Category Archives: International

Travel Feature: Ecuador

Today’s Travel Feature brings us south, all the way down to the Equator!

Travelers to Ecuador will find endless opportunities for exploration, relaxation, and having fun! The biggest draw to Ecuador is that it contains breathtaking mountains, dense tropical rain forests, and a beautiful South Pacific coast line, all in one country! Here is some information on Traveling to and around Ecuador. Have you been to Ecuador? Please give your suggestions in the comments!

Flickr Creative Commons:  David Berkowitz

Flickr Creative Commons: David Berkowitz

Getting to and around Ecuador

It is very important to pay a visit to a travel clinic a couple months before traveling. Traveling to Ecuador requires a couple vaccinations and a Tuberculosis test. The practitioner should also prescribe you altitude medication, and Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) in case you eat something you should not have.

Flights to Ecuador occur relatively frequently (depending on where you are traveling from), but the prices are based heavily on the day of week you travel. Additionally where you are traveling from and how many layovers you are willing to endure will greatly impact the price of your ticket. Make sure you are watching ticket prices at least six to eight months before your trip. Play around with the dates if you are flexible. The day of the week you depart can change the ticket price by a couple hundred dollars, which is true for any destination.

You will most likely fly in to Quito, Ecuador’s capitol. Quito is centrally located in the country, making it an easy starting point. There is also an airport in Guayaquil, and if you are going to Ecuador for the sole purpose of exploring the Galapagos, then you will probably fly straight from Quito to Guayaquil.

Many of the flights to Ecuador get in at night when it is dark. If you are unfamiliar with the Spanish language, and have never visited a South American country before, then it is highly recommended that you arrange for your hotel or hostel to pick you up from the airport. This is more expensive than taking a bus, but much easier. And if it is clear you are not a local, a taxi driver will charge you a highly inflated price for a ride.

Flickr Creative Commons: mark goble

Flickr Creative Commons: mark goble

Many of the hotels and hostels in Ecuador have websites with email addresses listed. You can arrange a ride to where you are staying in Quito for $20-$50 by email. This is worth the price. Ecuador is relatively safe, but everywhere in the world is more dangerous at, especially when you are a foreigner. You will feel better knowing ahead of time that your commute from the airport to your hotel is taken care of. When you get off the plane, make sure you keep all your belongings with you at all times. Theft is the number one complaint by travelers to Ecuador. If you are a smart traveler, you will not have any problems.

Now for choosing a hotel. There are tons of places to stay in Quito. The city is vast, covering rolling hills and valleys. For tourists, the best place to stay is around the Foche in La Mariscal. Mariscal is an area flourishing with restaurants, bars, museums, city tours, bus stations, and more. While reasonably priced, the hotels directly in or surrounding the Foche will be more expensive than ones that are further out. The weather in Ecuador is almost always nice, with more rain depending in the season. Choosing a hotel that is further away from the city center will not make your trip less enjoyable, just make sure you bring a map!

Flickr Creative Commons: Pete

Flickr Creative Commons: Pete

Hostels are a practical choice if you do not mind using a public bathroom. Many of the hostels offer both private rooms and dorm-style rooms. Unless you are going with a large group of people, it is highly recommended that you choose a private room. If not, you and your belongings will be exposed to strangers. Still, staying at a private room in a hostel allows you to meet a lot of fellow travelers, while maintaining privacy and security.

Staying few days in Quito will suffice, but where to go next? Popular choices are the cities of Baños, Montañita, Cuenca and Guayaquil. Taking buses across Ecuador is extremely cheap, and (mostly) reliable. There are two bus stations in Quito: Terminal Quitumbe and Terminal Carcelén. The buses to popular destinations listed above all leave from Terminal Quitumbe in southern Quito. As a rule of thumb, the cost of the bus ride in dollars is equal to the length of the bus ride. For example, Quito to Baños is a four hour ride, and costs $4.

You can take a taxi from anywhere in Quito to the bus stations, or you can take a city bus. If you have a lot of belongings, it is advised that you take a taxi. Theft is very common for tourists on city buses.

