Latin American cuisine is nearly as diverse as Latin America itself, with each country and region boasting its own specialties. Each regional cuisine is influenced by native foods and spices as well as the influences of other cultures. Mexican food is famously spicy, thanks to the popularity of the indigenous chile pepper which has been a basic ingredient in Mexican cuisine for thousands of years, while Argentinian cuisine is traditionally beef-oriented and cattle have played a major role in Argentinian culture since they were brought to Argentina by Spanish conquistadors in 1536.
Within each country, there are distinct regional specialties as well. Colombia, for example, is incredibly geographically diverse, and its cuisine reflects this diversity: in the city of Medellin and the surrounding mountainous Antioquia region, the typical dish is the hearty bandeja paisa, a substantial and filling meal including sausage, beef, beans, rice, pork rind, an arepa, plantain, fried egg, and a slice of avocado, while in tropical Cartagena, cuisine is solidly Caribbean, with seafood, coconut rice, and spicy flavors dominating the menu. Many countries' cuisine also shows the strong influence of the many different cultures that have left their mark on that nation. Peruvian cuisine is known as one of the biggest examples of fusion cuisine, with Peruvian food giving a veritable history of multicultural influence including indigenous cultures, Spanish colonists, and immigrants from Italy, Germany, China, Japan, and West Africa.
Swirling a ruby red Chianti while overlooking a Tuscan landscape, quaffing a mug of Löwenbräu at Oktoberfest, clinking glasses of raki over meze in a Turkish tavern: some beverages are inextricably linked with the culture of their origins. In fact, just about every country in the world has a signature drink (usually alcoholic, but not always). Discover some national drinks of the world, and maybe plan a trip to enjoy it the best way: right there in its homeland.
1. Go on an African Safari
There are few bucket list items more iconic than the classic African safari. The opportunity to see rhinoceroses hiding in dense thickets, Springbok antelope racing across the landscape, and leopards stalking their prey is an incredible experience. The Big 5 are only the beginning - you'll want to spot the lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and rhinos, of course, but also giraffes, hyenas, zebras, cheetahs, hippos, wildebeest, crocodiles, and an amazing array of beautiful birds like the stately grey crowned crane and the colorful lilac-breasted roller.
1. Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon rainforest is the most famous of all Latin American wonders for a good reason: it covers over 2 million square miles and spans nine different countries. With unparalleled biodiversity, the Amazon is home to the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world. In fact, 10% of all known species on the planet live in the Amazon. An astonishing number of unique species call it home including pink river dolphins, transparent glass frogs, capybaras, giant river otters, jaguars, jaguarundis, tapirs, golden lion tamarinds, sloths, macaws, harpy eagles, and hoatzin birds.
torres del paine,
One of the most delightful parts of the Christmas season is the charming Christmas markets that pop up all over Europe. The scent of gingerbread, sizzling sausage, and mulled wine wafts through the air and festive music fills the streets as shoppers peruse the wares and children dart through the crowd. Covered stalls featuring all sorts of gifts and holiday decorations are usually accompanied by vendors selling regional food and drink specialties as well as various live performances from singing and dancing to live nativity scenes.
Above: Berlin Christmas market stall
Croatia is a land rich with history, art, and culture, and these architectural gems are not to be missed.
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