Alakazam, alakazoo, witches roam the streets of Lima, Peru.
With Halloween just around the corner, I decided to head to Lima’s Mercado de las Brujas, or Witches’ Market. While these witches don’t wear pointed hats or fly on broomsticks, they do cook up powerful potions and folk remedies said to cure everything from a hangover to a broken heart.
As if Ciclovía weren’t already enough to make Sundays in Bogotá magical, the second half of the weekend is a shopper’s heaven in the capital. From north to south, there are tons of options for browsing antiques, handcrafts, jewelry, bags, leather, housewares and all those weird things that will probably never get sold.
America’s love affair with watching grown men pummel each other as they outrun their opponents while carrying a prolate spheroid a few dozen yards is still an alien concept in much of the world. Peru is no different. Here fútbol is king; football, not so much. But for the sports fans to whom Sundays are sacred, their dedication to the football doesn’t go on vacation — even when they find themselves in a foreign country.
The US gets a lot of (well-deserved) attention for its stellar breakfast food, but Colombia knows how to hold its own when it comes to the most important meal of the day.
From the bustling central cities to the laid-back Caribbean coast to the rural campesino communities in the south, everyone stocks up on energy food – and, of course, lots of carbs – before heading out to greet the day. Any Colombian will tell you that food here varies immensely by region – and the battles between different areas for culinary supremacy are fierce. Each part of the country has its own spin on the beloved arepa, its own fruit juices, its own cheese, bread, potato dishes, rice – you get the picture. This is just one of the many things that makes traveling throughout Colombia such an adventure: you’re always trying new flavors and dishes, no matter where you go!
It could take pages to go through all of the options available for morning foodies, but here’s a quick primer on a few of the most typical Colombian breakfast dishes, ranging from the positively mouthwatering to the ones that might make you wish you’d never gotten out of bed. Of course, all of them come with a fresh-brewed cup of Colombian coffee!
Photo: McKay Savage
It all started in 1968 when U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed that he wanted to celebrate one of the fastest growing populations in America – Latinos. Thus, National Hispanic Heritage Week was born. Fast forward to 1989 and that week-long observance was turned into a full month of celebrating the culture and traditions of people who are from or trace their roots to Spain, Mexico or the Spanish-speaking nations from Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off each year on Sept. 15 and it’s for good reason – this day is Independence Day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico and Chile celebrate their Independence from Spain on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.
While Peru commemorates its Fiestas Patrias - the day the nation broke away from Spain – on July 28, Peruvians by birth and by association (you know, those who just love all things Peru) can still celebrate the Andean nation through Oct. 15.
Here’s our three-step guide to celebrating this month-long American tradition with an air of Peruvian flair!
Photo: Omar Baez Camarena
Colombia is a music-loving country. From the northern tip of the Guajira peninsula to the southern reaches of the Colombian Amazon, the nation pulses with the beats of drums, guitars, percussion and, yes, accordions.
But it’s not a homogenous sound – rather, it’s a symphony of different rhythms, instruments and beats. Each region of the country has its own distinct musical tradition, developed from different cultural influences and the backgrounds of the people living there.
Sometimes it seems like each and every individual town has its own particular musical styling. One of the most important and uniquely Colombian genres, however, is cumbia, a traditional rhythm that blends the musical influences of many of the diverse cultures and ethnicities on Colombia’s Caribbean coast and continues to provide inspiration for many of the most popular Colombian bands today.
In recent years, Santiago has seen changes in immigration, which can be seen on the street where, for example, certain neighborhoods attract stores catering to specific nationalities, such as a strip of shops along the Plaza de Armas selling Peruvian products and courier services to Peru. We’ve also seen a change in culinary offerings from other countries in Latin America, but since the early 2000s, from considerably farther afield. This is due not only to immigration, but also to increased Chilean interest in trying foods from other cultures. One of those is Indian. We still don’t get restaurants specific to different states of India, but if you’re looking for something a bit more saucy, spicy and international than the usual Chilean offerings, the following Indian restaurants are a good place to start.
Chile’s gastronomic scene is hopping, with new ingredients, and new spins on old ingredients. And now, a new (to Chile) spin on a meal itself, the introduction of brunch to the Saturday and Sunday culinary scene in Santiago. Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch, and can include savory and sweet at the same meal, and essentially flies in the face of both the Chilean breakfast (it’s too big), and the Chilean lunch (it’s too varied). And while that might be the case, it’s catching on like crazy, with options at nearly every price point, and much of the length of the red line metro, from Las Condes down to Santiago Centro.
Photo: Ilan Greenfield
One of the most beautiful aspects of the Ecuadorian Andes is the diversity of crops grown throughout its valleys and terraced hills. These spectacular ‘patchwork’ landscapes, which are astoundingly beautiful themselves, offer small-scale farmers a seemingly endless variety of culinary treasures.
Photo: Barbara Eckstein
Brazil’s Costa Verde (Green Coast), a truly remarkable stretch of Atlantic Rainforest buckling over into sky-blue seas that paints the coast between Itaguaí in Rio de Janeiro state to Santos in São Paulo state, is one of Brazil’s most gorgeous patches of coastlines. It all culminates in postcard-perfect Paraty, a pristine piece of colonial beauty that counts UNESCO World Heritage status as a highlight on a long list of such.
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