5 places to avoid in Curacao

0

 

Curacao is one of those amazing destinations with paradise-like beaches that make any tourist dream for an entire year ahead about the great vacation coming-up. The Caribbean setting and breathtaking sights will surely make you seriously consider opening the first booking website to check out any available dates.

However, as is the case with almost any place we might end up vacationing in, there are some things to keep in mind before venturing in everything it has to offer. After all, it’s very important to enjoy any trip or vacation you take, and avoid any potential not-so-happy memories that might cloud the entire experience.

Of course, sometimes these cannot be avoided, but as long as you do everything in your power to be informed beforehand, you will surely dodge certain situations that might not play out that well otherwise. Now, let’s take a look at what these might be in Curacao.

 

Coral reefs

We know that these can be dreamy, but it’s good to remember that they are also home to a wide range of animals and fish, so disturbing their habitat is not a very good idea, neither safe for that matter. When you go swimming, make sure to follow the sandy areas and to avoid corals if possible.

Be aware that the animals living in them might be potentially dangerous if disturbed, and that the water can also be tricky and there’s always a risk associated to swimming, especially in areas where the bottom of the sea is not uniform.

Oil refineries

Although this might seem odd for a dreamy paradise-like island, the inhabitants need to live and have an industry as well. For this reason, you might want to double check where your hotel is located in relation to the oil refineries to avoid any potential odors that might make your trip less than pleasant.

The best idea, in this case, is to look at maps and read hotel reviews before actually booking a room. This way, you can get a better idea about your surroundings once you get there and make sure that your vacation will not be disturbed by any element out of your control, such as an oil refinery.

 

Shete Boka

Shete Boka is a national park that has many breathtaking sights to offer, so you might be tempted to add it to your list. However, unfortunately for tourists, many reviews of Curacao mention this place and its parking lot as highly tempting for thieves.

In this situation it is best to not leave anything valuable in the car and to try to remain as close to groups of people as possible. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go around and visit, but it’s better to take all of the precautionary measures to enjoy your holiday to the fullest.  

Dark areas at night

Although the island is a rather safe destination to go to and most visits there are trouble-free, street crime and petty theft are still a concern, so you might want to avoid wandering around small and dark streets, especially alone.

The recommended approach would be to stick to the main streets after dark. Some areas such as the back streets of Punda are especially sketchy once the sun sets. Of course, you should also avoid looking like you have no idea where you’re going or, even worse, pulling out a map, as this can make you a target for scam artists.

Since choosing your next vacation is as important as getting the right hunting backpack is for those passionate about adventures in the wild, make sure to read all the necessary information related to your destination in order to keep everything as safe and pleasant as possible.

 

 

5 things not to do in Japan

0

 

Japan might look like a different world to the Western traveler. With its extreme politeness, perfect composure and obsessive cleanliness it’s difficult not to look at Japan like it’s something sci-fi. In a good way, of course.

Japan’s obsession seems to be respect: respect for the environment, for other people, and for personal space. Japanese people will often say that in Japan, money can’t buy one’s heart, but good manners can. Because it’s such a different world with different customs, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few “don’ts” before your next trip to The Land of The Rising Sun.

 

Don’t tip

Ever. Not even if you are a millionaire. Not even if it’s the best service you’ve ever had (it’s difficult not to enjoy a very good service in Japan, by the way). It’s just not customary to tip and if you do, it might even be taken as an insult. Service charge is included in the bill at the restaurant and not even hairdressers or taxi drivers won’t accept a tip.

You are welcomed not to take our word for it and try leaving the change at the convenience store, and you might find yourself with the shop assistant running after you to return your forgotten change. Japanese people simply don’t expect nor accept being tipped.

Don’t litter

You might be shocked by how clean Tokyo (and Japan, as a matter of fact) is, especially considering trash cans are rarely to be seen on the streets. Japanese people would take their rubbish at home with them rather than dispose of it in public.

Not littering is an important part of Japanese culture, but is hasn’t always been the case — the country experienced rapid industrialization and waste started to become such a major problem that Tokyo was running out of landfill space. In the 1990s a series of strict waste management laws were introduced and at the moment, Japan is pretty much obsessed with recycling (the country recycles about 77% of its plastic).

