It’s Quarterfinals in the World Cup of Travel

Playing football in the mud in India

Top attractions were on display last round as countries were forced to put their best foot forward.

Italy sent Greece sailing, Brazil outlasted Spain and Japan had Costa Rica zip-lining back to the cloud forest. Argentina edged out iconic France, while Mexico rolled over Chile like a fresh-pressed corn tortilla to book their way into the Quarterfinals.

There are now 8 world-class destinations left to compete for travellers’ hearts. They will each have to dig deep and venture off the beaten path if they plan to advance!

Brazil vs. Italy

In this match, top players from Rome and Rio go head-to-head in a good old-fashioned shoot-out. Rome plays host to marvelous architecture and one of the world’s most popular cuisines, not to mention its rich and influential history. Meanwhile, Rio di Janeiro strolls onto the field with confidence, boasting famous favelas sprawling beneath the gaze of Christ the Redeemer. Two world-renowned cities put on a show for the fans, but Brazil’s capital gives them a ticket to the semifinals.

Winner: Brazil

The stunning Grand Canyon United States

The Grand Canyon shows off again – photo by Timothy Faust

Ecuador vs. USA

It is no secret that this is Ecuador’s toughest match of the tournament, so they start strong with a star-studded lineup. Hitting the high seas in search of dolphins around Genovesa, swimming in Santa Fe Bay or cycling around Isla San Cristobal, visitors will find no shortage of activities around the Galapagos Islands. Despite putting their strongest foot forward, the United States kick back with their own roster of travel superstars. A suite of world-class cities packed with stars and bars play in perfect harmony with super-sized coasts that attract surfers and beach bums alike. With the Rocky slopes giving the country 4-season appeal, the USA corners Ecuador and advances to play Brazil.

Winner: USA

Mexico vs. Japan

Taco versus tempura, sushi versus salsa, sake versus cervesa – this quarterfinal match turns into a culinary showdown. The Tsukiji Fish Market puts Japan ahead early as travellers wake at the crack of dawn to witness the magnificent Tuna auctions. Head to the country’s capital and take a sushi class in Tokyo or get lost among the endless food stalls of Nishiki market. In Mexico, freshly pressed corn tortillas blanket opponents and have the country on the cusp of an upset. Despite a late push, filled with song, dance and a taco crawl, The Land of the Rising Sun escapes with a victory, winning over travellers’ hearts and taste buds.

Winner: Japan

Awe-inspiring Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia Argentina

Awe-inspiring Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia – photo by Joyee Chau

Argentina vs. Russia

We find ourselves in opposite ends of the world in this quarterfinal matchup. Serious adventure seekers find plenty in the Russian Arctic and heading to the North Pole from Murmansk promises a once in a lifetime experience. Meanwhile, Ushuaia is at the heart of the Argentine Patagonia and a popular spot for trekking enthusiasts. It is also the meeting spot for many thrill seekers venturing into the wilds of Antarctica. Both countries offer unprecedented access to some of the most remote destinations in the world, but it is Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier and other picture perfect scenery that leave travellers in awe, even before heading into the powerful polar regions.

Winner: Argentina

So who will take out the coveted World Cup of Travel? That’s up to you to decide. At this point we shall leave the sporting lads to battle it on the football fields of Brazil while you cast your vote in our World Cup of Travel giveaway!

Tell us who you think should win the World Cup of Travel

As the world goes soccer mad for 4 weeks, Intrepid is tapping into the football fever with a competition that will have you screaming “GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL” faster than Neymar out-running a fullback. All you have to do is tell us which World Cup country deserves to be the winning destination, then you could WIN a trip in your choice of selected World Cup countries! Enter here before 13 July, 2014!

* Photo by Somenath Mukhopadhyay, for the Intrepid Photography Competition.

About the author

Michael Sadowski - Michael was hooked on travel at the age of 16 after spending a week playing soccer and eating roti in rural Trinidad. He maintains his best purchase to date was renting a stilt home for himself in a small fishing village outside Hong Kong. Michael currently works with the Intrepid Marketing Team in Canada, living life one hashtag at a time.

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