Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Excellence Group Press Release #2 - Finest Resorts

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  5:21 PM   vacation No comments
See below today's press release from Excellence Group about the opening of Finest Resorts, March 1st, 2015.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Drinking Customs Around The World

By LetThere BeTravel   Posted at  9:53 AM   wine No comments
Before you clink glasses with your new friends while traveling, you might want to take a minute and learn about their drinking customs. Just as every country's cuisine is different, so, too, is how they drink their booze.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Best Fall Trips in the US : 2014

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  1:08 PM   winter No comments
These are some travel ideas in the U.S. that might be just perfect for a fall getaway.

Enchanted Circle Scenic Drive, Taos, New Mexico

From late September through early October, north-central New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is a best-of-fall highlight reel. For those beginning and ending the drive in Taos (basically circling the state’s highest point, 13,162-foot Wheeler Peak), the 83-mile loop offers spectacular natural features: golden-hued aspens, thick evergreen forests, and abundant wildlife, including Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. “An early snow can make the spectacle even more amazing,” says Fritz Davis, a local musician and editor of the Red River Miner. “The fall palette of red, orange, and gold beneath distant snowy peaks and around the high mountain lake is breathtaking.” It’s possible to make the drive in a couple of hours, but Davis recommends taking time to explore side roads. One of his favorites is the Route 578 fork off Main Street (Highway 38) in Red River, where the vibrant aspen leaves take on a butterfly shape each fall. “You’ll see either a single butterfly with wings spread wide or, if you’re romantically inclined, two butterflies kissing,” says Davis.
How to Get Around: Begin in Taos and drive clockwise around the loop. From downtown Taos, head north on NM 64/68 to NM 522. Continue north on NM 522 for about 24 miles to Questa and turn right (east) on NM 38. Continue east and then south on NM 38 about 30 miles to Eagle’s Nest. Here, you’ll rejoin NM 64 to complete the circle back to Taos.
Where to Stay: The recently renovated Palacio de Marquesa (formerly Casa de las Chimeneas) is a romantic, pueblo-style retreat. Surrounded by cottonwood trees in a quiet neighborhood, the 1912 adobe estate is within easy walking distance (about ten minutes) of shops, restaurants, and galleries at Taos Plaza. The inn’s eight guest rooms (two of which are suites) are individually appointed to reflect the spirit of a legendary Taos woman artist such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Millicent Rogers. Each room has a fireplace and courtyard access, some have beamed ceilings and skylights, and all include complimentary breakfast, which can be delivered directly to your door.
Where to Eat: At family-owned Hatcha’s Grill of Angel Fire, order an authentic New Mexican dish such as sopaipillas (fried pastries) stuffed with carne adovada (cubed pork in red chile sauce) or a steak and papitas (fried potato) burrito. Eat like a local by asking for it “smothered with Xmas.” Christmas, or Xmas, is a spicy, red-green New Mexico concoction made by blending mild (red) and hot (green) chile sauces.
What to Buy: Find genuine turquoise and sterling silver pendants, rings, cuff bracelets, earrings, and other pieces designed by Native American and other New Mexico artists at the Jewelry Lady Red River in Frye’s Old Town.
Helpful Tip: Take it slow and stay alert for changing weather conditions and wildlife on or near the road. Before making the drive, check the weather forecast for the entire route and plan accordingly. Curves on the two-lane route can become slick in wet or snowy conditions, and some sections of the road have little or no shoulders.
Fun Fact: One must-see Enchanted Circle detour is the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, located 12 miles northwest of Taos on U.S. 64 (8 miles west of the NM 522 and NM 150 junction). Completed in 1965 and restored in 2012, the steel bridge is the second highest suspension bridge in the U.S., towering 650 feet above the Rio Grande River. For the most dramatic gorge views, park in the lot at the west end of the bridge and walk (staying on the walkways) out to the center.

