things that matter

These Stunning Photos Come From Actual Places In Latin America That Are Totally Easy To Visit This Summer

elisepoiffaut/Instagram

One of the most incredible experiences I have ever had in my life is visiting a cenote in the Riviera Maya in Mexico. I remember so vividly paddling in a little boat on top of an underground river, surrounded by the natural cave and being in awe of everything. In fact, it was one of the most surreal experiences of my life — which totally makes sense since Latin America is absolutely full of surreal, beautiful places to visit.

From Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia to the Marble Caves in Chile/Argentina to the Cave of Crystals in Mexico to the Viñales Valley in Cuba, there is incredible, natural beauty all over the Americas and the Caribbean. You’ll never believe all of the different things you can see, from deserts to glaciers to incredible valleys filled with so much greenery. And there’s even a rainbow river! If you want to travel to some of the most obscenely incredible sites in the world, then check out these 21 most surreal places in Latin America.

1. Cenote Samula, Valladolid, Mexico

CREDIT: vagando_por_mexico/Instagram

The Mexican cenote is a beautiful thing and, in case you didn’t know, it is a natural sinkhole that exposes the groundwater underneath — and has become a wonderful place to swim, particularly in the Yucatán Peninsula. This one is one of the majestic ones that you’ll definitely want to see.

2. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

CREDIT: torresdelpaine/Instagram

This gorgeous national park, located in Chile’s Patagonia region, is well-known for the beautiful soaring mountains and bright blue icebergs, plus grasslands that house wildlife such as the llama-like guanacos. There are seemingly endless places to go, and you’ll want to stay here forever.

3. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

CREDIT: dudewheresmypassport/Instagram

When you go to Bolivia, you absolutely must stop by the southwest part of the country to visit the Andes mountains and Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. This is the result of a prehistoric lake that went dry and left us with a desert-like landscape of bright-white salt and rock formations… And it’s beautiful, no?

4. Mount Roraima, Venezuela

CREDIT: conocevenezuela/Instagram

Nestled safely in Venezuela, though also touching Brazil and Guayana, is this beautiful and unique “floating island” plateau that actually sits 1,2000 feet above the forest floor. This natural wonder is very much worth visiting on your next trip to South America. It’s surreal and will surely take your breath away to stare up at this gorgeous mount.

5. Marble Caves, General Carrera Lake, Chile-Argentina

CREDIT: passionpassport/Instagram

This lake, located in Patagonia, is deep and beautiful… and has a glacial origin since it is surrounded by the Andes mountains. Meanwhile, the Marble Caves, which are here, were actually formed by wave action over the last 6,2000 years and are one of the most wonderful parts to see at this lake… But don’t worry, there’s plenty more here, too. 

6. Cueva Ventana, Puerto Rico

CREDIT: g.sullivan97/Instagram

If you’re still heartbroken over the devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, then you should know that so are we… But the good thing is that we can do something about it, like travel to Puerto Rico and support the country with volunteer efforts and our tourism dollars. Of course, if you’re there, you will want to head to the limestone cliff in Arecibo, where you can find this large cave that overlooks the Río Grande de Arecibo valley. Isn’t it gorgeous?

7. Perito Moreno Glacier, Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

CREDIT: lucaspereiraphoto/Instagram

Los Glaciares National Park is one of the most beautiful places you can visit in Argentina, and I highly encourage you to go there ASAP. But you’ll want to know where to go, right? Well, the Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most impressive to see and likely one of the most important (and surreal!) tourist attractions in the country. You’ll definitely be impressed.

8. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

CREDIT: brunoferrucio/Instagram

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is located in the northeastern area of Brazil, and a splendor to see. This area, which is roughly 580 square miles, is full of low, flat, and occasionally flooded land, along with plenty of sand dunes. And, get this: There is abundant rain but almost no vegetation! Heading there to take a dip in some of the waters might be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.

9. Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

CREDIT: elisepoiffaut/Instagram

This shallow salt lake is a wonder to see, mainly because the white color of the borax islands contrasts with the reddish color of its waters (which is caused by red sediments and pigmentation of some algae). It’s a wonder to see, and you will absolutely love your time there. The colors, the views, all of it… So surreal!

