The year-end edition of in magazine is showcasing Latin America: the best of our people, ideas, rhythms, natural wonders, food, entertainment and cityscapes. These are the top hits of 2015.
Text: The in magazine team
PHOTO: Francisco pardo
Slice of life
This curious archipelago is made up of hundreds of islands, islets and rock formations jutting out of the ocean. It’s a unique corner of the world that bewitched the English naturalist Charles Darwin in 1835 and helped inspire him to write On the Origin of Species. When you arrive in Puerto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz, the second largest of the Galápagos Islands, the postcard-worthy visuals are overwhelming. Turtles, sea lions and native reptile and bird species of all shapes, sizes and colors co-exist in a town that serves as a gateway to discovering Ecuador’s most famous national park and UNESCO heritage site. Beaches? Don’t miss out on Tortuga Bay, the best the archipelago has to offer according to TripAdvisor. To get there, you’ll have to walk for a half an hour along a path through protected areas that are home to the famous giant tortoises as well as crabs and marine iguanas. Another good idea is to take daylong excursions from Puerto Ayora to the other islands, where you can dive with hammerhead sharks, check out lava tunnels in North Seymour, swim with sea lions in Floreana or hang out with Galapagos penguins on the island of Bartolomé.
“The best island in the world,” that’s how the specialty publication Travel + Leisure described the Galapagos in 2015.
PHOTOS: roberto cáceres
Go to market like a local
When you have a land as fertile and rich in contrasts as Peru, it’s only logical that its capital should be a wondrous mix of cultures and ingredients. The best example of this abundance of flavor can be found at the local markets. The Mercado de Surquillo is the epicenter of Peruvian cuisine as we know it, where the original product is presented in its purest form, with fish, seafood, fruits and vegetables tempting shoppers with their colors and aromas.
The star of Peruvian cuisine is undoubtedly cebiche: this delicious mix of seafood, lemon and chili peppers has quietly overtaken the continent. Today, this world-class delicacy is available everywhere from specialized restaurants in Paris to food trucks in Brooklyn. One of the greatest masters of the dish lives in Lima: Pedro Solari is the king of modern cebiche. His restaurant – which bears his name – is tiny, with just five tables. But there’s no shortage of contenders for his title: Javier Wong’s Chez Wong was described by the British newspaper The Guardian as essential.
The world, their oyster
The San Pellegrino list of the best restaurant in Latin America ranked Central number one in the region and #4 in the world. Astrid & Gastón (#3) and Maido (#5) also figure in the continent’s dining pantheon. In all, nine Peruvian restaurants number among the region’s 50 best, including La Mar (#12), Malabar (#20), Fiesta (#31), Osso (#34), La Picantería (#36) and Rafael (#50). Worthy of special mention are the highly original Osso – a combination butcher shop/restaurants – and the tribute to home-style food at La Picantería.
Shopping & Fashion
phOTOS: thom sánchez
Creativity on the plate
In 2005, Argentina’s capital was declared a UNESCO Creative City, the first in the world to receive this distinction. It’s no coincidence in a country where creativity makes a noteworthy contribution to the economy. In fact, the so-called “creative industries” – including the fashion industry – represent 1.5 percent of total national exports, according to the Observatorio de Industrias Creativas. “Made in Argentina” rules the day, and Buenos Aires is home for much of this talent.
In defiance of Asian competitors, the fashion industry of Argentina values more “artisanal” creations, emphasizing products from national designers. The trend took hold back in 2001, and today, the fashion industry is responsible for nearly US$730 million in annual sales, according to the most recent data from the National Designer Survey by the Center for Textile Research and Development at the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial. Valeria Pesqueira is an excellent example: 14 years ago, she started out in the world of young designers, creating fashionable patterns and styles with a sweet, vintage aesthetic and a focus on basic silhouettes. Her shop, Pesqueira, is full of animals, landscapes and simple objects serving as the motifs for the creations she now executes with a team of designers and illustrators. This shop on the corner of Gurruchaga and Pasaje Russel in Palermo is the headquarters for a brand now making waves in the U.S. and Japan, and her clothing is featured at world-renowned multi-brand retail outlets like Opening Ceremony and United Arrows, among others.
As the Website for the Monoblock Industry of Imagineering says, “We believe that the imagination, seen in the works of our designers, belongs to the world. And it’s time that it came to your home, into your life.” The online store delivers all over the world: practical and artistic products (notebooks, socks, books and more) created by Argentina’s brightest young artists and illustrators, along with a number of international contributors. Enseres Bazar features a carefully chosen variety of simple and unique products for everyday life. The store is filled with little details that will make you feel right at home.
“The new generations are very conscious of the importance of creating a unique personal identity.”
Quality of Life
A Friendly City
If you find comparisons useful, we could tell you that Uruguay is like a European country, but with a decidedly Latin America soul. It’s small and compact, with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Until recently, it was home to the world’s most popular president. And the capital city of 1.5 million inhabitants boasts a great location on the banks of the River Plate, where its people enjoy life on a 13-mile seafront avenue called La Rambla.
A human scale
“To the south, to the south, perfectly still, Montevideo awaits.”
