If you’re planning on choosing a holiday with a whole new sense of adventure, there seems to be a huge number of places available to stun, shock and surprise even the most dedicated traveller. Yet while the temples of south-east Asia, vast canyons of North America and unmistakeable coastlines of Europe are all fantastic places to lose yourself for a week or two, one continent stands out from all the rest as the partygoer’s dream: South America.
We’ve all heard of the parties that take place in Rio and Sao Paolo, yet despite Brazil constituting over 40 per cent of South America’s landmass, it’s not the only home of some of the best carnival atmospheres outside of New Orleans or Notting Hill. While time is up for people who want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), there’s every opportunity for you to catch a last-minute holiday with late deal specialist to see the ones in the near future, or instead plan ahead to flying out next year!
So, without further ado, here are some of the festival highlights of South America for you to feast your eyes on:
Sun Festival (Cusco, Peru, June)
The Sun Festival, which is also known as Inti Raymi in its native Peru, is the traditional Inca festival that takes place towards the end of June. It is based around the grand ruins of Sacsayhuaman – the former capital of the Incan Empire – just outside the modern city of Cusco. Music, colourful costumes, fireworks, bonfires and food sharing are, rather unsurprisingly, staples of this festival. There’s also a llama sacrifice, but don’t worry – it’s not real! (Photo credit)
Fiesta San Miguel (Uncia, Bolivia, September)
This one isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s certainly memorable – perhaps more so the closer you get, and for good reason. The people of Bolivia gather to represent the fight between good and evil through the medium of a dangerous dance known as Tinku. The more blood spilled on the day, it is said, the richer the harvest will be, so families dance while swinging their arms wildly. Meanwhile, local Bolivian police try to maintain order, though injuries – and deaths – have been known to occur. This forms a smaller part of a wider celebration, however, with bright clothing and amazing street parties that rumble throughout Uncia. (Photo credit)
Fiesta Santo Tomas (Chichicastenango, Guatemala, December)
While it’s Central America, strictly speaking, the overtones of this gathering make it a perfect addition to this list – as does its death-defying nature. While it’s home to parades, traditional dances and plenty of fireworks, the highlight of the carnival is when local men climb a 100ft pole, tying their hands or ankles to it before dancing around the pole in a celebration known as Palo Volador. Many even forego the rope! (Photo credit)
Fiesta de la Virgen de Andacollo (Andacollo, Chile, December)
If you want a Christmas break in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, head to Chile for December 24th. The popular religious festival celebrates the importance of copper, which the country has in abundance. Markets are set up throughout Andacollo to sell festive and cultural wares, while music, food and horseracing also form cornerstones of this excellent party atmosphere. (Photo credit)
To get a great deal on a last minute holiday to South America you probably going to want to check out an online travel agent such as Teletext if you are in the UK or someone like Apple or Orbitz if you are in the US.
If you do go, have fun, stay safe and feel free to let us know how you got on.