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  • Beyond Rio – Other Carnivals in Brazil

    For decades, Brazil’s international image has been synonymous with its festive Carnival season. And while Rio is ground zero for the action, it is certainly not the only place to celebrate. In a country as large and diverse as Brazil, various regions and cultures have created their own rendition of Carnival, differing from state to state. But to truly understand the diversification of Carnival, we need to take a look back at the party’s origins.
    Contrary to popular belief, Carnival isn’t actually a Brazilian creation; it’s a Catholic one, which is why Carnival is celebrated around the world. Introduced to Brazil in the early 1700s, the festival is essentially a chance for Catholics, or anyone looking to engage in a bit of revelry, to get in a few last bits of sin before Lent. In 1641, the first Brazilian Carnival celebrated the crowning of John IV as King, beginning a long and storied history of celebrations throughout the country.
    Although Rio Carnival is the most famous, it’s by no means the only festival worth visiting in Brazil. Here’s a look at where else to celebrate.

  • Photo: PortoBay Hotels & Resorts

    The Ultimate New Year Celebration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    There’s no denying it: few people know how to party quite like Brazilians do. If you’re looking for an unforgettable location to ring in the New Year, then look no further than Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Between dancing the night away under a starry sky to enjoying a grand, family-friendly fireworks display, here’s what you need to know to have the ultimate New Year’s Eve celebration in Rio.

  • Photo: Christopher Kirk

    Holiday Traditions in South America

    As a traveler or expat, experiencing the holidays outside the U.S. can be an eye opening and life changing experience. As we usher in a new holiday season and begin to reflect upon the past year, on the surface, traditions around the globe may appear very different, but dig a little deeper and you’ll see that we’re all just searching for a cause to celebration. With each country having their own interpretation of food, family and fun, you may be surprised to learn at the core just how similar we actually are, despite personal beliefs and rituals.

    Here are a few of our favorite ways to celebrate the Christmas season in South America.

  • Photo: Marisol Ferreira

    Dance The Holiday Hangover Off at Feria De Cali in Colombia

    While the rest of the world is nursing hangovers and food babies from Christmas dinner the night before, the Colombians in Cali are taking to the streets to burn off those calories in a way only they know how. A lesser-known festival in Colombia, Feria De Cali has largely been eclipsed by Carnival in Brazil in the media, but let me assure you, it’s well worth checking out. Salsa parties, food exhibitions, beauty pageants, and parades are just a few of the events you can expect during the six days of festivities. Come explore this year-end cultural celebration with us.

  • Photo: Ivan Mlinaric

    Barhopping in Barranco

    Whenever I bar hop, I do it in Barranco. This bohemian district in Lima is where you can find organic stores, small restaurants, art galleries and hipsters on bikes. I always go on foot because walking magnifies the whole experience.

  • Photo: Enjoy Peruvian Food

    Enjoy Peruvian Food at 30,000 Feet

    LAN Peru is giving travelers who have had Peru on their foodie destination radar another incentive to book that trip sooner than later. For a limited time, LAN Peru is helping travelers start their culinary experience the minute they step onboard by serving iconic, traditional Peruvian cuisine on the in-flight menu from Los Angeles, New York, Miami to Peru. Enjoy Peruvian Food

  • Mistura’s Greatest Hits

    by Erika Schuler

    Lima, September.
    An enormous grey blanket looms over the city, but there hasn’t been any rain. Some say Lima is gloomy in winter. But if you look closer, the city is having a party.

    Mistura’s Greatest Hits, Mistura is on.

  • Quirky Colombian Transportation

    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.

  • Vendimia: The Wine Harvest Festival

    Vendimia is the wine harvest festival and associated activities in Chile (and Argentina) related to the harvest of the wine grapes, and is generally celebrated in Chile in March and April, though dates vary from year to year, and valley to valley. Celebrations include tastings, music, food, dance, contests, and much merriment. They’re a great way to spend a day, afternoon, evening, weekend or more, getting to try many wines for a reasonable price, and all in one place. Here are some spots you may want to check out for Vendimia events in 2015. 

  • Photo: Riotur

    Carnival is Coming! But What the Heck Is it?

    It’s that time of year again – the World’s Largest Catholic Party!

