South America’s top cultural experiences
Gaining a glimpse into the different cultures within South America can truly be some of the highlights of travelling there. Here is a list of some of the most memorable cultural experiences of the continent.
Immerse yourself in the local way of life
Paying a visit to a local community can completely open your eyes to a new way of life, taking part in everyday activities whilst interacting with the villagers. You can learn about the traditions and customs of the Awamaki in the Sacred Valley or the Magdalena Karanki on the outskirts of Quito through projects that aims to preserve their heritage through responsible tourism initiatives.
Learn the ways of the Jungle
Understanding some of the intricacies and power of native plants, their medicinal powers and customs surrounding the neighbouring wildlife forms a fascinating part of most programs into the Amazon rainforest. Naturalist guides can give insight about scientific knowledge, but what you will learn from the locals about life’s simple pleasures is unforgettable.
Go beyond the beaches and visit a favela
Sometimes you need to look behind the gloss to really discover a place and this is definitely the case for travellers in Rio de Janeiro. Behind the picturesque scenery and what seem like a never ending stretch of beach, the city and majority of the population is divided and live in slums called ‘favelas.’ A guided tour through some of the largest favelas can be a confronting but somewhat surprising exploration of local life.
Take in the sounds and folklore
Music and culture are often intertwined and you can learn a lot about a place by opening your ears. Whilst some of the traditions and dances such as tango and samba have pervaded popular culture and are easily recognised, you can gain a greater insight into the heritage and culture with some others such as the Miguel Santana dance theatre in Salvador as well as the Andean folkloric ballet Humanizarte in Quito.
Have you tried any of these cultural experiences or know of any others? Let us know in the comments.
Want to know more about travelling in South America? Check out our special Go To Guide featuring a brief summary of 32 of the most popular destinations.