Culture

22 Best Beaches In Latin America: Beat The Cold Winter And Escape To One Of These Beautiful Sunny Beaches

Latin-America has the best beaches on earth. Period. Picture this, you’re walking in crystal-clear waters, the white sandy beaches are covered in tropical flora. Music plays in the background, you’re waiting for the Piña Colada and fish tacos you just ordered. Might go snorkeling in a centuries-old cenote later, or maybe you could take a nap in the Robinson Crusoe-inspired cabana you rented for a very reasonable price. Amirite or amirite?

If, instead of being on a tropical island somewhere in the Caribbean or South America, you’re stuck in your cold, smog-infested, snowy city, we recommend you take a look at the list below. We rounded up the best beaches in Latin-America to help you escape your day to day. 

Rio de Janeiro

This Brazilian city is home to Copacabana beach, sugarloaf mountain, Carnaval and Christ the Redeemer Statue.

Punta Cana 

The Dominican region is known for its beaches, luxury resorts and indigenous ecological park. 

Varadero

Major Cuban resort town on Hicacos Peninsula, with its 20km beach, golf course and several parks. 

Tulum

This Mexican town in the Mayan riviera is known for its Caribbean crystal clear waters and white sand beaches, as well as for its Mayan archaeological site El Castillo and Parque Nacional Tulum —plus, lots and lots of ‘cenotes’ (natural pits, or sinkholes, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath).

Puerto Vallarta

Resort town with historic center and its famous ‘El Malecon’ broadwalks, plus its lush beaches which offer snorkeling and fishing —don’t miss the insta-famous spot ‘Islas Marietas’ where you can swim into a hidden beach in a cave. 

Florianopolis

Occupying 54-long Santa Catarina island, this state capital of … is known for its beaches and surfing. 

Costa Rica

This Central American country with capital San Jose, is known fo its tropical rainforest, beautiful beaches and wildlife. A True paradise. 

Cabo San Lucas

The Mexican beach resort town is known for hosting some of the liveliest nights out. The beaches are a sight to be seen, as is the striking ‘El Arco’ formation. 

Cuba

The caribbean island is a white-sand beach heaven, with its colorful buildings, lively clubs and tropical music —and let’s not forget the cigars. Azucar!

Cozumel

This laid-back Mexican Caribbean island is famed for its beaches, the scuba-diving and Mayan ruins of ‘El Cedral’. Not to be missed. 

Ubatuba

The Brazilian municipality with Itamambuca Beach, Ubatuba Aquarium and the TAMAR project turtle sanctuary, this beach will make for a perfect, quiet, solitary and tropical retreat. 

Maceio

This city is known for its 19th century colonial heritage, its white-sand beaches and an off-shore coral reef. 

Cartagena

The pearl of the Caribbean is a port city with a 16th century castle, a walled old town and lovely beaches, plus the Islas del Rosario which are a must. The ideal beachy getaway when you also want to do some sightseeing.

Akumal

Akumal is a beach resort town on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Its located alongside the worlds 2nd largest coral reef and if you get lucky, you might spot some turtles and tropical fish swimming around in the waters of its Yal-Ku lagoon. 

Acapulco

This Mexican resort city is known for the cliff divers of La Quebrada, its lively night life and beautiful beaches. 

Isla Mujeres 

The Mexican island is known for Playa Norte beach, it offers diving on offshore coral reefs and a sea turtle sanctuary. 

Saint Lucia

This lush Caribbean island is home to the Piton mountains and it offers stunning landscapes, volcanic beaches, hot springs and capital Castries. 

Salvador

The bahian capital is rich with Afro-Brazilian culture and its Pelourinho colonial district offers historic buildings to add to your trip. Don’t miss the district’s Sao Francisco church. 

Lima

Peru’s bustling capital is full of Spanish colonial buildings, the Museo Larco of art, and a vibrant food scene and lovely beaches. What’s not to love?

Antigua

The Caribbean island is a white-sand beach and coral reef paradise. Plus Nelson’s Dockyard and Shirley Heights lookouts are jaw-dropping.

