Last year I just happened to be in Jamaica for Halloween and the year before that I was on a Mediterranean cruise and was in Italy for Halloween. When we were in Italy I had wondered how or if they really celebrated so I was happy to see kids walking around dressed up and out trick or treating. In Jamaica we were at an all inclusive resort so they did offer some Halloween events for guests and I did see a good amount of adults that actually brought costumes on vacation.
The past 2 years I ended up traveling on Halloween not with the purpose of being in those places for Halloween it just happened that way. Now that this year we are all sort of stuck at home I wondered where in the world are the best places to celebrate Halloween. I did some research and here's what I think are the Top 6 Places to be on Halloween ( I know I plan to add them all to my bucket list!)
Did you know that Ireland is actually where the Halloween holiday originated from? It still remains one of the best places to celebrate too, although it is known as Samhain Night here. This medieval Irish festival originated when it marked the end of the harvest, which brought shorter days and the dark half of the year. It was at this time that the dead are believed to revisit the mortal world. Derry is the place to visit if you are looking for the country's best celebration. Normally it is a 9 day event with things like parades, fireworks, ghost tours, haunted houses, workshops, scary movies, and even a Dragon Safari.
So who doesn't think of Dracula's castle when thinking of probably the best place to celebrate Halloween? The entire country of Romania has a spooky yet amazing reputation for its breathtaking Gothic architecture and spooky forests. It is the impressive Bran Castle that draws most visitors here. The castle was once said to be the home of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula. The castle is where tens of thousands of enemies were impaled on stakes. Today for brave visitors the castle is open to the public and nothing seems scarier than touring through here on the night of Halloween and learning the truth about the terrifying legends. You can choose to book a guided tour and stay in nearby accommodations or you can join one of the specialty Halloween tours.
Halloween is called the Day of the Dead in Mexico. It is a three-day celebration that begins October 31st each year. It’s a celebration of the dead and it is believed that spirits return each year on these three days to spend time with their loved ones.
Each city and town offers a different way of celebrating Day of the Dead. If you head to Oaxaca, near Acapulco you will find the streets transformed into a huge street festival where people dressed in costumes visit cemeteries and the town gets decorated with skulls, skeletons, and flowers. The main square is where the biggest party happens with an abundance of food, drinks, and dancing all night long. And if you head to the small island of Janitzio, you will find elaborate rituals which include folk dancing, fishermen in their rowboats with torches, and a gathering of families in the cemetery at night to sing and chant. Nonetheless, you’ll certainly have an unforgettable experience wherever you go in Mexico.
There are a lot of creepy Halloween events that usually happen in London. If you’re looking to be frightened there is no better place to head than the popular Dungeon, which has been giving panic attacks to visitors since 1976. An elaborate, interactive experience takes visitors face to face with notorious villains such as Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd. Actors escort participants through 14 shows and three terrifying rides. Might be a little too scary for a wimp like me so I will probably go for something more like the ghost walks that happen throughout the city that are a bit less intense.
Sleepy Hollow, NY
The famous grounds of Washington Irving’s timeless legend of the Headless Horseman are the perfect place to get a little spooky. Halloween celebrations take place throughout the entire month of October. One of the most popular events is when the 300-year-old Philipsburg Manor is transformed into a terrifying landscape that features vampires, witches, ghosts, and state-of-the-art special effects. Other activities in town include haunted hayrides, live music, street fairs, parades, and lantern tours. Don’t miss out on visiting Old Dutch Burying Ground which is one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States and of course the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where the legendary Washington Irving is buried.
I don't know about you but when I think of witches I think of Salem. It was here that twenty-six people were once tried and put to death for being witches. Halloween is when the town celebrates witches in the most interesting of ways. Normally you can visit Salem anytime during the month of October and get the full Halloween experience but this year they are asking tourists to please stay away. If you put this on your list for next year you can expect guided tours of haunted and infamous spots, trial and hanging re-enactments, fireworks, parades, and a witch’s circle. Don’t miss out visiting the Witch House Museum, which was once home to Judge Jonathan Corwin — one of the judges in the trials and one of the remaining buildings left in Salem that has direct links to the trials.
