Most of us know Latin America is famed for carnival and the intoxicating sounds associated with the festival. But did you know Hemingway called this place home, that the seas were graced by pirates on whom books were written and how much art and textiles are created in this region of the world? Take a music, art or literary tour to find out.
- Hemingway, Cuba
Down a daiquiri at Hemingway’s favorite bar, the Restaurante El Floridita in Havana where he had more than a few himself. Hemingway made Cuba the most permanent home he ever made anywhere. You can visit all his favorite haunts including his room at the Hotel Ambros Mundos where he wrote “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and his 15-acre estate and museum La Finca Vigia.
- Tango, Argentina
This musical style and the sexy dance performed to it has become an embryonic part of Buenos Aires history and culture. This culture comes to a head at the annual Buenos Aires festival. There’s also a historical tango circuit to follow through a network of streets and corners where you can experience the history first hand and end with a dance lesson at Plaza del Congresso.
- Pirates of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico
Get in touch with the real life pirates of this region following a literary trail through history. American writer Hunter S. Thompson wrote The Rum Diary based on his experiences working as a journalist in San Juan. Walk through the narrow, cobbled streets and experience Thompson’s descriptions of Old San Juan and try the rum that flows so freely in the book in nearby Bayamon, home of Ron del Barrilito rum.
- Carnival, Brazil
If you like an all nighter this is the ultimate. Although it is held across Latin America the King of the Carnival festivals takes place in Rio. The key to Carnival is the samba. All Rio samba schools have an open dance hall where live samba music is played by the groups drummers. Sit back and enjoy the music, learn the lyrics or get up and dance.
- Music, Havana
Shake your booty getting in touch with the Spanish and African traditions of music and dance in Cuba. The Buena Vista Social Club had its birth here in the Marianao neighborhood as did the Cabaret Tropicana. Jazz festivals and salsa concerts are regular features. Practically every corner of old Havana explodes with music.
- Mariachi music, Mexico
Mexico is home to the musicians you see the world over that stroll the streets in silver studded charro outfits with wide brimmed hats stroking their guitars. Actually they’re from Jalisco and the music is celebrated in an annual festival every September/October.
- Andean textiles, Cuzco, Peru
Take in the Andean textiles in this charming city full of architecture, Inca stone work, churches and museums. Textile shopping here is fabulous looking through exquisite traditional textiles, handmade sweaters and alpaca knitting yarn. Visit the Traditional Textile Centre of Cuzco to see the contemporary knitting and weaving of many Quechua communities or travel to remote highland communities to meet the people themselves.
- La Paz, Bolivia
Visit Millma, the famed alpaca sweater workshop and shop for gorgeous alpaca sweaters and meet some of the Andean women they organized into coop ventures. Local markets line up piles of textiles on the sidewalks such as knitted caps and woven carrying cloths. La Paz also features Carnival mask makers and costume embroiderers.
- Cartagena, Colombia
Visit the stomping grounds of famed author Gabriel García Márquez who won the Nobel Prize for One Hundred Years Of Solitude and is also famed for Love in the Time of Cholera. This colonial town has changed little since Gabriel and his characters left it and it’s easy to see how he used the town’s convent, narrow alleyways, courtyards and landmarks as settings for his novels.
- Green Mile, Santiago, Chile
There are 20 museums and galleries in this stretch of the Metro’s green line that begins at Baquedano and ends at Quinta Normal. It’s a unique opportunity to enjoy the best art and culture Santiago offers from the National Museum to street performers busking outside.