So where are you going to go? Hopefully to all of them! To decide where, check out these helpful sites!

Briefly, Baños is great for outdoor adventurers and thrill seekers, but don’t forget the numerous spas! Guayaquil is perfect for scuba divers, nature lovers, and biology buffs. Cuenca is ideal for true outdoorsmen and explorers while Montañita is a popular destination for college students and party goers. The town of Canoa is a smaller surf town for those who want to go to the beach, but avoid all the college parties. Ecuador has something for everyone!


Flickr Creative Commons: Meredith Cook

Flickr Creative Commons: Meredith Cook

Things to be Aware of While Traveling

Altitude. Did you know that Quito is 9,350 feet? Follow the instructions for the altitude medication. For your first day in Quito, do not over-exert yourself. After 24-48 hours your body will be better adjusted for hiking and biking.

Again, watch out for theft. Keep eyes and hands on all of your belongings at all time. Be cautious of keeping everything in a backpack because you can’t see behind you. The goal isn’t to make you a paranoid traveler, or to keep you from traveling to Ecuador, just to make sure you keep your stuff!

ATMS: There are ATM’s in the major cities of Ecuador. It is rare that stores and restaurants accept credit/debit cards. Make sure your bank card will work at the ATMs Ecuador, and call your carrier to let them know you will be out of the country so they don’t suspend your card due to ‘suspicious’ activity. You should also have two credit cards (of different carriers) with you in the event that one does not work. It is important to take out cash before traveling to a smaller city – enough for your hotel, food, activities, and transport back to Quito, plus extra in case there is an issue and you have to stay extra days. If you can, avoid carrying all your money in your bag. Shirts with inside pockets or pouches that go around your neck under your clothes are good options to carry your money. Keep most of your cash on you, and some of it dispersed securely throughout your bags.

Street Food. It looks so good. But you should avoid it. Anything left out in the sun or washed with tap water can make you terribly sick and ruin your trip. Only eat fruit that you remove the outside peel before eating – bananas, mango, watermelon etc. Generally restaurant food is okay, but not always. This is what the cipro is for. Typically, if you abstain from eating all meat, even in restaurants, and street food, you can avoid getting a stomach bug.

Many Ecuadorians speak English very well, but many do not speak any English at all. You can almost always find someone to help you out with directions or instructions. It is still a good idea to brush up on some basic Spanish phrases.

Flickr Creative Commons: Stefan Krasowski

Flickr Creative Commons: Stefan Krasowski

SUNSCREEN. This cannot be stressed enough. If you are not from an area near the equator, you will need a LOT of sunscreen at a high SPF. Bring at minimum a large, full tube per week for each person traveling. This sounds excessive but fair-skinned people will want to apply sunscreen to every inch of exposed skin at least three times a day. The sun on the equator is strong, and severe sunburn can ruin a good trip.

There are many more aspects to traveling Ecuador that we are unable to cover here in one blog post. We hope this covers many of your major questions! Please leave comments and questions for us!


Tallest Real Estate in World’s Fastest Growing Cities

Thinking about investing in real estate abroad? According to this Brookings report done in February of 2015, these cities have the fastest growing GDP and employment growth of all the countries in the world, which makes them ideal for investment. Using this report, we have found the tallest sky scrapers, housing the hottest businesses and offices, in the five fastest growing cities in the world. You might be surprised that three of the five cities are in one country!


5. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

West Dubai Panorama - Flickr Creative Commons: Michiel2005

West Dubai Panorama – Flickr Creative Commons: Michiel2005


Home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, Dubai comes in as the fifth fastest growing city. The Burj Khalifa dwarfs any other building in the world, at 830m (just over half a mile) tall.

This monstrous building houses corporate suite offices, apartments, and a hotel. You can also take an elevator to the top and view the city of Dubai from the observation deck.

Located at the heart of the city, the Burj Khalifa is surrounded by shopping centers, resorts, spas, childcare centers, and many other businesses.






