, during the month of February, reggae month is celebrated all over the island and especially in Kingston, the capital. During this month, a great number of activities and, particularly, concerts are organized to pay tribute to this style of music and, therefore, to the mythical figure of the writer of I Shot the Sheriff and No Woman, No Cry,  The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (Jaria) is tasked with holding multiple concerts of genres which include and have been influenced by this type of music: folk, mento, jazz, ska, rocksteady, dub, gospel, etc.

 

Do not miss: If you are a Bob Marley fan, you must get a ticket for the Bob Marley Museum in the city of Kingston. What used to be the residence of the Jamaican musician conserves a large amount of his personal effects, in addition to offering a global view of his life and music.

 

“The IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts hotels in Jamaica bring the guest closer to the most amazing emotions you can experience on this island. The excellent location of IBEROSTAR’s hotels in Jamaica constitutes an unparalleled opportunity to see the island and experience all of its treasures.”

 

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Brazil is a fascinating place. And not just because of its climate, geography and culture, but also for its people. The contagious joy in its streets, squares and on its beaches overpowers the visitor and leaves them always wanting more. And this “more”, in many places, comes when night falls. Brazil is the country in South America, and probably the world, with the greatest nightlife. Establishments of all types, parties anywhere and everywhere, and music – a lot of music – which accompany all those who like to make the most of the moonlight almost as much or even more than the sunlight.

These are just a few suggestions:

Arco do Teles, Rio de Janeiro

The arch that gives its name to the zone is the entrance to Praça 15 de Novembro square, one of the spots with most charm in the city of Rio. With traditional Rio buildings, the area is full of cafés and restaurants which give it life during the day. But it is by night that it becomes a continuous party and a hive of activity and people, enjoying not only its establishments but also the setting. The establishment that gives its name to the zone is one of the most emblematic of the city, with live music to listen and dance to. It has become a real find for visitors who want to see how to really enjoy the Rio nightlife.

Carioca de Gema, Río de Janeiro

Live music is the soul of this establishment, considered one of the best samba spots in Rio, located in Lapa, just a few steps from the Rio Scenarium. Two floors on which to eat fantastic pizzas and let yourself go with the rhythms of some of the country’s best samba and choro groups.

Rabo do Peixe, São Paulo

It is one of São Paulo’s most popular spots for dancing and having a beer. A place where there is always a party atmosphere and to which you have to go early to get the best seats. In addition, they serve the best picanha (traditional beef cut) in the city.

Pelourinho, Salvador da Bahia

When we are talking about nighttime in Salvador da Bahia, Pelourinho is the go-to district. Declared a World Heritage Site, it is a hive of activity with bars, places with live music and restaurants in which to enjoy the authentic culture and nightlife of the city, in an area which, not only for its ambiance but also for its architecture and historical legacy, stands out from the rest.

Rua das Tabajaras, Fortaleza

This district of the city of Fortaleza runs parallel to the extremely famous Ipanema beach. Its location and architecture of narrow streets make it one of the most visited areas by tourists in search of vibrant nightlife. Its range of establishments, from calm spots in which you can have dinner and a drink to nightclubs in which the party can only be described as wild, has fueled its worthy fame.

Ponta Negra, Manaus

This river beach also has the facilities of a tourist zone, with one of the most highly-regarded examples of nightlife among visitors. But it is not just a place to enjoy the excitement of night; it is also a place where tourists are treated as just another resident of the area.

 

“Vacations in Brazil are full of delights. The fine-sand beaches, the natural richness, the carnivals, the great variety of culture, the delicious national gastronomy and, above all, the kindness of the people will seduce you. “IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts in Brazil offer visitors the opportunity to experience the most incredible emotions during their vacation in Brazil.”

ESP_cadiz-playas-azules

All those in search of some vacations on the beach, be it in the hottest months of the year or when the temperatures are a little milder, take a large number of factors into account when selecting their destination. Good hotels, gastronomy and leisure activities, the culture of the place and the friendliness of its inhabitants are usually decisive factors. But we must not forget the services that visitors can enjoy on the beach. A coastline with difficult access or dirty sand, or where it is impossible to find a shower or shade offering protection from the sun (particularly for those traveling as a family) are elements that bear considerable weight when selecting one destination over another. And, to be sure that all these services are available, there is nothing better than the blue flags awarded by the European Foundation for Environmental Education. During 2014, the beaches of Cádiz, with a total of 32, led the way in terms of the number of these distinctions.

Among them, here is a small selection:

La Barrossa

Situated in Chiclana, it is one of the biggest, which is why, despite the fact that it is located in a built-up area and that it has a high occupancy rate, it is very comfortable, both for families and visitors in search of the full range of services.

La Alcaidesa

Along the same lines as La Barrosa, very vast (4,300 meters of coastline, 60 meters wide) and with high occupancy, it is perfect for families. It differs from the La Barrossa in the color of its dark sand.

Valdelagrana

Just like almost all beaches in built-up areas which have the full range of services, it has a high occupancy rate. But its 85 meters in width offer substantial space for its visitors.

Camarón / La Laguna

In addition to the blue flag, this beach of moderate occupancy boasts the ISO 14.001 Environmental Certification and the Q of Calidad Turística 2014, which gives it added value. On it, you will see plenty of people surfing, sailing and jogging.

