Join the World Cup madness in Brazil

Sao Paulo (Creative Commons)

Sao Paulo (Creative Commons)

If you’re travelling this summer, there’s surely no place better to spend the month of June than in Brazil. The FIFA World Cup is returning to take place in Brazil for the first time since 1950 and the whole country will be party central for the duration.

Of course, you may not get to watch any of the matches in person – the tickets have probably all long been sold, but even if you can be in any of the 12 different locations where the matches are taking place, you’ll be able to soak up the atmosphere while you watch the games in one of the local bars. And if you visited to all 12 World Cup venue cities, you really would experience a true taste of Brazil.

The first match is in Sao Paulo, with Brazil facing Croatia on 12th June. During the group stage, the top two from each of the eight groups will go through to the knockout stages, and the final will be played in Rio de Janeiro on 13th July.

It would seem that there’s already something of a foregone conclusion on which nation will win the 2014 World Cup. If you check the odds on a site like Betfair, you’ll see that the host nation is favourite to win at 11/4, followed by Argentina, Germany and Spain. Brazil holds the record for number of times the country has won the world cup – five to date. Added to its impressive record in this competition, Brazil will have the home team advantage in every match that it plays.

If you’d rather pick a team that is a longer shot, but still has a chance, see for all the participating nations’ odds and other bets that can be placed – such as top goalscorer for the tournament or top European team or England’s stage of elimination.

And if going to Brazil is only a pipedream this summer, wherever you are still be able to watch the games, get behind your favourite team and perhaps plan a future trip to Brazil. After all, Brazil might not be hosting the World Cup when you go, but that just means you won’t have to share this beautiful country with as many tourists as this summer.

Visiting Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa in Palawan is known as the City in a Forest and has many natural wonders.

Photo by IronChefBalara (Creative Commons)

With populations increasing all over the world, areas once left untouched are fast becoming targets for housing developments. Fortunately, there are still a few places where Mother Nature’s beauty is left untouched; and one of these places is Palawan in the Philippines.

Located in the South Eastern part of the Philippines, Puerto Princesa literally translates to “Port of the Princess” and is known as the City in a Forest because of its abundant natural beauty. It is home to several natural wonders such as the El Nido Marine Reserve, Honda Bay, Kayangan Lake, and the Tubbatah Reef. It is also where the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, can be found.

Based on data collected by the Department of Tourism in the Philippines, the country was visited by about 4.7 million tourists in 2013, representing an almost 10% growth rate from 2012. For East Asian visitors, Korea provided the majority. And as far as Europe is concerned, the United Kingdom was at the top of the charts.

Traveling to Puerto Princesa

While Puerto Princesa is home to several natural wonders, it is far from being an isolated group of islands. The Puerto Princesa International Airport services several carriers such as AirAsia, Cebu Air, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, and Tigerair. With the exception of Malaysia Airlines, all flights take place between Palawan and Metro Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

For people coming from the United Kingdom, travel advice at the government’s website states that Philippine Airlines is the only certified carrier authorized to travel to the European Union. British nationals will need to board a flight at Heathrow Airport headed for the Ninoy International Airport in Metro Manila before taking a connecting flight to the Puerto Princesa International Airport.

Those intending to stay for a week or longer may prefer to park their own vehicles to the airport due to a larger amount of luggage they will be taking with them. Unfortunately, research found in the Telegraph indicates that a week’s worth of parking can cost as much as £377 and can still be unsafe for vehicles. The Heathrow airport page on parking4less provides information on which of the three airport car parks offer the best options so long-term travelers can get on with the business of enjoying their trip.

Puerto Princesa is home to several natural wonders of Mother Nature and is becoming very popular. Apart from an international airport, the city has many comfortable places to stay in so visitors can enjoy all the natural wonders the place has to offer.