 

Don’t talk loudly on your phone while on public transport

There are signs everywhere and they are to be taken seriously. They also make public announcements in both Japanese and English every few minutes.

You should use your phone as discreetly as possible, always on silent mode (or, as Japanese nicely call it, Manner Mode) so that you don’t disturb other passengers. If your phone happens to ring and you must take the call then the most polite thing you can do is to keep the conversation as short as possible or get off at the next stop.

Of course, no one is going to kick you out of the train if you choose to break this rule, but you will surely be considered rude and frowned upon.

Don’t forget to take off your toilet slippers

Just like Japan itself seems a bit sci-fi, sitting on a Japanese toilet feels a bit like being in a spaceship — there are numerous buttons, each one with a different function and it can be confusing the first few times.

To add to the confusion, you must also remember the special toilet slippers. These are slippers to be worn only in the toilet. They are placed in front of the bathroom door and whenever you want to use them, you’ll have to change from your indoor slippers to the toilet ones. And, most importantly, once you are done you must change back into your indoor slippers or you’ll offend everyone showing up wearing the toilet slippers.

Most traditional restaurants, community centers and Japanese schools will provide these shoes for people to change into when going to the bathroom.

 

Don’t wear shoes indoors

Street shoes are considered unclean by the Japanese so they must be taken off when entering a Japanese home. There is a special area that makes the transition between the outdoor and the indoor called genkan. Shoes worn outdoors are left in the genkan and they are replaced with indoor slippers.

This rule also extends to traditional Japanese ryokan hotels, temples, shrines, schools and hospitals. In traditional restaurants where guests sit on tatami mats, not even slippers are allowed because they could damage the mats.

 

 

5 Places to avoid in Charleston SC

0

 

Charleston is said to be one of the worst cities in America to live in. Every search of this city will bring up results that tell of articles about its violence, poor quality of life, and criminality. However, it can still offer tourists great views and nice places to see – and in some parts, people are pretty nice as well.

But, if you have made your decision and want to visit Charleston SC, you should know at least five places that you’d want to avoid while being there. Therefore, here is our list of those places – with the general recommendation being that you stay inside at night.

North Charleston

This is an area you definitely want to stay away from – most of the acts of crime and violence that happen throughout a year in Charleston SC are in North Charleston. It is viewed like an entirely different city, completely separated from Charleston, mainly because of the aforementioned high rates of crime.

While some sources say that some parts of it are safe, we recommend you avoid visiting it – of course, especially after dark.

 

Waylyn and Terrace neighborhoods

Last year, a quarter of the killings occurred in these two neighborhoods – one of them happening only one hour after New Year’s celebration. Quite common here are the gunfights between various groups, and many people have lost their sons because of the violence that’s present here.

Avoid neighborhoods like this and stick to the areas that are traveled by tourists. This way, you’ll ensure your safety and drastically increase your chances of returning home just as you left it.

 

Market Street

This is one of the areas that are usually visited by tourists. It has many historical buildings and an outdoor and indoor market that you can check out for souvenirs. However, being in a place that’s too crowded may prove dangerous.

During the weekends, Market Street gets really busy and you might be a victim of pickpocketing if you are not paying attention. The best time to discover this area would be in the middle of the day and during the week.

The North-East part of the city

This area consists of Myers and E Bay Street and is considered one of the most dangerous areas to be in while visiting Charleston SC – according to crime stats and maps. The current crime index of the city is of 19 out of 100 – it doesn’t rank well at all. In the past year, there have been over 400 violent crimes in Charleston and since this is the largest area that’s deemed dangerous, it is safe to assume that most of them occurred here.

You should avoid traveling through this area, leave home your fierce motorcycle adventure jacket – as it might get you in trouble – and head straight to Vassar Street and Rutledge Ave if you want to see Murray Landing, as these two areas are some of the safest here.

 

Dupont Station and Sherwood Forest

These two areas, especially Sherwood Forest, have the highest crime rates in Charleston SC. Moreover, the surrounding areas are not particularly safe, either, so it’s better you avoid this part of the city entirely.

