Culture

15 Stereotypes About Foreigners Visiting Latin America

Oh, stereotypes. What would intercultural relations be without a few simple-minded preconceptions of foreigners? Stereotypes surrounding gringos who visit Latin America are numerous. Some of them are actually a bit true, but, like most black-and-white views of the world, most are a huge exaggeration.

Tourism from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe brings considerable income to Latin American countries. Commercial relations between the Anglo countries and Latin countries have always been a cornerstone of the economy. So it is pretty common to spot rubios y rubias in the region. Here are some stereotypes that are common and sort of chistosos.

1. They fall for all the tourist traps
Real? A bit, but not too much. 

Credit: 0a94b0c0bc05108d9763972a93f4f2a2. Digital image. Pinterest

People believe that all foreigners will walk into the first establishment that offers crappy food and mediocre musicians performing “local” music. Fact is that most tourists are well-informed, particularly in the age of the internet. Ranking systems like Expedia and sites like Lonely Planet often advice against falling for the infamous tourist traps.

2. They are scared OF EVERYTHING
Real? Nope, not at all.

Credit: robbery-thief-robber-burglar-steal-money-bag-vector-20804951.  Digital image. Vector Stock

There is a misconception that gringos are afraid to go out because of the insecurity that plagues many big cities in Latin America (that is sadly true). Fact is, the contrary generally happens: many tourists fill emboldened and do not take the necessary precautions. Gladly there are always good, honest locals to guide them.

3. They encounter poverty for the first time and ask why people just don’t “work more” to solve it
Real? YES

Credit: mexico-poverty. Digital image. International Business Times

This is VERY common. When encountering poverty in the continent, many foreigners naively ask why people don’t just do more work, implying that locals are lazy. That is not how disadvantage works, compadre.

4. They just cannot consume spicy food
Real? NOT.AT.ALL

Credit: 150804122715-chili-peppers-large-169. Digital image. CNN

Most cosmopolitan cities are exposed to food from around the world, so many foreginers are well-seasoned eaters. Many can, in fact, out-chili the most daring Latino. Other foods that are widely consumed in the United States, such as Indian or Sichuan, have even more chili than, say, Mexican, so be prepared before you challenge a foreigner on a chili eating contest.

5. Foreigners are damn funny!
Real? Por supuesto

Credit: 43679_0. Digital image. eBay

Foreigners have la fama of being bien chistosos once that have a beer or two on them. Well, this is true… particularly when they attempt to wishiwashear songs in Spanish! Foreignerss that are definitely not funny, however: spring breakers who trash hotel rooms and throw up on the street como Pedro por su casa.

6. They walk around disinfecting EVERYTHING
Real? Partially

Credit: 84abb89cc44588566b56dafcc6a25d242eb67af01beeda90ac93923cc9266b26. Digital image. QuickMeme.

One of the biggest fears that foreign visitors have in Latin American countries is catching diseases. They walk around with a disinfectant in their purse and drink bottled water even in five-star resorts. A little precaution is fine, but too much actually turns insulting.

7. Some expect everyone to speak English
Real? In many cases, yes

Credit: american-tourists. Digital image. Modern Diplomacy

The worst tourists get offended when not everyone bows to them and speaks English. When someone asks you if English is your second language as if to insult you, just elegantly say: “Yes, actually, yes, and what is yours?” Even though English is one of the dominant languages in the world, so is Spanish.

8. But some really make an effort to speak broken Spanish
Real? Claro!

Credit: 43b14ffa92791f6259d172c05912405ba09fa23f. Digital image. Smashwords

Many awesome visitors make a huge effort to prepare before their trips and spend months learning basic words and phrases and actually attending Spanish school. We have met many that totally try to immerse themselves in the language and culture. Bien por ellos.

9. Older foreign couples fall in love with cute little towns and move there to open an B&B
Real? Yes!

Credit: changing-my-mind-about-san-miguel-de-allende. Digital image. The Travels of Bbqboy and Spanky

Towns like San Miguel de Allende in Mexico have become retiree central. Many couples buy a property and turn it into their dream business. They live an Eat Pray Love life well into their seventies, creating employment in the meantime. A win-win situation. These type of resting spots have become famous for celebrities like Johnny Depp, who made San Miguel his go-to place for chilling out in the early 2000s.