San Juan

The capital city of Puerto Rico has it all. Beaches, colonial sights, rich food and lively nights out. Don’t miss our on the colonial El  Morro and La Fortaleza forts. 

Punta del Este

This Uruguayan resort city is known for ‘The Hand’ sculpture, Mansa beach and Gorriti Island. A beautiful south-American destination.

Roatan

This Island in Honduras boasts white sandy beaches, tropical flora and vibrant coral reefs you can dive in. The tranquility will help you re-charge for the year to come. 

It Could Be Time To Say Goodbye To Your Salsa Forever As Tomatoes And Chilies Are In Danger Of Going Extinct

Culture

It Could Be Time To Say Goodbye To Your Salsa Forever As Tomatoes And Chilies Are In Danger Of Going Extinct

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Two of Latin America’s most important ingredients – staples of cuisines across the region – are in danger of possible extinction thanks to climate change. Tomatoes and chilies both make up a huge part of traditional recipes from Mexico to Brazil and Argentina to Cuba – and they’re close to disappearing from grocery stores everywhere.

We know that tomato and chili are two fundamental ingredients in Mexican cuisine. Due to the threats suffered by its main pollinator, the bumblebee, these basic ingredients could disappear forever.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on the planet. But one of the most at-risk species is the humble bumble bee. These often feared insects are a vital source of pollination for thousands of plant and flower species around the world – if they disappear so too do the species of plants that depend on them.

Pollinators are species of great importance for a healthy environment. They are responsible for the the diversity and health of various biomes. Across Latin America, the bumble bee is largely responsible for the pollination of modern agriculture and this could have a major impact on the production of tomatoes and chilis.

Unfortunately, bumblebees are currently threatened, resulting in the possible extinction of different vegetables, including tomatoes and chili.

But why does the tiny bumble bee matter at all?

The bumble bee belongs to the insect family Apidae, which includes hundeds of different species of bumblebees. In fact, the bumble bee can be found on every continent except Antarctica and plays an outsized role in agriculture. The insects are often larger than honey bees, come in black and white varieties and often feature white, yellow, or orange stripes. This genus belongs to the Apidae family that includes different species commonly known as bumblebees. They’re almost entirely covered by very silky hairs. An adult bumblebee reaches 20 millimeters or more and feeds primarily on nectar from flowering plants. A curious fact is that females have the ability to sting, while males do not.

Bumblebees are epic pollinators of the tomato and chili plantS. Together with different species, the bumblebee helps produce many staple foods that are part of healthy diets around the world. If these become extinct the eating habits of all Latinos would suffer drastic changes as several vegetables would disappear.

So why are bumblebees in danger?

The main threat of these insects is the pesticides used in modern agriculture. That is why it is necessary to avoid consuming food produced in this way. We can all help the bumblebee planting plants, protecting native species and especially not damaging their natural environment.

But climate change is also wreaking havoc on the breeding patters of bumblebees – leading to colony collapse. With fewer colonies there is less breeding and therefore fewer bees around the world to pollinate our global crops.

Can you imagine a world without tomatoes or chilies?

Salsa. Moles. Pico de gallo. Ketchup. Chiles rellenos. Picadillo. All of these iconic Latin American dishes would be in danger of going extinct along with the bumblebee – because what’s a mole without the rich, complex flavors of dried chilies?

Several groups are already working hard to help fund programs that would work to conserve the dwindling bumblebee populations. While others are working out solutions that could perhaps allow tomatoes and chilies to self-pollinate – much as other plants already do.

Everybody Thinks Of Rio When It Comes To Carnivals—But Other Latin American Countries Celebrate Too: Here Are Mexico’s Top Carnavales

Culture

Everybody Thinks Of Rio When It Comes To Carnivals—But Other Latin American Countries Celebrate Too: Here Are Mexico’s Top Carnavales

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Despite its international reputation for loving a good party, Mexico isn’t known for its Carnival although it is celebrated in one form or another in about 225 communities. Of course none is anywhere as big or famous as those of Rio de Janeiro or New Orleans, but they’re still a lively and fun party nevertheless. In Mexico all carnivals have a different meaning and history behind them, but they’re all colorful and lively parties that are closely linked to the days of ‘mal agüero’ or ‘lost days’ of the Mesoamerican Xalámatl calendar.