Last year, in the city of Charleston SC, there have been around 247 cases of assault and 108 cases of robbery. Therefore, trust us when we say that you should keep away from the areas we have mentioned so far. It’s for your own good – keep very close to the places that are recommended for tourists and you should be safe at all times.

 

These were five of the places you’d want to avoid if you decide to visit Charleston SC, a city that has been declared as the worst and most dangerous place to live in many times.

 

 

Top 5 dangerous sharks in the world

0

 

There aren’t many animals that can generate such great fear as sharks do. If you are preparing for a fishing trip, besides preparing a good fishing reel and other useful fishing equipment, you should also do some research about the specimens you can meet in that particular area. If there is a possibility to encounter sharks, the selection shown below will show you which species are the most dangerous and why.

 

Shortfin Mako

Being a part of the mackerel shark family, which also contains notorious members such as the great white and the prehistoric megalodon, it is not much of a surprise to find the shortfin mako listed here.

An adult can grow up to 10 feet, weighing almost a ton, but there have been recordings of specimens of 15 feet. Given their size and weight, and also their incredible speed of 46 mph, they can take incredible leaps from the water.

There have been reports of Makos landing in the middle of fishing boats causing severe injuries. You should better think twice about using an inflatable boat in waters where Makos reside.

Oceanic Whitetip

This shark is not as fast as the Mako, yet it can be very aggressive and determined. Rather than avoiding a fight, they engage in taking whatever they find available, displaying a behavior that can only be compared to a frenzy.

Adult whitetip sharks can grow up to 13 feet, and they are capable killers with very powerful jaws. There have been many reports involving whitetip sharks, starting from the Second World War. Many ships sunk during that period, and these ferocious killers are believed to be the prime suspect of hundreds of deaths.

Other attack records have been registered since then, and Jacques Cousteau even referred to the Whitetip as the most dangerous of all sharks.

 

Tiger Shark

Weighing over a ton and reaching a length of over 16 feet, tiger sharks have a wider mouth than most other members of this family. This makes them one of the most dangerous and powerful shark species from the tropics, mainly around Australia and Hawaii.

The shark’s large mouth is lined with serrated teeth, which are designed to slice prey. The name comes from both the stripes running down its sides and from its aggressive temperament.

Just like in the case of terrestrial tigers, clearly, humans are no match for such brutal predators. It’s no wonder they earned the reputation of being vicious man-eaters.

Bull Shark

Many consider the Bull Shark to be the most dangerous species of sharks. An adult can grow up to 11.5 feet and weigh up to 700 lbs. The bull shark is well equipped with a few rows of triangular serrated teeth.

More than other types of sharks, this one is particularly dangerous to humans, as it can often be found in shallow coastal waters but can also tolerate fresh water with the ability to swim thousands of miles up rivers and can even live in lakes.

If you think you are safe going for a swim in a lake, think again!

 

Great White Shark

It is no surprise this species can be found on number one in any top of the most dangerous sharks in the world. Just the name would suffice to send everyone running from the beach.

The largest recorded specimens are in the range of 22 to 26 feet and can weigh nearly 3.5 tons. Their triangular and serrated teeth alone measure approximately 3 inches.

Great Whites usually hunt sea lions and seals. They do not seem to show a particular interest in humans, as we do not have enough flesh to satisfy their hunger, but an accidental meeting with this colossal fish can result in the loss of a leg or an arm, and in a worst case scenario – human life.

 

 

5 Places to avoid in New Orleans

0

 

The city of New Orleans, while beautiful and with a lot to offer to curious travelers, is also a place where you’d want to know your whereabouts before starting to roam around the city. Naturally, before every travel or holiday, you should have a list with some of the places you don’t want to get yourself into when visiting your location of choice.

We will now offer you information about five of the places you have to avoid while visiting New Orleans. Let’s get started.

Basin City Projects

Crossing Rampart from one of the sides of Canal Street will get you into a neighborhood known as Basin City Projects. You might wander away and get yourself into this area because the French Quarter is located before it, where iconic cemeteries are located. Of course, visiting these cemeteries is safe, but getting into Basin City Projects is not.

It is recommended that you are in your car, definitely not on foot, especially if you plan to go past Basin City Projects, on the I-10. This neighborhood has very little tourists that populate it, therefore marking it as dangerous for travel – as a tourist, you will attract muggers, especially if you are in a small group.

