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These Latin American Cities Should Be On Everyone’s List Of Vacation Destinations

Over the years, tourism in Latin America has boomed exponentially as more and more global visitors start to discover the amazing scope of culture, nature, and history sewn into the fabric of these lands.

If you are looking for a few inspirations for your next adventure, here are 20 of the coolest cities in Latin America that is worth your visit.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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The second largest city in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is well-known for its spectacular landscape and laid back beach culture. If you’re a first-timer in Rio, you can’t pass up people-watching and relaxing along the shoreline of Ipanema or Copacabana. Rio is also home to one of the world’s Seven Wonders, the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Dubbed as the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires is regarded as the second most sought-after city to visit after Florence, Italy. You can find elegant architecture, fashionable shopping, and delectable cuisine, and legendary nightlife. You can also find the world’s biggest Japanese garden outside of Japan, the Buenos Aires Japanese Gardens.

Cartagena, Colombia

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In 1533, the Old Town of Cartegena de Indias was founded as a Spanish port. This UNESCO world heritage site still remains intact up to these days, with beautiful high stone walls peering out over the breathtaking Caribbean. Apart from the beaches, the city is also known for its rich culture and history, and fabulous theaters and arts.

Cusco, Peru

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Cusco was once a capital of an empire across half of South America. This prancing-Jaguar-shaped city which was once called Inca, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. Cusco is home to Peru’s most popular Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. With more than two million tourists a year, the number alone tells you that the city indeed is one place you should visit.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

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This capital and largest city in Puerto Rico is home to the Isla Verde resort strip, popular for its nightclubs, bars, and casinos. In Old San Juan, you can find cobblestoned architectures that feature 16th century landmarks like the La Fortaleza and El Morro, and colorful Spanish colonial buildings.

Mexico City, Mexico

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The densely populated capital of Mexico is popular for its 13th century Aztec Temple, the Templo Mayor, as well as the Palacio Nacional where historic murals of Diego Rivera are found. The Mexican neighborhood is flooded with art deco, and its historic center in Zocalo is a UNESCO-declared World Heritage site.

Antigua, Guatemala

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Apart from its colonial architecture, Antigua is the birthplace of chocolate. While you can find a lot of coffee plantations in the city, thanks to its volcanic landscape that makes coffee growing ideal, there’s nowhere in the country that you can get your sugar fix than in Antigua.

La Paz, Bolivia

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Bolivia is increasingly attracting tourists during the past years. Its administrative capital, La Paz, is a major tourism center and in 2014 was declared as one of the Seven Urban Wonder cities of the world. From there, its popularity has rocketed. From its stunning natural sceneries to indigenous culture, coupled with different outdoor attractions, La Paz is one South American city worth visiting indeed.

Bogota, Colombia

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Bogota is Colombia’s capital city and is rich in colonial-era landmarks like Teatro Colon, a neoclassical performance hall. This city is also home to well-known museums like Museo Botero that showcases Fernando Botero’s art. The city also has a lot to offer in terms of history, cuisine, sports, and culture.

Mendoza, Argentina

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You can enjoy Mendoza all year round: from its vastness of mountains to its natural beauties, as well as its fine wineries, this city really has a lot to offer. If you are into wines, their Grape Harvest Festival every March is a must. Here, wineries open their doors to tourists and visitors and offer interesting wine tours.

Santiago, Chile

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This versatile city is home to numerous events that showcase only the best of Chilean culture. International festivals of flavor, sound, and color also make the city more captivating to their tourists. It also prides itself of their design shops, art galleries, bars, and cafes. To get the best panoramic city views, the San Cristobal Hill is a must-see.

Panama City, Panama

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This city is framed by the man-made Panama Canal and the Pacific Ocean. Its cobblestoned historic area, the Casco Viejo, is known for its colonial-era landmarks such as the Palacio Presidencial. To get the best views of ships traversing the Panama Canal, visit the Miraflores Locks.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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This interesting capital of the Dominican Republic is a collage of neighborhoods and cultures. At the city’s main district, you can find Zona Colonial where the oldest churches can be found. From living museums to seaside resorts, one can truly enjoy a laid-back atmosphere at this capital city.

Quito, Ecuador

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Quito is the world’s second tallest capital and is home to the biggest and best preserved historic center in Latin America. Also known as Carita de Dios, this 1978 UNESCO-declared site as the first Cultural Heritage of Humanity has countless places to discover. The city is surrounded by amazing volcanoes and mountains and prides itself of its bohemian air, its internal treasures, and its spectacular views.