USA’s Largest Oktoberfest Celebration

Follow the lederhosen-clad locals to Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, the largest festival of its kind in the United States. First staged as a block party in 1976, the free, family-friendly event now attracts more than 500,000 people and celebrates the city’s deep German roots (German immigrants built Cincinnati’s Over-the‐Rhine, or OTR, neighborhood in the 1800s). “Oktoberfest here is like being in 20 beer gardens,” says veteran restaurateur Mick Noll, who’s cooked his German specialties (bratwurst, potato pancakes, Bavarian smoked skinless sausage) at every Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. “Grab a beer, share a table with someone you’ve never met, and get into the spirit. There’s nothing like it outside of Munich.” Beyond the beer (the equivalent of some 18,000 12-packs are consumed each year), there’s continuous live German music, the “World’s Largest” Chicken Dance, and boisterous competitions, including stein hoisting, beer barrel rolling, and the Running of the Wieners.
How to Get Around: Cincinnati is located in southwestern Ohio at the junction of I-75, I-74, and I-71, about a hundred miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky. The greater Cincinnati area extends south across the Ohio River to northern Kentucky, where the airport is located. Take the TANK (Transportation Authority of Northern Kentucky) public bus (operates 5 a.m. to midnight) from the airport to downtown, where the festival is staged on six blocks of Fifth Street, from Vine Street to Sentinel.
Where to Stay: Located in the 983-building OTR National Historic District, the city’s original German enclave, the Symphony Hotel is a restored 1871 mansion with nine rooms, each named for different composers. The third-floor Beethoven and Shubert rooms have the only shared bath. An on-site gourmet restaurant is open Friday and Saturday evenings (five-course prix-fixe menu) and Sundays for brunch. Reservations suggested. The hotel is next door to the 1878 Music Hall, home of the Cincinnati Symphony (and included on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's June 2014 list of 11 most endangered historic places).
Where to Eat: Meet Mick Noll at his Covington Haus Oktoberfest booth to try a Cincinnati German-American specialty: goetta (“get-uh”). The breakfast sausage is made from a slow-cooked blend of pork, beef, onions, spices, and steel-cut oats. Noll’s all-meat version is goetta balls, which he describes as “meatball in shape but like nothing you’ve ever tasted.” While not traditionally German, another Cincinnati culinary classic is a beanless, sauce-like ground beef chili (try Price Hill Chili in Cincinnati and Dixie Chili & Deli in northern Kentucky). Variations exist, but the traditional chili parlor menu has six options: bowl (plain), two-way (plain over spaghetti), three-way (two-way plus cheese), four-way (three-way plus onion), four-way beans (three-way plus beans), and five-way (four-way beans plus onion).
What to Buy: During festival weekend, visit historic Findlay Market in OTR (about a half-mile walk from the Symphony Hotel). Opened in 1855, Findlay is Ohio’s oldest surviving city market house and the longest continuously operating public market in Cincinnati. Visit more than 80 permanent and weekend vendors, plus the additional open market and farm shed booths, to shop for teas, herbs, and spices; fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and meats; imported and domestic cheeses and wines; and local baked goods. Through mid-October, there’s also an on-site beer garden hosted by the local Christian Moerlein Brewing Companyand the OTR Brewery District.
Helpful Tip: Download the free Oktoberfest Zinzinnati app (available in September on iTunes or GooglePlay), the interactive festival guide for iPhone or Android.
Fun Fact: The beer may get top billing, but Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is an all-out German food fest. According to the Cincinnati Regional USA Chamber survey of food vendors, the hungry herren and frauen at a recent Oktoberfest Zinzinnati consumed 80,500 bratwurst, 64,000 sauerkraut balls, and 1,875 pounds of German potato salad alone.

Also see:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Site Re-Design

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  3:54 PM   vacation No comments
We are currently re-designing the site! We are adding Destination Guides, and even more content.

What would you like to see on our site?

Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, May 9, 2014

World Cup 2014 : Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  10:19 AM   world cup 2014 No comments

Welcome to the only guide you will need for your trip to see the World Cup 2014. Everything you will need to know about the city of Rio, where to stay, get tickets, the schedule, what to see and more is right here.


Botafogo: Come here for Rio’s designer boutiques, art galleries, and views of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Centro: Colonial-era structures and glass-and-steel office buildings fill the city’s commercial heart.
Copacabana: With its world-famous beach and raucous nightclubs, Copacabana is Rio’s touristy epicenter.
Ipanema: This trendy district draws crowds but is calmer than Copacabana. Outdoor cafés line the leafy avenues.
Jardim Botânico: The elegant Jardim Botânico edges the botanical gardens and hums with buzzy restaurants.
Santa Teresa: Artists flock to this hilly area for its bohemian bars and Guanabara Bay views.


Iberostar Bahia: It's a 5 star all-inclusive so you can eat and drink to your heart's desire. 

Casa Mosquito: Opened in 2011 on a hill above Ipanema, this 1940’s retreat is a mise-en-scène of tropical languor: palm-inspired print pillows; polished parquet; orchids everywhere. Sliding doors in the lobby open up to a sun-dappled patio that looks out over Copacabana’s rooftops; upstairs, the four rooms are decorated with paintings by local artists and have wide, private terraces. 
Copacabana Palace: Rio’s Neoclassical grande dame has lost none of her stateliness since the 1920’s glory days. Fresh off a $20 million makeover, the 145 contemporary rooms are done up in French fabrics and vibrant Brazilian artwork. Food is a highlight: the property’s six-seat chef’s table at Cipriani Restaurant is one of the hottest spots in town, while the Sunday brunch at Pérgula is perennially packed. 
Hotel Fasano Rio De Janeiro: The second branch of restaurateur Rogério Fasano’s understatedly chic brand appeals to both fashionable São Paulo senhoras and European hipsters. Philippe Starck–designed rooms have billowing silk curtains and 1960’s Sergio Rodrigues chairs; at the ground-floor Fasano al Mare restaurant, chef Paolo Lavezzini prepares scallop risotto and an outstanding rock lobster with broccoli soufflé. What we love most: the rooftop pool, with its knockout views of Ipanema’s crescent-shaped beach. 
Hotel Santa Teresa: If you’re looking for an intimate hideaway in sprawling Rio, this is it. There’s a lush garden with swooping, colorful birds; a mosaic-tiled eco-spa; and a quiet hilltop location in charming Santa Teresa. Rooms incorporate indigenous handicrafts from Minas Gerais and floors of glossy ipe hardwood. Ask about staff-led tours of the on-site art collection, which includes sculptures by such notable artists as Rock Lane. 
Mama Ruisa: Set in a colonial-style town house, the seven-bedroom Mama Ruisa is a study in quiet refinement: cedar shutters; French doors; illustrations by Jean Cocteau. The colonnaded veranda is the perfect place for a breakfast of fresh Brazilian fruit and gourmet cheeses, with the Guanabara Bay as your backdrop. 