 

Warrington Drive/Robert E. Lee Blvd.

This area is mainly unsafe because people with incomes that are as low as 85% from the rest of the country live here. Of course, it’s also marked as the area with one of the lowest incomes in the country. Therefore, there’s the risk of pickpocketing and robbery if you travel these streets.

Moreover, when it comes to the poverty levels, 44% of the children find themselves below the standards here – getting mugged by a band of little mischiefs could be possible if you are not paying attention.

 

Port Street/Urquhart Street

This neighborhood, while small when it comes to size, is one of the high crime spots in New Orleans. Also, according to some reports, only 30% of the people living in these areas walk or take the bus to work.

Therefore, during the evenings – and nights, of course – and especially in winter, this neighborhood might look like a deserted area that will give you the creeps. It’s better that you stay in a reputed hotel and have your favorite wine glass than traveling to these parts of the town.

The 8th and 9th Ward, Esplanade, South Claiborne, and North Rampart Streets

These areas are to be avoided completely – during the day as well as during the night. They are mostly populated by teenagers and homeless people. While the homeless might do you no harm, except the usual begging, the teenagers have reportedly caused much trouble to tourists in the past. The first thing they’ll look for when approaching you will be your money – so keep your wallet in a safe place.

If something unpleasant occurs, you should not engage in any conflicts. It’s better to just leave and mind your own business – staying calm and being smart will get you out of any situation that involves muggers or such.

 

Michoud

This area is deemed as one of the unsafest, especially after dark. Here, the NASA Assembly Plant of Michoud can be found as well. If you are into such things, you might want to give it a tour – however, be careful of the means of getting there, and visit it during the day.

A thing that’s worth mentioning is the fact that New Orleans, when it comes to safety, is safer than just 5% of all of the U.S. cities.

 

In the end, you should think twice before visiting New Orleans – and if you do eventually get in this city, be sure to stay indoors during the night and avoid any of the aforementioned areas.

 

 

Top 5 most dangerous snakes in the world

0

 

Every year we read in the newspapers or hear on TV about dozens of people killed by snake bites. So, it’s no wonder these vertebrates are some of the dangerous creatures on Earth. We are all very well aware that, when planning a trip to a foreign or exotic country, the first thing we worry about is snakes or mosquitos.

Even if we don’t schedule a vacation, we should learn a thing or two about how dangerous a snake’s venom is. Also, it’s a smart move to invest in quality outdoor light fixtures that allow you to see the snakes that attempt to invade your property surroundings.

 

Blue Krait

Also called as The Malayan, the Blue Krait is one of the deadliest snakes in the world. It lives in South East Asia and Indonesia. This species is more of a nocturnal breed and tends to get aggressive at night and avoids daily encounters.

Also, the Blue Krait is quite timid and attempts to hide during a conflict instead of fighting. Nevertheless, half of its bites are thought to be fatal even if you administer antivenom. Its venom is a neurotoxin, and it is 16 times more potent than the venom of a Cobra.

An interesting fact is that Kraits will hunt and kill other snakes, including other Kraits.

Once bitten by a Blue Krait, a muscle paralysis is quickly induced by preventing the nerve endings to release chemicals. This process is followed by a period of cramps, tremors, and spasms.

Fortunately, because Kraits only go out at night, bites from them are quite rare. So, if you’re staying in an area with an outdoor ceiling fan for cooling, you can rest assured no Kraits will visit you. Snakes detect body heat, and when you’re in a cool and dry place, you can consider yourself safe.

Black Mamba

The Black Mamba is a snake that lives in many areas across the African continent. The breed is known to be extremely violent and deadly. On top of this, this feared snake is, in fact, the fastest land species in the world because it can reach speeds of up to 12 miles per hour.

Plus, Black Mamba can strike up to 12 times in a row and one bite of their venom can kill up to 20 adults.  

Once this deadly snake bites a person, he or she will get a tingling sensation in the mouth as well as in the extremities, experience severe confusion, excessive salivation, and lack of muscle control.

Symptoms can rapidly evolve into respiratory arrest, coma or even death. Depending on the severity of the bite, death can occur somewhere between 15 minutes and 3 hours.

