LAN Airlines recently received a question from a frequent flyer: “We have five days in Buenos Aires. What are some of the must-see things to do that are not the general tourist activitites?” We thought it made a good topic for the Only in South America blog. My five recommendations follow.
Photo: Emmanuel Iarussi
Lots of travelers plan trips to Argentina in January – a few weeks that happen to be the hottest (and quietest) of the year in Buenos Aires. But there are benefits to spending a few days in the capital city this month: since many locals are away on vacation, there’s lighter traffic and shorter wait times at popular restaurants. Here, a few ideas of where to go and what to do in January to take advantage of an emptier-than-usual city.
Photo: Ivan David Gomez Arce
December is a big deal in Colombia, and not only because of the Christmas season or because everyone is on vacation. The end of the year also brings the Feria de Cali, a multi-day salsa extravaganza (salsastravaganza?) that packs the streets of this southwestern city with parades and dancers of all levels. People practice for months to show off their best moves, so prepare to be blown away by some of the country’s most talented dancers and a city that really knows how to party.
New Year’s Eve is quickly approaching, which means if you’re coming to Peru for the festivities, you should start making plans for how you’ll say goodbye to 2014 and ring in 2015 now.
The epicenters for New Year’s Eve celebrations in Peru are Lima and Cusco, though parties and festivals go down in every city throughout the Andean nation. For a no-frills celebration, reach out to your hostel or hotel to ask what it has planned. Depending on the property, you can expect everything from a simple champagne toast at midnight to a raging party that continues into the wee hours of the morning.
If hitting the bars and clubs is more your thing, keep reading.
Photo: Alihf Esparza
It’s that time of year again. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving (Nov. 27), Hanukkah (Dec. 16-24), Yule (Dec. 21), Nochebuena (Dec. 24), Christmas (Dec. 25), Kwanzaa (Dec. 26-Jan.1) or something else entirely, chances are sometime within the next month, you, your family and your friends will gather ’round the dinner table to express your blessings and share a meal together. And while tradition – I’m talking foods like turkey to latkes and everything in between – is nice, sometimes it’s worth spicing up the holiday spread.
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.
Photo: Terra Hall
Alakazam, alakazoo, witches roam the streets of Lima, Peru.
With Halloween just around the corner, I decided to head to Lima’s Mercado de las Brujas, or Witches’ Market. While these witches don’t wear pointed hats or fly on broomsticks, they do cook up powerful potions and folk remedies said to cure everything from a hangover to a broken heart.
Photo: Jorge Lascar
Tourists visiting Buenos Aires for the first time always ask the same question: where can we watch tango? The answer isn’t so straightforward – but for the sake of simplicity, you generally have three options: on the street, at a milonga (tango club) or at a tourist-oriented tango show.
Photo: McKay Savage
It all started in 1968 when U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed that he wanted to celebrate one of the fastest growing populations in America – Latinos. Thus, National Hispanic Heritage Week was born. Fast forward to 1989 and that week-long observance was turned into a full month of celebrating the culture and traditions of people who are from or trace their roots to Spain, Mexico or the Spanish-speaking nations from Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off each year on Sept. 15 and it’s for good reason – this day is Independence Day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico and Chile celebrate their Independence from Spain on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.
While Peru commemorates its Fiestas Patrias - the day the nation broke away from Spain – on July 28, Peruvians by birth and by association (you know, those who just love all things Peru) can still celebrate the Andean nation through Oct. 15.
Here’s our three-step guide to celebrating this month-long American tradition with an air of Peruvian flair!