10 Amusing Facts About Latin American Culture

When you travel through Central and South America, you notice many different customs and traditions. Odds are high that you will see many cultural values and customs that you have never seen in the United States or Europe. Each country is unique in terms of its cultural norms. You can’t compare culture in one place to its neighbors. However, one can still see the certain common things and some of them are amusing to be least.

  1. You can’t throw toilet paper in the toilet

One of the first things that you will notice when traveling to Central or South America is how things in toilet become challenging. You can’t throw the toilet paper in the toilet. Instead the only way to dispose them is to use the bin that’s placed next to the toilet. The plumbing in these countries isn’t built to handle the paper. So if you throw toilet paper in the toilet when in Latin American culture, you may end up with an overflowing toilet.

  1. Be ready to shop for liquids in plastic bags

You don’t see liquids being sold in plastic bags anywhere in the world. But when you go to Latin America, that’s how you get liquids everywhere. So if you want to buy water, be ready to get it in a plastic bag. Similarly, if you want to buy a local fruit juice, you will need to buy a plastic bag packing. Although international brands make plastic bottles available, they cost considerably high compared to plastic bag packaging.

  1. Street names are dates

Streets are usually named after famous people or events in the world but that’s not the case in Latin American culture. The streets are usually named after important dates in these countries. So be sure to make a note of street names to avoid confusion when traveling to Central or South America.

  1. Buildings with unfinished top floor

You are sure to find a lot of buildings without a finished top floor. You are going to say that because these buildings usually have iron rods sticking out from the top. In fact, these aren’t unfinished structures but the builders have future plans. They want to save cost and therefore they have finished the existing structure in a way that it would be easier in future to build more floors on top.

  1. Be prepared to travel in old American buses

One of the most amusing things in Latin America is how they decorate their buses. You are going to travel in old American school buses. However, it may be difficult to recognize at first sight since most of these have been heavily renovated.

  1. Money change is a problem

You may find it difficult to get change back from large bills. To settle your large bill, you may have to make smaller purchases since retailer will usually refuse to give change.

  1. Motor bikes with carts are common in small cities

You are going to find a lot of them in Central and South American countries. You will also see tuk-tuks in some countries.

  1. Lots of guns

You haven’t probably seen a security guard carrying a short gun in America but be ready to see that in Central and South America. There are lots of guns on public display in these countries.

  1. Be ready to pay to use a bathroom

If you need to use a bathroom when out of your apartment or hotel, you will need to pay for it in Hispanic countries.

  1. Sewers, flooding, and wastewater management are almost nonexistent.

Many Latin American countries are located in tropical areas that receive high rainfall in the rainy season.  Combined with the lack of adequate rainwater management, this means that in the best of times, you’ll end up slogging through flooded streets and may even have a leaky roof or minor flooding in cheaper accommodation.  More rain can result in extensive damage, requiring significant water damage repair, mudslides, and some forms of transportation being cut off.   While in the United States we often have our pick for an established water damage repair company, most of Latin America only has local handymen and smaller companies to help rebuild homes and repair flood damage.

6 Ways to Stay Safe in Latin America

Central and South America is a safe place for travelers and tourists. Only rarely some travelers report safety issues or theft. However, the local crime rate in some areas might affect travelers without targeting them in particular, getting them in middle of petty crime scenes.

The best way to stay safe in Latin America is to observe general safety rules recommended for travelers in addition to a few special tips for Latin America. These tips are listed below.

  1. Know where you’re going

There is nothing like being lost. If you are lost, everyone is going to know that and that’s when the opportunity for those who think of you as a goldmine might come. So be sure to know where you are going before you go there.

Make all the travel plans ahead of time. Read something about the locals. Learn a few tips about dealing with them. Find out about local customs. Know them well before you have to stare at someone.

Find out if there is any travel warning for a territory issued by government. Follow the advice and cancel the trip if there is a warning. Never overlook these signs.

  1. Keeps your eyes open

When traveling anywhere in the world, you should keep your eyes and mind open. Sure you won’t miss a thing of beauty but you will also notice shadowy neighborhood and clumsy figures in crowded parks.

When you are walking around in unfamiliar cities, you need to be sure you look around carefully and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. If you are on a deserted street and you need a bus, don’t wait there even if you spot no instant danger. Find a busy street.

Don’t ignore pickpockets when traveling in Latin America. Just like rest of the world, you’re sure to meet one in every busy shopping mall, train station, and bus stop. Keep your eyes open for them.

  1. Learn to communicate with the locals

When touring Central or South American countries, it’s important that you develop ability to communicate with the locals. All you have to do is to learn a few words in Spanish and understand a few body gestures. That’ll do. You will be able to talk to the locals and they will help you with everything from finding great deals to getting a fair deal on your taxi expenses.

  1. Know that you are in foreign land

You might be the ultimate guy in your local neighborhood but Latin America isn’t your home. You shouldn’t be shy to admit that. Knowing your limits will help you exhibit safe behavior. As a result, you won’t engage in quarrels with locals.