 

Philippine Cobra

The Philippine Cobra is one of the deadliest Cobra species in the world, and it is capable of spitting its venom up to 10 feet.

Even though the bite doesn’t cause too much tissue damage, the neurotoxin has a negative impact on the cardiac and respiratory functions. The incident can lead to neurotoxicity, paralysis, and death in just half an hour.

Death Adder

This snake, whose name already puts us in a state of alert, lives in Australia and New Guinea. Considered to be predators for real, they hunt and kill other snakes, using the ambush method.

Due to the high amount of venom they inject in one bite, that of the Death Adder snake is one of the most dangerous bites in the world.

However, the symptoms progress rather slowly, which means that if the treatment is given within 24 hours after the biting, the fatality can be avoided.

 

Belcher’s Sea Snake

The Belcher’s Sea Snake is threatening because of its venom. Only a few milligrams of this venom can kill almost 1000 people. They live in the waters of northern Australia and South East Asia.

 

 

5 Places to Avoid in Las Vegas

0

 

If you’ve thought of giving your luck a chance and, therefore, head on to Las Vegas, you will be greeted by one of the liveliest cities on the planet. You’ve got everything at your disposal here, not to mention the plethora or Elvises you will find. You’ll finally get into the Vegas casinos, its fanciest restaurants, and the city’s crazy nightlife.

However, we all know that it can be a very dangerous place. With so much money and so many tourists and travelers in one place, you are prone to being pickpocketed, robbed, and even scammed. That’s why you should be on your toes at all times.

Luckily, we will tell you five of the places you definitely want to avoid while in Las Vegas. So, hang on tight and let the dices roll.

The Strip

Seeing places like the Mirage, the Bellagio, and Caesar’s Palace means that you are in the main part of the Strip. During the day, feel free to roam around this area and visit some of the shops and casinos here – but you should stay on the beaten path — meaning that you should stick to the main regions of the Strip, where some large hotels can be found, for example.

After dawn, you should be a little more careful and don’t stray away from this location or go into any shady alleys. Just stick to the numerous groups of tourists around here and don’t get separated by your friends.

The Martin Luther King Blvd. should also be avoided, as well as the Air Force base. Moreover, getting past Encore Casino should put you higher on your toes as the area that comes after it is pretty dangerous.

 

Fremont Street

While the Street itself is actually very safe and entertaining, the surrounding areas – not so much. It is advised that you get a taxi to take you here – it’s only around 15 miles away from the Strip — therefore, the taxi will be the cheapest option as well.

Stick to the main areas of Las Vegas, where plenty of tourists can be found, and don’t venture on side streets or alleys.

 

Donna Street

This street should be avoided as it is the home of one of the local Crisps gangs that can be found throughout Las Vegas, namely, the Donna Street Crisps – obviously. Other Las Vegas gangs have their home in Valley View and Vegas Heights.

You should stay away from any of these streets as the possibility of meeting some members of these gangs is quite high. Just keep yourself out of the trouble and stay away from these areas.

Pennwood and Arville

A quick search for images of these two areas will round up only pictures with police cars and news crime reports. Literally, they will show you only abandoned streets that are guarded by police cars and yellow police lines.

There’s nothing more to be said! Drug-dealing is also a thing that’s practiced around here, the most common and easily sold drug being meth. You just want to keep away so that you don’t get caught up in a gang shootout.

 

Naked City

If you do dare to go in this part of Las Vegas, then you will probably have to go on foot, because most, if not all taxis refuse to go into this area, especially at night. Here, low rent apartments can be found, as well as trash burning in barrels.

We think that if a taxi is not willing to take you there, then you should do your best to avoid visiting, or better, surviving, this area.

 

So, these were five of the places you’d want to avoid in Las Vegas. Really now, just stick to the casinos, fancy restaurants and the places where they use a cocktail shaker for your drink – and be among groups of tourists at all times. Other places, like Balzar and MLK, which also have high rates of crime, shouldn’t be your traveling target.

 

 

 

Top 5 most dangerous snakes out there

0

 

A fishing trip can be much fun, and there is nothing more relaxing than spending a few hours in your inflatable boat. You should, however, take into consideration that among fish, many other dangerous animals may be lurking around.