    The official Carnival dates for 2015 are February 13-17 and no South American nation does Carnival better than Brazil (no offense, Barranquilla!). Whether you are with the millions crowded into the beaches and blocos in Rio de Janeiro or celebrating small-time on island paradises like Fernando de Noronha, Brazil has a Carnival for you. And even in places that don’t care much for Carnival (German-settled Blumenau in Santa Cantarina, for example), you still get a multi-day holiday where nothing much else happens other than drinking. But for the uninitiated, what exactly is it?

  • What to do in January: Buenos Aires

    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.

  • Salsa, Salsa, Salsa at the Feria de Cali

    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.

  • Photo:

    The Perfect Peruvian New Year’s 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. 

  • How To Add a Peruvian Twist to Any Holiday Meal

    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. 

  • 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. 

  • 3 Ways to Celebrate Peru during Hispanic Heritage Month

    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!

  • Sounds of Colombia: Cumbia

    Colombia is a music-loving country. From the northern tip of the Guajira peninsula to the southern reaches of the Colombian Amazon, the nation pulses with the beats of drums, guitars, percussion and, yes, accordions.

    But it’s not a homogenous sound – rather, it’s a symphony of different rhythms, instruments and beats. Each region of the country has its own distinct musical tradition, developed from different cultural influences and the backgrounds of the people living there.

    Sometimes it seems like each and every individual town has its own particular musical styling. One of the most important and uniquely Colombian genres, however, is cumbia, a traditional rhythm that blends the musical influences of many of the diverse cultures and ethnicities on Colombia’s Caribbean coast and continues to provide inspiration for many of the most popular Colombian bands today.

  • Bogotá’s “White Night” of Art

    This weekend, Bogotá’s bohemian La Soledad neighborhood stayed up well past its bedtime to celebrate the city’s artists and creative types with La Noche en Blanco (“White Night”).

    The event, now in its second year in the capital, closed the streets of a popular central neighborhood to cars and opened them to pedestrians, bikers, dogs and art enthusiasts, who strolled freely between performance spaces and projection screens from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday, September 27.

  • Summer in the City

    I know August isn’t a popular month back where I’m from, but it’s my favorite month in Bogotá. For Bogotanos, there are generally only two seasons: if it’s sunny, it’s summer; if it’s raining, it’s winter. This can be intensely confusing for anyone who was taught that it’s impossible to have more than one season in a given day, but that’s generally how it works. Except in August.

  • Photo: Paul Silva

    Mistura 2014: Your Guide to Getting your Grub On

    While it’s only recently received a nod from the international food community for its innovative dishes, creative ingredients and chefs who are committed to nothing less than perfection, Peru is (and has always been) a serious food country. Case in point – each September it hosts Mistura, South America’s largest and most popular food festival. This year half a million hungry food enthusiasts are expected to visit Costa Verde de Magdalena for the ten-day event which kicks off September 5.

  • Aguardiente: Colombian Fire Water

    Brazil has its cachaça, Argentina has laid claim to Malbec, Peru and Chile are perpetually fighting over who has the “real” pisco, and we all know that Nicaragua and Cuba are the places to go for top-shelf rum. When it comes to cocktail hour, Colombia is often the forgotten stepchild, without a readily identifiable liquor to help define it on the world stage.

    But just because Colombia hasn’t pioneered something with the popularity of the caipirinha or the pisco sour, that doesn’t mean this dance-crazy country doesn’t love its liquor. Does it ever. 

  • Where to See Live Music in Santiago

    If you’re visiting Santiago, Chile, and want to hear some local (or international) music, you’re in luck. You can choose from symphonic, jazz, blues, rock, indie, or traditional Chilean, in neighborhoods from Bellavista to Vitacura, and in settings as large as the 15,000-seat Movistar Arena, to standing-room-only for intimate concerts at places like the Centro Alameda’s El Living.  And if you’d like to listen to music while you eat, you can do that, too.

    Below are a list, of spots to check out for live music in Santiago, as well as tips on how to find your own.

  • Photo: Kevin Raub

    VIPpalooza Brazil: Observations From Inside Lollapalooza’s Lolla Lounge

    If you’ve ever attended a concert or been a fan of music, there’s little doubt you have wondered what goes on backstage. You’ve probably even tried to sneak back there! Although there’s much more to this privileged world than you might think (and we know what you might think), if you were the third installment of Lollapalooza Brazil, which parked itself at Brazil’s Formula One Grand Prix racetrack, Autódromo José Carlos Pace (commonly referred to as Interlagos) in São Paulo last weekend, the answer would be: Not a whole helluva lot.