San Jose, Costa Rica

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San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica. To its south is the Talamanca Mountains, and volcanoes are found to its north. The city is known for its Spanish colonial buildings like the National Theatre of Costa Rica that overlooks the popular Plaza de la Cultura. Gleaming artifacts can also be seen on their Pre-Columbian Gold museum displays.

Montevideo, Uruguay

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Montevideo is Uruguay’s capital city and stretches along Montevideo Bay. The city revolves around what was once the home of the Spanish citadel, the Plaza de la Independencia. As you walk through the plaza, you will be lead to Ciudad Vieja (the old town) where you can find colonial homes, art deco buildings, the popular Palacio Salve. You can also indulge your taste palettes in Mercado del Puerto where you can find a lot of steakhouses.

Recife, Brazil

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Recife is the capital of Pernambuco, Brazil’s northeastern state, and is notable by its many peninsulas, bridges, islets, and rivers; thus, it’s dubbed as the Venice of Brazil. The city is popular for its crazy carnival parades, thumping nightlife, and pristine beaches.

Cancun, Mexico

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This Mexican city located on the Yucatan Peninsula that borders the Caribbean Sea is known for its nightlife, numerous resorts, and beaches. It is divided into two areas: El Centro, the downtown area, the Zona Hotelera, a long strip of beachfront with nightclubs, restaurants, shops, and high-rise hotels. This is the city famed for its being the top destination of college students during spring break.

Porto Alegre, Brazil

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This multicultural city is the capital of Rio Grande do Sul and was colonized by a number of European nations. This colonization is the reason behind its rich culture and history with secular traditions and unique foods. Visiting the city is worth the time because it has more than 50 museums, 13 cultural centers, and more than thirty theatrical spaces.

Guayaquil, Ecuador

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This city is situated along the south coast of the Pacific and is known to host a lot of attractions. It is dubbed as the gateway to the Galapagos Island and the Pacific beaches. One popular attraction is the Las Penas neighborhood where you can see colorful houses. Cafes and art galleries line the stairs leading up the Santa Ana Hill, the place where you can have the perfect view of the city.


READ: Here Are Some Hikers Of Color Who Will Inspire You To Travel The World And Explore Nature

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A Toxi-Tour Will Take Activists To Seven States In Mexico That Host The Country’s Most Polluted Spots

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A Toxi-Tour Will Take Activists To Seven States In Mexico That Host The Country’s Most Polluted Spots

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Like most countries that depend heavily on coal energy and on manufacturing to keep its productive wheels running, Mexico is deeply affected by the environmental damage that many industries cause. Added to local production, Mexico has also been the site of maquilas, factories set up by foreign investors who are lured by cheaper labour and by lax tax regimes, as well as by looser rules when it comes to environmental impact. Both industry and public opinion need to be better informed of the toxic hot spots in the country.

Mexico sits at an strategic political and commercial position, and industrial powerhouses such as the United States and Canada, whose companies have set shop in the other member of NAFTA, by far the most disadvantaged. 

The toxi-tour caravan will travel the country for ten days in total, December 2-11.

Participants include environmentalists and scientists from both Mexico and overseas. The objective is to raise awareness and to denounce the companies that cause most damage. Perhaps shaming is the first step towards change. Besides Mexicans, there are representatives from the United States, Europe and other Latin American Countries. 

The journey began in El Salto, Jalisco, where a polluted river has led to cancer and death.

Credit: Regeneración radio

In this site industrial pollution of the Santiago river has caused the death of more than a thousand people due to cancer and kidney failure. People from cities in the United States affected by pollution in places like Flint, Michigan, can surely relate. A river is generally a propeller for economic development and productive activity, as well as a source of an increasingly scarce commodity: water. However, this river is basically poisonous now and has brought death to those who live nearby. 

The caravan will visit sites were more than three million people have seen their health diminished by pollution.

Credit: Notimex

The rest of the Toxi-tour stops include Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato; Apaxco, México state; Atonilco de Tula, Hidalgo; Tlaxcala; Puebla; and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. The journey will conclude in Mexico City on December 11. As you may lmow, Mexico City is deeply affected by high levels of pollution. Its high altitude and the fact that it is nested in a valley make it prone to elevated pollution levels that have damaged the upper respiratory tract in millions of its inhabitants.

In the photo we can see the cement manufacturing plant of Apaxco, which releases fine particles that have caused upper respiratory tract issues for both the workers and the people living near the factory. Imagine breathing grainy, minuscule cement dust day in, day out. Another big issue is the unlawful disposal of waste in landfills which end up pumping chemicals into the soil and rendering it sterile. 

The organizers have a pretty clear idea of who is to blame for the environmental crisis in these places.

