The Portuguese left an indelible mark on Brazil when they finally got out of town in 1822. There are number of charming colonial towns built by the Portuguese throughout the country. These sleepy towns and villages, flush with whitewashed architecture accented by a kaleidoscopic array of flash and color, are the perfect spots to kickback with nothing to do but wander the stuck-in-time cobblestoned streets. No photographic skills necessary, these gems do all the work for you, around each and every turn a new postcard Brazilian moment.
If you visit any of these sleepy Kodak-moment towns, you can impress the locals with your knowledge of the local vernacular. The word for “cobblestones” is one of the most entertaining words in Portuguese: Paralelepípedos.
Good luck with that!
Surrounded, and often overshadowed, by the countries that border it — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru — Bolivia remains mysterious to many travelers. Luckily, there’s a small but vibrant Bolivian presence in Buenos Aires that’s on colorful display at street festivals and in the city’s very own Barrio Boliviano.
Geography is destiny. For proof, look no further than Easter Island. It sits in blessed isolation, in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, with nothing around it for over 1,000 miles. The closest continental point is in Chile, over 2,000 miles away.
As one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands, it has managed to preserve much of its aboriginal Rapa Nui culture. Its isolation, however, has also created some unique challenges, many of which LAN Airlines is helping to solve.
Photo: Theodore Scott
For our neighbors to the north (Northern Hemisphere, that is), spring break is here and summer is just around the corner. For those hoping to get away for a little vacay, now is the perfect time to start planning it.
One region that I recently discovered is Northern Peru. Its pristine beaches, endless outdoor activities and cuisine all its own make it a great getaway for the entire family. Plus, Northern Peru already serves as a playground for Peruvians, so the infrastructure for family-friendly activities and accommodations are already in place.
Perhaps the most developed city to visit in Northern Peru is Máncora. Called the “Hawaii of Peru,” Máncora is one of Peru’s most popular beach towns. Consistently warm weather and clear skies mean vacationers flock here year-round.
Photo: Eileen Smith
For many years, Valdivia, together with all its rivers, was subsumed into Chile’s famous Lakes Region, leafy and splashy and beautiful, yet different. In 2007, this region got a name of its own, and Valdivia is its cultural capital, La Región de Los Ríos, or the Rivers Region of Chile.
Photo: Ben K
Come to Brazil for a little fun in the sun? Well, you’re in luck. There’s 4654 miles of sun-toasted coastline for that. But therein lies the problem: How to choose? There are plenty of great beaches where tourists routinely go – Rio de Janeiro, Búzios, Salvador, Recife/Olinda, Fortaleza, etc – but these are urban destinations with urban beaches, so finding that postcard-perfect patch of paradise and having it all for you and yours just isn’t going to be in the cards.
And while there probably aren’t too many places left at all in Brazil where you can have an entire beach to yourself (it’s not impossible mind you!), you can do a whole lot better than the crowded city beaches in Brazil’s most on-the-beaten-path destinations. Brazil’s best beaches are the ones that few people visit, either due to isolation or legislation.
If you want to escape the crowds, the beach vendors, the wayward frescoballs and the surfers, keeping the sun and sand to pretty much yourself, look no further than these five, of all which you must see before you die (you and everybody else – just not at the same time!).
A century ago, it was the place for Buenos Aires’ Italian immigrants to stock up on imported cheeses and replacement wheel spokes for their horse-drawn carriages. Today, you can still come to San Telmo’s old-fashioned market to pick up provolone—plus a vintage tango poster and a perfectly prepared cappuccino.
Photo: Kevin Raub
You’ve arrived in São Paulo and it doesn’t take long for you to realize that the options for getting yourself out of the airport are as dizzying and overwhelming as the city itself! But rest assured, that’s only because you probably aren’t familiar with GRU Airport and you probably don’t speak Portuguese. But calma, as Brazilians would say. We’re here for you.
One notable pleasantry that differs significantly from the arrivals hall of other countries in South America is that in Brazil, you don’t have an army of unauthorized transport services screaming at you and tugging at your sleeves as you emerge from customs. You might have one or two folks ask you politely if you need a taxi, but it’s rare, less insistent and certainly less obnoxious than Spanish-speaking countries.
Here are your options (from the costliest to the cheapest)!
Planes, trains and automobiles are old news, but what about Willys?
Due to its historic isolation, varied terrain and natural barriers, Colombia has been forced to get creative over the decades when it comes to moving people and things around the country. Of course, there are plenty (some might even say too many) of trucks, cars, taxis and buses circulating throughout Colombia’s major cities, but what about the farmland that makes up the rest of the country? From the rivers of the Amazon to the rolling hills of the coffee region, there are still plenty of places in the country where people still get around in ways that make cars look boring.
São Paulo’s Liberdade neighborhood is the epicenter of what is said to be the largest Japanese population outside Japan. Brazil is home to an estimated 1.5 million Japanese-Brazilians, many of them living right here in this bustling neighborhood 1km south of Centro, with a tad bit of Chinese and Korean sprinkled in for good measure (some of the city’s best Chinese restaurants are here and South Korea’s Melona honeydew melon-flavored popsicles are wildly popular in the streets as well).