10. Valley of the Moon, Atacama Desert, Chile

CREDIT: nick.bailey360/Instagram

Located west of the Andes mountains and primarily in Chile, this desert plateau is actually the driest desert in the world and home to many beautiful views such as this one from the Valley of the Moon. Beyond that, there is plenty of stony terrain, tons of salt lakes, salad, and felsic lava that flows towards the Andes and catches my breath every single time. Wow. Just wow!

11. Rio Secreto, Riveira Maya, Mexico

CREDIT: riosecreto/Instagram

As I mentioned earlier, the Riviera Maya has a lot of beautiful, natural caves with rivers — such as the Rio Secreto that is one of the most spectacular underground rivers around. There are tons of hiking and swimming excursions, too, where you can marvel at the splendor while surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites. And the river itself, of course.

12. Colca Canyon, Peru

CREDIT: mlodzinskiphoto/Instagram

This river canyon, located in southern Peru, is one of the world’s deepest and also a well-known trekking destination. The landscape has green valleys and remote traditional villages, and you can even head down to the Colca River for rafting. Just don’t forget to be ready for R&R because you will surely be relaxed and rested after a trip here. Just look at those breathtaking views!

13. Altos de Chavón, Dominican Republic

CREDIT: 7xijosdavid/Instagram

The Altos de Chavón is actually a re-created Mediterranean-style European village that is located atop the Chavón River in the Dominican Republic, but you’ll want to head here not only to see the adorable little town but also the nature that surrounds it. Just look at this gorgeous river, and tell me you don’t want to stare at it forever… 

14. Iguazu Falls, Argentina-Brazil

CREDIT: iguazufalls/Instagram

Bordering both Argentina and Brazil, these waterfalls are known to be one of the most beautiful in the world and with good reason. The magic seen here is impossible to describe and you will feel as if you stepped into a surreal world of incredible beauty. Trust me, you’ll want to come here and breathe in all of the fresh air and just marvel in how incredibly special all of this is.

15. Cave of Crystals, Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico

CREDIT: acrisiomelo/Instagram

If you’ve ever dreamed of stepping into a crystal cave (and who hasn’t, amirite?), then your wishes can come true in the Chihuahua region of Mexico. The main cave chamber actually contains giant selenite crystals, which are some of the largest natural crystals ever found. Surprisingly, the cave is also extremely hot and is relatively unexplored because of the heat and humidity. If you go, make sure that you have proper protection… and probably only stay for about 10 minutes.

16. Caño Cristales River, Meta, Colombia

CREDIT: neotropicexpeditions/Instagram

This Colombian river is a beautiful place to go on your search for the surreal beauty that you can only find in South America. This river is often called the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow” because it is, indeed, the most beautiful river in the world thanks to the variously colored plants that make the bed of the river light up with yellow, green, blue, black, and especially red from July to November. 

17. Catatumbo Lightning, Venezuela

CREDIT: earth_timeline/Instagram

Prepare to be completely amazing: The Catatumbo Lightning is an atmospheric phenomenon that happens in Venezuela, and it occurs only over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it emboss into Lake Maracaibo. Basically, about 140-160 nights of the year, a mass of storm clouds originates over the lake and lightning strikes for up to 10 hours a day and up to 180 times per hour. Although it differs year to year, it is absolutely AH-mazing to see.

18. Semuc Champey, Guatemala

CREDIT: leelooledoux/Instagram

You will never believe how surreal this beautiful, natural moment in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, is when you visit. Consisting of a natural limestone bridge, plenty of turquoise pools, and many more other things. You’ll be in plenty of splendor here, and with plenty of time to relax and enjoy yourself. 

19. Underwater River, Cenote Angelita, Mexico

CREDIT: msoceantw/Instagram

As I said, checking out some of Mexico’s many cenotes should definitely be on your Must Do List if you plan to visit some of the most surreal places in Latin America. But, if you want to see one of the most amazing ones, then you absolutely need to go to the underwater one in Cenote Angelita. It’s an incredible sight to behold and you won’t believe your eyes as you swim through this gorgeous place.

20. Viñales Valley, Cuba

CREDIT: abbeywel/Instagram

This valley in Cuba is definitely one of the places you’ll want to visit ASAP. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and located in a beautiful part of the island (not that there is a non-beautiful part, that is). If you’re looking for some natural beauty here, then look no further. There is a lot of hiking to be done here, so head here for a full day of beauty before taking the next day off to lay on a beach. Trust me on this one.