Sancti-Petri

Just like the previous one, it boasts the ISO 14.001 Environmental Certification and the Q of Calidad Turística 2014 (Tourist Quality 2014), as well as the blue flag. It is fantastic for windsurfing, particularly in the port area, and diving, close to the residential area.

La Costilla

It is the busiest beach in Rota, as it is located in the old town and boasts the full range of services.

Punta Candor

It is the most remote of the urban centers on the list. Surrounded by vegetation, with golden sand and moderate swell, it is basically a wild beach which possesses the full range of services required to obtain the blue flag, the ISO 14.001 Environmental Certification and the Q of Calidad Turística 2014

Cortadura

With moderate swell, it is a very windy beach, which allows the formation of large golden sand dunes. Remote and without a promenade, it has an average occupancy rate.

La Ballena

With moderate occupancy, it is a beach with all kinds of services for hire: sun loungers, parasols and even boats. With moderate swell, it is 4,500 meters long and 30 meters wide.

La Regla

Situated in Chipiona, it is essentially an urban beach, with high occupancy and peaceful waters. The high quality of its services and nearby leisure zones makes it a reference point for tourists and residents.

Tranquil beaches: The beaches with lower occupancy are, as always, those which have fewer services and, consequently, do not hold the blue flag. If you want to get away from the masses, seek out the coastline of the Playa de los Alemanes, Playa de Bolonia, the Calas de Roche or the Cala del Aceite.

 

 

“IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts boasts two 4-star vacation complexes in Cádiz: the IBEROSTAR Andalucía Playa and the IBEROSTAR Royal Andalus. Both are on Playa de la Barrosa beach, close to Cádiz city and Chiclana. They have been designed for some relaxing and entertaining vacations in Cádiz as a couple or a family, with large pools, entertainment services, relaxation areas and excellent restaurants.”

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The city of Budapest has always been linked to the amount of thermal baths it contains. In its streets there are more than one hundreds pools of different water temperatures which serve the residents, not only to warm up when the city is covered with a white blanket, but also as a place of social gathering; to have a drink, play chess, chat or flirt. But these pools also have an underground consequence. The thermal water erosion has made the subsoil of the city and its surrounding areas a real labyrinth with more than 200 caves, the most famous being Pálvölgyi.

The Pálvölgyi caves were discovered in 1904 by a group of speleologists who found passages more than 1,200 meters long and filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Years later, in 1927, when it was fitted with electric lighting and the necessary facilities, the cave was opened to the public. Since then, they have continued excavating and there are currently 18 kilometers of discovered tunnels, making it the second largest cave in Hungary.

There are two programed visits, one three hours long and a shorter one of 50 minutes. In both, the traveler can check out the incredible formations of stalactites, cross passages and impossible tunnels, and enjoy a superb speleology session for beginners. Although, one requirement is that you need to be minimally in shape and not suffer from claustrophobia.

 

Satisfy your sweet tooth: After a morning or afternoon of speleology, the body calls for a rest and something to eat. Café Ruszwurm is one of the oldest and most traditional cafés, and has a cake, dessert and strudel menu that will delight any stomach.

 

 

“IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts has a hotel in Budapest: the 5-star IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Budapest. It has a privileged location, surrounded by important buildings, embassies and shopping areas. It was built in 2011 and its rooms offer perfect luxury. It also has a complete spa center to ensure optimum relaxation during your stay, and its facilities cater for business conventions, incentive trips and other types of professional events held in Budapest.”

 

ESP_costa-adeje

The Costa de Adeje coast is the place of eternal spring. Its special location and geography give this Tenerife destination the best setting for almost any activity. Thanks to the influence of the trade winds, its average annual temperature is 24 degrees centigrade, 23 in winter and 28 in summer, which enables the uninterrupted enjoyment of vacations with a packed itinerary. Furthermore, the special emphasis on the development of meticulously-designed tourist infrastructure has enabled it to become, along with the beaches of Playa de Las Américas and Los Cristianos, and Puerto de la Cruz, the preferred destination of a large portion of the almost 6 million tourists who have traveled to the island, on average, in recent years.

To start with, more than 45% of the territory of the municipality of Adeje is made up of protected natural spaces, making it a perfect destination for practicing sports related to nature, such as hiking, horseriding and paragliding. But, in addition, in the sports centers or on its incredible golf courses, you can practice sports with a perfect temperature all year round.

The 26.11 kilometers of its coastline contain 17 beaches on which to enjoy the sea in all its versions. From dark to golden sand, from vast beaches with gentle waves to tiny coves, from relaxation on loungers under a parasol to a surf board’s favorite swell, from sandcastles to the incredible waters, almost any option is feasible on this coast. That said, the activity that takes all the honors is observing the colony of some 250 specimens of cetaceans and bottlenose dolphins in pods which live in these waters, maintaining an incredible ecosystem.

Costa de Adeje is not only a zone in which the residential areas have considerably increased the number of inhabitants but it has also become a point of reference and relaxation that many people were looking for. The number of tourist services and establishments has not grown exponentially in recent years without good cause.

 

To eat: The gourmet restaurant Poseidón has become a real gem for lovers of aute cuisine. It only uses traditional ingredients exclusive to the island of Tenerife to create the most incredible recipes.

 

“IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts group has 7 hotels on the island of Tenerife. These 4- and 5-star hotel complexes enjoy spectacular locations in Tenerife, on the ocean’s edge and in peaceful and relaxed areas to offer their guests the best services and the most fulfilling vacations possible in the Canaries.