During the first three months of the year, the Central and South American countries explode with the wildest, loudest, liveliest, and most colorful carnival celebrations the world over. While all of these celebrations come complete with amazing, colorful costumes, parades, music, and all of the celebratory craze that you might find at any Mardi Gras in the United States, each has its own style, flare, and expectations. Consider this list of the most exciting carnivals that can be found throughout Central and South America.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – This is by the most famous (and largest) carnival celebration that occurs in the world. The event dates change, but usually fall within the middle to end of February, and attracts millions from all over the planet. Each year has a different theme, and dance parades called “samba schools” from various neighborhoods take to the streets to show off their costumes and moves. Costume balls and street parties fill the streets with music and floats that are surrounded by the constant flow of music, food, drink, and dancing.
Flickr | user: TerryGeorge.
Panama City, Panama – Carnival celebrations explode all over Panama, but the largest by far is held in Panama City, Panama. Like the celebrations that take place in Rio, carnival parties are generally held sometime within the last two weeks of February. Complete with impressive parades and Panamanian music and food, another unique aspect of this particular celebration has to do with water. Water “fights” are common, and generally involve citizens dousing each other with buckets of water in the oncoming heat. If you’re able to get to Panama during this time of year, make sure to stop by for a party in the capital of Panama.
Flickr | user: SFmission
Bolivia – Carnival in Bolivia tends to be a bit more religious and conservative than many other celebrations across South America, so for those who want orthodox tradition, folkloric themes, and religious dedication is what major cities throughout the country offer. Beer is still consumed during the celebrations, but unlike other, more rowdy celebrations, it might be difficult to find spirits or wild, drunken tourists flooding the streets of Bolivia’s towns and cities. Locals generally dress up as devils and dance until all demonic spirits are removed from the country. A 5 km long parade giving remembrance to strong Catholic celebrations, Spanish conquest, and theological fights between good and evil.
Flickr | User: Szymon Kochanski
Gualeguaychú, Argentina – If you are able to make it to the southernmost area of South America during the last week of March, Gualeguaychú is the place to visit. By far not the largest carnival festival on the continent, it is one of the last. The party generally ends in Argentina, but visitors will still love all the things these parades and scantily-clad women bring to the festivities. When the party ends on March 19th, a massive fiesta begins, and everyone heads toward a giant stadium in the city to enjoy food, drink, and great music to wrap up the party until next year.
Angie Picardo is a writer at NerdWallet’s TravelNerd blog, where you can find money saving tips on how to save up for a Carnival sojourn by setting financial goals.
4 of the Best Carnivals of the Central and South American Countries
The Cliff Walk in Newport is located on the eastern shore of Rhode Island. Aside from being a 3.5 mile public, National Recreation Trail in a Historic District, it is a place that offers exceptionally beautiful views on both sides. This makes a fantastic day trip for people of all ages, including families, and you don’t need to spend a cent.
6 Things To See on the Cliff Walk in Newport:
Photo By: janhatesmarcia
1. The beautiful architecture of the homes along the shore line that tell stories from Newport’s gilded age.
2. The forty steps, this is a stone staircase that takes you down to a balcony over the sea, from where you can enjoy amazing views.
3. The northern tip of the cliff walk, the best place to visit for families, and the starting point, since it is paved and in very good conditions.
4. If you are interested in looking at the architectural beauties of the area visit the Salve Regina section. From here you can see a castle, gorgeous university buildings and tons of beautiful homes.
5. There is a section of the walk where you will find a couple of tunnels, each of about a quarter mile long. This section is also a place where you get to see 3 stunning mansions that will blow your mind.
6. After you pass through the second tunnel you will find the Rough Point Bridge. This is a great place to rest while you see the waves crashing.
If you manage to do all 3.5 miles, a fun way to return to your car or the point where you started, is to take a trolley.
NOTE: If you are coming with a baby keep in mind that only the northern side has access for carriages.
If you want a relaxed day with amazing views during your trip to Rhode Island, definitely consider visiting the Cliff Walk in Newport. You won’t be disappointed!