Now I just have to wait a year and also figure out which one I am going to go to first!
Going to the beach is the perfect remedy for winter blues, especially this year! There are so many wonderful beaches within just a few hours of most US cities. Right now there are some that no longer require a quarantine (subject to change at anytime). Even if you usually plan your own beach vacations now more than ever using a travel agent to keep you informed of all new rules is a good idea (yes I know self promotion but I we really do come in handy).
There are plenty of beaches in the continental US that are great to visit year round. I am of course partial to Florida beaches but there are also times when I just want to go somewhere else.
Here are the Top 5 Beach destinations outside the continental US that are no longer requiring you to quarantine upon arrival
#5 - Costa Rica
Known for the ‘Pura Vida' way of life, unlimited outdoor adventure activities, lush national parks, super-chill beaches, and affordable prices, its no wonder Costa Rica welcomed over 1.3 million American tourists last year.
As of November 1st, all Americans may travel to Costa Rica as long as they present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate.
Jamaica has reopened for tourism and is known for its world renowned all-inclusive resorts, white sand beaches and laid back culture. Over 1.8 million Americans flocked to the island in 2019 to escape the cold and enjoy the tropical warm weather.
American travelers are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate no older then 10 days from the time the test was taken to arriving in Jamaica.
Mexico had over 32 million U.S. visitors in 2019. Although numbers will be much lower due to the pandemic, U.S. travelers will still flock to the country due to its easy entry requirements and beautiful tropical weather.
The white sand beaches and all inclusive resorts of Cancun have already seen a large rebound in U.S. visitors since reopening back in June. I cruised in the Sea of Cortes last winter and we went to the most amazing, basically totally private beaches, in Baja!
With no testing or quarantine requirements, Americans will continue to choose Mexico this season as their vacation destination.
The Bahamas has reopened for tourism and is now accepting American tourists after initially banning them when the islands first reopened.
With beautiful white sand beaches, surrounded by incredible deep blue and turquoise waters, this tropical paradise is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
There is no quarantine but all travelers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test when completing their ‘Travel Health Visa'.
Surf's up! Hawaii just reopened to tourists this week and over 8,000 said Aloha that first day!
Hawaii had more than 10 million visitors to the Islands in 2019, setting a new all-time high, according to year-end data by Hawaii Tourism Authority. The increase in total arrivals reflected growth from U.S. markets — air arrivals from the U.S. West were up nearly 10% and arrivals from the U.S. East were up 4.2%.
The state’s pre-travel coronavirus testing program requires travelers to produce a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in order to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine in effect for arriving passengers.
Hopefully more beaches will be added to the list of destinations that allow US visitors without a quarantine so if your favorite isn't on the list yet it might be soon. I cannot think of a better place to social distance than on any beach with the waves gently lapping the shore!
I don't know about you but I cannot wait to get back on a cruise! The CDC announced last night that the no sail order will expire 10/31. I do hope that means cruising in the US will get started again in November! Some cruse ships have been sailing the Mediterranean since August and has been pretty much smooth sailing so far. There are new rules in place to cruise but there are new rules everywhere now so I am OK with that. One family on the first cruise to start up in the Mediterranean learned the hard way that these rules are strict and put in place for everyone's safety. They were told if you go on shore you have to stay with the tour group and if you don't you will not be allowed back onboard. They didn't follow the rule and wandered of so therefore not allowed back on the ship. I totally agree with this policy and glad to see the cruise line stuck to it.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)—the industry association representing 95% of all ocean-going cruise capacity globally—announced that its member lines have agreed to a common set of mandatory health protocols.
Here is a list of the new protocols that will most likely be put in place when cruising in the US does start again -
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