Rio de Janeiro

world cupOne country. 12 stadiums. 32 teams. 64 games. The FIFA World Cup — the world’s most popular sporting event, which draws over three billion viewers — kicks off (who doesn’t love a sporting pun?) June 12 in Brazil. And though soccer is the very life-blood of South America, this year’s tournament marks the first time since 1978 that the games will be held in a South American country. Now, American fans may have a dismal reputation among the world’s soccer fanatics (except for our friends in the Pacific Northwest — we see you, Seattle), but that just means that now is the perfect time for redemption, especially considering that this year’s World Cup is bound to be a particularly electrifying tournament. Here, Oyster lets you in on some trade secrets for watching, cheering, and attending the games. Pack up your jersey — but, please, leave your vuvuzellas at home — and get ready for a month of offsides, red cards, penalty kicks, and goals. “Ole ola!” Read More »

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As temperatures across the United States continue to drop and snow continues to fall, we here at Oyster can’t help but ask ourselves if we’ve entered the next Ice Age. While we’re sure our Olympians across the pond wouldn’t mind Sochi suffering from a similar deep freeze, we personally would rather do without the slippery sidewalks and freezing rains Mother Nature has seen fit to drop on our doorsteps. The lure of sun and sand has never been stronger. If you just can’t stand it one second more, here are eight destinations where temperatures are soaring over 80 degrees right now.

1. Hot spot: Puerto Rico
Current Temperature: 87 Degrees

el conquistador

For a warm-weather escape close to the States, Puerto Rico is an excellent choice in the Caribbean. With temperatures in the high 80s, you’ll be able to enjoy the pristine white-sand beaches and outdoor amenities like horseback riding and golfing available at the top-notch El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria property. Read More »

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A new year is upon us, and you know what that means – time to plan your 2014 vacation, of course! And you, being the trendsetter that you are, are planning to go to somewhere on the cutting edge. Well, we’re here to help. This year is an especially good time to visit these five destinations, which have new growth, new tourism offerings, or special events happening only in 2014. Check ‘em out!

Nicaragua

Aqua Wellness Resort, NicaraguaWhy Now: Nicaragua, beloved by backpackers and surfer bums, offers many of the same splendors that draw travelers to its neighbor to the south, Costa Rica — lush rainforest, beautiful white-sand beaches, volcanoes, and rich wildlife – but it is far less developed. That is starting to change, however; 2013 saw the opening of the super-exclusive luxury property Mukul, and it’s possible that this diamond in the rough will be getting a lot more polish in the coming years. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you like off-the-beaten path adventure travel – and discovering destinations before they fully “arrive” – now is the time to go.

Where to Stay: Aqua Wellness Resort
Aqua Wellness Resort is a rustic-luxe retreat set into a hillside overlooking Redondo Bay on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. The resort has eco-friendly design, lush vegetation (expect to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys and iguanas), and rooms adorned with lots of natural wood; some units include plunge pools and stunning ocean views. Read More »

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Porto Bay Rio Internacional Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

Porto Bay Rio Internacional Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

Looking to do something a little different for your honeymoon? South America has plenty of sizzling attractions to offer newlyweds, from the beaches of Rio to the steakhouses of Argentina. Romantic hotels are aplenty here, and choosing that one perfect hideaway can be just as difficult as the walk down the aisle. To help you out during your honeymoon planning, we’ve found our favorite hotels ready for romance — and we’ve taken into consideration both the splurgers and the savers. Our first pick in each destination offers over-the-top luxury (and prices), while our second choice offers a cozy South American getaway without too many dollar signs attached.

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Mixing business with pleasure? Trying to trade your business suit for a bathing suit? As much as we love getting away from the office, it’s sometimes hard to think about all the work piling up back at our desks. (Emphasis on sometimes.) So for those instances when we need to check our emails or send out those TPS reports while getting some R&R, these gorgeous tropical retreats have us covered, and with more than just a phone jack. Whether they feature ample meeting spaces, dedicated business staff, or any number of other great work offerings, these properties are sure to please any productive vacationers, so you’ll have just the right mix of business with pleasure. Enjoy your bizcation!

Work and Play At: Porto Bay Rio Inernacional Hotel, Rio de Janiero

We'd trade in our desks for this setup any day

Rio is both a beautiful beach getaway and a mountain-lined urban hub, so it’s no wonder that many of the city’s hotels try to appeal to both business and leisure guests simultaneously. The Porto Bay Rio Internacional Hotel is one of these hotels. Located directly across from the Copacabana beach and offering a stocked, 24-hour business center, the property also boasts some pretty incredible ocean views from the fitness center, meeting rooms, and restaurants, so you never really have to tear yourself away from the beach to get Johnson those TPS reports.

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The Relais & Chateaux Santa Teresa is a historic mansion turned luxurious boutique in Buenos Aires.

South America is home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotels. Whether you want to sit beachside in Rio De Janeiro or soak in views of the Andes in Lima, the top hotels in the region are prepared to cater to your every whim. With both the grande dames of Buenos Aires and the luxe boutiques of Santiago offering guests the ultimate in service and amenities, it’s hard to turn down a trip to this diverse and exciting continent. Check out our favorites (so far!) in this slideshow.

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Legado Mitico is a charming, 11-room boutique in bustling Buenos AIres.

Finding a quiet boutique in a big city might seem like a challenge, but in reality, some of our most intimate stays are tucked into the corners of the world’s largest metropolises. Offering personalized service and charming details, these petite hotels – most have less than 20 rooms –  are some of our favorites. So if mega-metropolises such as Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles might intimidate you, fear not. You can always retreat to these intimate boutiques for some quiet time amidst the bustle of the big city.

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The Marriott Wailea Resort is a romantic honeymoon locale on Maui.

Honeymoons must be two things: romantic and memorable. Any old trip to the beach is just not going to suffice for a couple’s post-nuptial getaway. But thankfully, there are plenty of unique and luxurious properties out there for newlyweds. Remote jungle hideaways, cozy mountain lodges, luxe European grand dames, and gorgeous beachfront properties are waiting with a bottle of champagne at the ready to toast your “I dos.” These romantic hotels around the world are perfect honeymoon locales; go ahead and swoon over them in this slideshow.

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Pool at the Relais & Chateaux Santa Teresa; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Pool at the Relais & Chateaux Santa Teresa; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Elton John requested a separate room for his collection of glasses (of which he has almost 25,000) during his recent stay at the Relais & Chateaux Santa Teresa hotel in Rio de Janeiro.

2. FACT OF FAKEOUT? The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles rolled out a menu last month that offers several meals that are 500 calories or fewer.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Benjamin hotel in New York City now allows guests to request calls to their rooms about an hour before bedtime to remind them to power off their electronic devices and prepare to go to sleep.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? A cup of seasonal, gourmet hot chocolate at the Four Seasons Resort Vail’s Fireside Lounge will set you back $16.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Time hotel in New York recently unveiled a life-size statue of NBA star Dennis Rodman, who has stated several times in interviews that this is his favorite hotel in Manhattan.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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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.

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.

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.

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