  • Photo: Eli Watson

    Dancing Days: Festivals and Concerts in Colombia

    Colombia is known as the land of salsa and cumbia, but the country’s musical offerings aren’t limited to all rumba, all the time. As more foreigners continue to visit and international music becomes ever more popular, Colombia is turning into an important stop on the South America concert circuit for everyone from international DJs to superstars like Beyoncé. There’s a little something for everyone these days, whether your tastes run more toward EDM, reggae or even good old-fashioned ‘80s hair metal. Here’s a quick introduction to some of the biggest events and acts passing through Colombia in 2014:

  • Ñam: Unmissable Gastronomical Party

    For the fourth year in a row, the food summit ñam (say: nyam) will take place in Santiago Chile. This event, the name of which means, simply “yum” in Spanish, pulls together some of Latin America (and Spain)’s best chefs. The chefs will give workshops, talks, demonstrations, and of course, prepare food that participants can taste. In attendance there will be chefs from Chile, as well as visiting chefs from Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico.

  • Party Time: Carnaval de Barranquilla

    It’s time to get festive, because Carnival season is upon us! While Rio may get most of the world’s (well-deserved) attention and Mardi Gras is the place to be in the northern hemisphere, there’s a raucous Carnival taking place on Colombia’s Caribbean coast as well. For four days out of the year, the Atlantic port city of Barranquilla, perhaps best-known internationally as the hometown of famous colombianas Shakira and Sofia Vergara, turns into the national party capital as it celebrates its own unique take on Carnival. It’s a must-see cultural experience if you’re in the country at the right time.

  • Photo: Foto by Rudy Huhold, courtesy of EMBRATUR

    Começa a Folia! It’s Carnaval Time in Brazil!

    The annual rivalry between the football teams from the universities of Georgia and Florida may bill itself as the World’s Largest Cocktail Party, but anyone who knows anything about Carnival in Brazil would only laugh at such sentiments. There is no party on Earth that rivals Carnival in Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro, where millions of revelers fill the streets for days on end. Exultant mayhem is the only way to describe it – and it must be experienced to be believed.

  • Carnival: Peru’s Top Party Hot Spots

    From Italy to the Caribbean and even the United States (Mardi Gras), Carnival is celebrated in practically every region of the world with Catholic roots. The celebration traditionally falls in the days preceding Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, a period of 40 days where practicing Catholics typically abstain from parties and rich foods, while engaging in fasting and other activities viewed as pious. Historians believe this is where Carnival came into play.

    In the days leading up to Lent, all those rich foods – including the stockpiles of alcohol – needed to be spent and what better way than throwing a huge block party to get rid of it all (it’s like eating a box of brownies smothered in ice cream before starting a new diet).

    When thinking of Carnival in South America, the first vision that likely comes to mind is scantily clad women costumed in elaborately ornate headpieces Samba-ing their way through Rio de Janiero. While true for Brazil, the Portuguese-speaking nation isn’t the only place to get a piece of the Carnival action; Peru has a few parties all its own.

  • Beyond Christo and Copacabana: Rio de Janeiro Off the Beaten Path

    It’s no short order to escape the tourists in Rio de Janeiro. The city easily finds itself near the top of almost everyone’s to-visit list. And as one of the most beautiful and exotic urban landscapes on the planet, rightfully so. According to figures from Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism, over 9.2 million tourists disembarked in Brazil in 2012 – and almost every single one planted their toes into Rio’s remarkable city sands.

    The allure of the Cidade Maravilhosa is, in fact, too powerful to ignore for some, who find themselves back on their favorite air travel search site a few months down the line, frantically playing with dates and routes to find the most economic way in which they can return to lap up even more sun, sand and samba. Those folks have already visited Rio’s 5-star attractions – Christ the Redeemer, Pão de Açúcar, Copacobana, Ipanema, Santa Teresa etc. – and are looking to escape fellow nomads and go a little more local. The good news is it’s not an impossible wish, but you’ll need to be committed to the effort. Here are a few places in Brazil’s most visited city where you can (maybe!) escape most fellow foreigners …

  • A Mid-Summer Cultural Calendar

    Time to play catch-up: I’ve just arrived back to Buenos Aires after weeks of travel in Mexico, Peru, and the USA. Here’s my to-do list for the hot weeks of summer ahead (well, the cultural events, at least, I doubt anyone’s interested in hearing about getting my air-conditioner fixed or trying to get invited to a friend’s swimming pool.) Art, film, telescopes, acrobats, let’s do this.

