Things That Matter

25 Most Instagrammable Spots in Latin America

For anyone who’s ever been there, it should come as no surprise that travel to Latin America is one of the greatest joys in life. There is so much to do and so many countries to visit that I often don’t know where to start. Do I go to the cities? To the beaches? To the ruins? With so many options, there really is no such thing as a bad trip to Latin America.

Still, if you’re trying to pick where to go, then there are a few places I might suggest: Some of the most Instagrammable spots in Latin America! These are the places that you see over and over again when searching the #traveltuesday photos and drooling every week (wait, am I the only one that does that?) and the places that you might not have even realized exist. From the stand-bys like Machu Picchu in Peru to the  Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia to Atacama Desert in Chile, here are the 25 most Instagram-worthy spots in Latin America that you absolutely will NOT want to miss. In fact, I think you should start packing your bags and camera equipment ASAP.

1. Havana, Cuba

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It’s easier than ever to be an American and travel to Cuba, and you should take advantage while you can. I loved strolling through the streets of Old Havana, taking pictures of buildings and food and people. And, of course, the vintage cars.

2. Machu Picchu, Peru

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This is probably the number one spot in South America, and for good reason. The 15th century Inca citadel is a splendor and continues to be one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

3. San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Although Puerto Rico suffered greatly during Hurricane Maria and recovery is still slow, San Juan remains a beautiful city to visit. Plus, by going there, you will put some much-needed tourism dollars toward’s Puerto Rico’s economy… And that’s definitely a great thing.

4. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

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Located in the southwest of Bolivia, this is the world’s largest salt flat. It is an incredible place to visit and taking an Instagram photo of you jumping up in this spot is the thing to do. Trust me on this one.

5. Merida, Mexico

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Merida is the largest city in the Yucatan and also the capital of that region, known for its beauty just off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. As a bonus, besides the city, you’ll want to check out the Mayan Ruins nearby because they are truly incredible and worth seeing.

6. Easter Island, Chile

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This Chilean Island lies in the southeastern Pacific Ocean and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The thing to see here, of course, is the Rapa Nui National Park and the monumental statues of the early Rapa Nui people. 

7. Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

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The glaciers in Argentina are a sight to behold. This is actually the largest national park in Argentina, and has many beautiful sights and vistas. The thing you’ll really want to see is the giant ice cap in the Andes, which is the largest outside of Antarctica, Greenland, and Iceland.

8. Angel Falls, Venezuela

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You’ll definitely want to take a selfie at the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall that reaches the height of 3,211 feet and has a plunge of 2,368 feet. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the water drops over the edge of the Auyán-tepui mountain in the Canaima National Park.

9. Torres del Paine, Chile

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This National Park in the southern Chilean Patagonia has mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers. Basically, everything you could ever want for a truly magical Instagram photo. The views are breathtaking, so make sure you stay there long enough to catch the sunset.

10. Caño Cristales, Colombia

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This is a Colombian River that is located in the province of Meta. It’s often called the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow” because of its striking colors. It’s considered one of the most beautiful rivers in the world,  so what are you waiting for before heading there ASAP?

11. Amazon River, Brazil

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The Amazon River is the largest river in the world by discharge volume of water, but travelers know it for being so incredibly beautiful. If you travel along the river, you’ll want to pay attention to the natural wildlife and have your camera out because, well, there will be tons of photos to take.

12. Lake Titicaca, Peru

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Technically, this deep lake in the Andes is on the border of both Peru and Bolivia. It is actually the largest lake in South America, based on volume of water and by surface area. And isn’t it so gorgeous?

13. Sucre, Bolivia

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The constitutional capital of Bolivia (versus La Paz, where the government sits) is located in the south-central part of the country, and a very cool, temperate city year-round. One of the reasons that it is such a lovely Instagram-worthy spot is that there are beautiful houses and streets, plus the mountains behind too. 

14. Valparaiso, Chile

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This city is one of Chile’s major seaports, and located northwest of Santiago. Besides the beautiful seaport views, you might also enjoy walking through the streets of this city. It’s a bit magical to go here, so make sure you visit ASAP.

15. Vinicunca Rainbow Mountains, Peru

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Located in the Andes Mountains, Vinicunca is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit. It’s not yet known by many tourists, so you’ll want to visit the Mountain of Seven Colors pretty soon. And yes, you’ll pretty much feel like you’re inside of a Disney movie when you’re here.

16. Tulum, Mexico

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Located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, one of the most incredible things to see in Tulum is where the archaeological ruins meet the beach. The city itself is also a splendor to visit, with tons of markets, great food, and incredible people. And yes, beautiful Instagram-worthy places for a photo.

17. Baños, Ecuador

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In central Ecuador, you can find the adorable little town of Baños. Located on the foothills of Tungurahua volcano, this is known as the “Gateway to the Amazon” because it is the last big city in the mountains before reaching the jungle and the towns located in the Amazon River basin. 