Flickr Creative Commons: Colin Capelle


4. Bursa, Turkey

Bursa, Turkey - Flickr Creative Commons: Eusebius@Commons

Bursa, Turkey – Flickr Creative Commons: Eusebius@Commons

Previously known for its role in the silk business, the north western Turkish city of Bursa is now a major player in the car manufacturing industry (TheNational). The tallest building in Bursa is an office building called Buttim Plaza coming in at 110m. The building includes 98 independent offices and the remainder is filled with various retail businesses. Here is a full list of Bursa’s commercial buildings.


3. Istanbul, Turkey

Flickr Creative Commons: Sergey Galyonkin

Flickr Creative Commons: Sergey Galyonkin

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey with over 15 million residents. Currently, the tallest building in Istanbul is the Sapphire Tower at 261m. The building is soon to be out reached with the construction of the Diamond of Istanbul which will be completed toward the end of 2015, and will reach 270m. Major exports of Istanbul include clothing, automobiles, and electronics.

2.  Izmir, Turkey

Flickr Creative Commons: Janos Korom Dr.

Flickr Creative Commons: Janos Korom Dr.

The tallest buildings in Izmir are a pair of towers called the Folkart Towers (shown above). They stand side by side at 200m tall. The buildings were built by the real estate company, Folkart. According to TurkofAmerica, the population of Izmir is young, and offers investors great potential.

1. Macau, China

Flickr Creative Commons: Tristan Schmurr

Flickr Creative Commons: Tristan Schmurr

Here it is! The fastest growing city in the world. Macau is an eastern chinese city, and is affectionately known as the ‘Vegas of China.’ At just under 360m, the tallest structure in Macau is the Macau Tower.You can go to the Macau tower to eat, shop, get married, or even bungee jump.  Coming in at second is Hotel & Casino Grand Lisboa. With hotels, spas, gambling, restaurants and more, Grand Lisboa has it all. Here is a full breakdown of Macau’s skyscrapers.
Photos used under this license.

Top 5 Cities for the Young and Rich

Where would you go if you won the lottery, or suddenly came across millions of dollars? The World Cities Culture Forum has data on the number of concert halls, restaurants, and other ‘cultural indicators’ for cities all over the world. We have used this data to come up with the top 5 cities to be young and rich in!


1. Tokyo

Flickr Creative Commons: Moyan Brenn

Flickr Creative Commons: Moyan Brenn

At the top of the list is Japan’s largest city, Tokyo, which has nearly nine million residents! You definitely will not run out of ways to spend your money here!

  • Yearly musical performances: 15,617
  • Yearly comedy Shows: 8,452
  • Number of restaurants: 150,510
  • Number of bars: 14,184
  • Number arcades: 997

Wow that is a lot of restaurants! According to, the best time to visit Tokyo is in the fall when the temperature is mild and the leaves are beautiful hues of orange and red.


2. New York City


Flickr Creative Commons: Nana B Agyei

The city that never sleeps comes in at number two on our list! It also happens to be the most expensive city in the USA to live in!

  • Yearly theatrical Performances: 43,004
  • Number of restaurants: 24,149
  • Number of comedy shows per year: 11,076
  • Number of art galleries: 721

Be sure to visit NY around the holidays to see Central Park beautifully blanketing with white snow and sparkling holiday lights!


3. Shanghai


Flickr Creative Commons: JERRYANG

Shanghai is a vibrantly colorful cosmopolitan city in China that hosts thousands of performances each year. The possibilities for fun are endless in Shanghai.

  • Number of restaurants: 55,614
  • Number of dance halls: 1,865
  • Number of art galleries: 13,324
  • Yearly musical performances: 3,356

To avoid unbearable humidity and the crazy tourist season, Frommers says to visit Shanghai in late March or late October.


4. Los Angeles

Flickr Creative Commons: Neil Kremer

Flickr Creative Commons: Neil Kremer

Home of the entertainment industry in the USA, Los Angeles has live shows every night of the week. In addition, LA includes Long Beach which is the party capital of California.

