At this point in the season we’re all more than ready for some sun and high temperatures. You only need to check your friends’ Facebook statuses to know that you’re not the only one who’s feeling a little cranky about the recent cold snap. Heading to Miami, or an island in the Caribbean, may be the easiest way to escape the winter chills. But we tend to forget that the U.S.’s winter season can be the best moment to visit tons of great destinations in the Southern Hemisphere and just above the Equator, where the sunny, warm days are in full swing and the dry season starts to kick in. Whether you’re looking to trek to the top of a volcano or discover historic sites in a big city, we’ve got the destination for you. Check out our top picks for escaping the cold, and start packing!
For the Adventurous Type: Costa Rica
The Arenal Volcano is one of the top attractions in Costa Rica, and it is still possible to see some fumaroles activity.
Costa Rica can be anything from a peaceful oasis to a crowded and touristy spot depending on the time of the year and the region visited — but it’s still far less developed than most popular beach destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean. December through April is the best time to visit, as rainfall drops to a minimum, and days are long and sunny. The country is home to hundreds of diverse habitats, making it easy to enjoy beach days, eco-tourism, and outdoor adventures all in the same trip, and without having to travel long distances. The geography is infinitely varied, ranging from rugged coastlines and bustling towns to misty forests and active volcanoes.
Rico Tico Bar & Grill boasts gorgeous ocean and jungle views.
A staple in the beautiful Manuel Antonio resort area, the 58-room Si Como No is carefully built into a lush hillside, which means great views and winding paths surrounded by colorful flowers and wildlife. The amenities are a main draw here: two pools, two restaurants, a spa, a movie theater, and a wildlife refuge across the street. Unplugged rooms aren’t particularly luxurious, but you’ll want to be spending your time outdoors anyways.
Read More »
Well, the time has finally come! We’re in the last stretch of humanity as we know it (according to the ancient Mayan calendar, at least), and we’re searching the globe for the best places on earth to spend our final days — or day as the case may be. We’ve visited every (habitable) continent and through our travels, we’ve found that whether you’re preparing for a traditional Biblical Apocalypse of fire and brimstone, or something a bit more on the sci-fi spectrum, there is a Doomsday destination for you somewhere on this fated planet. Take a look at our list and pick the spot where you’ll spend your last blissful moments.
Hit the beach before making your last offerings in Riviera Maya.
North American Destination: Riviera Maya, for an ancient Mayan offering
The small Caribbean district along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is undoubtedly the best place in North America to spend your last day on Earth. Riviera Maya not only boasts stunning white-sand beaches and some of the most majestic natural beauty in the world, but it is also home to the ruins of 7th century A.D. Mayans. The Mayans, of course, were the ones who predicted the 2012 end of the world (or maybe they just ran out of rock), and the area is having its share of “End of the World” celebrations to honor the culture with ancient ceremonies.
Stay: Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa
The Tulum area of Rivieria Maya, where the Dreams is located, is the site of the walled cities of the Mayan culture, and the gateway to the ruins. The beachfront Dreams is only a five-minute drive from major ruins, where visitors can offer sacrifices or just say their prayers.
Read More »
Funky lighting creates a sexy vibe in the hotel's lobby.
The 57-room Lennox Hotel Buenos Aires is located in the central Congreso area, close to government offices. Quirky decorations and artwork, interesting wall patterns, and unusual color schemes make a stay here a distinct and memorable experience — from the spacious lobby dressed in sleek shades of black, to the chic, dramatically lit private outdoor garden. All aesthetics aside, the hotel also offers top-notch comfort, luxury, and hospitality. There’s a restaurant serving international dishes using local ingredients, a free breakfast buffet with fresh fruits and hot eggs, and a spa for relaxation. And the rooms — large and stylishly furnished like the rest of the property — come with kitchenettes, big closets, iPod docks, and quaint dining areas. See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»
Read More »
Attention hipsters-at-heart: You too are running out of time to plan your vacation. Okay, so the summer just officially started, but hotels are booking up fast, festival ticket booths are hanging the “Sold Out” banners, and flights are getting more expensive. So if all you’re looking forward to is to
having an excuse for growing a mustache, getting a tattoo, spending a few days eating organic, locally grown food, drinking coffee and biking around, check out our 5 top picks for a real hipster vacation and start packing. Tip: skinny jeans for him, cut-outs jeans for her, sunglasses, and an instrument required.
Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY
Hipsters started flocking to Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood in the early 2000’s, and in just a few years the area has become the ultimate boho-chic spot. As housing prices soared in the area due to its popularity, hipsters started moving to more affordable yet equally cool neighborhoods in Brooklyn, such as Greenpoint and Bushwick, and spreading the lifestyle. There’s now a bunch of farmer’s markets, hundreds of cool bars, and dozens of organic restaurants all around the borough. However, Williamsburg is still the place to catch a show at one of its hundreds of venues (ranging from small holes in the wall –check out Pete’s Candy Store–, to larger spaces like Brooklyn Bowl), get a drink, or even get a haircut (an expensive one, that is) in an old garage that doubles as a trendy tattoo parlor. Round up the experience with a trip to beautiful Carroll Gardens, family-friendly Park Slope, and even up-and-coming Downtown Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Read More »
Public Restroom at the Hotel Constanza Barcelona
Who hasn’t ducked into a hotel to make use of a clean public restroom while on vacation? While hotels across the board often have nicer public bathrooms than, say, the local gas station, some hotels’ bathrooms go beyond just clean. Whether employing attractive streamlined design or antique decor, hotels are upping the ante when it comes to their public bathrooms, and we at Oyster have seen the best of the best. Check out our ten favorites in this slideshow.
This San Fran hotel is part of a budget chain -- but has high style.
Although we have covered hundreds of hotels and seen many, many guest rooms, there have been a few that have really, well, stood out to us. One would even call them “zany.” Really. We’ve seen stone hand sculptures, faces on chairs, and even private infinity pools waiting for us to dip our toes in. But these eight suites were something else — they take “quirky” to a whole new level. Check ‘em out now — you may find your next design inspiration inside the gallery!
Lobby at the CasaCalma Wellness Hotel; Buenos Aires, Argentina
This modern, eco-friendly boutique is the first carbon-neutral hotel in all of Buenos Aires. With just 17 rooms, the CasaCalma offers a cozy, wellness-focused experience to travelers, sporting a vertical garden, an honesty bar with organic products, and a tranquil lobby. The spacious rooms may have a minimalist decor — with blonde wood furniture and a nearly all-white look accented by pops of color — but they have all the amenities you could want, including plush bedding, iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and attractive vine-draped balconies. The luxurious bathrooms have amenities that include two-person jet tubs, separate large walk-in showers, and — in some — private saunas. Additional perks include Nespresso machines, free Wi-Fi, bicycle rentals, and a free organic buffet breakfast. All of this luxury comes at a price but with it’s fabulous Microcentro location and eco-friendly policies, this hotel is well worth its hefty cost. Check out more amazing photos of the hotel after the jump or read the full review here>>
Read More »
The Academy Awards were held in the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.
This past Sunday night, we got to see a lot of thrilled winners climb the steps to the stage and accept little golden statues. But we saw even more stars
fake smile and clap as they watched the other guy beat them out and take home the trophy. “It’s an honor just to be nominated” doesn’t quite soften the blow (it’s more like adding salt to the wound). But something that will lessen the heartache? A getaway. The losers from Sunday night should pack their bags, cut their losses, and get some R&R in a place far away from Hollywood. It’ll give them time to recoup — and it may be just what they need to be able to act their hearts out in their next film (the one they’ll be nominated and win for). We found the perfect spot for each Oscar-nominated star to put their feet up and relax. Check ‘em out after the jump >>
Read More »