Snakes represent a real threat if encountered, so it is best you study the region before deciding where to go. Your fishing waders can help you, but you should not count on them all the time and to an extreme extent. Below you can find 5 of the most dangerous snake species out there.

 

Eastern Brown Snake

The Eastern Brown Snake is referred to as one of the most venomous snakes in the world. Based on a measure of a fatal dosage of toxin in mice, it displayed a considerable value of median lethal dose.

This species can be found in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, where many reports regarding unfortunate encounters with humans have been registered.

Common Death Adder

The Common Death Adder originates in Australia and is a subspecies of the Death Adder. It is considered one of the most venomous snakes on this continent and worldwide.

Distinctive from other types of snakes, this one covers itself with leaves and patiently waits for prey to pass by. It can remain in this state for days.

At the exact moment an unsuspecting victim approaches, the adder strikes fast, injecting its venom. It then waits for some more time, until the prey dies and only then starts to eat it.  

 

Philippine Cobra

Toxicology experts argue that the Philippine Cobra holds the most toxic venom among all other Cobra species. A single bite from this snake can kill a human within 30 minutes.

The venom of this Cobra comes with the fatal ability to interrupt the frequency of nerve signals and to paralyze the respiratory system. This fact makes the Philippine Cobra a very dangerous specimen.

 

Inland Taipan

This snake is not remarkable just for its deadly venom, but also for the speed at which it bites. In an unfortunate encounter with the Inland Taipan, the victim does not get one bite, but a series of fast, precise strikes. This way, the snake manages to inject extremely toxic venom deep into the prey.

In terms of toxicity, no other snake venom has been found to reach the levels of the Inland Taipan.

Belcher’s Sea Snake

Many experts consider that the Belcher’s Sea Snake has the most toxic venom among all other snakes in the world.

A single drop of a King Cobra’s venom is enough to kill over 150 people. Just a few milligrams of the Belcher’s Sea Snake venom is powerful enough to kill over 1,000 people. That is how strong and dangerous this species’ venom is.

When realizing how deadly this snake is, it is hard to believe that any good things can be associated with it. Well, the Belcher’s Sea Snake is very shy, and it takes a lot of provoking before it bites, so at least there’s that.

 

Recommendations

There are numerous species of snakes, many of them being extremely venomous. A lot of them do not bite if not stirred, but you can find yourself stepping near one by mistake. Others are more aggressive and will strike for no reason.

The most important thing is to know your region and find out what kind of snakes you can encounter. Also, you should always let someone know where you are, just in case. In the unfortunate event you get bitten by a snake, you should be able to call for help as fast as possible. However, one thing is for sure — you ought to avoid these animals as much as possible.

 

 

Places to avoid in Cuba

0

 

Cuba tops many world travelers bucket lists, being a nation that captured the world’s imagination, with a unique mix of tropical beauty, wonderful salsa rhythms and ever-flowing rum. Also, Cuba has amazing warm and friendly people, always ready to host you and your traveling buddies for the best Cuban experience.

However, if you want to make sure your experience here is well worth it, there are a couple of places you should try and stay away from. Cuba is not a dangerous country, but for the well-being of your trip, we created a list with the top areas you should avoid during your stay in Cuba.

 

Varadero

The Varadero peninsula stretches into the Caribbean at the northernmost point of Cuba, and it is about 2 hours east from Havana. This area has an interesting history, but its activity is mostly unethical regarding tourism. This area was created once the American mafia wanted to build a stretch of casinos from the peninsula all the way to Havana, naming it Casino Coast.

However, when Castro took control, he kicked the American mafia out. But all the casinos and beach resorts stayed, and they are still spoiling the beautiful scenery and the beaches. Usually, at these beach resorts, you find a lot of unwelcome tourists, which keep people away by constantly guarding the beaches and denying access.

There is even a gate at the start of the peninsula to stop any Cubans from entering. Therefore, we do not recommend you to visit this area.

Avoid slums

In Cuba, as in any other place, it is better if you try to avoid visiting marginal or poor neighborhoods. Some areas are more dangerous than others, some are even outside the law where a tourist might be an easy target for muggers.