AusländerLocal designer Ricardo Bräutigam creates street clothes with serious attitude—semitransparent black-silk vests; T-shirts emblazoned with rebellious slogans—that are a hit among Rio’s young and stylish set.
Maz: With pop-up stores across the city and flash promotions around the world, designer and entrepreneur Juliana Hemerly Silva’s line has developed a cult following with its zany, colorful sneakers, made of foldable nylon and completely customizable.
Toca do Vinicius: Bossa nova aficionados will love this tiny Ipanema store—a temple to Brazil’s jazz-samba culture—packed with CD’s, vinyl, sheet music, and multilingual books that draw musicians of every skill level. The shop also hosts in-house concerts once a month, featuring leading bossa nova acts.
Gilson Martins: High-end-souvenir seekers won’t want to miss Gilson Martins’s namesake flagship in Ipanema. The Rio-born designer uses the city’s landmarks (Christ the Redeemer; the Lapa arches) as inspiration for the stylized patterns on his inimitable satchels, wallets, and handbags. His items are so iconic, they’ve been shown at the Louvre and Milan Design Week.
Casa DarosZurich-based art collector Ruth Schmidheiny just unveiled her 1,200-piece Latin American art collection in Botafogo following a six-year renovation of the 1866 building. Inside are works from more than 100 talents, including native sculptor Iole de Freitas and Argentine kinetic artist Julio Le Parc.
Maracanã StadiumFew activities in Rio can rival the thrill of watching a match at Brazil’s national soccer stadium—a symbol of the country’s futebol-centric culture—which reopened in June after a $500 million refurbishment. Originally built for the 1950 World Cup, the Maracanã will host the tournament’s championship game for the second time this year. Guided tours are available on non–game days.
Museu De Arte Do RioRio’s newest art museum is the anchor of the Port district revitalization project. Eight exhibition halls in the 20th-century palace feature rotating shows—watercolors of Sugarloaf Mountain; a colorful brick model of Rio’s favelas—that celebrate the city’s scenery and diversity, while art workshops are held in the glass-walled annex.
São Bento MonasteryBehind the 17th-century monastery’s austere façade, you’ll find such treasures as colonial-era panels, massive silver chandeliers, and an intricately carved, gold-plated altar. Don’t miss Sunday morning Mass, when resident monks sing Gregorian chant.
Teleférico Do Complexo Do AlemãoTake a cable car ride at dusk to see Rio’s curiously picturesque shantytowns, with their flickering lanterns and gas lamps.


Bar Do Mineiro: Santa Teresa residents fill this rustic lunchtime favorite to feast on home-style comfort food such as pork-and-black-bean feijoadaand chicken-and-okra stew—hearty recipes from the nearby mining state of Minas Gerais. If the dining room is packed, order a caipirinha, set yourself up at a sidewalk table, and take in the area’s artsy scene.
OlympeFollowing in the culinary footsteps of his father (who led the nouvelle cuisine movement in 1970’s France), Burgundy-born chef Claude Troisgros decamped for Rio, where he built a four-restaurant empire famous for combining French cooking traditions with local ingredients. At his first outpost, Troisgros whips up innovative dishes that pack a flavorful punch: duck magret with passion fruit; stuffed quail with onion-and-raisin manioc farofa. 
Oui OuiAfter Roberta Ciasca’s restaurant Miam Miam put up-and-coming Botafogo on the foodie map, the Cordon Bleu–trained chef pointed her talents toward Oui Oui, a tapas place that mixes the old-world (Art Deco chairs; ornate ironwork) with the kitsch (disco balls; fiberglass tables). The small, shareable portions are equally creative—tilapia with quinoa and olives; prawns with heart of pupunha (peach palm)—and pair well with any of the international wines. 
Roberta SudbrackSelf-taught chef Roberta Sudbrack cooked at Brazil’s presidential palace for seven years before striking out on her own, opening her namesake restaurant in charming Jardim Botânico. The ever-changing menu focuses on seasonal ingredients sourced from local purveyors; options may include slow-cooked lamb with chervil and potatoes or panqueca de doce de leite.
SatyriconYou’ll be hard-pressed to find better (or fresher) seafood than at Ipanema’s Italian-influenced Satyricon. Choose from the tank’s stock of live lobster and crayfish, or opt for delicacies such as the just-caught sea bream, baked in a rock-salt crust and served by waiters displaying the ideal degree of gravitas. 
Rio ScenariumAmid a scenic clutter of esoteric objects and art, the former antiques gallery turned landmark rocks out every night to five-act musical extravaganzas.
Carioca da GemaThe pioneering hot spot regularly scoops awards for note-perfect samba and jazz shows performed in a two-story town house.
Circo Voador: Bands from all over the world come to play at this cultural center; the energy on the dance floor is uniquely Brazilian.