As Mexico Daily News reports: “The Toxi-Tour will “denounce United States, Canadian, German, French, Spanish and Mexican companies” that cause environmental damage, said Andrés Barreda, a representative of the National Assembly of Environmental Victims, which organized the caravan.”

Yes, Mexican companies share the blame, but the fact that Global North companies have caused physical damage to the land and people of a previously colonized nation brings back memories of colonial times and trauma. So for these companies the lives of Global South countries are less valuable? It would appear that is the case. This is afforded of course, by corrupt authorities. The caravan will also get political and will engage local community leaders and people that have been affected or displaced by industry.

As Mexico News Daily reports: “In Tlaxcala on Friday, caravan members will learn about the community proposal to clean up the Atoyac–Zahuapan river basin, while on Saturday they will visit contaminated areas of Puebla city and speak with locals who have been dispossessed of their communal lands.”

Mexican history is a history of dispossession, and environmental violence is another way in which those in power have decimated the productive capabilities and future survival of communities that live and die by a deep attachment to the land and nature. 

This Bomb Cyclone Is Plastering The West Coast And Making It Tough To Travel

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This Bomb Cyclone Is Plastering The West Coast And Making It Tough To Travel

You may not have planned to stay home for the holidays—but our country’s current weather situation might keep you there. Two powerful storms have been forming on both coasts, which means that traveling for Thanksgiving may be a little rough (or even impossible) this year. As the severe weather culminates in blizzard conditions and hurricane-force winds, weather forecasters are warning people to exercise caution and brace for major delays. So instead of trying to venture too far out into the snow, it may be best to cancel everything and cozy up with some Netflix and hot cocoa. Or, better yet, some Netflix and coquito.

Those on the West Coast are at the mercy of a “bomb cyclone,” a rare weather phenomenon that has already happened several times this year.

Credit: NOAA

These storms form when the air near the surface of the earth rises rapidly through the atmosphere, causing an abrupt drop in barometric pressure. As the air continues to rise, currents are generated at the base of the storm, sucking wind into its spin and causing the pressure to keep dropping. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm. Really, a bomb cyclone is just a storm that intensifies at an alarmingly high rate, and the results can be catastrophic. Last month, a storm of this nature descended on the Northeast and knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of homes.

This particular bomb cyclone is expected to plaster California—from Crescent City to Bakersfield—with several feet of snow. If that song “White Christmas” is any indication, white Christmases don’t usually happen in Beverly Hills, so this forecast is obviously unusual. Many meteorologists have also described it as unprecedented. Some experts say that that’s the true danger of bomb cyclones: they can (and often do) sneak up on us.

Bomb cyclones are kind of like cold-weather hurricanes, with strong winds, heavy precipitation, and eye-like features at their center. Definitely not the kind of weather you want to fly through.

“Fundamentally, the impacts of a bomb cyclone are not necessarily different from other strong storm systems, except that the fast strengthening is usually a signature of a very powerful storm system,” said Daniel Swain, Climate Scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

So what exactly should people in the West expect from this cyclone? The National Weather Service office in Las Vegas has a storm warning posted from 5 p.m. PT on Tuesday until 4 a.m. PT on Friday and some places in Colorado reported as much as 30 inches in just 20 hours. As the storm develops, forecasters predict that at least a foot of snow can be expected across the plains by Thursday. This means that the central part of the country will probably experience the most flight delays, as airports in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul have already experienced widespread cancellations (as of Tuesday morning, nearly 500 flights out of Denver International Airport have been canceled).

As for the East Coast? There is no “bomb cyclone” predicted. Instead, wet and windy weather is in the forecast, paired with heavy snow. It doesn’t take long to realize that plunging temperatures and abundant showers are a recipe for ice, ice, baby – but so far, there are no severe weather warnings encouraging people to prepare for icy conditions. In fact, it’s expected that rain will clear the coast by noon on Thanksgiving, though wind gusts might grow to more than 30 or 40 mph in some places. All the more reason to sip a warm beverage and cuddle up on the couch.

If you’re bummed about the weather ruining your holiday plans, look at it this way: you’re bearing witness to some serious meteorological history.

Well, maybe—that’s yet to be confirmed. Still, isn’t it cool that California may experience its lowest-ever air pressure reading? No? What about the fact that temperatures throughout the state will be 15 degrees lower than the average? Not doing it for ya? Okay. Perhaps the real silver lining to all this climate chaos is that it’s forcing some of us to stay put and relax. The holidays can be a stressful time, and sometimes we just need a powerful winter tempest to make us kick back and chill. Regardless of what your plans are, stay safe out there!

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