The United States of America is a country in North America which is the fourth largest state by the territory in the world. The capital of the USA is Washington, D.C. It borders Canada and Mexico. The eastern part of the country is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the western part is washed by the Pacific Ocean.
The USA has almost all climate zones. In Hawaii, the climate is tropical, on the Pacific coast the climate is temperate subtropical and the Atlantic coast is a continental-oceanic climate zone. The South and the central part of Alaska have an arctic climate; and the central states of the country have a continental climate. The best time for visiting Washington, D.C. is from March to May and from September to November. New York and Hawaii are comfortable all the year round.
The majority of the population are the Protestants, Catholics and Baptists. The official language of the USA is the American version of the English language. On the Hawaiian islands, the second official language is Hawaiian.
If you prefer beach holidays, go to San Diego and Los Angeles with its amazing beaches. There are beaches from Malibu to Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Miami is worth a particular attention with its famous water parks in Orlando. In Hawaii, there is everything you need for surfing and diving.
New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Fransisco and Las Vegas are the centers of city entertainments and shopping.
The first-class ski resorts are in Aspen (Colorado), Jackson Hole (Wyoming) and Alta (Utah).
In the USA, you will fond many natural reserves. The Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is a must-see. Also, you can visit the Mesa Verde National park in Colorado and the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. All these parks are under the UNESCO protection.
There are regular flights between the USA and Russia, CIS countries and European countries.
Aeroflot, Transaero and Delta offer direct flights from Moscow to New York, Los Angeles and Miami. Yakutia Airlines offers flights to Anchorage from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and with Singapore Airlines, you can fly from Moscow to Houston.
There are also connecting flights from Russia to the USA cities with a stop in European hub airports. The following companies offer connecting flights to the USA: Austrian, Lufthansa, Czech Airlines, Alitalia, LOT, Iberia, Finnair, British Airways, Air France and KLM.
The USA has a railroad communication only with Canada. The trains Amtrak regularly run between these two countries connecting New York with Toronto and Montreal.
There are ferry routes between Jamaica, Dominican Republic and the ports of the Caribbean coastline of the USA.
There are regular buses between the USA and Mexico and Canada.
The travelers from Russia, CIS and EU countries must obtain a visa to travel to the USA.
The tourists should be aware that the USA legislation gives a status of an immigrant to anyone who applies for a B visa. A tourist faces a challenge to prove that he does not have any intention to immigrate to the USA. If there are any doubts, a person needs to provide confirming documents.
At first, you must fill in an electronic form DS-160 on the web site of the US Department of Immigration.
Transit visa-free travel through the USA is prohibited.
The normal time for processing the documents for a visa is 7-30 days. In the Embassies and Consulates, they can give multiple entry B visas for 1 and 3 years.
If you are given a positive decision, your passport with a visa is returned via the service Pony Express.
In the USA there are no restrictions concerning import and export of foreign and national currency. The travelers must declare the sums of money exceeding 10.000 US dollars.
It is prohibited to import:
- canned and fresh meat;
- skins and meat of rare animals;
- plants and seeds (except the flowers without soil);
- certain fruits and vegetables (tomatoes, apples, grapes);
- non-canned caviar and fish;
- eggs and dairy products;
- snails and shellfish.
It is strictly prohibited ti import on the territory of the Hawaiian islands fruits, vegetables and animals.
The tourists can import duty-free:
- tobacco and alcohol (clarify the rules for each state);
- personal belongings;
- gifts of the total cost 100 US dollars per each person.
Only people above the age of 21 can import alcohol and tobacco.
The authentic US cuisine is a mix of cooking traditions of various nations with an American twist.
The local cuisine is very simple and substantial. It is based on the recipes of the peoples of the Old World/ Pizza and Italian pasta, European omelets, sausages and bacon, Chinese noodles and sauces and barbecues gained a tremendous popularity in the States.