21. Santa Ana Volcano, El Salvador

CREDIT: noorasusann/Instagram

The highest volcano in El Salvador is also where you can find one of the most beautiful views in the country, and with good reason. You can hike this baby and is definitely made for the serious backpacker. There’s so many gorgeous things to see here, and especially the stunning turquoise lake that is at the bottom of the volcano’s crater. Talk about surreal beauty, huh?

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21 Facts You Didn't Know About Queer, Feminist Icon Frida Kahlo

Things That Matter

21 Facts You Didn’t Know About Queer, Feminist Icon Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a visionary Mexican artist born on July 6th, 1907 and passed on July 13, 1954. She lived a short, but quite eventful, 47 years of life. While Kahlo lived in Paris, New York, and San Francisco, Kahlo is known for being fiercely proud of her Mexican heritage, using dress to evoke political meaning.

To this day, her work inspires and resonates still with the queer, female and non-gender-conforming experiences.

1. Frida Kahlo is the OG Selfie Queen.

CREDIT: @jollenelevid / Twitter

Most people, when they think of Frida Kahlo’s artwork, think of her self portraits. During her life, her art was eclipsed by her husband’s, Diego Rivera. Only until after she passed and the Feminist Revolution erupted in the 1970’s did the public truly appreciate her refusal to be defined by anyone else, and her whole-hearted self acceptance, as depicted in her portraits.

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.”

2. Most of Kahlo’s paintings are not of herself.

CREDIT: @artfridakahlo / Twitter

Of her 143 paintings, 55 are self portraits and the other 88 are not. She actually painted mostly still-life images of fruit and flowers alongside political symbols.

What do you think of the porcelain blonde girl in the white dress peering over the bed of tropical fruit?

3. Kahlo was in a terrible bus accident when she was 18 years old.

CREDIT: @BestOfMx / Twitter

One September morning, Frida and her boyfriend boarded a bus that would collide with a train. Her boyfriend remembers the bus as “bursting into a thousand pieces.” A handrail ripped through Kahlo’s torso.

Later, he recounted, “Something strange had happened. Frida was totally nude. The collision had unfastened her clothes. Someone in the bus, probably a house painter, had been carrying a packet of powdered gold. This package broke, and the gold fell all over the bleeding body of Frida. When people saw her, they cried, ‘La bailarina, la bailarina!’ With the gold on her red, bloody body, they thought she was a dancer.”

The column here represents her fragile spine, which would cause chronic pain for the rest of her life.

4. While bedridden, Kahlo painted her first paintings.

CREDIT: @toadstool_house / Twitter
Kahlo broke her spinal column, collar bone, ribs, pelvis, fractured her right leg in 11 places, dislocated her shoulder and even lost her fertility. She would live in pain for the rest of her life, but her mother’s invention to arrange a special easel near her bed eased her pain.

5. Kahlo dreamed of becoming a doctor, but instead endured more than 30 surgeries in her lifetime.

CREDIT: @arthistoryfeed / Twitter

Before the accident, she suffered polio as a child and was pursuing medicine. The injuries from the accident forced her instead into grief over what was lost, especially her ability to bear children.

The accident irreparably damaged her uterus, causing several devastating miscarriages. Above is a self portrait titled Henry Ford Hospital, that depicts what she lost.

6. Kahlo preferred long skirts to cover her leg.

CREDIT: @fequalsHQ / Twitter

“I must have full skirts and long, now that my sick leg is so ugly.”

Her leg was left severely deformed from the polio, and modern doctors now think she may have also had spina bifida.

7. Her right leg was amputated at the knee towards the end of her life.

CREDIT: @artfridakahlo / Twitter

You can see how her right foot on the left is withered from the polio. Eventually it developed gangrene. The right is an image Frida drew in her diary. She tried to make light by writing, “Feet, why do I want you if I have wings to fly?”

8. Frida Kahlo’s father was German.

CREDIT: @toadstool_house / Twitter

Her father suffered a similar fate, moving to Mexico after epilepsy developed by an accident ended his university studies. Her mother was half Spanish and half indigenous Oaxacana.

9. Frida was born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón, but dropped the ‘e’.

CREDIT: @SalvadorSalort / Twitter

Frieda comes from the German word “friede”, which means peace. Ironically, she dropped the ‘e’ in 1935 to avoid being associated with Germany during Hitler’s rule. 

