Latin America loves a festival and most noteworthy events are marked by such a celebration. They play an important part in Latin culture. Varying in different sizes and moods, from the joyous vibrancy of Rio’s Carnival to the respectable beauty of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico, it is guaranteed to be full of music, colour and food.
Kicking of the New Year in Latin America is a pretty spectacular affair; a particular highlight is in the Chilean city of Valparaíso. This city knows how to do New Year’s Eve with an incredible fireworks display set over the Pacific Ocean with celebrations on the beach following after.
The astonishing Olympic style festival of Tapati, on Easter Island also takes place in January. It showcases local sports and is a spectacle not to be missed. A highlight has to be watching Haka Pei, a sport where local daredevils toboggan down the side of a volcano on two banana leaves. Grab a blanket, sit with the locals and enjoy the traditional feast. Chile is the place to be in January, check out our Essential Chile itinerary to give you some further inspiration.
Carnival de Blancos y Negros, is one of Colombia’s oldest festivals.
Traditionally meant as a day off for slaves, they would cover themselves in white powder to show appreciation to the Spanish owners, and in return the slave owners would cover themselves in tar as a show of respect.
The explosion of colour and powder has continued resulting in one of the most colourful and exciting carnivals around.
Make January the month to visit Colombia and find out what more you can do in our Discover Colombia itinerary.
February in Latin America it is all about Carnival, Rio Carnival being one of the most famous, but all over Latin America Carnival rocks! The fun fuelled month is incredible and electric where ever you choose to spend it, something not to be missed! Check out our blog to find out all about Carnival 2015.
The end of February and beginning of March is Argentina’s Mendoza Wine Festival, a celebration of Argentina’s love affair with wine.
The festival not only involves drinking large amounts of gorgeous wine but it is also steeped in folklore with parades demonstrating Argentina’s rich culture. Mendoza is such a of Imagine Latin America, that we have written a blog about it. Check it out.
We recommend mixing it with Bariloche and Buenos Aires, check it out here.
At a completely different pace, Belize’s La Ruta Maya Canoe Race is a sporting event like no other. The race was created in respect of Belize’s Mayan history, the river being an integral part of Mayan society, used for transportation and trading of goods throughout the country.
Now in its 16th year the 160 mile race spectacle is not just for its participants, a hugely popular spectator event – fairs and festivals full of music, food and entertainment have sprung up along the river as stops for both participants and visitors.
Contact our Latin American team to hear more about the event and to get more information about Belize!
Easter is a big deal in Latin America wherever you are. Being the most important catholic festival for most countries, it is marked by processions and passion plays up and down the continent. It not something to miss if you want a real taste of Latin American culture. Argentina is great at Easter, check out our properties and itineraries here…
During Divino Festival the tranquil slice of heaven that is Parati, Brazil becomes a buzzing hive of activity. The traditional religious festival in honour of Pentecost involves every member of the population chipping in to pull off the weeklong festival; full of processions, food, drink and parties. Our property Casa Turquesa is amazing this time of year.
June 4th marks Corpus Cristi, a Catholic festival affirming their belief in Jesus Christ.
It is jubilant affair in most countries and is often marked with a procession of floats dedicated to saints.
A highlight being Cuzco’s procession in Peru, the already beautiful city becomes alive with music and colour as thousands of people flock to the city catch a glimpse at the spectacular floats and costumes.
20 days later, same city, different religion, the Inti Raymi or festival of the sun is held.
A traditional Incan ceremony celebrating the winter solstice, it is celebrated throughout the Andes by indigenous cultures and is something very special to see in Cuzco, where you can marvel at the traditional dress, music and food.
Check out our property, La Casona – an Imagine Latin America favourite in Cuzco.
On the 10th of this month Ecuador celebrates Simon Bolivar’s Birthday , in the typical Latin way, with parades, food, costumes and parties. It is a special parade to witness though due to its cultural importance, being that Simon Bolivar was the liberator of many Latin American countries from Colonial Spanish rule, and therefore an expression of Latin American culture outside of the normally religious dominated festivals.
Parati in Brazil, between the 21st and the 23rd August, dedicates it’s time to its greatest export, Cachaça! Cachaça Fest celebrates Brazil’s favourite drink, get involved, dance and make sure to drink Caipirinhas! Check out our property Casa Turquesa so you don’t miss out on the action!
Both Brazil and Argentina’s Independence Day’s fall in September and are marked by parades and an outpouring of national pride usually reserved for football matches. Military parades are held respectively in both Buenos Aires and Brasilia, which pull large amount of revellers, but throughout the country festivities occur as well.
September also plays host to Patagonia’s Torres del Paine International Marathon, the race includes four disciplines ranging from an ultramarathon to a 10km run. With views of glaciers, mountains and wildlife in abundance, so if the run doesn’t leave you breathless the scenery certainly will! Fancy a challenge?
Peru celebrates October as the month of the Lord of Miracles, or Senor De Los Milagros, with the main celebration occurring around the 18th, 28th & 29th October.
The celebration is in honour of the painting Lord of the Miracles which is currently hung in the Sanctuary of Las Nazarenaso in Lima.
The painting is seen to have saintly qualities; it was painted by an anonymous slave from Angola, and was given its saintly reputation when it was the only thing left standing after an earthquake.
It is one of the largest processions on earth, with everyone and thing decked out in purple.
Day of The Dead is Mexico’s most iconic festival, honouring deceased love ones, it’s a combination of catholic and indigenous folk lore.
It involves people donning costumes, mainly with the iconic Mexican sugar skulls incorporated in them, and having parties in beautifully decorated graveyards.
The story behind this being that at midnight the spirits of the deceased can cross over and join in the festivities with their loved ones.
6th of December marks the foundation of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, and rounds of a week of festivities.
The Fiestas de Quito is marked in the truly Latin American fashion of block parties, parades, and feasts.
But it is also marked in a more refined fashion, with displays of the city’s finer arts with flamenco performances and operas.