18. Huacachina, Peru

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This incredible little village is a small oasis surrounded by sand dunes in southwestern Peru. It is built around a small natural lake in the desert and often called the “oasis of America” because it is a resort for local families from nearby Ica, along with being a tourist destination for its unique beauty.

19. Iguazu Falls, Brazil

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On the border of Brazil and Argentina, there is no wrong place to view Iguazu Falls from. This is the largest waterfall system in the world and will absolutely thrill you with its enchanting beauty. You might be so captivated that you actually forget to take a picture, though.

20. Atacama Desert, Chile

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This incredible piece of land on the Pacific Coast of Chile, west of the Andes mountains, covers about 600 miles. It is actually the driest desert in the world. It also happens to be an incredible piece of land that is truly beautiful. Time for that Instagram trip through Chile, huh?

21. Río Celeste, Costa Rica

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If you go to Costa Rica, then you should definitely plan to head to the Tenorio Volcano National Park. That is where you will find the Celeste River, which is known for its beautiful turquoise water. It also borders several hot springs and a large waterfall, and only takes an hour to hike from the park’s entrance to the waterfall. 

22. Cartagena, Colombia

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Founded in 1533, the city of Cartagena in Colombia is one of the most gorgeous and historic cities in the country. From the brightly-colored streets to the historic buildings, you’ll pretty much be walking around and taking pictures the whole time. It’s okay, no judgment.

23. Concepcion, Paraguay

CREDIT: elchad/Instagram

Lying next to the Paraguay River with plenty of nature to see, you’ll want to head to this town in the north of the country to explore. There’s a lot to do here, but most likely you’ll want to wander around and snap photos with your camera phone the whole time. It’s okay, it’s worth it.

24. Isla Margarita, Venezuela

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Primarily known for its fishing and tourism, this little island located on the Caribbean Sea is a great place to relax, sip on a cocktail beach-side and… Well, enjoy your time. Between the beach and the mountains, there is plenty to see and Instagram.

25. Pedra do Telégrafo, Brazil

CREDIT: trilhar.rj/instagram

The cliff known as Pedra do Telégrafo is the world’s most Instagram-worthy rock. Yes, really! The views here look amazing and kind of scary, but it’s actually an optical illusion when people hang off this famous rock. Plus, did I mention the the views here are amazing? Bring on the cameras!

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I Was Today Years Old When I Found Out These Pokémon Were Inspired By Mexico And Latin America

Entertainment

I Was Today Years Old When I Found Out These Pokémon Were Inspired By Mexico And Latin America

Pokémon.Fandom / Instagram

The Pokémon franchise is one of the biggest and most important ones in the world. Including video games, TV series, movies, card games, collectible cuddly toys and even clothing, the Pokémon empire’s profits amount to billions of dollars annually. With more than 800 species of Pokémon, the work for Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri has taken inspiration from various cultures around the world to invent each of the “pocket monsters,” and some were inspired by Latin America.

Nintendo and the Pokémon Company have published well over 50 different Pokémon games.

In the two decades since Pokémon first came to be, Nintendo has released over 50 games set in different worlds —featuring hundreds of unique monsters.

Currently, there are 722 official Pokémon that have been confirmed by Nintendo.

The nearly 800 monsters, draw upon the folklore from various cultures. Mawile, a fairy/steele-type monster, is loosely based on the Japanse legend of the Futakuchi-onna, a demon woman with a second mouth hidden in the back of her head, for example.

While some Pokémon are tied to myths, others are grounded in real-world cultures.

In particular, there just so happen to be a handful of pocket monsters with direct links to Latin America. Some of them are super cool and some of them are…well, pretty racist. But they’re all a part of the Pokémon legacy and you should know all about them.

Ludicolo

In typical Pokémon fashion, it’s difficult to tell what Ludicolo’s supposed to be exactly. It’s a pineapple. It’s a duck. It’s a man wearing a poncho and a sombrero who likes to sing and dance? At best, Ludicolo’s supposed to be a tribute to Mexican Mariachi. At worst, it’s just offensive. You decide.

Sigilyph

Sigilyph is a flying/psychic Pokémon first introduced in the Black and White games. Unlike most Pokémon, Sigilyph isn’t based on a specific animal, but rather a drawing of one. The monster’s design is inspired by the Nazca Lines, a set of artistic geoglyphs etched into the earth of the Nazca Desert in southern Peru.

Hawlucha

Hawlucha is definitely part of the Pokémon wall of fame. It’s a fighting/flying hawk-esque creature with an affinity for airborne wrestling moves inspired by lucha libre. Whereas Ludicolo came across as a slightly-racist reading of a cultural tradition, Hawlucha’s characterization tends to be much more respectful and celebratory. Also it’s just cool.

Wooper

This Pokémon is inspired by the axolotl, the amphibian endemic to the Mexican Basin, who can regenerate its own body. The Mexican-inspired monster is blue, and has a pair of antennae on its head —which are a clear reference to the gills of Axolotls.

Rayquaza

Rayquaza is a mixture of several mythological beings, but we gotta say that its resemblance to Quetzalcoatl is pretty evident. This is one of the most powerful Pokémon of the franchise’s universe, and there’s a colorful version in the Pokémon Go video game.