  • Colombian Holiday Food

    A holiday isn’t really a holiday in Colombia without special food, and the Christmas/New Year’s season is no exception. Bakeries and restaurants seem to pull out all the stops when the end of the year rolls around, offering seasonal specialty plates, brightly-colored pastries and cookies and all manner of festive cocktails. The Christmas season revolves heavily around family life, offering endless opportunities for cooking and feeding large groups of people, and residents have risen to the challenge with some truly delicious creations. Much of the holiday food will be familiar to other celebrating Christmas and the December holidays around the world: turkey, pork, rice and potatoes are staples of many Christmas Eve meals across the country. However, there are also a handful of plates that are unique to Colombia and the Andean region. For most Colombians, a Christmas without these dishes wouldn’t taste like Christmas at all.

  • Photo: Riotur

    Ring in the New Year with Two Million of Your Closest Friends

    Rio de Janeiro needs no excuse to throw a party. In fact, the word for “party,” (festa) might just be one of the first words in Portuguese you master on a visit to the most beautiful city in the Southern Hemisphere, right after caipirinhacerveja (beer) and ressaca (hangover)!

    Seriously, though, New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro – known as Reveillon – is second only to Carnival in all stops being thrown out by the cariocas, as residents of Rio are known. Here’s what to expect:

  • Christmas in Cuenca

    In many countries, the northern hemisphere version of Christmas has virtually erased the more traditional ways of celebrating the original holiday. Santa Claus has certainly taken the world by storm.

    Ecuador has also fallen prey to the icons of globalized ‘X-mas’ – reindeers, elves, Grinches and all (which, of course, hardly make sense in a tropical, sunny, Andean, season-less country), including the insanity that prevails at all neighborhood malls. On the flip side, however, one can still experience the Passing of the Child parade on December 24, a ritual that dates back to colonial times.

  • Photo: I.D. R.J.

    Colombia’s Holiday Traditions

    Like any other event with the potential to involve sparkly objects, the holiday season (and Christmas in particular) is serious business in Colombia. People start putting up their decorations in mid-October, even before stores have sold out of Halloween costumes. In fact, some houses and even businesses across the country simply leave the lights up all year, dimming them during the off-season but leaving them ready at a moment’s notice to illuminate for the holidays. Though Santa Claus is less of a familiar face here than in some other countries, there are plenty of other holiday traditions that keep December warm, cozy and full of good cheer:

  • 5 of Colombia’s Most Magical Experiences

    Building on our magical realism theme from last week, we’re going to move beyond the (very pretty) superficial level and take a look at some of the most magical experiences visitors can have in Colombia. Of course, you can find magic just about anywhere in this country, but the destination or activity that catches your fancy will depend on your style. The outdoorsy types might find their happy place hiking through the páramos and national parks of the Andes, while others will be completely context luxuriating on a roof deck soaking up the Cartagena sun. Still, whatever your travel goals, these five experiences are sure to give your time in Colombia just a little more pizzazz:

  • Colombia in Costume

    With Halloween coming up, people across the country, especially in Halloween-crazy Bogotá, are preparing for a night of disguises. But October 31st isn’t the only time Colombians hide behind masks. In fact, the year is full of festivals and carnivals celebrating the country’s history, traditions, folklore and mythology with elaborate costumes and outfits. Here are a few examples of Colombia’s dressiest days:

  • Typical Food of the Chilean National Holiday

    September in Chile means several things. It represents the much-awaited beginning of spring, the time of year when you first start to see kids and their parents out flying kites, and most importantly, it’s when the national holiday (Fiestas Patrias) is celebrated.

    Every year, the 18th and 19th of September, are given over to celebrating chilenidad, all things Chilean, which means the cueca, which is the national dance, national costumes, typical games such as spinning tops and flying kites, and of course, enjoying the national foods.