Skiing as a recreational activity for families that is becoming very popular. Each year more and more families are traveling to places from around the world that offer slopes covered by snow. As a sport it was born in the European countries, but it also became a popular activity in Latin America.
For a fun family adventure in the snow you can visit the Latin American countries of Chile and Argentina. The Andes that divide these two countries have been a major skiing destination since 1966. A lot of people see the Andes as a strip of snowed mountains that lead to the end of the world.
Photo By: dylanburkey
Because of the attention that the area around the Andes gets, it is a place with tons of different lodging options. You can find anything from a skiing resort to a luxury ski chalet. there is something for everyone out there!
Also when you plan a skiing vacation to Argentina or Chile, be sure to plan it around the month of June to October. These are the months when weather is the best for skiing, and the slopes are more varied.
If you are worried about finding something for your level, this part of South America also offers wide-open snowfields and well-groomed runs for beginners as well as some of the steepest and deepest off-piste powder in the world.
So take a chance and experience a skiing vacation. If you visit Latin America you are guaranteed to have a great time.
The transition from being a solo traveler, or traveling with a group of friends to becoming a parent traveling with small kids can be confusing for some people. I remember that back when I traveled alone packing was left to the last minute; it was a 2 hour process. Now that I have a husband and two boys packing can take 4 days or more.
No matter how much experience you have, there is always something. It seems almost impossible not to forget something. But I’ve ALMOST got the hang of this packing business.
This is how we breakup responsibilities: My husband looks out for himself and I do the rest! Believe me; this is better than it sounds. The packing process is faster if I take care of the kid’s stuff.
The first thing I worry about is having the right clothes for the destination we are about to visit. If I think I need anything I go to online stores like alexandalexa. Once I am sure that our clothing will be weather appropriate I move on to actually packing.
Here are some of the things, aside from clothes that I pack for my boys if we are going on a long weekend trip:
- Cleaning cloths and bibs
- Water bottles
- Sippy cup with water or juice
- Baby wipes
- Sun screen
- Tylenol for Kids
- Saline solution for nose drops
- Fruit and snacks
- Portable dvd player and videos
- Kid friendly camera
- Drawing book or coloring book and coloredSnacks – cereal, cookies
- Ipod/mp3 player
This is just a quick list of must haves for traveling with my boys. I’m sure the list will be different for every family. But I hope this gives you an idea of some of the things that you might need for a family vacation.
One of the great things about holidaying in a new country is the discovery of local delicacies and tipples. That is why exploring Central and South America is such a cool thing. But there are tons of other destinations you can visit after you have finished with this side of the world. How about Crete for a diferent kind of adventure? If you’ve taken a cheap holiday to the Greek Islands before, no doubt you’ve come across local wines and spirits and endured a hefty hangover to boot.
Photo By: Ole Husby
Most certainly you will have enjoyed many a glass of Retsina or Domestica which constitutes local wine and definitely Ouzo. You’ve possibly even found a glass of Metaxa in your hand when ordering spirits on an all inclusive holiday too. That’s because all inclusive holidays provide unlimited supplies of the local stuff and branded wines and spirits incur a surcharge. But sometimes these ‘happy accidents’ help you to develop a real taste for the local stuff. You may even find yourself stocking up in the airport on your return home. Stranger things have happened.
When in Crete
On holiday in Crete you will more than likely come across the fiery raki known as Tsíkoudia in these ’ere parts. Made from grape skins leftover from the wine making process, this clear and innocent looking drink packs a punch and will definitely warm your cockles. It’s customary to offer this local tipple to guests, so don’t be surprised if it is thrust upon you in bars, tavernas, hotels and even in shops. Shopping never looked so good. In fact it’s a great way to persuade reluctant shoppers that an afternoon traipsing around the shops is the best way to spend your time.
The art of drinking
If you’re not familiar with this drink it’s probably advisable to take it slowly on your first encounter. Sip rather than drain your glass in one, well not until you have got the measure of the beast. It’s also okay to only have the one, although Cretans will encourage you to have more. We’ll leave that to your better judgement but fear it will fall on deaf ears. Well you are on crete holidays after all and this is the perfect way to blend in with the locals. You may even find you are a natural when it comes to Greek dancing too. We can’t wait to see the photos.