Maractus

For foreigners, the cactus is a very Mexican element, and Maractus is a Pokémon-cactus, its bright colors are reminiscent of Mexican culture. In addition, it shakes what would be its hands as if they were maracas, another very “Mexican” element for people —hence the name mar(acas)(ca)ctus.

Mew

When the first Pokémon games were released, Mew was something of an urban legend. When Mew’s existence was finally confirmed and the Pokémon was made available to the public, we learned that Mew was the original Pokémon from which all others descended.

In the first Pokémon movie, Mew’s described as being a psychic capable of learning all moves and transforming into other Pokémon. It’s also explained that researchers looking for the elusive monster eventually (and unknowingly) discover it in the jungles of Guyana. Ancient Guyanese cultures, it’s implied, encountered Mew often enough that they incorporated it into their local mythology, a concept that’s worth pointing out considering that Mew’s known for rendering itself invisible.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Push For A Bernie Sanders Presidency Might Just Be The Fight We Need

Things That Matter

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Push For A Bernie Sanders Presidency Might Just Be The Fight We Need

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As the 2020 presidential election draws ever nearer, the stakes are growing significantly higher for the candidates of both major parties—and quickly. In the case of the Democrats, the top four candidates (Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg) are all closely ranked in New Hampshire and Iowa, and it’s no secret that Iowa is a particularly important state when it comes to forecasting election season. This week, the Des Moines Register poll showed Sanders with a mild lead in this Midwest state, a stat that bodes well for him in the coming months—well, at least, it might. At this point in the game, it’s really impossible to guess what’s to come, especially in the midst of the chaos surrounding our military conflict with Iran and the impeachment of President Trump.

In addition to a millennial-friendly position on a wide range of issues—from healthcare reform to student loan forgiveness—many folks are speculating about Senator Sanders’ success resulting from his endorsement by none other than AOC herself.

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Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Sanders back in October, and ever since, she’s stood alongside him in several early-voting states, drawing major crowds in Nevada, California, New York, and, of course, Iowa. Sanders’ approach to policy may already pique the interest of the millennial generation, but AOC is, herself, a millennial—she speaks to this age group from her own perspective as a progressive young person, appealing to her peers with firsthand knowledge of what matters to them most. She’s impassioned, savvy, likeable. And she’s not just exciting the millennial demographic—she’s appealing to all kinds of Democrats.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a leader in the progressive movement,” said Jeff Weaver, longtime adviser to Sanders. “She is broadly popular, frankly, among Democratic voters. She is particularly strong with young voters, voters of color. She’s an important national voice and adding her weight to the political revolution is a real coup for us.”

It’s definitely clear that AOC and Sanders are making waves across the country, establishing powerful connections with legions of unlikely and diverse Democratic constituencies. And as they continue to generate energy and excitement, people are starting to wonder: Will AOC ultimately inherit the progressive movement headed by Sanders? Will she occupy the White House one day?

Credit: Kevin Kuo / AP Photo

Again, no one can answer these questions right now. But in the meantime, the political duo is leaving a powerful imprint on enthusiastic delegates, paving the way for what might end up being a highly productive race for the Democratic socialists. With that said, it’s important to remember that Joe Biden is currently favored in Nevada and South Carolina, placing him and Sanders in a sort of limbo, hovering at a similar point  in the race. But if one of them ends up gaining early momentum, either candidate could potentially emerge as a singular favorite by the time Super Tuesday arrives in March.

Waleed Shahid, a former aide to both Sanders and AOC, acknowledged the pair’s recent visit through California, saying that Sanders would benefit from further establishing himself within the Super Tuesday state—a move that would allow him to expand his already strong position among Latino voters. (In surveys of Latino Democrats, Sanders typically polls first or second.) And AOC is, without a doubt, boosting his ratings among this demographic: to make sure their message is being heard, she’s been delivering campaign speeches entirely in Spanish to Latino crowds.

Even if there’s no way to predict AOC’s future role in the Democratic party, there have been hints as to what might come to pass if Sanders is chosen as the Democratic candidate for this year’s election.

Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters

In an election endorsement interview with The New York Times Editorial Board, Sanders said that it was “a little bit premature” to name a running mate, as the first nominating contest is still weeks away. But he continued by saing, “I think Joe [Biden] has had eight years as vice president: probably enough.” He added, “I believe in diversity. I believe and know that my administration and my cabinet will look like America looks like. I’m not going to tell you who it’s going to be.”

While Sanders may be trying to keep his plans on the down low (he isn’t wrong, after all—it is a bit early to start naming potential running mates), it’s clear that he and AOC have a similar vision and a sincere, collaborative chemistry. Plus, he did tell ABC in November that she would “play a very, very important role — no question” if he becomes president. He has even taken to occasionally citing remarks by AOC during his speeches, reiterating that they share a parallel perspective for the future of our country. At this point, all we can do is speculate about a Sanders/AOC ticket. Ya veremos!