Photo: Terra Hall
“Perdoname,” I said, interrupting a shopkeeper organizing miniature versions of Machu Picchu. “Tiene La Ultima Cena con el cuy.” He didn’t, so, I exited what must’ve been the twentieth store I asked, sighing, “Oh well. On to the 21st.”
I did finally hunt down the Cusqueñan version of the Last Supper painting my mother requested and now has framed in her living room, but it wasn’t without my fair share of begging, asking, demanding, searching and, of course, haggling.
I didn’t quite realize just how weird it was to be at a water park in the dead of winter without a wife and kids in tow until I got to dinner on my first night: I was alone in my solitude at the buffet at Beach Park Acqua Resort. But then the friendly waiter flipped-out on me, saying I reminded him of Coldplay singer Chris Martin (I usually get David Duchovny, so this was odd but nice; what’s not to like about Coldplay?); and then I stepped up to the buffet to find tacos and carnitas Michoacán – both rarer than a Coldplay spotting in Brazil! – and I decided I didn’t care.
I got my ego pumped and my Mexican fix and tomorrow I shall take on Insano, which once held the Guinness Book of World Records record for the “World’s Tallest Water Slide” at 135-feet tall, today just a terrifying wet freefall that dominates the skyline near the suburban Fortaleza beach of Porto das Dunas 10 miles east of the city (the tallest in the world is now Kilimanjaro at Aldeia das Águas Park Resort in Barra do Piraí, Rio de Janeiro, in case you were wondering). What’s with Brazilians and these cloud-kissing waterslides? I head to Beach Park to find out.
Photo: Hector Garcia
Viña del Mar is Santiago’s weekend and summer getaway, a coastal city with a long beach walk, museums, a castle, a large park, interesting architecture, a famous casino and of course, wide expanses of the Pacific Ocean to look at from many points of the city.
Below are some places and activities to interest visitors of all ages to this sunny city that’s just 15 minutes from the UNESCO-listed Valparaíso, and about an hour and a half from Santiago.
Photo: Mark Fischer
Between the expansive coastal desert, the snowcapped mountains that stretch towards the sky and the verdant forests that make up the Amazon jungle, Peru is one of the most visually interesting countries in Latin America. Alongside its diverse landscape and culture is an equally varied climate.
All of this can make packing for an adventure in Peru a bit tricky. But fear not; there is an art to making sure all the essentials make it in your suitcase, while still leaving space for the knickknacks you collect along your journey.
At the beginning of every trip, you arrive, and from that moment, you’ve got to figure out where you’re headed next. Santiago’s Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport airport is located quite close to the city, especially in comparison to some other major cities of the world, where getting to and from the airport can take an hour or more. During low-traffic times, most of Santiago is within about a half-hour’s drive of the airport. Here are four ways to make the most of your time and money when transferring between the airport and your hotel.
Photo: Ilan Greenfield
The Galápagos Islands are a destination that will inevitably stay in your mind long after you visit them, and conversely, can live with you long before you’ve actually booked a visit, thanks to the abundant literature and many nature shows that highlight their wonders. They are certainly the stuff of fantasy. A coveted destination, no doubt, those who become obsessed with this one-and-only archipelago, always want to go deeper, know more about it, dreaming of returning if they’ve been or one day, finally, stand on its shores, admire its wildlife and swim in its seas, if they haven’t.
Photo: Frank_am_Main and Olaf
While it’s called “the poor man’s Galapagos,” las Islas Ballestas are full of rich natural treasures. The magnificent islands, comprised of jagged rocks that the sea has eroded away and turned into caves, caverns and arches, jut out of the Pacific Ocean. It is here that dozens of sea life species seek refuge.
Photo: McKay Savage
It’s nearly impossible to spend more than a day in Bogotá without being peer-pressured by locals to make the trek out to the nearby town of Zipaquirá. The main attraction in town is the Salt Cathedral, a somewhat peculiar, religiously-inclined sort of museum inside a massive salt mine – however, the city is also a lovely example of a typical central Andean village, and there’s plenty to see in addition to walking through the Stations of the Cross in an underground salt mine.
When the first thing I saw upon arrival was a young girl bathing her dog in the river, I knew things were different on Ilha do Marajó, a river island nearly the size of Switzerland at the mouth of the Amazonas, Tocantins and Xingú rivers on the northern tip of Pará state. Outside of urban areas, most Brazilians wouldn’t think twice about a dirty dog, but the Marajoara do things their own way. So much so that ironically enough, dogs aren’t even the usual pet of choice.
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