Latinos love a good party, they love music and they love to be together and rarely need an excuse for a celebration or get-together. Equally, religion plays a large part in everyday life here and significant events in the calendar are often marked by elaborate processions and ceremonies that have their own unique and colourful twist.
No holiday to Latin America would be complete without taking in the opportunity to meet truly fascinating and unique colourful local communities and experience a party or two filled with music and dance.
Latin American street processions and carnivals are a sight and sound to behold, if you can manage to time your trip to coincide with one. They always require plenty of exuberant audience participation so be ready to have a go and join in the fun, whatever your dance skills!
Approached with a rather more sombre attitude in general, traditional religious processions are often planned months ahead and involve elaborate costumes and preparations in honour of each important date. Whether it is the ultimate party for Mardi Gras before the start of the austerity of Lent, the celebration of Holy Week or ‘Semana Santa’ before Easter or indeed any number of Saint’s Days or other religious observances, there is sure to be a huge turnout of locals as well as visitors.
There are a huge number of noisy and colourful processions, festivals and fiestas throughout the year: from spectacular but more sombre displays during religious festivals, such as Semana Santa. This is marked in unique ways all over south and Central America.
Nowhere are the celebrations quite so meticulously planned as in Antigua, Guatemala’s old capital, with its elaborate processions and decorations, especially the famed alfombras or multi-coloured carpets upon which the processions walk. These carpets are created days in advance with painstaking precision using coloured sand, flowers and other materials to form stunning patterns.
Most fiestas in Latin America will inevitably involve music, costume and dance. No time of year has such a universal party atmosphere than on the weekend leading up to Shrove Tuesday: the start of four days of general exuberance during Carnival, particularly vibrant in Brazil of course, especially Rio, Salvador and Recife but also in many parts of the continent from Oruro in Bolivia to Barranquilla in Colombia or Veracruz in Mexico, to name but a few.
If these huge parties seem a little daunting, then we can help you seek out smaller local celebrations around your perfect tailormade itinerary from kite festivals or chocolate festivals in Central America, a literary festival on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, or the ancient Incan celebrations of the sun at Inti Raymi on one of our holidays in Peru?
We’ll gladly take you there to join in the fun! Combine a spectacular festival with some time to relax either in a remote wilderness or jungle lodge or a beautiful coastal retreat. Let us know what colours and sounds you wish to see and we’ll get you to the heart of the action.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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