From books and films to cuisine and music, the influence of Latin America has really taken off across the world, including the UK. If you’ve already booked a trip and are counting down the days until you depart, or if you’re thinking about your next adventure and want to get in the mood, read our blog for some inspiration.
There’s no better way for preparing for a holiday than with a good list of reading material. Despite being left off many major lists, Latin America has produced some highly acclaimed authors. Here are a few classics that are worth a read.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia)
- The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara (Argentina)
- The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (Chile)
- Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina)
- Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (Mexico)
- The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)
- Twenty Love Poems and Songs of Despair by Pablo Neruda (Chile)
As well as exploring South American themes through fictional literature, it’s also a good idea to learn a bit more about the destination you are visiting, and then see it come alive. Many countries in South America have had a tumultuous past, with political and cultural differences provoking huge divides and wars. To brush up on your South American history and understand what each nation has been through, we recommend the following books.
- Brazil by Michael Palin
- Viva South America! A Journey Through a Surging Continent by Oliver Balch
- Short Walks from Bogotá by Tom Feiling
- Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano
- Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams
- The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming
- The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin
The history and culture sections of most guide books also provide great reading material if you want to have an overview of a place without going into too much detail. We have found the following brands to be useful: Footprints, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide and Bradt Travel Guide.
Latin American food has become increasingly popular in the UK during the last few years, particularly London where you can find Peruvian ceviche, Argentinian steak and Mexican street food around almost every corner. Get a taste of Latin America at some of these top picks:
- For Ecuadorian fare, El Inca Plebeyo is a family-run restaurant with dishes including slow roasted pork, quinoa, ceviche and fried plantain.
- Those who have visited Mexico will know that the British and American take on it often leaves a lot to be desired! But rest assured there are some excellent options. Santo Remedio is a snug restaurant in east London, showcasing tacos, mole and other classic dishes from Mexico City, the Yucatan and other regions.
- For a bit of everything, Zuaya brings a range of dishes from Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Brazil to London’s eclectic food scene.
- After kick-starting the Peruvian food scene in London, Lima has since become one of the UK’s only Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurants.
- Offering an informal and affordable take on Peruvian food, Ceviche has become a firm favourite in London’s Latin American food scene. The namesake ceviche is a must-try, but there are other options including meat and fish skewers, corn cake, paired with a Pisco sours of course.
- In contrast to some of the more glamorous steakhouses, Buen Ayre is a much-loved restaurant serving some of the best steak in London, in a simple no-frills space where the focus is on the food and wine.
Films & Documentaries
Latin America is a diverse continent made up of many different cultures, and there are some great documentaries that look at various aspects of the region – including the wildlife, history, indigenous communities and political change. Here are some of our favourites.
- The Motorcycle Diaries
- City of God
- Seven Worlds, One Planet
- War on Democracy
- Earth’s Great Rivers
- The Galapagos Affair
Latin American music encompasses a wide variety of styles and genres such as cumbia, bachata, bossa nova, merengue, rumba, salsa, samba, reggaeton and tango. Start to learn the rhythms by downloading Latin American music, reading up about the different genres’ history or you can even attend tango and salsa classes in the UK!
Feeling inspired? Click here to view all of our holidays to Latin America.