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48 Hours in... Buenos Aires

15 hours ago
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Nuqui: Colombia's Pacific coast paradise

16 hours ago
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Our favourite... estancias in Argentina

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yesterday
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Expert's Guide to Guatemala

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2 days ago
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Food & Drink

Three Ways with Quinoa

5 days ago

Upcoming Event

05/08/2016 - 21/08/2016

2016 Olympics - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2 days ago
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Machu Picchu through the eyes of Hiram Bingham

5 days ago
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Buenos Aires to Patagonian Glaciers: A family holiday

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6 days ago
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Our favourite... luxury hotels in Chile

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7 days ago
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8 interesting facts about Easter Island

7 days ago
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Q&A: Fiona Raleigh and Hannah Waterhouse in Northern Peru

9 days ago
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Lifestyle

Journey Latin America's Inca Garden: The best bits

16 days ago
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A night on the floating islands of Lake Titicaca

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21 days ago
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Q&A: Caroline Maber in Peru

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22 days ago

Upcoming Event

07/09/2016 - 07/09/2016

Brazil Independence day - Brazil

2 days ago
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Q&A: David Nichols in Brazil

26 days ago

Ask the experts

We are 2 women in our 60s who want to visit Latin America for 2 weeks leaving UK Easter week end, but we haven't even made up our mind which country. Definitely Spanish speaking, a mixture of colonial, ancient culture and snorkeling preferably, we're worried about altitude sickness in such a short trip.

Asked by M B

Antigua, Guatemala has a weeklong celebration over Easter (known as Semana Santa). The city is a colonial gem and can be combined with market towns in the north of the country and beaches just over the border in Belize.

For somewhere a bit different, the combination of Nicaragua and El Salvador is fascinating – Nicaragua has volcanoes , white sand beaches and is very reasonably priced and El Salvador has a beautiful colonial town called Suchitoto which will be less busy than Antigua but the celebrations will be just as lively.

Semana Santa

Answered by Rafe Stone
Travel Consultant

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Upcoming Events

Rio de Janeiro sunset

2016 Olympics

5 - 21 Aug 2016

The world's largest sporting event, Olympic and Paralympic Games, takes place in Rio de Janeiro in 2016: it’s the Games first visit to South America. More than 140,000 people are currently working on the staging of the event and over 10,500 athletes from more than 200 nations will compete.

In order to accommodate all the visitors, Rio de Janeiro will undergo many infrastructural improvements but the city  will doubtless retain its unique carioca spirit, energy and warm welcome. Book your visit early to avoid disappointment…

Brazil flag

Brazil Independence day

7 - 7 Sep 2016

Thousands of people get together throughout Brazil to celebrate Brazilian Independence Day every year. The date celebrates Brazil's Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves on September 7, 1822.

People gather in the streets celebrating with banners, balloons and streamers. Students take part in the parade held on the morning waving their Brazilian flags. Military parades take place in many towns and cities but there’s a carnival atmosphere throughout the day where people of all ages take In the evening people gather to see firework displays. 

Costa Rica Independence Day

costa-rica-independence-day

14 - 14 Sep 2016

Independence Day in Costa Rica is celebrated on the 15th September. It commemorates the independence of the entire Central America from Spain in 1821. The day is declared a national holiday and is celebrated by raising the National Flag, singing the National Anthem and parades where school bands march with children dressed in traditional outfits dancing along. Traditional foods such as tamales and arroz con pollo (rice and chicken) are also sold in stands.

Christmas in Mexico City

Christmas

25 - 25 Dec 2016

Christmas in Latin America is not just celebrated on Christmas day but weeks in advance. It's a time for family gatherings and homemade cooking along with mass services and fireworks.

New Year in Rio de Janeiro

New Years Eve in Rio de Janeiro

31 - 31 Dec 2016

The bonfire show in Copacabana beach with millions of eager onlookers dressed in the traditional white, is a staple image shown across the world in the New Year.

Cartagena Hay festival

Cartagena Hay Festival

29 Jan - 1 Feb 2017

Literati from around Latin America and the rest of the world come together in the beautiful old town of Colombia's colonial city of Cartagena for this famous literary festival.

Talks and readings by authors and poets amongst other events take place in venues including the Plaza Santo Domingo, Casa Mapfre and Adolfo Meija Theatre.

Translations are made where necessary for both English and Spanish speaking audience members. Film screenings and music concerts take place in the evenings, and art, photography and science exhibitions also take place elsewhere around the city.

