Do's & Don'ts of Visiting Beaches in and Around Salvador, Brazil

 Beaches are a huge part of Brazilian culture. While in Rio, my friend Phenesse and I had grand plans of soaking up the sun and spending a lot of time on the beach while sipping caipirinhas. However, the rainy and cloudy weather disrupted those dreams. We traveled in December/January, which is the summer/rainy season in Rio. Needless to say, when we arrived in Salvador, we were on a mission to have our dream beach experience!

13 Culturally-Rich Things to Do in Salvador

During the transatlantic slave trade, millions of Africans were shipped to Brazil to work on sugar plantations, many of whom were sent to Bahia. To date, Brazil has the highest Black population outside of Africa. It was remarkable to witness the preservation and promotion of African culture in Bahia. Here are 13 things you should do to get a flavor of Salvador's culturally-rich heritage, categorized by neighborhood:

5 Failed Picture Attempts with Christ the Redeemer

One of Rio de Janeiro's most recognizable landmarks is Christ the Redeemer. Wherever you go in Rio, you will see this glorious statue watching over the city. It attracts 3,000- 4,000 visitors daily, or over a million visitors each year. People from all over the world travel to come and do the most to get a picture with the statue. However, as you can imagine, with such a popular attraction, picture taking is a challenge! Here are 5 of the 100s of hilarious attempts I made at getting a half-way decent shot with Christ the Redeemer:

Exploring Rio de Janeiro During Peak Season

Visiting Brazil has been on my travel wish list for years! After several failed attempts at trying to visit the vibrant country, it finally worked out! On a glorious mid-October day, the stars finally aligned and a cheap flight ticket emerged. I received a text from Phenesse saying, "Girl, flights are $756 on Momondo, but we can also book using points from our Chase Sapphire card!" And in a matter of seconds I went from thinking this trip wasn't going to happen to purchasing my flight to Rio for $198! Here's a recap of our miraculous 6-day trip to Rio during peak season:

Brazil Packing List for the Adventurous Traveler

My winter will start off a little warm this year, as I'm spending a couple of weeks exploring Brazil!  We plan on spending the majority of our time in Rio, Salvador, and Iguaçu Falls, which will be hot, humid, and rainy at times. While Brazil is known for its beautiful beaches, this packing list doesn't focus on how many bikinis or shorts you should pack. Here's the packing list for travelers who want to explore Brazil in a more adventurous way:

7 Rio Experiences Worth Leaving the Beach For

Internationally known for its barely there bikinis, Brazil has become synonymous with sand, sea, and sun. Nowhere is this more true than in Rio de Janeiro, home to some of the world’s most iconic beaches. While there’s no denying the allure of days spent lounging in the sun, Rio has a lot more to offer than miles of pristine white sand. Here are 7 ways to discover Rio beyond its beaches:    

Your 4-Day Peru Travel Guide

Last fall, my best friend and I were mulling over where to visit for the winter holidays. We’re both big on travel and hadn’t taken an international trip in ages but deciding where to go was really tricky. Europe? Nah, too cold. Caribbean? Zika…yeah. South East Asia? Way too far for our short trip. And then it hit us: Peru! It’s summer time there and, surprisingly, it isn’t in the thick of their tourist season. Looking back, I’m so happy we went – it was the perfect mix of activity, culture, and leisure. I still remember our train ride through the Andes mountains to Machu Picchu and I seriously miss the amazing food (one word: ceviche!). 

7 Must-See Places in Colombia That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Colombia is the most biodiverse country on earth. From flourishing cities to lavish landscapes, the country offers a taste of everything for the multifarious traveler.  

You’d be remiss not to experience everything the country has to offer. Yet, the average traveler knows little about the bountiful secrets that Colombia has in store. If you want to experience Colombia fully, you’ll want to add these 7 places into your itinerary.

Red Meat & Black Magic: Exploring South America

Our route ended up being based two things: a plan to hike Machu Picchu for four days in November, and the cheap flights we found around the continent. We would spend a month in Brazil, fly to Peru, take buses south to Cusco, hike Machu Picchu, take more buses south to Bolivia, fly to Chile, and take buses across the continent to Buenos Aires, where our return flight headed back to DC.