Our regional round-up of tips and advice sure to be of use to any traveller heading to South America. Got your own? Send it over!
Most Argentinians spend a good part of the day drinking mate from their special gourds. Try some yourself and you might well take up the habit!
Tango is an integral part of the 'Buenos Aires experience'. After enjoying a show or two, consider taking some lessons to really get the feel for this dance.
In Argentina, sharing a traditional "asado" (barbecue) is the perfect excuse to meet and share good times with relatives and friends. If you can't persuade some locals to take you in, hit the restaurants!
Football is the passion of Argentines: lived with hot blood, euphoria and huge emotion. It is very interesting to watch these games, which are played every weekend and where a lot of people share the same passion. Enjoy watching a match and feeling this passion in a bar full of fans!
Argentina is renowned for its fantastic wines. The perfect production of wines is possible because of the soil, the weather and the recently installed technology in the many wineries. Each winery has its own identity and profile, some are family-owned, others are industrial, but you should visit any of them, taste its wines and, why not, buy
Argentine estancias are faithful representations of our identity; they mingle with the history and essence of our culture. There you will obtain the perfect combination between mystic, custom, history and country landscape, while enjoying a comfortable lodging in the middle of nature. Take a break to relax, enjoy and admire the beautiful nature in one of these estancias.
Buenos Aires offers a big variety of bars to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee, while enjoying the good company or a moment of your own to reflect and think in the everyday events in a nice ambience. Some of the typical bars in Buenos Aires are the Coffee Bar Tortoni and the Angels Café.
Going into the Tortoni to have a cup of coffee, to meet someone there, to attend any of the innumerable cultural functions offered there, is getting into the very kernel of tradition. Tradition is not the past. Tradition is the offering of the best of the past to the men of the present and the future. It is not only in the walls of the Tortoni -which in themselves are worthy of a museum- but mainly in the spiritual climate that its management has wisely created, that the best of our porteño past can be found.
Talk about Rivadavia and Rincón is talk about a tango corner, is talk about The Angels Café, one of the most typical cafés. With more than 350 photographs on its walls, a box where at any time of the day a bandoneon is played and with a sober and fancy decoration it recreates the ambience of the XX century.
Although made in other countries, Chileans love their milk caramel manjar. You'll find it everywhere and on everything. Be sure to take some home!
Summer is approaching and Chile has a typical very refreshing non-alcoholic drink called "Mote con Huesillo", which is composed of a mixture of caramel juice with stewed dried peaches and wheat. Definitively a must!
When the night is starting it is typical for chilean people to drink Piscola; it´s just a mixture of Coca Cola and chilean Pisco. Very refreshing also!
You don't have to miss Condorito, a comic strip that features an anthropomorphic condor living in a fictitious town named Pelotillehue; be sure to read it! You can find it in every corner.
Santiago and the major cities in Chile offer incredible night life; be sure to get on time for the happy hours (7 to 9 pm.) in almost every bar.
Time for a coffee? Don't forget Café con Piernas, a typical Chilean coffee shop where attractive women in short skirts serve you a delicious coffee. Certainly a different way to wake up in the morning, Chilean-style.
Food in Chile
You can find delicious products from the sea along the entire length of the Chilean coast. Fish like eel, corvina, grouper, reineta and salmon are used to make dishes like fried eel, baked corvina with seafood sauce, and salmon with capers. The coast also produces all kinds of seafood, including crab, sea urchin, razor clams, scallops and mussels, all of which can be prepared a number of ways.
If you find yourself in the country's central valleys, try the empanadas (available in meat, cheese and seafood varieties), the generously portioned sandwiches, cazeula (a traditional stew), pastel del choclo (corn pie), humitas (steamed corncakes), porotos granados (bean stew), longanizas (sausages) and the variety of dishes made with beef and pork.
Meanwhile, the cities of Valdivia, Osorno, Puerto Varas, Frutillar and Puerto Octay await you with exquisite German confections that form part of a tradition passed down by the colonists who came here in the 19th century.
In Patagonia, you will find such non-traditional meats as boar and ostrich as well as the famed spit-roast lamb and spider crabs.
If you want to bring home a souvenir or gift, local shops offer spicy and wine-based marmalades, organic honey, Mapuche condiments (like the spice merkén), excellent olive oils and, of course, a wide selection of wine and pisco.
Some quick facts about Chile...
Pisco produced annually: 50 million litres
Head of state: President Sebastian Piñera
Famous for: Tierra del Fuego, Pablo Neruda, Isabel Allende, pisco, wine, General Pinochet, Patagonia
Did you know... that Chile is the world's fifth largest exporter of wine?
She said it: You can tell the deepest truths with the lies of fiction - Isabel Allende
Highest point: Ojos del Salado (6893m)
Population: 16,601,700 (4.6% of which is indigenous)
Number of moai on Easter Island (Rapa Nui): 887
The oldest known Chinchorro mummy: dates back to 5050 BC (some 2000 years before Egypt started mummifying its dead)
Number of vicuña remaining: 25,000
Journey to the source in the Coffee Triangle at the heart of the country - guaranteed to wake you up!
Dance at the rhythm of "la Salsa", one of the most amazing spectacles that you can live in most of Colombian regions. Do not forget to ask for the lessons of "Salsa".
Live the typical traditions of the Andean region and buy"el carriel antioqueño" known by its history and legend.
Dress with the most elaborated and spectacular dresses of the Guajira accompanied by the traditional "mochilas", handmade for the women head of home with raw material and totally natural elements.
For those with a superstitious nature, when visiting the famous Monserrate Mountain high above Bogotá don't go with your partner as the relationship will surely not end in marriage!
A must go venue is Andrés Carne de Res just outside Bogotá. An institution, this restaurant/night club is fantastically and colourfully decorat
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