Photo: Alma de Viaje
Easter week is a big deal throughout the predominantly Catholic, Spanish-speaking world and Peru is no exception. The country really comes alive during Semana Santa, the week leading up to Easter. This year, revelers will start celebrating Holy Week on Palm Sunday, April 13. The celebrations will wrap up the following week on Easter Sunday, April 20.
April is one of the busiest months for cultural events in Bogotá, and this year things are kicking into especially high gear with the 14th Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro (Iberoamerican Theater Festival), which takes place every even-numbered year here in the capital. Though the festival is relatively young, it has enjoyed remarkable success in the years since its founding in 1988, and is now one of the largest theater festivals in the world.
Photo: Kevin Raub
Whatever toots your horn: Hiking, biking, diving, mountains, canyons, flora, fauna, dunes, rivers, oceans, caves or prehistoric rock paintings – the list is exhausting, actually! – Brazil has got a reason for you to ditch the Havaianas and get out and about with some sort of nature that doesn’t involve caipirinhas on the beach and sand in your sunga (that’s Portuguese for those Speedo-type bathing suits!).
Over 15% of Brazil is under environmental protection, clocking in at 1.3 million sq km to be exact. Between Atlantic rainforest, tropical rainforest protected wetlands and the most amphibian, bird, mammal, reptile, and vascular plant species on Earth (according to Mongo Bay, one of the world’s most respected environmental science and conservation news sites), Brazil is the world’s most biodiverse country, which leaves a wealth of national parks to explore beyond Ipanema and Copacabana – nearly 70 in total. Here are our five favorites:
Learning about Malbec grapes – and the importance of creativity, tradition, pleasure, and family – in Argentina’s wine capital.
When an opportunity arises to visit Argentina’s most famous wine region during harvest, there’s only one thing to do: pack your bags. But you don’t want to show up in Mendoza without a plan. There’s so much to do – wineries, mountains to climb, rivers to raft, a landscape so vast that you need to have a few priorities in mind.
Photo: Ilan Greenfield
Quito truly offers great tourism attractions all around. But there is only so much a young tourist can handle. And as special as a moment inside a beautiful church or a spectacular vista from the city’s many viewpoints can be, kids need some full-hearted attention to their playing needs.
Photo: Philippa Kikelly
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world,” penned renowned travel writer Freya Stark in her 1932 book Baghdad Sketches.
I can attest to this. I just completed my very first solo adventure last month, though I will admit, it was less “pleasant sensation” and more terrifying fear that rattled my nerves; at least in the days leading up to the trip.
While I was nervous, the experience was one I can only call amazing. Going it alone meant not only seeing I wanted to see, when I wanted to see it but also getting to eat at this great hole-in-the-wall multiple times and going to bed at 7 p.m. one night after an exhausting day sightseeing.
With its sweeping vistas, rich history and diverse terrain Peru is the perfect place to explore on your own.
Photo: Eli Watson
Colombia is known as the land of salsa and cumbia, but the country’s musical offerings aren’t limited to all rumba, all the time. As more foreigners continue to visit and international music becomes ever more popular, Colombia is turning into an important stop on the South America concert circuit for everyone from international DJs to superstars like Beyoncé. There’s a little something for everyone these days, whether your tastes run more toward EDM, reggae or even good old-fashioned ‘80s hair metal. Here’s a quick introduction to some of the biggest events and acts passing through Colombia in 2014:
Sushi is everywhere in Brazil’s biggest city. As I’m sure you’ve no doubt read, São Paulo is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, centered in and around the fascinating neighborhood of Liberdade (we’re not even sure if that fact has ever been substantiated but there you go). The problem is, the majority of it is unimpressive, sold as all-you-can-eat extravaganzas from bad buffet restaurants whose fish selection rarely extends beyond imported farmed salmon six different ways. Não, obrigado.
Why subject yourself to a bad Brazilian experience when you can have an authentic Japanese one in Brazil? There are some serious, serious sushi joints in São Paulo. If you know the right places to go, you’ll do a double-take and check your passport as you enter.
Photo: Eileen Smith
For the fourth year in a row, the food summit ñam (say: nyam) will take place in Santiago Chile. This event, the name of which means, simply “yum” in Spanish, pulls together some of Latin America (and Spain)’s best chefs. The chefs will give workshops, talks, demonstrations, and of course, prepare food that participants can taste. In attendance there will be chefs from Chile, as well as visiting chefs from Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico.
It’s time to harvest the grapes in Argentina’s winegrowing capital. Thanks to Mendoza’s reputation as a world-class producer of Malbec – not to mention affordable prices and a stunning location at the base of the Andes – tourist numbers are up. But plenty of visitors arrive with the idea that they can go it alone, renting a car, exploring the country roads, stopping into tasting rooms on a whim. What they don’t know – and what can end up being a terrible disappointment – is that most wineries require reservations that are strictly enforced at the gates by security guards with clipboards. Mendoza is, in short, one destination where you’re better off leaving your plans to the professionals.