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  • 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 …

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