  • Yearly comedy shows: 5,624
  • Number of restaurants: 28,787
  • Number of Cinema screens: 1,073
  • Yearly theatrical performances: 8,220

Los Angeles is known for its year-round warmth, but to avoid large crowds recommends not to visit during school breaks and holidays.


5. Sao Paulo

Flickr Creative Commons: Julio Boaro

Flickr Creative Commons: Julio Boaro

Coming in at number five is the largest city in South America, Sao Paulo. This diverse and bustling city is perfect for foodies and bar hoppers.

  • Number of bars: 15,000
  • Number of restaurants: 12,500
  • Yearly dance performances: 5,200
  • Live music venues: 294

Be sure to visit in October to catch the International Film Festival!


If you won the lottery, where would you spend your money?


Photos used under this license.

Traditional Homes Across the World

Ever wonder what traditional homes look like in other parts of the world? Check out homes from the past in these seven countries around the globe.  There are many differences, and similarities too!

By: Mary Gramer, Social Media Marketing Intern


1. Iceland

Flickr Creative Commons: Skógar Museum

Flickr Creative Commons: Skógar Museum

According to, these historic turf homes of Iceland have been around since the Iron Age. This style of home was common across northern Europe because of its practicality and low cost. The frames of the homes were constructed with timber, the walls of stone, and the roofs of moss or grass. Though they are no longer inhabited, the homes are preserved for their historical significance.


2. Japan

Flickr Creative Commons: TANAKA Juuyoh

Flickr Creative Commons: TANAKA Juuyoh

While there are many varieties of traditional Japanese homes, JAPAN: The Official Guide  says that the features they all share is an openness to the outdoors and a peaked roof. Modern houses in Japan today take inspiration from these traditional homes, but lack the gardens as green space is rare and pricey in the cities of Japan today.


3. Botswana

Flickr Creative Commons: WycliffeSA

Flickr Creative Commons: WycliffeSA

Located near major water sources, the villages established by the various cultural groups of Botswana are made up of circular grass huts. These homes are usually surrounded by a reed fence for protection from wildlife. Rather than one large hut, many cultural groups had several small enclosures, one for eating, one for sleeping, etc. For more information, head to


4. Pakistan

Flickr Creative Commons: Omer Wazir

Flickr Creative Commons: Omer Wazir

Many Pakistanis still live in rural areas, maintaining a similar lifestyle to their ancestors. Native Pakistan reports that the traditional homes are constructed of a mud and surrounded by gardens and livestock. With sunshine all year round, many have outdoor kitchens.


5. Ukraine

Flickr Creative Commons:  Ricardo Liberato

Flickr Creative Commons: Ricardo Liberato

A typical village house of Ukraine has some interesting features, according to Real Ukraine. For example, the doors of these homes do not face the street, but rather invite the guest to walk through the garden in order to enter the home. Safety was in mind when the homes were built, with fenced in yards, and concrete walls.


6. Uruguay

Flickr Creative Commons: Lisa Cyr

Flickr Creative Commons: Lisa Cyr

Though today many Uruguayans live in modern Spanish-style homes, the pre-colonial homes occupied by the indigenous people of Uruguay were round huts. The thatched roofs are designed to keep rain water from entering the home. To learn more about the past and current culture of Uruguay, go to CultureGrams.


7. Nepal


Flickr Creative Commons: Vera & Jean-Christophe

As described on, traditional Nepalese style homes are made using clay excavated from Kathmandu Valley. The clay is formed into bricks and baked until strong. Sometimes the clay is painted, like shown above, but the clay itself can be found in a variety of shades from red to black. Sometimes the clay is used to make roof tiles, or alternatively a thatched roof is created out of sod.


These traditional homes around the world are all unique, but at the same time feel similar. They are all the product of communities without electricity, living off the land. The differences in the homes show a lot about the culture of the hands that built them.

All photos used under this license.

Top Places Americans Will Travel in 2015

Ever wonder where Americans will travel this year?  Well wonder no further because NYTimes recently published a list of the top 19 countries that American’s will visit.  Their conclusion? Americans will stay their comfort zone and travel of all the countries that are close to our borders. So read along and find a place that you would like to visit!!!