Carnival

Carnival

14 - 19 Feb 2017

Rio Carnival is South America’s biggest street party, lasting a total of four days. To join the main festivities you must head to the 'Sambodromo', the main arena where the various samba schools show off their flamboyant costumes and jaw-dropping samba steps.

With direct flights from London to Rio, you can leave Heathrow at 10pm be checking into your Copacabana hotel by 7am the next morning. February is the height of summer in Brazil so expect temperatures in the mid-thirties.

Semana santa

Semana Santa

24 - 27 Mar 2017

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is celebrated all over Latin America but is at its most spectacular in Antigua, Guatemala. The celebrations begin on Ash Wednesday and run throughout the Easter weekend and are a visual feast not to be missed.

The streets are carpeted in brightly coloured designs made from sawdust, fruit and flowers depicting the last days of Christ and there are thronging processions of religious floats accompanied by locals dressed in bright purple robes.

Dia de los trabajadores

Labour Day

30 - 30 Apr 2017

If you are traveling in Latin America on the first day of May, you can expect to find banks, government offices, stores, post offices and businesses closed for the day as people celebrate the Día Internacional Del Trabajo with parades, demonstrations and other symbols of solidarity with the worker.

It is  celebrated in Central America, for example Costa Rica and Panama, and in some parts of the Caribbean, including Cuba. It is also a national holiday in Mexico. In South America, it is observed in countries such as: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de mayo

4 - 4 May 2017

Cinco de Mayo is a regional holiday limited primarily to the state of Puebla held every year on the 5th May. It commemorates the unlikely victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla on (that day) 1862.

The celebrations are principally focused in the town of Puebla, but it is also celebrated throughout the United States. The actual date holds little significance these days, but the holiday has now become a celebration, particularly in the US, of Mexican heritage and pride, much as St. Patrick's Day is used to celebrate those of Irish ancestry. The celebrations in Puebla are still well worth seeing, despite the event becoming more of an American festival with celebrations taking place in more than 150 locations throughout the country.

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi

25 - 25 May 2017

The festival of Corpus Christi celebrates the Eucharist as the body of Christ. The name 'Corpus Christi' is Latin for 'the body of Christ'. In some Latin American cities, such as Cusco, in addition to a Mass, there are effervescent processions.

Thronging with crowds lining the cobbled streets, Cusco comes alive with effigies of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Each effigy is beautifully clothed in stunningly intricate costumes and is carried through the streets by the religious processions, making this an extraordinary spectacle.

Bumba meu boi

Bumba Meu Boi

22 - 24 Jun 2017

The festival is a dance-off competition that lasts for three nights. Boi Bumba roughly translates to "Beat the Bull." Each team has the chance tell the story of Boi (bull), and how he was killed and resurrected. Teams use allegories, costumes, giant puppets, musical instruments (mostly drums) and dance.

The best place to see the festival is the Amazonian island of Parintins, 370km east of Manaus. Another great place to celebrate Bumba Meu Boi is in São Luís, the capital of the Brazilian state of Maranhão from late June to August.

Belize flag

Belize Independence Day

20 - 20 Sep 2017

The little Caribbean country Belize, formerly the British colony  British Honduras, only achieved independence from Britain in 1981. For 3 weeks prior to the celebration of Independence Day in September there is a build-up of festivities including a series of musical events and joyous, costumed processions.

Street buildings are adorned with streamers in the red, white and blue of the Belizean flag and a spirit of effervescent patriotism pervades everywhere; possibly partly targeted at Guatemala which has long held territorial claims over the territory. Join in the fun: a calendar of events is published, please enquire with us. 

Mexican hot chocolate

Chocolate Week

12 - 18 Oct 2017

Some may say that the discovery of chocolate by the Aztecs to be one of the top 10 discoveries of the world. So in honour of this every day snack we do not take for granted, this week is dedicated to all thing chocolate.

Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead

1 - 2 Nov 2017

All of Mexico stops during the first two days of November for a nationwide communion with the dead, known locally as ‘Día de los Muertos'.

This is however a more joyful occasion than you might expect, as it’s both a remembrance of loved ones and a celebration of the eternal cycle of life and death. Perhaps the best place to see the celebrations is the island of Janitzio on Lake Pátzcuaro, where the bell at the entrance of the local cemetery rings all night long, calling the souls to return and join in the ceremony.

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