    Below are some foods you won’t want to miss during Chile’s colorful Fiestas Patrias celebrations! Many of these are available year-round, but never in such great quantity, and usually not all together.

  • Welcome to the Neighborhood: Zona Rosa

    It’s entirely possible to spend a whole weekend going out in Bogotá without ever leaving the Zona Rosa. While I wouldn’t recommend this (there’s so much to see in the city!), the neighborhood certainly has enough to offer to keep any visitor entertained for at least 48 hours. As in other Latin American cities, the Zona Rosa is the main “going-out” part of town – but here, it’s so much more than that. Colloquially known as the “Zona T,” for the T-shaped pedestrian zone at its heart, these few square blocks are jam-packed with some of the city’s finest boutiques, tastiest restaurants and trendiest bars and clubs. Sit in La T on a weekend night and you’ll see many of Bogotá’s beautiful people strolling by. If you have more than one day in the city, the Zona Rosa is certainly worth a visit – if you’re looking for the party, look no farther!

  • Flower Festival in Medellín

    Medellín is known by locals and visitors alike as the “City of Eternal Spring,” and that title is never more deserved than during the first two weeks of August, when the city bursts into a blaze of color for its annual Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival). The festival, which has taken place every year since 1957, is a celebration of Medellín’s traditional products and economy – the region is the center of flower production for Colombia, which is one of the largest exporters of flowers in the world. But it has also become an opportunity for the city, which was recently named the world’s most innovative, to show off just what earned it that honor. With almost two weeks of bright colors, friendly (and attractive) locals and world-class spots to spend your downtime, the Feria makes falling in love near-inevitable.

  • Photo: Calle del Medio Restaurant

    A Night Out in Cusco

    I recommend you start your night at Calle del Medio Restaurant located in front of the Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). From the moment this place opened its doors, it was destined to become one of the city’s favorites. This might be because of its colorful and cozy atmosphere, but also because of its signature cuisine made of Andean ingredients, such as Alpaca brochette and Tartare de trucha (Trout tartar).

  • Partying with the Cool Kids in Chapinero

    Chapinero is the place to be for Bogotá’s young and hip crowd. This is where you find the punk rock kids, the sunglasses-wearing clubbers, the teenagers drinking beer away from the watchful eyes of their parents. Chapinero isn’t the clean-scrubbed young people waving their parents’ credit cards around the dark dance floors of the Zona Rosa and Zona T – in fact, the neighborhood is filled with so much facial hair and tattoos that you might be forgiven for thinking you had accidentally wandered into Williamsburg. But that – and the much lower price tag compared to the ritzier neighborhoods to the north – is what makes this area so appealing for so many. If you’re looking for a fun night out in the city without breaking the bank, here are a few suggestions to make the best of your night:

  • Photo: Quito Tourism Office

    72 Hours in Quito

    Day One: Old Town

    8 AM: Wake up to a leisurely breakfast at Casona de la Ronda, the boutique hotel located along old town’s iconic, cobblestone street.  After some traditional helpings of local fare, mixed with international dishes, and a great cup of coffee, take a walk.  Depart to the west, exiting La Ronda onto the 24 de Mayo Plaza until you reach Benalcazar Street.  Turn right and head toward the Plaza San Francisco. Other hotels in old town: Casa San Marcos, Casa Gangotena, Hotel Patio Andaluz, Hotel Plaza Grande.

  • Photo: BitBoy

    72 Hours in Santiago

    Santiago, Chile, a city of more than 6 million people has ultramodern glassed-in towers, colorful traditional markets, a resurgence of interest in old folkloric traditions, a sparkling metro, a large hill-turned-backyard to take it all in from and is overlooked by the towering, often snowcapped Andes. There’s way more than 72 hours worth of sightseeing and activities in and around Santiago, but if you had to limit it to just a long weekend, here are plenty of activities to keep you entertained, and give you a good overview

  • 72 Hours in Buenos Aires

    Just three days to see Buenos Aires, the second-largest city in South America? Que bardo (what a situation), a porteño might say. Forget visiting all the sights and focus on absorbing some of the city’s heady blend of old and new – Italian architecture, edgy street art, tango music, modernist cocktails, classic cafes – a dichotomy that makes Buenos Aires unforgettable.