  1. Know when to hire a guide

When traveling outside your home country, it’s important to know when to hire a guide. If you feel like you are going to a totally strange place that you don’t feel sure about, it’s time you consider hiring a guide.

  1. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or take video camera to carnival

When visiting Latin America, you will definitely become a part of the famous Latin American Carnival. It’s the biggest party on earth and things do get a little messy sometimes. Avoid carrying expensive items to stay safe.

 

7 Places You Need to Visit in Latin America

Central and South America is a versatile region that offers a variety of activities for travelers. Since the Latin America is such a large region and every place seems worth visiting, choosing among the best places to visit is a daunting task.

To help you find the most amazing destinations in Latin America, here is a ranked list of top places in the region. The list is based on number of different factors such as food, living, neighborhood, attractions and so on.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is one of the best places to go when visiting Latin America. It’s the home of temples and the region is loaded with historical archeological sites that will leave you amused. There is magic in the air here. Just lose yourself in the mystical environment in this lovely region with verdant mountains setting the tone for the magic.

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan is located in the middle of three volcanoes and if that’s not amusing enough for you, this lake is also the deepest lake in the entire region.

It’s one of the most beautiful sights in the entire Central America. That’s the reason it’s in the list.

Rio de Janeiro

If you are going to Latin America and you haven’t added Rio de Janeiro in your list of places to visit, you are definitely going to miss the real party. Rio has some of the best white sand beaches in the world. The nightlife is simply magnificent and the carnival culture is unbelievable.

Rio has a lot of interesting places to see. You can go see the historical landmarks such as Christ the Redeemer or climb the Sugar Loaf Mountain to see the beautiful city of Rio from height of 1299 feet. It’s breathtaking and something that definitely has a lot of magic about it.

Tijuca National Park

Tijuca National park is one of the most stunning sites for exploration in the region. There is nearly 8500 acres of green rainforest, which means you will have a lot to explore here. Tourists should spend a day or two at this park to explore it in its entirety.

There are nearly three million tourists coming to this national park each year. The park offers various attractions and activities for tourists. If you enjoy hiking, there are number of amusing hiking trails in the forest.

Jardim Botanico

If you ever wanted to be in paradise, Jardim Botanico is the place to go. It’s one of the most beautiful parks in the entire Latin America. This botanical paradise covers nearly 350 acres of land and has over 5,000 different species of flora.

Prainha

If you ever get tired of all-night parties in Brazil, the best place to relax is Prainha. This remote paradise is some 20 miles from Ipanema beach. This beach has some of the most magnificent shorelines that you’d ever see. You won’t forget the endless hills and green rainforest in the backdrop.

Barra da Tijuca

Barra da Tijuca has huge coastline and it’s full of things to do. There are shopping malls where you can spend quality time shopping and then there is water sport culture that makes the visitors stay longer than original plans.

Best Places to Live in Latin America

Nearly 7 million Americans live overseas and majority of them choose a destination in Latin America. The major reasons for this migration trend are affordability, pleasant environment, and strong family values.

If you are considering living in Latin America, you sure want to follow where other Americans are going. Here is a list of most desirable places to live in Latin America, as indicated by US immigrants.

Mexico

Mexico is the first place that most American immigrants think about when leaving the U.S. Nearly 850,000 Americans live there already and more are adding up each year.

Although the international community talks much about Mexicans moving to the north, more Americans have actually moved to the Mexico in history.

The best thing about Mexico is the affordability. It’s inexpensive and easy to relocate. You can come back to your home country or go elsewhere in the world with usually a single flight. It’s connected to the entire world and there are no major safety issues.

The quality of health care is good and the infrastructure is reasonable in most places in Mexico. The cost of living in Mexico is extremely low compared to what you pay to live in the U.S. Since numerous global retail brands have strong presence in Mexico, you’re never going to feel out of place at a grocery store.

Ecuador

Ecuador is the second most popular Latin American country in the world for Americans living abroad. Nearly 40,000 Americans live in Ecuador and it’s rated as world’s best retirement place. There is no reason that you should consider moving to Ecuador if you want to live in Latin America.

The cost of living is also low in Ecuador. You can actually live with $1000 a month and with $1500 for a couple. This cost includes everything from housing to some essential luxuries. The quality of life at this cost is probably the best that you can get in the world.

The climate in most parts of Ecuador is perfectly serene with pleasantly mild temperatures. The healthcare and other basic facilities are improving all the time. The country has a growing economy and the government is friendly and welcoming.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has perfect weather, it’s safe to live, and there is a great program for foreign retirees living in Costa Rica. It’s definitely one of the best places on planet to live after retirement.

There are more than 10,000 Americans living in Costa Rica. It’s definitely one of the hottest Latin American territories to live. The region has mesmerizing natural beauty and an atmosphere that makes life close to nature. That’s the reason Costa Rica is considered to be world’s happiest country. It was ranked number one on the Happy Planet Index in 2009 and then again in 2012.

The overall quality of life in Costa Rica is probably better than anywhere else in Latin America. If a healthy and natural lifestyle amidst stunning natural beauty is your preference, Costa Rica is your destination in Central and South America.