MARIO BENEDETTI, URUGUAYAN WRITER & ILLUSTRIOUS CITIZEN OF MONTEVIDEO
phOTOs: victoria holguín (BAR APACHE ) / queen victoria
Colombia is synonymous with rumba. It’s a favorite destination for those seeking the perfect combination of relaxing days on the beach and top-shelf entertainment. When it comes to painting the town red, the capital city of Bogotá can’t be beat for first-rate options, and things really heat up when it’s time to make plans for the evening. Start with a stupendous dinner at a restaurant like Pajare Salinas or Matiz, followed by high-end cocktails on a fashionable rooftop bar. Essentials include Céntrico, the highest in town, and the recently opened Queen Victoria, which really has people talking.
PHOTO: macarena achurra
Lots of people are already talking about a sort of “Chilecon Valley,” and one of the most attractive initiatives is Start-Up Chile, a program that aims to attract young entrepreneurs with great potential to develop concepts based in Chile. The initiative offers work visas, financial support (nearly US$35,000) and an extensive network of global contacts. The idea is to make the country a focal point for innovation and entrepreneurship within the region. Of the start-ups created since 2010, 79 percent are still in operation, with 32 percent of the businesses remaining in Chile.
SCL Takes Off
Santiago’s International Airport will soon be on par with the world’s very best. Early this year, a bidding process was outlined for the renovation, with an estimated investment of nearly US$580 million for a new international terminal, plus parking and infrastructure to accommodate roughly 30 million passengers per year.
The wave of new hotels is the Chilean capital continues unabated. The country is expected to see some 200,000 new rooms, with 63 percent of them in Santiago. Most of these new accommodations have a clear focus: business guests opting for midscale or four-star offerings. The city is dotted with new or coming-soon lodging, the Santiago-Vitacura DoubleTree (from Hilton, with 18 floors and 226 rooms), Diego de Almagro, Cumbres, Hyatt Place and NH. Many of these developments are located near shopping centers, financial districts and major streets with plenty of transportation options.
A few weeks ago, the New York magazine Saveur named Santiago the “next culinary hot spot.”
Arts & Culture
PHOTO: ARACELI PAZ
Enormous to the point of being overwhelming, Mexico City hypnotizes visitors with its remarkable past and glowing future, and art and culture are essential to both. Spanning nearly 500,000 square feet, the Zócalo serves as the city’s focal point.
The pedestrian street Peatonal Madero takes you to the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a magnificent building that offers the best of Mexico’s dance, painting, sculpture, music and literature.
The city has nearly 400 neighborhoods that showcase a wide range of cultural and architectural diversity. Some of the best areas to explore the soul of the Federal District – or “el D.F.” for short – include Coyocán (nightlife), Santa María La Ribera (architecture), Garibaldi (mariachis) and La Merced (shopping).
The local universities also have plenty of culture to offer. For example, the campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma (UNAM) – the largest on the continent – is peppered with significant works, including murals by Diego Rivera and the astonishing pre-Columbian cosmology on display at the university’s central library.
Along with its rich history, the city has been flooded with new artistic voices that find expression in a growing number of galleries. Kurimanzutto, LTBART, Hilario Galguera and Yautepec are just a few of the more fascinating art spaces.
Museums and architecture come together in thoroughly impressive ways in Mexico City, with highlights like the Museo Soumaya, but the old “Ciudad de los Palacios” is set to become a city of skyscrapers. The city is growing upward with stratospheric projects like Punto Chapultepec (781 feet), the Torre Reforma (800 feet) and Torre Mitikah (876 feet).
“Country people are cultured even if they’re illiterate.”
OCTAVIO PAZ, MEXICAN WRITER & NOBEL LAUREATE IN LITERATURE
Beaches & tradition
RECIFE & PERNAMBUCO
PHOTO: Francisco pardo
A State of Happiness
Where can you find perfect beaches plus great food, nightlife and culture? In northeastern Brazil, the state of Pernambuco has all the answers. A three-hour flight from São Paulo, Recife is the state capital and home to 1.5 million people who enjoy the dazzling blue-green waters of the Atlantic as their playground. Take your first snapshots on the Praça Rio Branco at the Marco Zero, the origin for distances throughout the region. Next, with an ice cream cone in hand, head out to discover the architecture of Recife Antigo, the old quarter where the city was born in the 16th century, thanks to its seaside location. Still hungry? Pay a visit to Na Cozinha (Rua Matriz & Barros 328) and try their variation on the traditional feijoada, served here as a fritter.
PHOTO: Francisco pardo
Next, head to Olinda, a small colonial city four miles from Recife. Shop in artisans’ studios and stroll along narrow cobblestone streets past centuries-old churches, bohemian bars and restaurants. These colorful façades earned the town World Heritage Site status. From Europe to Africa, contributions from other parts of the world have made this region a fertile breeding ground for artists, poets, writers and musicians. No wonder this is the birthplace of frevo – you can learn all about this musical genre that gets the crowds dancing in Recife at the Paço de Frevo museum on Rua da Guia. Frevo takes center stage during the carnaval in Recife and Olinda, the third largest celebration in the country after Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. While Pernambuco has a relatively modest coastline, its beaches rank among Brazil’s best. Visit Boa Viagem, where the 1980s-style buildings built right on the beach look out over Recife’s most famous sands. Porto de Galinhas, a resort town less than 40 miles south of Recife, is famous for miles of beaches with beautiful sand, graceful palm trees and a coral reef that creates sheltered pools all along the coast. Next to the town of the same name, kids and adults can spend the day feeding colorful fish in these natural aquariums, which you can visit aboard a small boat called a jangada for just a few reais. in