  • Rocking in the Parks: Bogotá’s Yearlong Free Concert Series

    As far as I’m concerned, the only thing better than music is free music. While this attitude can get people in trouble with the RIAA, it’s a welcome idea in Bogotá, city of music in the park. I’m not just talking about street performers, although they do a solid business throughout the city’s many parks and plazas. Each year, Bogotá’s ministry of culture, along with various arts organizations, hosts a series of concerts and music festivals throughout the city. The concerts cater to all different tastes and styles of music, but the one thing they have in common is that they’re all free. Spaced out across the year, these shows are all part of the “al Parque” (In the Park) series that makes all kinds of music more accessible to Bogotá residents.

  • 72 Hours in Cartagena

    Colombia’s historic walled city is known for its stunning architecture, romantic atmosphere and excellent seafood. But with only 72 hours to spend in the city, how best to maximize your time there? There’s a month’s worth of activities and sightseeing to do, but here are a few suggestions to make the best of a long Caribbean weekend.

  • Photo: jbstafford

    Buenos Aires: A perfect night out in Palermo Soho

    Few neighborhoods in Buenos Aires are more well known for nightlife than Palermo, and the half of it that makes up the Palermo Soho subsection is particularly hopping come nightfall. The boundaries of Palermo Soho are roughly made up of Avenida Santa Fe to the northeast, Avenida Córdoba to the southwest, Avenida Scalabrini Ortiz to the southeast, and Avenida Juan B. Justo to the northwest. The area contains buzzing Plaza Serrano and is filled with trendy cafés, restaurants, and boutiques in colorful, low-rise buildings. Here, the red-brick streets are strolled by young, fashionable Porteños and expats. You’ll feel more comfortable out and about here if you dress up a bit.

  • Photo: Ayahuasca

    Trendy Bars in Lima

    I feel my city is getting more and more exciting each year. Now that winter has arrived and people can’t admit the summer party is over, bars start opening their doors, some for the very first time.

    Check out the hottest new bars and some that have already become classics in the city of kings:

  • A perfect Night Out in Buenos Aires: The Recoleta Barrio

    By day, the upscale Recoleta neighborhood is a top destination for visitors to Buenos Aires. The residential area is famed for the sprawling Recoleta Cemetery, a walled maze of elaborate 19th- and 20th-century crypts and mausoleums. Aside from the architectural wonders, the cemetery has historic appeal, as well: former first lady Eva Perón is buried here. On weekends, the nearby Plaza Francia, which sits adjacent to the cemetery, buzzes with a large open-air market. You can find traditional leather goods, jewelry, and other souvenirs here.

  • Photo: Prayitno

    Learn to Tango in Buenos Aires

    Aside from steak and maybe red wine, Argentina’s most famous export is tango— a sultry dance that originated in the port communities along the Río de la Plata, near Buenos Aires, in the 1890’s. Today, the dance and music are enjoying newfound popularity with young Argentines, infusing fresh energy into Buenos Aires’s nightlife.

  • Photo: Rosino

    Brazil’s Boa Morte Festival

    Though Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world, within its borders is a far more diverse religious melting pot often stirred by the country’s rich African roots, which are most evident in the northeastern state of Bahia. Here, Brazil’s most well-known Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomblé, maintains a powerful following.

  • Sip Wine & Ski the Slopes

    Just a few miles east of the Chilean border lies the northernmost ski resort in Argentina, Penitentes. The resort encompasses 740 acres of skiable terrain, with 20 groomed trails for beginner to expert skiers. Snowboarders are welcomed at the resort, as well. From the Penitentes slopes, you will be surrounded by the High Andes—you can even spot Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere.

  • Andrés Carne de Res: Where the Party Never Stops

    If you read enough guidebooks, you can be forgiven for thinking that half of a country falls into the “can’t-miss” category. While this phrase is heavily abused by the travel writers of the world, some things truly cannot be missed. This is the case for landmark restaurant Andrés Carne de Res near Bogotá.

    The restaurant, which has been an institution in the central Andes since it opened its first location in 1982, is nothing short of a delicious, colorful, musical all-night party. Plus, the fact that the flagship location takes up the space equivalent to a city block makes it literally impossible to miss it if you’re within a mile of it.