10. Young wild foreigners leave everything behind and open beach bars…. livin’ la vida loca
Real? Yep

Credit: zenzi-beach-bar-and-restaurant-at-calle—v6195748-720. Digital image. Oyster Hotel Reviews

Just like their older counterparts open chill Bed and Breakfast venues, young foreigners, many of which try to escape corporate life, open beach bars in places like Belize and Costa Rica. They live a life of sand, booze and one night stands. They change the suit for the rastas and become central figures in expat communities. Problem is: most of these expat bars are not intended for the locals, so there is not much attachment to the land.

11. Foreigners, in general, cannot sunbath without ending up like camarones
Real? Hahahaha

Credit: Sunburnt-Shoulders. Digital image. Scuba Monkey

It is not uncommon to see unprepared foreigners rojos como shrimps or a mandril’s butt. This is a bit funny, but also dangerous and something that should be discussed. Skin cancer is the real deal: wear sunscreen, chaparritos. It is not uncommon to see foreigners lather themselves with coconut oil to get a tan, a very dangerous practice that actually burns skin cells beyond repair.

12. They will eventually run to the first McDonald’s they see
Real? Nah

Credit: McDonalds_cropped. Digital image. Josh Healey

Even though sometimes foreigners need the comfort of their food, not all go to Mackers for a Big Mac fix. Part of traveling is eating and most foreigners know this. Tacos, enchiladas, chiles en nogada… bring on the Pepto Bismol!

13. They ask for the Mexican, Chilean or Cuban word for whatever comes to their mind.. It’s Spanish, so.
Real? Sadly, yes

Credit: the-spanish-language. Digital image. K International

Many foreigners believe that people in Latin America speak… Mexican… Argentinian… Cuban…. and even though we all speak different variants of Spanish, we are united by a single mother tongue.

14. “I know a guy called Juan in New York, he is also from Colombia, do you know him?” Dude, there are millions of Colombians.
Real? Yes, and it is damn funny

Credit: d1566_066295-c1c3e05c-1236-11e4-ae81-95568c4ed36e. Digital image. The Apricity

It is true and super funny. Would you ask a gringo is he knows a John in Missouri? No last name, no other indicator… just John. No, right? Well, many americanos are sure that every single person of Latino origin must know each other. Oh, it is so silly it is kinda cute.

15. They think the whole region is either a tropical paradise or a godforsaken desert
Real? Carajo, esto pasa muy seguido

Credit: Arbol_de_Piedra. Digital image. Never Ending Voyage

The geographical reputation of the whole region is that every single landscape is either a desert where Speedy Gonzalez roams around, or a tropical Brazilian rainforest with massive iguanas. Well, Latin America does have those types of places, but also forests, snowy mountains and everything in between. Learn some geography, guys, it is not that hard.

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These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

Things That Matter

These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

2020 will easily go down in manny of our memories as the year that just wouldn’t stop. As the year started, it all seemed to be sort of fine as the world came together to battle record-breaking Australian bushfires and worked to hopefully contain an outbreak of a strange new virus in China.

However, as the year comes to a close things have gone de mal a peor for the world in general, but for the Latino population in the United States and Latin America as a region in particular. Though it’s hard to realize just how much we all witnessed and experienced since so much of what happened seems like it was a lifetime ago.

Here’s a look back at some the defining moments from 2020 across Latin America.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira kicked off the year hopeful with a history-making performance at the Super Bowl.

Yes, believe it or not, this happened in 2020. The pair put on what many have called the best half time show in Super Bowl history. They were also joined by J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales was forced into exile, only to return to the country in November.

After being forced into exile at the end of 2019 for attempting to illegally run in upcoming presidential elections, Morales spent a year abroad – first in Mexico and then in Argentina.

Mexico’s President AMLO made his first trip abroad to visit Donald Trump at the White House.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a staunch populist and has long said his primary focus is domestic policy within Mexico. Therefore, despite two years in office, AMLO hadn’t left Mexico once. So it came as a surprise when his first trip abroad was a visit to the U.S. leader who had long disparaged Mexico, the government, and Mexicans – not to mention his trip came in the middle of a global pandemic.

Migrant caravans continued to make their way towards the U.S. despite interference from Mexico and Covid-19.