1) Mexico

2) Canada

3) Britain
4) France
5) Germany
6) Bahamas


Flickr Creative Commons: A. Duarte

7) Jamaica
8) China
9) Spain
10) Japan
11) India
12) Ireland


Flickr Creative Commons: Giuseppe Milo

13) Netherlands
14) Hong Kong
15) South Korea
16) Switzerland
17) Taiwan
18) Australia
19) Brazil

Top 10 Cities in the World

Are you looking for a new start? Go somewhere new? A new home in the places of your dreams? Well fortunately for you, this blog post is a list of the top cities around the world and possible places you can live. The ranking of these cities, brought to you by The Telegraph stated that this list is based on the “Economist Intelligence Unit, which judges a city based on education possibility, health, threat of conflict, levels of crime, temperature, transportation, and green space”. So read along, an see if these cities are the perfect fit for you and remember that RNR Realty International has contacts all over the world who can help you find the home of your dreams!

10) Auckland, New Zealand

This beautiful city located at the top of the country, is the perfect location for you and your loved ones to travel to and become a kiwi. This city gains an overall rating of 95.7 out of 100.

9) Perth, Australia

It looks like the bottom of the global is winning for the best locations to live. This beautiful city located on the west coast of Australia, which borders on the Indian ocean. This city is ranked at 95.9 out of 100.

8) Helsinki, Finland

Flickr Creative Commons: Dennis Jarvis

This northern beauty of Europe, is ranked at 96.0 out of 100.

7) Sydney, Australia

Once again, Australia makes the list! This city located on the east coast of Australia, is ranked at 96.1 out of 100

6) Adelaide, Australia


Oh man, need we say more?! Everyone go to Australia, because they are fabulous! Located on the southern coast, it was ranked at 96.6 out of 100.

5) Calgary, Canada


Flickr Creative Commons: Calgary City in the Snow

Looks like our neighbors to the north have made the list. This city located on the western side of Canada, it is ranked at a 96.6 out of 100

4) Toronto, Canada


Flickr Creative Commons: Robert

Once again, Canada is on the list! This city located on the eastern side of the Canada, is ranked at a 96.8 out of 100.

3) Vancouver, Canada

Ok, Ok, Ok we get it! Canada is great!!! Go visit this northern masterpiece was given 97.3 out of 100.

2) Vienna, Austria

Ranked at 97.4 out of 100, this European wonder has everything you could imagine. So pack up and go visit this town nestle in the quiet mountains of Austria.

1) Melbourne, Australia


Flickr Creative Commons: Hai Linh Truong

Australia, represent! Just other one of Australia’s charming cities, Melbourne is ranked at a 97.5 out of 100.



Top 5 Beaches in the World

When you are not at home, working, or doing chores it is nice take time to appreciate the little things. That is why this post is designated to the world’s top 5 most relaxing and beautiful beaches, because there is truly nothing better than listening to waves, enjoying a nice cool drink, and squishing the sand between your toes. So sit back and enjoy TripAdvisor’s list of the top beaches you can visit.  Who knows you could love these beaches so much that you choose to live there!

1) Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronna, Brazil

14473193971_0170ee033d_bFlickr Creative Commons: Guilherme Jofili

This picture does not do this beach justice, because it is so much more beautiful in person!  This beach offers wonderful white sand beaches and a rocky cliff side for your viewing pleasure! Bring some water and sun screen and enjoy your day in the sun!


2) Grace Bay, Providencials, Turks and Caicos


Flickr Creative Commons: Indabelle

So close, yet so far,  this beach is home to our neighbors of the south, Turks and Caicos.  This beach offers wonderful white sand beaches with crystal clear waters.  While it is not surrounded by rocky cliffs, the view is still gorgeous!

3)  Playa Paraiso Beach, Cayo Largo, Cuba


Flickr Creative Commons: Paula Rizzi

Thank goodness we can finally go to Cuba, because everyone needs to enjoy a beach like this!  This untouched beaches has nothing but pure beauty, white sand beaches, and blue water.  So grab some shade under a palm tree and enjoy your day!

4) Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, Seychelles


This beach, located in Seychelles, is on an archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa.  Its pure, clean and beautiful beaches offers all types of fun! Bring a beach ball and some friends and enjoy your day!


5) Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico


Flickr Creative Commons: Angel Xavier Viera Vargas

Yay, you can travel to this beach without a passport!  This wonderful beach located in Puerto Rico has beautifully well maintained sand, blue water, and an awesome view!  Now that you do not need your passport, you have no excuse not to visit!!

The 5 Most Unique Buildings Around the World

Ever come across dazzling architecture and think, “how?!”. Yeah, so have we.

Here we’ve gathered a list of buildings from around the world we thought were worthy to mention. Some even seem to be from the future!

1. Indira Gandhi Planetarium, India

From the exterior you can immediately tell this building portrays a planet-shaped like figure, specifically Saturn with a series of rings. The building was built in 1993, a bit before it’s time you could say. Definitely breathtaking.

2. Nautilus House, Mexico

Built 9 years ago by architect Javier Senosiain. The structure follow suit of its name, Nautilus. The buildings main purpose was to seem one with nature, which you could say was achieved. Even inside the building, you’ll find a garden.

3, Piano and Violin Building, China

This amazing building was built in 2007 and it’s located in Huainan City, China. This building required a team of people to design, and several students from the Hefey University of Technology. Truly charming, indeed.

4. PricewaterhouseCoopers Building, United Kingdom

Most green building on this list. Not literally, of course. PricewaterhouseCoopers’s building in the UK uses renewable energy sources with advanced technology. Almost a building of the future!

 5. House Attack, Austria

Located in the Moderner Kunst Museum in Austria by artist Erwin Wurm. The story behind this building is simply a family hurtling themselves onto the roof, which is why building is called “House Attack”. Creative, don’t you think?!


Well dear reader this is where we end our post. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this list and would want to share it with your friends. Maybe you’ve seen a couple of this? Send us pictures. Let us know which crazy building you’ve seen.


Find the original article here




Best Countries To Travel To These Holidays


Caught the “traveling bug”? We caught it too! We want to invite you to look at the five places we recommend you celebrate your holidays this Christmas. Maybe you’ve been to a couple of these, maybe we caught you at just the right time. Let us know either way!



Do you believe in Santa Claus? Perfect, so do we! That’s why we’re recommending Amsterdam, where the Santa Claus, or Sinterklaas, legend remains strong. If you can, stay for New Years where Nieuwmarkt or Dam square is known for their fireworks and merry crowd.



Those who live in the Midwest or anywhere that snows have at some point or other have learned to love snow. Waking up to those snowy days when we feel like doing nothing but staying in and snuggling next to a blanket. Waking up to these winter wonderlands is breathtaking, and if you feel like waking up to this every morning take a trip to Lapland, Finland, because it’s totally worth it.



Like big, tall, bright, Christmas trees? Take a trip to Munich, specifically Marienplatz where you’ll see hundred-foot-tall Christmas trees, and  two dozen Christmas markets. Sounds magical, doesn’t it?



Imagine this: walking down a snowy busy road, Christmas music, trees, lights everywhere. Do you think you’d like that? Well, take a trip to Provence, France where you’ll feel like doing nothing but making snow angels and dance around, and break out in a musical. Please send a video if you do!



Maybe snow isn’t your thing. Maybe you want to take a break from anything that resembles cold weather. That’s fine. We know the feeling. If that’s the case, then Puerto Rico is where you need to be this Christmas, maybe stay for New Year’s too! Because why not? Once in Puerto Rico take a walk in El Yunque rainforest and enjoy the nature and warm breeze. Then cool off next to the ocean at night. Be sure that wherever you go you’ll hear music, maybe a “Jingle Bells” set to a salsa beat. If you do —send videos, please!


So dear reader, this is where we say goodbye. But, before you leave us, tell us what your plans for these holidays will be? Traveling? where to? Feel free to tell us where you’ve visited before during the holidays! Safe travels!!