  • Photo: Feirinha Gastronômica

    São Paulo’s Gourmet Foodie Fair

    If there ever was a city ripe for the gourmet food truck pickens’, it would be São Paulo, one of the best foodie cities in the entirety of the Southern Hemisphere. The obvious combination of a captive audience of 21 million hungry mouths coupled with a city that works hard, eats even harder, means this culinary hotspot should be one giant traffic-snarled gastro rush hour. Except it’s not.

    Sampa has no gourmet food trucks. “Currently, there is no law that allows food trucks in São Paulo,” explains local foodie and event coordinator Mauricio Schuartz. “We see it happening in the near future but no one knows exactly how.”

  • Salsa for Beginners

    Most Latin American countries pulse with the rhythm of dance music, from reggaeton in the islands to sultry tango in Argentina. But when it comes to salsa, it’s all about Colombia. Sure, Cuba has a pretty strong claim on it, too but for a less logistically complicated dance break, Colombia is the best place to bring your dancing shoes.

  • Mistura: The Largest Food Festival in Latin America

    Did you know that Lima hosts the largest gastronomy fair in South America called Mistura? Last September this iconic event attracted half a million visitors and this year they are expecting around one million!

    This 10-day fiesta welcomes cooks, bakers, street food vendors, sweet vendors,  restaurants, culinary institutes, patrons, and many more.

  • Argentine Asados

    In a country famous for its steak, it’s no surprise that barbecues are a heralded event in Argentina. These “asados,” as barbecues here are called, are traditionally a family event and take place each week on Sundays. Generations gather in the afternoon and cook large amounts of different kinds of meat— everything from steaks, chicken, beef ribs, chorizo sausages, morcilla sausages, and, in Patagonia, lamb— over a large grill, which is usually set up outside, like a campfire pit or a stand-alone chimney. While the meat cooks throughout the afternoon, people nibble on charcuterie plates of cheese and sausage (in Argentina they are called “picadas”) and sip on red wine or cocktails of Coca-Cola and Fernet Branca, a bitter spirit made of herbs and spices. When the meat is ready, it’s often served with bread and simple salads; the classic Argentine salad is lettuce, tomato, and white onion, with a bit of olive oil and salt as dressing.

  • Photo: Thomas S.

    The History of Pisco

    Peruvian Pisco Sour is a national cocktail that you must try as soon as you arrive to Peru. It has become a welcome drink of our country. If you want a taste, you can also try a shot of its base liquor Quebranta Pisco.

    What is the history behind this Peruvian grape-based liquor?

  • Photo: Lance Brashear

    New Year Celebrations in Ecuador

    The turning of the calendar in Ecuador from the old year to the new is as much a purification ritual as it is an artistic one and an opportunity for visitors to experience a New Year’s celebration like none other.

    The tradition of the “año viejo” (translated literally as old year) is a custom of symbolically ending the old year through the burning of “monigotes” or stuffed dummies, and all of the baggage associated with it.

  • Photo: City of Quito

    The Nativities of Quito

    If there is one thing to understand about Quito, it is that this city is historically a deeply religious one.  From its colonial past to the present day, celebrations and traditions this time of year are often derived from Christianity’s most cherished story – the birth of Christ.

    During December the Christmas story is not only told through the popular tradition of the Novena–nine days of praying and celebrating the meaning of Christmas, often in the homes of family and friends–but the story plays out visually in the mounting of Nativity scenes large and small, traditional and contemporary, and offers a ubiquitous spectacle of a timeless tradition.

  • Feliz Navidad from Argentina

    Holiday season in Argentina officially begins with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception—or Inmaculada Concepción de María—a national holiday that’s celebrated each year on December 8.

    Most Argentines have the day off of work and spend it with family and friends, decorating Christmas trees and adorning their homes and apartments with holiday lights and red, white, and green wreaths.

  • Photo: Quito Tourism Office

    Christmas in Quito

    Aside from the multiple displays of great nativity scenes throughout the city, Quito is host to a number of activities that can be enjoyed by visitors and residents alike.  Here are some events you may wish to be a part of:


    Christmas Tours aboard the Quito Tour Bus

    Everyday at 9:00 a.m.

