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  • Buenos Aires for Francophiles

    Paris is almost seven thousand miles away from Buenos Aires. But French cultural roots run surprisingly deep in Argentina. That’s because, after Spanish and Italians, French make up the third largest ancestral group in the country: according to the official records, around 261,000 French people immigrated to Argentina between 1857 and 1946. (One of the most notable? A two-year-old boy named Charles Gardes, who left France with his mother in 1893 – later known as Carlos Gardel, the greatest tango legend of all time.)

  • Photo: Linda Paul

    The Boleto Turístico: Everything You Need to Know About Peru’s Tourist Ticket

    Even before Peru became a nation, Cusco was an important city. Five centuries ago, it was the heart of the Incas. During its prime, the Incas used Cusco as the capital of their ever-growing empire and actually viewed it as more important than Machu Picchu. It is where the Spanish established their power which lead to the decline in the Inca empire and the rise of Spanish control over Peru. Nowadays, Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a place that nearly two million visitors embark on each year.

    For these reasons Cusco, and the surrounding area known as el Valle Sagrado, contain a wealth of history, museums and archaeological sites. 

  • Valledupar: The Birthplace of Vallenato

    Colombia is famously a nation of distinct regions – and perhaps even more famously a nation of strong musical tradition. Every part of the country has given rise to or adopted its own distinct musical style, from cumbia on the Caribbean coast to the piping Andean melodies in the southwest. But perhaps no place takes its musical birthright as seriously as the northern city of Valledupar, the proclaimed cradle of the folk style known as vallenato.

    If you go to Valledupar looking for something other than vallenato, you may run out of activities fairly quickly, but there’s a certain charm to taking a long lunch – and then maybe a nap to avoid the brutal midday heat – and relaxing in the central plaza with a cup of icy pineapple juice. 

  • Street Art is Alive and Well in Bogotá

    Bogotá is quickly becoming a major player on the street art scene, drawing international artists as well as creating plenty of homegrown talent. The central Candelaria neighborhood and the major thoroughfare of Calle 26, as well as many other neighborhoods, are living canvases, constantly evolving and adding new works.

    Visitors and locals alike have long marveled at the innovative works coming out of the Colombian capital, and the international community is finally starting to take notice as well, with Bogotá popping up on lists of the world’s best cities for street art. With a long history, plenty of cause for social commentary and ever more buildings springing up across the city, local artists are unlikely to run out of inspiration – or canvas – anytime soon!

    Here are some of the best places to see Bogotá’s best free art, and a few of the big-name artists to look out for. Who knows – one of them could be the next Banksy!

  • Day Trips from La Serena

    With long white sand beaches, and a tranquil vibe throughout most of the year, La Serena is one of Northern Chile’s most popular beach vacation spots. For Santiaguinos and foreigners alike, the city’s location on a long beach with swimmable warm waters makes it ideal for a couple of days’ stop on a longer trip, or as a destination unto itself.

    Once visitors have seen the sights in town, which include the beach, the local market and the lighthouse, many choose to head out of town to do some exploration. In nearby Coquimbo are both the Cruz del Tercer Milenio, a monument in the form of a giant cross (visible from La Serena, and you can go inside for great views over the bay) and the mosque. There is also a very lively fish market. But there’s no reason to limit oneself to Coquimbo, either. The area is full of day trip possibilities, some of which are detailed below, so when you find yourself traveling through Chile, check them out.

  • A Day North of the Mapocho River in Santiago, Chile

    Tourists visiting Santiago usually divide their time among uptown, downtown and out of town, where out of town includes the wine country, the coast, the mountains, or a combination of all three. But there’s another way to think of the city, which is to use the Mapocho River—which runs down from Cajón de Maipo through the city—as a dividing line between north and south.

  • Photo: Embratur

    Weekend Getaway: Salvador

    Easily Brazil’s richest capital for history and culture, Salvador is the big and bountiful jewel of Bahia, arguably Brazil’s most vivid and beautiful state. The city’s history, steeped heavily in Afro-Brazilian culture, manifests itself in many ways, namely in the colorful colonial center of Pelourinho and, most importantly (in my humble opinion, anyway!), the food, but also in the religion (Candomblé is strongest here), the sport (this capoeira central) and the deeply African-influenced habits, customs and appearances of the population. A weekend in Salvador is a journey through all that makes up the diverse recipe called Brazil in one immensely cinematic city. And just to spice things up a bit, everything here is hot – the people, the weather and the food.

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