Insider Blog

Filter By Month: December 2012
  • Photo: Lance Brashear

    New Year Celebrations in Ecuador

    The turning of the calendar in Ecuador from the old year to the new is as much a purification ritual as it is an artistic one and an opportunity for visitors to experience a New Year’s celebration like none other.

    The tradition of the “año viejo” (translated literally as old year) is a custom of symbolically ending the old year through the burning of “monigotes” or stuffed dummies, and all of the baggage associated with it.

  • Sugary & Festive – Christmas Treats in Ecuador

    Christmas season brings out the sweet tooth in everyone and the people of Ecuador are no exception.  These four desserts can be enjoyed throughout the year but are fancied even more during the holidays.  There are variations on the presentation and preparation of each, but today’s recipes come from Chef Pablo Zambrano of the Hilton Colon Hotel and his book 111 Platos Populares del Ecuador.  You can find these treats at the Hilton’s Café Colon or Sal & Pimienta Restaurant.  Throughout the city you will find these same treats in many restaurants and bakeries.

  • Photo: City of Quito

    The Nativities of Quito

    If there is one thing to understand about Quito, it is that this city is historically a deeply religious one.  From its colonial past to the present day, celebrations and traditions this time of year are often derived from Christianity’s most cherished story – the birth of Christ.

    During December the Christmas story is not only told through the popular tradition of the Novena–nine days of praying and celebrating the meaning of Christmas, often in the homes of family and friends–but the story plays out visually in the mounting of Nativity scenes large and small, traditional and contemporary, and offers a ubiquitous spectacle of a timeless tradition.

  • Feliz Navidad from Argentina

    Holiday season in Argentina officially begins with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception—or Inmaculada Concepción de María—a national holiday that’s celebrated each year on December 8.

    Most Argentines have the day off of work and spend it with family and friends, decorating Christmas trees and adorning their homes and apartments with holiday lights and red, white, and green wreaths.

  • Photo: Quito Tourism Office

    Christmas in Quito

    Aside from the multiple displays of great nativity scenes throughout the city, Quito is host to a number of activities that can be enjoyed by visitors and residents alike.  Here are some events you may wish to be a part of:


    Christmas Tours aboard the Quito Tour Bus

    Everyday at 9:00 a.m.

    -        2 hour tour through Quito aboard the double-decker tour bus

    -        Stop in the Plaza Grande to observe the Passing of the Child ritual

    -        Christmas ballet show

    -        Warm drink and Christmas candy bag included

    -        $16 for adults / $12 for everyone else

  • Christmas in the Andes

    Even though the majority of Peruvians are Catholic, the Andean culture is still very present in people’s beliefs. This results in a blending of cultural and religious mythology that makes the culture very rich in traditions and holidays.

    Cuzco celebrates Christmas with Santuranticuy – one of the biggest arts and crafts fairs in Peru. Preparations for this fair start six months before Chirstmas. Hundreds of artisans gather in and around the main square with traditional crafts creating a very picturesque atmosphere. Some camp out the night before to guarantee a good spot to sell their wares.

  • Mar del Plata: Buenos Aires’ Beachside Escape

    As spring transitions into summer in Buenos Aires you can still enjoy the rainbow-hued rose gardens of Parque Tres de Febrero and the purple blossoms of the jacaranda trees along Avenida Independencia.

    Signs of the city’s scorching summer are starting to arrive. Last week in Buenos Aires, temperatures rocketed up to 86 F (about 30°C). That’s causing many Buenos Aires locals, or porteños (as residents of this port city are known), to start daydreaming about escaping the city heat to the beach.

  • 5 Things to Do in Chiloé

    Chiloé is the largest island of the Chiloé Archipelago. It is located off the coast of Chile in the Pacific Ocean. The island is a must see if you are visiting Chile, especially in the summertime.

    What make this island magical and unique is its nature, beautiful landscape, world heritage sites, whales, culture and food. It is a land of mythology, ghost ships and witches.

    Chiloé offers many interesting things, but we will check five most exciting ones:

  • Photo: Lance Brashear

    Sugary-sweet adventures in Quito

    She points to a caramel colored treat: “This is ‘caca de perro.”

    Yes, you heard her correctly… dog poop.  It is a common site in downtown Quito where many ladies will try to sell it to you.  Just get past the name and give it a try.  These kernels of corn cooked with panela (unrefined sugar) and a few other ingredients like chocolate and vanilla extract, are one of Quito’s most famous candies.

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