The International Writers
Best Cities of South America
best cities of South America have one thing in common: they each
reflect unique cultural histories and rich traditions. Each city
has its own character, from Tango-obsessed Buenos Aires, to the
vibrant beach culture of Rio, to the mysterious and enchanting
former Inca Empire of Cusco.
Buenos Aires is Argentina's vibrant, seductive capital. It boasts one
of the greatest entertainment and nightlife scenes in the world, with
theaters, tango shows, bars, and clubs all brimming with South American
panache. The book readers in the outdoor cafés, the dancers in
the smoky tango bars, and the passionate citizens discussing politics
and soccer on street-corners add to the citys charm. Its European-influenced
architecture is reminiscent Barcelona, Paris and Rome, with wide, tree-lined
avenues. And while the shopping compares to any other world-class city,
youre likely to find what youre looking for at a fraction
of the cost. Leather, fur, wind, and antiques are some of the citys
best buys. Some highlights include attending a soccer match, taking an
Argentine Tango Tour or touring the various barrios (neighborhood)
to get a feel for how much diversity there is within this metropolis.
Buenos Aires is a very pleasant city to visit year-round. Savor the warm
temperatures from September to April, and enjoy the mild winter months
from June to August.
de Janeiro is where sparkling waters, beautiful people, and historic
neighborhoods and museums come together with the rich sounds of
Samba and a thriving nightlife to give Rio its reputation as one
of the most remarkable in the world. Brazilians are obsessed with
their beaches, and with quality restaurants and hotels to support
visitors, so too are tourists.
The apex of Rios party scene is the 4-day long Carnival, which attracts
thousands of people each year. This "cidade maravihosa" (marvelous
city), as Brazilians affectionately refer to it, displays a unique blend
of contrasts: a bustling metropolis amidst beautiful mountain ranges,
rainforests and wetlands, tremendous wealth amidst crushing poverty, old
traditions juxtaposed with desires for modernity. All of the thriving
life and diversity of Rio de Janeiro is showcased by the outstretched
arms of Cristo Redentor, the statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado
Mountain overlooking the city.
Cusco is Peru's most popular city, and after spending a few hours in this
heart of the Inca Empire, it would be no wonder why. Snow-capped mountains
and the towering fortress of the ancient Sacsayhuaman surround this beautiful
colonial city. At over 11,000' above sea level, Cuzco takes your breath
away both literally and figuratively. Nestled in the Andes, this is the
continent's oldest continually inhabited city and a great hub for exploring
the magnificent archaeological sites nearby. Cusco is filled with a diversity
of people. Travelers rub shoulders with the progeny of the Incas. Peruvian
Spanish mingles with the language of tourists, complemented by the Quechua,
spoken by the locals making their living alongside the stepped streets.
Cusco is also the gateway to the greatest, most accessible archaeological
discovery on the continent: Machu Picchu. But as the former center of
Inca life, the Cuzco region has many smaller ruins, offering glimpses
of life during the time of the Inca warriors.
Each of these cities deserves ample time for exploration. Taking the time
to sample the local flavors, culture, traditions, and get a true sense
of their inhabitants will give you an idea of the ways in which each of
these cities is like no other. They are true gems of South America.
For more information on travel destinations in South America
Michael Zurakhinsky is an experienced traveler and the editor of www.allaboutsouthamericatravel.com
- an independent resource, providing the travelers with free, online information
about South America and the wonderful highlights it contains.
© Mike Zura April 2007
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