You should be very careful if you visit Havana because it is more dangerous compared to other cities. Neighborhoods such as Centro Habana, Marianao and Guanabacoa have more of a bad reputation than others, so if you find yourself interested in visiting them, you should at least visit them alongside a local friend, someone you really trust.

 

Bechlin

This is an area where spontaneous fights might erupt, but usually between locals. There are a lot of bars around this area, so alcohol has a lot to do with the incidents too. Don’t worry, if you stay away from these areas, especially at night, you won’t have any unpleasant experiences.

Orange Casa Particulares

Across the country, there is a national network of “staying in” locations which are called “Casa Particulares.” Foreigners and travelers are only allowed to stay in blue Casas Particulares because the orange ones are for locals. Both the traveler and the owner can get in big trouble if visitors choose to stay in a orange one.

You should also avoid over-crowded places or very noisy/loud bars. Cubans are mostly friendly and nice, but there are cases when they can act sketchy. Don’t flaunt your wealth, don’t wear showy jewelry and don’t carry with you a lot of cash because that will increase the chance of you getting mugged. Avoid drinking tap-water or brushing your teeth with it, because it most probably could make you sick.

Always be aware of your surroundings and try to befriend some locals to have a couple of trustworthy people that can show you the true and hidden beauties of Cuba. Even so, you should be careful who you trust, because there are people who will try to scam you into buying questionable looking items such as cigars, decorative objects, alcohol, etc for unusual high prices.

 

 

5 tips for driving in Mexico

0

 

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico and you intend to take your car or rent one from your destination, you need to know your way around. Here are five pieces of advice that we have prepared for you if you’re in the situation of driving an automobile in this country.

 

General information

First, let’s discuss the documentation needed to drive in Mexico. You can use a driver’s license obtained in the U.S. or Canada, but if you intend on driving more, and leave Mexico for other countries, you can also get an international driving permit. You should always have your license with you, along with your ID and the tourist card.

If you use your own car, make sure to have your insurance and registration. Alternatively, keep your rental agreement and insurance with you when driving a rented car.

You should know that buying gas is simple, but a bit different compared to other places. For example, always make sure that the meter shows zero before the attendant starts pumping the gas. Also note that it’s a custom to tip the attendant if he or she has done something else for you, like washing the windshield or checking the tires and oil.

Avoid driving at night

Unfortunately, road fatalities are a lot higher at night in Mexico than they are at day. That’s because there are plenty of animals that you can run into, and there are pedestrians that cross the street recklessly. You will also see many vehicles that lack tail lights and they are a danger on the road.

Another noticeable thing is that there aren’t many overhead lights on the road so you will not be able to see obstacles from afar. That is why you should try and drive more slowly than you usually do. Also, if you’re stuck in a remote area, there are slim chances of someone helping you so you will be stuck there all night.

 

Stick to the main roads

Although thieves are not as big of a problem as they once were, they can still cause some trouble on the usually untraveled roads. Another problem that back roads have is that the road conditions can be suboptimal and your car might run the risk of hitting a hole and sustaining too much damage.

However, if you’re with a group of friends you can be confident that these issues can be resolved and you can try and visit the part of Mexico that you can find off the beaten track. This is where you will see the real spirit of the country, with the kids waving at you and asking you to buy stuff and adventurous roads with sharp curves.

Unwritten driving rules

In the U.S. and generally around the globe, a left turn signal shows the driver’s intention to turn left. But that’s not always the case in Mexico, where it’s generally an invitation for the driver behind to pass. If there is no intersection with a road on the left, then be sure that the left signal asks you to pass.

This shows how polite Mexican people can be. However, they expect you to be polite, as well. If you’re going down a road that has a shoulder and a car comes from the opposite direction, on your lane, if that car is overtaking someone you are expected to drive on the emergency lane.

You can also pass a car on the right, on the shoulder lane, but you need to make sure the driver you overtake is aware of that.

 

Don’t attempt bribes

When being pulled over, firstly ask to talk to the chief. If the officer that stopped you only wants your money he or she will probably back off when hearing that request.

Most Mexican policemen are honest and that is why you should never be the one to offer to bribe them. This act could get you in a lot of trouble. As expected, paying an officer to get rid of the fine is illegal in Mexico.