Things That Matter

21 Shots of Latin America That Left Us in Awe

You don’t need us to tell you, Latin America’s dripping in spellbinding scenery and boasts a rich culture and history. In light of this, we’ve collated 21 stunning images that portray South America in all its glory. From rolling valleys to urban skylines, we’ve covered it all. Let’s dive in!

1. Rio at Sunset

Credit: Rio. Digital Image. Pixabay, ujasnpandya. Jan. 27, 2015

This snap doesn’t need a description. The natural beauty here does all the talking. From the impeccable sunset over the mountains to the dreamy harbor- this shot captures some of the best features of Rio de Janeiro.

2. Cows in Rural Paraguay

Credit: Nature. Digital Image. Pxhere. Dec. 31, 2016

The mountainous landforms in Paraguay not only look sublime, but they’re the perfect place for herds of cattle to roam. Ethical farming amidst stunning scenery- what could be better?

3. Morning Brakes in Guatemala

Credit: Dawn. Digital Image. Pixabay marcoreyes. May. 25, 2015

Waking up at dawn and walking through the streets of Guatemala is one of the most peaceful experiences you’re ever likely to have. If you haven’t done it yet, put it on your bucket list.  For what this country lacks in size it more than makes up for in culture. Paraguay’s intriguing history coupled with its natural beauty creates a land full of breathtaking sites and photo ops.

4. Christ the Redeemer

Credit: Rio. Digital Image. Pixabay, fabiowanderley. July 26, 2016

We couldn’t compile a list of stunning Latin American images without including this magnificent structure! The colossal statue of Christ has proudly stood for 87 years at the summit of Mount Corcovado. This landmark’s one of Rio’s most internationally recognized hotspots. No one can visit this stature without being in utter awe of it

5. A Chilean Night’s Sky

Credit: Space. Digital Image. Pixabay, CristinaLaFee. Aug. 18, 2017

Have you ever seen a starry night’s sky as mesmerizing as this? On a clear evening, you can see dozens of twinkling stars. There’s so many dotted around you’ll struggle to count them all! Could you imagine anything more idyllic than setting up a hammock and sleeping here, under a sky as gorgeous as this?

6. Cycling in Paraguay

Credit:  Tree. Digital Image. Pxhere. 3 July. 2017

This snap captures an inkling of Latin American culture and tradition. This man’s working hard, transporting grass through the streets of Paraguay on the back of his bike.

7. Lima: A Dreamy Peruvian Coastline

Credit: Lima. Digital Image. Pixabay, ygrrr. Oct. 25, 2014

This image encompasses a gorgeous blend of cosmopolitanism and scenic coastal views. Lima truly has something for everyone to enjoy! Take a stroll down Miraflores boardwalk and explore all the nearby streets and parks. Lose yourself amidst the beautiful lanes lining the shore. It’s the perfect way to spend a laid-back afternoon.

8. Traditional Puerto Rican Architecture

Credit: Puerto Rico. Digital Image. Pixabay, sjdents. Nov. 10, 2014

Latin American culture’s full of color, creativity, and vibrancy- so it’s not surprising Puerto Rico’s architecture reflects these traits. The choice of bold paint is a treat for the eyes. The best word to describe the overall aesthetic is: ‘divine.’

9. A Long Peruvian Road

Credit: Peru. Digital Image. Pixabay, al3xitox100pre. Dec. 8, 2016

What could be better than jumping in a car and heading out on a road trip through the mysterious mountains of Peru? This image makes you want to pack up your bags and go on the adventure of a lifetime.

10. Glaciers in Argentina

Credit: Glacier. Digital Image. Pixabay, derwiki. Dec. 30, 2014

To the southwest of Argentina, there are more than 300 glaciers. Some are as large as 217-miles long in the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.

11. Ipanema Beach

Credit: Ipanema Beach. Digital Image. Pixabay, eacuna. Dec. 21, 2012

Situated towards the South of Rio de Janeiro, this beach is famous for its breathtaking sunsets and natural beauty. People flock from all around the globe to visit this place- judging from the picture; we’re sure you can see why!

12. Colors of Peru

Credit: Substances. Digital Image. Pixabay, LoggaWiggler. Aug. 17, 2011

Peruvian fabrics are famous for their bold use of color- it’s hard not to smile when you see a market stall brimming with hues as bright as these. After all, they say variety’s the spice of life- so, why shouldn’t this apply to color-filled fashion.

