These days, porteños go to Abasto’s landmark building to catch a movie, shop at Nike or Zara, take their kids to the Museo de los Niños, or grab lunch at the only kosher McDonalds outside of Israel. But for nearly one hundred years before that, the building served an important function in Argentina’s rapidly developing economy – the Mercado del Abasto was the largest wholesale fruit and vegetable market in the city.
For the last seven years, food lovers have flocked to South America’s most grandiose food festival – Mistura – and this year is no different (save for a few details). With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Costa Verde on the other, Mistura stretches 37 acres in Lima’s Magdalena del Mar district. It is there that chefs and restaurants from every corner of Peru cook up their most-loved dishes. For 10 days each September locals and foreigners, travelers and foodies walk through Mistura’s gates and into a new world, or as 2014 would have it 12 new ‘worlds.’
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for – watching the clouds that hang low over Machu Picchu clear to reveal the former Inca citadel surrounded by a verdant landscape. But that lifelong dream quickly turns into a nightmare when you realize you didn’t buy your tickets in advance.
Fear not, curious explorers, we at Only in South America have you covered.
Photo: Renato Ganoza
Colombia’s most famous caffeinated beverage may come from beans, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing around for the tea-lovers out there (the sheer number of British expats living in the country should reassure anyone with concerns on the matter). Though tea isn’t literally growing out the ground like coffee, there are a number of cafes and shops dedicated to the fine art of producing a great cup of tea – if you want the leaves read, though, you’ll probably have to go elsewhere.
With its chilly Andean climate and international influence, Bogotá is one of the best places in the country to find a quality cup or two. So if you find yourself without much to do on a rainy Bogotá afternoon, grab a good book (or your iPad) and head to one of these steamy spots.
Photo: Natalie Southwick
As if there weren’t already enough happening in Colombia in August — with Bogotá’s Summer Festival, Medellín’s Flower Festival and the Petronio Álvarez celebration of Afro-Colombian music and culture in Cali – central Colombia’s favorite colonial town, Villa de Leyva, has to get in on the action with a colorful celebration of its own.
Photo: Daniel Piraino
I say no problem! Since the early 1980s, and maybe even before, it was common knowledge that one could only really last a day or two in Guayaquil. Just as people were heading to tiny Ecuador ‘for tourism’, thanks to the hype of the Galápagos Islands, Guayaquil could barely reap the benefits. All that changed recently when the Malecón, the city’s riverside park was revamped, but still, after you’d seen that… then what? Could you last more than two days? What would I do if I were six days in Guayaquil?
“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.
Photo: Kevin Raub
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.
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