Migrants attempting to make their way to the U.S. isn’t unique to 2020. For decades, migrants have long banded together for safety in numbers along the treacherous journey to the north. However, they became larger and better organized in 2020, perhaps owing to the new dangers of Mexican interference.

Mexico’s AMLO vowed to stop migrants from reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, adhering to Trump’s request. It was also noteworthy because the caravans continued despite the Covid-19 crisis, which has hit the region particularly hard.

Peru saw three presidents in the span of a few weeks after massive protests.

Peru is facing one of the greatest crises the nation has faced. Just as the country seemed to be emerging from the worst of its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has entered a severe political crisis.

The country’s elected president, Martin Vizcarra, was impeached and removed from office. His predecessor responded with a heavy hand to the protests that ensued resulting in his resignation less than 24 hours later. The government then had to find someone willing to take the job which proved to be a tough sell.

In fact, massive protests swept across Latin America.

From Mexico in the north to Cuba in the Caribbean and Chile in the south, protests were seen all across the region. Although each movement had it’s own stated goal and objectives, many were largely borne out of the same purpose: to fight back against corruption.

Brazil’s President Jaír Bolsonaro tested positive for Covid-19 but it did nothing to change his approach to the pandemic.

Jaír Bolsonaro has long been compared to Donald Trump, with many calling him the Donald Trump of South America. The two were also strongly aligned in their responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, with the pair largely downplaying the severity of the crisis.

Then, Bolsonaro became infected with the virus and many hoped it would change his view on the crisis. It didn’t.

A growing feminist movement developed in Mexico, demanding protection from a shocking rise in violence against women.

Mexico has long been battling endemic violence and the country has continued to see record-setting rates of homicides. But it was the growing rate of violence against women, particularly femicide, that gained national attention.

Women banded together and started large nationwide protests. Over the summer, women in the capital of Mexico City occupied government buildings and destroyed many of the city’s most popular monuments to hopefully get their message across. Although the movement has gained more recognition by Mexicans, the government has still failed to address their concerns. Let’s hope things are different in 2021.

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In A Post-Covid World, Here Is Where You All Said You Want To Travel

Culture

In A Post-Covid World, Here Is Where You All Said You Want To Travel

Covid put a stop to our travel plans for 2020. After almost a year in lockdown, we have had time to plan fantasy trips and explore the world. We asked you where you wanted to visit and here are some of the places you all can’t wait to see.

Argentina

Argentina offers something for everyone. As on of the southernmost countries in the world, Argentina offers natural sights that will make nature lovers swoon. Into architecture? Cities like Mendoza offers a look at the art-deco style that will make you feel like you are back in time. Don’t forget to try to make a trip down to Ushuaia, the End of the World for a spectacular view.

Cuba

Cuba is a tricky one but a beautiful place to see. The country is filled with old buildings and cars that make it feel like a time capsule. Now, the island is old because they are oppressed and don’t have much. But you can always find ways to make sure that you help people of the island instead of giving the money to government approved businesses.

Costa Rica

This is about as wild and wondrous as it gets. Costa Rica will give everyone a chance to really be one with nature. The Central American country is a rainforest oasis with nature everywhere you look. The country prides itself on how development is not encroaching on nature and has even outlawed zoos and aquariums.

Honduras

Honduras is an underestimated place to visit. The food and people are warm and inviting. There has been some unrest in the country in recent years and a series of hurricanes has devastated the population. Tourism is a great way to bring money into a place the needs it. Just don’t take advantage of them while you are there.

Mexico

Mexico is a country filled with wonders new and old. You can experience the ruins of some of the oldest civilizations and bask in the modernity of Mexico City. The food is as diverse and vibrant as the people with delicious moles in Oaxaca and experimental fusions in Mexico City. Valle de Guadalupe is home to some farm to table restaurants and exquisite wineries. It truly is a journey of the sense if you take time to see the country.

Colombia

Colombia is one of South America’s gems. After years of internal conflict, the nation is growing and quickly becoming a destination. Bogotá and Medellín are great but make it a point to visit Cali. The city is one of the place everyone should visit if they make their way to Colombia.

READ: Mexico Announces 11 New Pueblos Mágicos And It’s The Post-COVID Travel Lust We All Need Right Now

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