13. Machu Picchu In All Its Glory

Credit: Machu Picchu. Digital Image. Pixabay, skeeze. Aug. 5, 2016

Behold, Machu Picchu. As you probably already know, this is the Incan citadel that sits proudly amidst the Andes Mountains. The structures were expertly crafted back in the 15th century and later abandoned. The best thing about this mysterious place is that no one’s 100% sure what the remains were used for by the Incas- eerie!

14. Colombian Street Art

Credit: Face. Digital Image. Pixabay, lanur. Aug. 23, 2014

The street art in Colombia is astounding. Take a walk through Bogotá, and marvel at the world-renown graffiti that’s captured the hearts and imaginations of art-lovers from around the world. The quality and the diversity of the work plastered across the walls is second to none.

15. Tango Like No One’s Watching

Credit: Tango. Digital Image. Pixabay, pinthemapproject. Sept. 14, 2015

Check out this stunning couple as they enjoy dancing the Tango in the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Can you think of anything more romantic?

16. Penguin Colony in Argentina

Credit: South America. Digital Image. Pixabay, magicaltravelling. Feb. 24, 2016

Everyone loves penguins, and Argentina is home to four beautiful species. The colony pictured above is nothing short of majestic.

17. Rainbow Mountain

Credit: Peru. Digital Image. Pixabay, jerzykwpodrozy. March 29, 2017

This beautiful Peruvian mountain looks as though it’s painted in stunning golds, emeralds, reds, and violets. Once upon a time, this mountain was covered in ice. As it began to melt, the water combined with the minerals in the rocks and created the colors you see here- how neat is that?

18. Chilean Shanty Town

Credit: Landscape. Digital Image. Pxhere. 03/04 2017

This photo’s living proof that money isn’t everything. These Chilean slums exude color right across the Valparaíso coastline. As you can imagine, the skyline’s mesmerizing!

19. Ecuadorian Llamas

Credit: Landscape. Digital Image. Pxhere. 4th April 2017

These Ecuadorian llamas are gorgeous. It looks like the one in the brown fur’s gazing out across the lake- and who can blame him? The mountainous landscape set behind the blue body of water looks idyllic.

20. Peruvian Dress

Credit: Architecture. Digital Image. Pxhere. 3rd July 2017

These Quechuan ladies are proudly sporting traditional Peruvian dress. Living high within the Andes, this community farms wool to produce beautiful handicrafts.

21. Traveling in Paraguay

Credit: Tree. Digital Image. Pxhere. 3rd Dec. 2017

This snapshot provides another quick insight into the traditional culture of Paraguay. This man’s elegantly riding a cart pulled by cattle. A mode of transport that’s better known as an oxcart. Initially, oxcarts were used in Costa Rica during the mid-nineteenth century to transport coffee beans. Although they’re rarer in today’s society, they remain a beautiful symbol of Latin American history.

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Imagine Having Machu Picchu All To Yourself – That’s What One Man Got After Being Stuck In Peru For Seven Months

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Imagine Having Machu Picchu All To Yourself – That’s What One Man Got After Being Stuck In Peru For Seven Months

Gustavo Basso / Getty Images

One of the most dreaded side effects of the global Coronavirus pandemic, is that it took with it our travel plans. Whether we were simply set to have weekends at the beach, visit our abuelos in Mexico, or go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip across the world, so many of us have seen our travel plans taken away.

Well, one traveler made it across the world to fulfill his lifelong dream of seeing Machu Picchu but as soon as he arrived, so too did the pandemic. He became stuck in foreign country and couldn’t travel or see the sights he had hoped to visit.

As Peru has slowly reopened, this now world-famous traveler is being known as the first person to see Machu Picchu post-lockdown and he got to do so all by himself.

One lucky traveler got to experience the city of Machu Picchu all by himself.

Peru’s famous Machu Picchu ruins, closed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, reopened on Monday for one lucky Japanese tourist after he spent months stranded in the country due to global travel restrictions.

In a video first reported by The Guardian, Jesse Takayama shared his immense gratitude for being allowed to visit the ancient Incan city – which had long been one of his dreams. Months ago he had arrived in a small town near the Incan city, where he has remained ever since because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Peru’s Minister of Culture, Alejandro Neyra, said at a press conference that “He [Takayama] had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter. The Japanese citizen has entered together with our head of the park so that he can do this before returning to his country.” Talk about a once in a lifetime experience.