World Cup tickets are available through the FIFA website or through travel agencies. The cost will vary according to where you're sitting and how far along the match is in the championship. World Cup tickets will not be released all at once, and some countries will have more tickets allotted to them than others. Check with your national soccer federation for more information (i.e., the United States Soccer Federation or theEnglish Football Association).


  • Get there early—one or two hours before the match—to mingle with other fans, have a drink, and let expectations build.
  • No outside food or drink will be allowed into stadiums.
  • Bring cash, preferably small bills, and do not carry backpacks or valuables.
  • Never underestimate traffic and the long lines generated at World Cup games. In South Africa, many fans missed the first half of matches because they couldn't get into the stadium on time.
  • Wear comfortable clothing, as it will be a long day.
  • The matches will happen during Brazil's winter, so a light jacket is a good idea, particularly in the South.
  • Do not expect to find a taxi to or from the stadium; plan to walk to the nearest public transportation option.
  • Think of it as a pilgrimage, and enjoy the experience, hassles and all.


Group A
106/125pmBrazil vs. CroatiaSão Paulo
206/131pmMexico vs. CameroonNatal
1706/174pmBrazil vs. MexicoFortaleza
1806/183pmCameroon vs. CroatiaManaus
3306/235pmCameroon vs. BrazilBrasília
3406/235pmCroatia vs. MexicoRecife
Group B
306/134pmSpain vs. NetherlandsSalvador
406/136pmChile vs. AustraliaCuiabá
1906/187pmSpain vs. ChileRio De Janeiro
2006/181pmAustralia vs. NetherlandsPorto Alegre
3506/231pmAustralia vs. SpainCuritiba
3606/231pmNetherlands vs. ChileSão Paulo
Group C
506/141pmColombia vs. GreeceBelo Horizonte
606/147pmCôte d'Ivoire vs. JapanRecife
2106/191pmColombia vs. Côte d'IvoireBrasília
2206/197pmJapan vs. GreeceNatal
3706/244pmJapan vs. ColombiaCuiabá
3806/245pmGreece vs. Côte d'IvoireFortaleza
Group D
706/144pmUruguay vs. Costa RicaFortaleza
806/149pmEngland vs. ItalyManaus
2306/194pmUruguay vs. EnglandSão Paulo
2406/201pmItaly vs. Costa RicaRecife
3906/241pmItaly vs. UruguayNatal
4006/241pmCosta Rica vs. EnglandBelo Horizonte
Group E
906/151pmSwitzerland vs. EcuadorBrasília
1006/154pmFrance vs. HondurasPorto Alegre
2506/204pmSwitzerland vs. FranceSalvador
2606/207pmHonduras vs. EcuadorCuritiba
4106/254pmHonduras vs. SwitzerlandManaus
4206/255pmEcuador vs. FranceRio De Janeiro
Group F
1106/157pmArgentina vs. Bosnia- HerzegovinaRio De Janeiro
1206/164pmIran vs. NigeriaCuritiba
2706/211pmArgentina vs. IranBelo Horizonte
2806/216pmNigeria vs. Bosnia- HerzegovinaCuiabá
4306/251pmNigeria vs. ArgentinaPorto Alegre
4406/251pmBosnia- Herzegovina vs. IranSalvador
Group G
1306/161pmGermany vs. PortugalSalvador
1406/167pmGhana vs. USANatal
2906/214pmGermany vs. GhanaFortaleza
3006/223pmUSA vs. PortugalManaus
4506/261pmUSA vs. GermanyRecife
4606/261pmPortugal vs. GhanaBrasília
Group H
1506/171pmBelgium vs. AlgeriaBelo Horizonte
1606/176pmRussia vs. Korea RepublicCuiabá
3106/227pmBelgium vs. RussiaRio De Janeiro
3206/221pmKorea Republic vs. AlgeriaPorto Alegre
4706/265pmKorea Republic vs. BelgiumSão Paulo
4806/265pmAlgeria vs. RussiaCuritiba

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