6 Countries You Didn’t Know Celebrate Halloween

While Halloween as we know it is predominately celebrated in the US and Canada, many other cultures around the world also celebrate Halloween. As a result, it shouldn’t be surprising that all of our Halloween traditions are adapted or borrowed from other countries. In fact, many of these traditions derive from celebrations that honor the dead. Thus, Halloween today has evolved from a mix of these rich customs and traditions. If you are looking for more information, find a full list of all the Halloween traditions around the world from the original article here.



Believe it or not, Ireland is actually the birthplace of Halloween. It all began with the Ancient Celtic Festival, Samhain, that signified the end of the harvest. It was believed that on this day, the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped. Acknowledging this, children and adults alike dressed up as witches, goblins and ghosts to confuse the spirits lurking about. Additionally, children would go out trick or treating.People also carved turnips to prevent unwanted spirits from entering their homes. (However, pumpkins were later adopted in North America because they are softer, larger and easier to carve.) Afterwards, all would gather for a bonfire to ward off spirits and play games such as bobbing for apples. Today, the festivities hold strong in Ireland. Each year over 30,000 gather to attend the world’s largest Halloween Festival in Derry where festivities include a bonfire, parade, fireworks and of course, bobbing for apples.



Transylvania brings to mind spooky images of vampires, wear wolves and dark menacing castles. This makes sense because the infamous Bran Castle, where Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula lived. This menacing castle set among the rocky hills with a dark past provided the perfect setting for Bram Stoker’s famous book Dracula. After Hollywood popularized Transylvania in the movie in the 1940’s, it became notorious for vampires, werwolves and other creatures that go bump in the night. As a result, Halloween enthusiasts from around the world flock to Romania each year during this time. The biggest party takes place in Sighisoara, the citadel where Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) was born. Thus, it goes without saying that celebrating Halloween in Transylvania was listed by Fodor’s Travel Guide as a “Top Ten Must Do Adventures”.



In Mexico and other Latin American countries, they celebrate Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. This includes constructing alters with their ancestors favorite foods and drinks, clean up and decorate the graves. Skeletons and skulls are a popular motif and can be found in bread, candy and other foods. At the end of the celebration, candles and incense are lit to guide the deceased back to the afterlife.


4). England & New Zealand

On November 5th, people in England and New Zealand celebrate Guy Fawkes Night to commemorate the execution of the English traitor Guy Fawkes. Guy Fawkes Night aka Mischief Night is celebrated with fireworks, a bonfire and a ceremonial effigy burning of Guy Fawkes.



In China they celebrate The Hungry Ghost Festival. Similar to Day of the Dead in Mexico, on this day it is believed that gates of hell are opened and spirits come back to earth. Tradition holds that if the ghosts are happy in the afterlife, good fortune will come to the living. As a result, offerings of water and food are placed in front of pictures of dead relative to please them. At the end of the celebration, they light a lanterns to guide the spirits back to the afterlife.



Lastly, in the Philippines Halloween is referred to as Undas, or All Saints Day. On October 31- November 2nd Filipinos honor the dead with candles, flowers, prayers and visits to the cemetery. Oftentimes, it ends up resembling a family reunion as they gather to eat, drink and tell stories about their departed loved ones. Even more, entire families  camp in cemeteries and some even spend the night near their relatives’ tombs. Moving on, the origin of trick or treating stems from the Philippines as well. Derived from the tradition of Pangangaluluwà, children would dress in white sheets and go door to door singing and saying prayers for the dead. In return for their efforts, children are given soul cakes. Filipinos believe that when these cakes are eaten, a soul is set free from purgatory. Sadly, this rich tradition is being pushed out by an Americanized Halloween and trick or treating.


Bam! So thats the roundup of Halloween celebrations and their traditions around the world. While some of these customs may seem strange, the source of our present day Halloween traditions are apparent. If you want more, be sure to check out the full article, Halloween Traditions and Celebrations Around the World, on Happy Halloween!