    –        2 hour tour through Quito aboard the double-decker tour bus

    –        Stop in the Plaza Grande to observe the Passing of the Child ritual

    –        Christmas ballet show

    –        Warm drink and Christmas candy bag included

    –        $16 for adults / $12 for everyone else

  • Christmas in the Andes

    Even though the majority of Peruvians are Catholic, the Andean culture is still very present in people’s beliefs. This results in a blending of cultural and religious mythology that makes the culture very rich in traditions and holidays.

    Cuzco celebrates Christmas with Santuranticuy – one of the biggest arts and crafts fairs in Peru. Preparations for this fair start six months before Chirstmas. Hundreds of artisans gather in and around the main square with traditional crafts creating a very picturesque atmosphere. Some camp out the night before to guarantee a good spot to sell their wares.

  • 5 Things to Do in Chiloé

    Chiloé is the largest island of the Chiloé Archipelago. It is located off the coast of Chile in the Pacific Ocean. The island is a must see if you are visiting Chile, especially in the summertime.

    What make this island magical and unique is its nature, beautiful landscape, world heritage sites, whales, culture and food. It is a land of mythology, ghost ships and witches.

    Chiloé offers many interesting things, but we will check five most exciting ones:

  • Salta: Argentina’s Red-Rock Capital

    Founded in 1582 by Spanish conquistadors, Salta is one of the oldest remaining settlements in all of Argentina. The city’s rich history is evident on nearly every corner, from the Pepto-Bismol pink, 19th-century Catedral Basílica de Salta in the main plaza, to the rows of colonial houses fanning out beyond.

  • Photo: Quito Tourism Office

    Get Ready for Fiestas de Quito

    Though already marked by controversy with the canceling of Quito’s quintessential act of celebration, the bullfights, this year’s “Fiestas de Quito” will still have more than 450 events held during the next three weeks for residents and visitors alike.

    Fiestas de Quito is the capital city’s celebration to honor its founding, officially marked as December 6, 1534 when 204 Spanish conquerors entered the city where the Spanish would remain for three centuries during their colonial reign. Though the Spanish many years ago, their influence has remained to the present day. Though the diminishing cultural spectacle of the “toros” would seem a significant blow to the city, ever since the 1960s Quito’s annual celebration has grown in ways previously unimaginable.

  • Alternative Tours in Cusco

    If you are the type of traveler that likes to travel off the beaten path, here are some alternative tours in Cusco for you to explore.

    Land of the Yachaqs

    Yachaqs means Wise in Quechua, the language of the Incas. Less than two hours away from Cusco, in the Sacred Valley, there are communities that carry on the wisdom and way of life of Incan ancestors. You can visit eight of the many communities in the area and experience their traditions, agricultural and artisan techniques.

  • Chile’s Central Valley: The Wine Route

    The central zone of Chile, located between two mountain ranges: the Andes and Coastal ranges, is home to fertile valleys bathed by different rivers. Taking advantage of these special characteristics, this area of the country has seen the establishment of vineyards that produce different and exquisite varieties of wines. It’s led to Chile being recognized as one of the main exporters of wine from the “new world.”

  • Oktoberfest in Córdoba

    If Argentina is associated with any one beverage, it’s usually wine, not beer. But many families in Argentina trace their roots back to Germany, and nowhere is that heritage more evident than in the massive Oktoberfest celebration each spring in Villa General Belgrano, a picturesque town in the province of Córdoba.

  • Chile’s Independence Celebrations

    Chile celebrates its independence from Spain in September and the entire month is recognized as the “Month of the Nation.” The weather has begun to change, spring has almost arrived and the sun sets the mood for a celebration.

    Fiestas Patrias, or more commonly, Dieciocho, are the names given to the holiday celebrations that take place on September 18 and 19. This year festivities will also take place on Monday the 17th. But don’t be surprised if you discover that the celebrations already got started. Because Chileans are patriotic and like to always have fun, the Fiestas Patrias provide a great excuse for a party.

  • Polo in Argentina

    Polo has long been the favored pastime of Argentina’s elite, and for years, there were few opportunities for visitors to experience the sport themselves. In Argentina, polo is usually played mainly at exclusive members’ only clubs, and the few tournaments each year can be expensive to attend.

    But recently one polo club, located on a picturesque estancia about an hour’s drive outside the center of Buenos Aires, opened itself up to non-member visitors for daylong excursions. The program is simply called Argentina Polo Day.

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