10. Kahlo met her husband and famous muralist, Diego Rivera, in the Mexican Communist Party.

CREDIT: lupitovi / Pinterest

They met at a party, and she asked him to judge her work. He said that her paintings had “an unusual energy of expression, precise delineation of character, and true severity.”

Their relationship was volatile. He was 20 years older than her and immediately left his then second-wife to marry Frida Kahlo. Kahlo and Rivera divorced and remarried a year later. They both had extramarital affairs, Rivera having one with Frida’s sister.

11. Frida Kahlo was queer AF.

CREDIT: @GiuseppeTurrisi / Twitter

In all the ways, from her gender expression to her sexuality. She once said, “There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”

Many historians now believe that Diego’s self-professed pride in being a womanizer is what gave her so much untold turmoil and pain.

But, soon things changed when she moved to Paris…

12. Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker fell madly in love in Paris 1939.

CREDIT: “Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker – a Fabulous Romance” Digital Image. MusArtBoutique. 6 July 2018.

Josephine Baker was working for the French Military Intelligence agency at the time, working against Hitler. Baker was also a singer, and both of them became famous in town for being openly bisexual.

13. Rare photos have surfaced showing Kahlo dressed in suits in family photos.

CREDIT: “Frida 2.” Digital Image. Bustle. 6 July 2018.

This picture was taken when she was 17 years old, just one year before the bus accident that would change everything. Frida Kahlo truly pushed the boundaries, and unapologetically so.

14. She even painted a self portrait of herself in a suit.

CREDIT: “Frida 5.” Digital Image. Bustle. 6 July 2018.

Her hair was in pieces all around her on the ground, and she held a pair of scissors to her groin. Historians always assumed it was a threat to Diego Rivera for his infidelity or some kind of message of self-hate.

15. Kahlo redefined Mexican mythology in her work.

CREDIT: @ransomcenter / Twitter

Monkeys are usually symbols of lust in Mexican and Colombian mythology, but Kahlo always depicts them as tender, protective symbols.

Perhaps a message to all of us recovering Catholics that there’s nothing threatening or inherently wrong about lust.

16. Kahlo’s “The Frame” was the first piece of Mexican art purchased by the Louvre.

CREDIT: @neongreece / Twitter

Her work, today, also garners more money than any other female artist. While she was alive, Pablo Picasso took an interest in her work, alongside other surrealists, to which she responded:

They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.

17. Kahlo had several exotic pets…like monkey exotic.

CREDIT: @ReadingInHeels / Twitter

Pictured above is her fawn, Granizo. She also had a few Mexican hairless Xoloitzcuintli (that hairless dog breed that was coveted by the Aztecs), a pair of spider monkeys named Fulang Chang and Caimito de Guayabal, an Amazon parrot called Bonito and an eagle named Gertrudis Caca Blanca.

18. Kahlo arrived to her first art show in an ambulance.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Lisa Wall Rogers. 6 July 2018.

During her last year of life, she scored her first solo exhibition in Mexico. Against doctor’s orders, Kahlo asked the ambulance to take her from the hospital to her exhibit, and she pulled up as if in a limousine.

19. At one point, Kahlo was force fed to keep her alive.

CREDIT: @Hamiltoniana / Twitter

Her many surgeries and illnesses brought a lack of appetite. Her doctor ordered that she be sent to bed rest and be fed a fattening purée of food every two hours.

The ladder depicted here is what she would use to paint from her bed, only to be replaced by a disgusting array of animal products.

On the back of the painting, she wrote: “Not the least hope remains to me…Everything move in time with what the belly contains.”

20. Kahlo has become a feminist icon.

CREDIT: @HarvardLibrary / Twitter

While during her life, she was known as the wife of Master Mural Painter Diego Rivera with a side hobby, she lived and painted the fullest expression of her self. Her paintings give deeply personal insight into the female experience, especially that of a disabled, queer experience during a time it was anything but OK to be that.

I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.

21. Frida was born and died in the same house, Casa Azul.

CREDIT: @QatarandYonder / Twitter

Her home has since been made into el Museo de Frida Kahlo, in Mexico City. You can go visit the home that housed so much recovery, inspiration, and fearlessness.


To show your love for Frida Kahlo, check out the merchandise we have featuring some of her famous quotes. Shop here. 

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