Neyra went on to add that this really was a rare moment and that Takayama only received access after submitting a special request to the local tourism authority.

In an Instagram post about his special access, Takayama said that “Machu Picchu is so incredible! I thought I couldn’t go but many people asked the government. I’m the first one to visit Machu Picchu after lockdown!”

Takayama had been stuck in Peru since March when the country shut down its borders because of the pandemic.

Takayama arrived to Peru in March and promptly bought his pass to the ancient city but little did he know the world (and his plans) would come to a screeching halt. Peru was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic (and continues to struggle) and was forced to close its borders and institute a strict lockdown.

Peru was forced to implement drastic COVID-19 restrictions on travel including an end to all incoming international flights earlier this year, which only relaxed this month after the nation’s rate of new COVID-19 cases began declining in August.

The last statement posted on the Machu Picchu website, dated from July, says that “the Ministries of Culture and Foreign Trade and Tourism are coordinating the prompt reopening of Machu Picchu”.

Peru’s Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions.

The country’s Minister of Culture, Neyra, stressed that “the reopening of Machu Picchu is important for Peruvians, as a symbol of national pride and also as a budget issue, because it is one of the places that generates the most income for the culture sector.”

The BBC reports that the Inca stronghold, a Unesco world heritage site since 1983, is expected to reopen at reduced capacity next month. 

More than 1.5 million people make the pilgrimage to the Inca city annually. In 2017, Unesco threatened to place the famous ruins on its list of endangered heritage sites because of fears about overcrowding; Peruvian authorities subsequently brought in measures to control the flow of tourists and visitor numbers were capped at around 2,240 per day.

Peru is still experiencing one of the region’s worst outbreaks of Coronavirus.

After beginning a phased reopening, Peru has started to see its contagion rate increase in recent days. The country still faces one of the worst outbreaks in South America, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“We are still in the middle of a pandemic,” Neyra added. “It will be done with all the necessary care.”

Peru has recorded just over 849,000 total cases of COVID-19, and 33,305 deaths since the pandemic began.

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Pope Francis Condemns Capitalism and Populism in New Official Church Document

Things That Matter

Pope Francis Condemns Capitalism and Populism in New Official Church Document

Photo: Getty Images

In his latest encyclical–an authoritative papal document–Pope Francis has laid out his ideas of what he believes the world needs to become post-pandemic.

The document, entitled Fratelli Tutti (which means “Brothers All” in Italian), is an ode to a more communal, fraternal society, one in which we aren’t as divided by borders and differences, but united in our shared humanity. However, the document is making headlines for a different reason.

In it, the Pope laments the failures of free-market capitalism which he believes has failed the poor and weak during this global “calamity”.

“The marketplace by itself cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith,” he said in the encyclical.

He continued: “Neoliberalism simply reproduces itself by resorting to the magic theories of “spillover” or “trickle” – without using the name – as the only solution to societal problems. There is little appreciation of the fact that the alleged “spillover” does not resolve the inequality that gives rise to new forms of violence threatening the fabric of society. It is imperative to have a proactive economic policy directed at ‘promoting an economy that favors productive diversity and business creativity.'”

Pope Francis even touches on the topic of privilege, which he explains prevents everyone from benefiting equally from a free market.

“Some people are born into economically stable families, receive a fine education, grow up well nourished, or naturally possess great talent,” he said. “Yet the same rule clearly does not apply to a disabled person, to someone born in dire poverty, to those lacking a good education and with little access to adequate health care.”

This isn’t the first time Pope Francis has voiced his opinion on contemporary socio-economic issues. The Argentinian Jesuit has largely been considered progressive due to his comparatively open-minded takes on controversial topics like divorceclimate change, and LGBT issues.

According to Pope Francis, he began writing the encyclical at the beginning of the year, but the document’s message took a very different turn when COVID-19 “unexpectedly erupted” across the globe, “exposing our false securities.”

“Fratelli Tutti” is surprising to people because of how progressive it is. Especially coming from an authority figure that is head of a traditionally conservative institution.

Among his thought-provoking ideas, he shares such gems as: “Racism is a virus that quickly mutates and, instead of disappearing, goes into hiding, and lurks in waiting.”

He also explains that the term “populism” is being co-opted by powerful people who want nothing more than to exploit a country’s people for their own personal interests.

Pope Francis ended the encyclical with an universal call for “peace, justice and fraternity” among everyone.

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