The Americans believe that roast chicken and stuffed turkey is their authentic dishes. We recommend trying pork ribs, rare roast beef and meatloaf. In the southern states, the tourists will be offered Country-fried steaks, Fried chicken, crab patties and unusual soups with seafood. In the Middle West, the tourists can try grilled beefsteak and baked potatoes.
A mix of local and Mexican cuisines is typical for the southwestern states of the country. Do not miss a chance to try Burritos, Tacos, Chili con carne and stuffed bell pepper.
A traditional American breakfast usually consists of fried eggs and bacon, muesli or corn flakes with milk, bread rolls with jam or peanut butter, juice and coffee. For lunch, the Americans usually have salads and sandwiches and sometimes fast food. Do not leave the USA without trying cheesesteaks (sliced roast beef with onions and cheese).
When it comes to side-dishes, the Americans prefer vegetables. Usually, they eat cauliflower, asparagus, corn, beans or potatoes. The locals do not eat much bread (excluding, bread rolls, sandwiches and hamburgers).
A traditional Christmas dish is roast turkey with apples and the apple pie.
If you have a sweet tooth, you must try pancakes with Canadian maple syrup, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, cheesecakes, apple cakes and various sweet pastry.
The most famous drinks are the Californian wines, whiskey, rum and bourbon. In the USA, they brew beer of such brands as Miller, Budweiser, Philadelphia’s Yuengling.
The national currency is US dollar (USD). We recommend exchanging your currency in the offices of large banks at the airports and seaports.
In the USA, they willingly accept cashless payments. They use the cards American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Have, at least, one credit card because often in the USA, pre-payment with a credit card is required.
Some ATMs accept credit cards issued by foreign banks. The commission is around 2 USD.
The travelers can cash traveler's checks in restaurants, shops and hotels. You will probably not be able to use checks with foreign currency especially in small towns, so take the checks with US dollars.
The tax-free system is not available in the USA but in Louisiana there are a couple of duty-free shops.
The prices in all the USA shops do not include the taxes (usually, the price is 10% lower than a final sum you will have to pay). The amount of taxes depends on the state or a city.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in the USA
- In Washington DC, the tourists can have a look at the White House, visit the Capitol, the Washington City Museum and the Library of Congress. Go to the local museums with unique expositions. Have a walk in beautiful parks or go shopping in the malls. You will be greatly impressed with your trip to the Olympic National Park which is inscribed on the UNESCO list.
- The major sight of Los Angeles is the Hollywood Dream Factory. Have a Hollywood Walk of Fame and visit the richest area Beverly Hills and the Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Here, you will see the local skyscrapers US Bank Tower and Watts Towers. The Wilshire Boulevard is also of a great tourist interest. The famous Malibu beach, Venice beach and Long beach are a must-visit. You will surely like an excursion in the Griffith Observatory or a visit to art galleries and museums. The old center of the city is Olvera Street.
- You cannot leave New York without seeing the Statue of Liberty which is in the UNESCO World Heritage List, legendary Manhattan Skyscrapers. The Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, Metropolitan Opera and Broadway. Have a walk in the New York Central Park and visit New York museums. The travelers can also go to the oldest suspended bridge Brooklyn Bridge.
- Florida attracts the tourists with its Miami beach resort. Go to Orlando and visit the Disney World, water parks Wet and Wild, Sea World and Universal Studios. Such amusements as Earth Alligators in Orlando, Space Exposure and Salvador Dali Museum will be an unforgettable experience for you. In Florida, you can cross the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. You can also have a trip to the archipelago Florida Keys with an undersea park. The lovers of country holidays will enjoy a trip to the Everglades national park which is under UNESCO protection.
- In Hawaii, you can go to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. They are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Clothes by famous brands and diamond jewelry, American phones and laptops. All these you can buy in New York.
- In Los Angeles buy souvenir Oscar, a cowboy hat, the dreamcatcher and delicious wine.
- In San Fransisco, the tourists usually buy a toy tramway.
- In Miami, you can buy Tiffany jewelry and cosmetics Urban Decay.
- On the Hawaiian islands, you will find bright Hawaiian shirts, Hawaiian pearls and gold.