Like other Catholic celebrations, Carnival was introduced into Mexico by the Spanish.

It gained acceptance by many indigenous communities because it fell around the same time as the “lost days” of the Mesoamerican calendar. The lost days and Carnival, both share the same traditions of donning masks and letting certain social rules slide.

But when the social rules were sliding a little too much, the Spanish halted the celebrations.

In fact it was those two things that caused colonial authorities to suppress Carnival in New Spain by the 17th century. Celebrations by the indigenous and lower castes had become too irreverent and mocking of authority. By the early 18th century, major Carnival celebrations had been successfully banned in the cities.

A number of small towns however, managed to keep the tradition alive.

A few rural areas managed to evade enforcement, and their Carnivals survived. However, the ban had the effect of isolating such celebrations, one reason why each fiesta has very localized characteristics.

These are the largest and most famous carnavales:

Mazatlan, Sinaloa

One of the most popular carnivals is the one that takes place in Mazatlan. This carnaval is known for being one of the oldest celebrations in the country. At the Sinaloan party you’ll find celebrations like “The coronation of the king of ‘Alegría’ and the carnival queen,” you can go to the inauguration of gastronomic tasting menus, the fantasy dance, and the “quema del mal humor.” Other traditional activities include the naval combat, the dance of the ambassadors and many others.

This carnival takes place from February 8 through the 13. Visit www.carnavalmazatlan.net for more info.

Veracruz

The jarocho carnival is possibly the most famous one. This party is one of the loudest and most  colorful events of Mexico. This year, Veracruz will be crowning a carnival king and queen, for both adults and children. There will be concerts, parades and lots and lots of food. Also, expect the traditional ‘quema de mal humor.’

It will be running from February 7 to 13. For more information go to carnavalveracruz.com.mx

Carnaval de Campeche

Campeche’s carnival is also one of the oldest ones of the country. An important activity is the ‘quema del mal humor’, which is represented by a rag doll dressed as a pirate. Once the doll is set on fire, the ‘festival de las flores’ starts, as well as the popular dances and parades. This carnival will also choose a king and queen who will receive their crowns on a saturday, also known as ‘Sabado de Bando’. Other activities include the ‘ronda naval; a paint fight, also known as ‘pintadera’, concerts and more.

This carnival takes place from January 1 to February 13.

Carnaval de Morelos

The state of Morelos is home to many carnivals. There’s the carnival of Axochiapan, Tlatizapan, Tlayacapan, Tepoztlan, Yautepec and Atlatlahuacan. One of the events that are most representatives of Morelos carnavales is the ‘representacion del origen del Chinelo’ in Tlayacapan.

On from February 7 to March 24.

Merida, Yucatan

The state of Yucatan also has the traditional ‘quema del mal humor’, coronation of the carnival king and queen, as well as parades for children. Other activities include ‘Sábado de Fantasía’, Domingo de Bachata, Tuesday of the battle of the flowers and for the last day of the ‘Celebracion de la carne’ they burry Juan Carnaval.

Carnaval de Pinotepa de Don Luis, Oaxaca

In this small town, the locals put on a satire of Mestizo customs like weddings and divorces called “Danza de los tejorones” —in this dance, the tejorones are young mestizos that dance with a rattle and a handkerchief. At this carnival, you’ll also find comparsas, masks and the staging of ‘the caceria del tigre.’ Visit this carnival throughout February

San Juan Chamula, Chiapas

At this festival, locals dress up as Mash —a monkey— which is one of the traditional attires of San Juan Chamula. They run and hide from bulls that they let loose in the Plaza of San Juan Chamula. This carnival also celebrates the dances of ‘comisarios’, ‘xionales’ and ‘maltajimones.’