Travel in the Latin world is very rewarding. You may find yourself in another part of the world. Every Latin country is unique, and the only way to understand is to live in each country with the people.
Many Americans start out noticing our differences, but end up seeing our similarities. You may come home with lifelong friendships, or you might not come back at all.
2024 Movable Dates
- Lunar New Year is February 10, 2024.
- Carnival Tuesday is February 13, 2024.
- Ramadan is March 10 to April 8, 2024.
- Holi is March 24-25, 2024.
- Easter Sunday is March 31, 2024.
- Passover is April 22, 2024.
- Diwali is October 31, 2024.
Travel The Latin World
LITTLE PANAMA, Crown Heights, Brooklyn 🇵🇦
This festival of lights celebrates the triumph of light over darkness.
Sunday-Thursday, November 12-16, 2023
LITTLE PANAMA in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Friday, November 3, 2023
Thursday, October 12, 2023
This East Asian tradition is Friday, September 29, 2023
🇨🇳 🇹🇼 🇰🇷 🇯🇵 🇵🇭 🇸🇬 🇹🇭 🇻🇳
Carnival preparations start in earnest on January 6, at the end of Christmas season.
Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastían, Puerto Rico’s biggest festival, is on Calle San Sebastían in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico; on Thursday-Sunday, January 19-22, 2023. 🇵🇷
The pilgrimage to the Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, for the Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, is in Salvaleón, Higüey, Dominican Republic on Saturday, January 21, 2023. 🇩🇴
Carnival Tuesday 2024 is February 13, 2024. Community events start one month before and build to a climax on Carnival Weekend, which stretches into Carnival Tuesday.
Carnaval Vegano 2023, the Dominican Republic’s biggest carnival, is in La Vega on Sundays, February 5, 12, & 19, 2023. 🇩🇴
Celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, patron saint of healing, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, in Lourdes, France; on Saturday, February 11, 2023. 🇫🇷
Martinique Carnival 2023 is in Fort-De-France, Martinique; from Thursday – Wednesday, February 16-22, 2023. 🇲🇶
Barranquilla Carnival builds to a climax in Barranquilla, Colombia, Saturday-Tuesday February 18-21, 2023. 🇨🇴
[To be confirmed]
Ponce Carnival (Carnival Ponceño) is in Ponce, Puerto Rico; from Saturday-Tuesday, February 18-21, 2023. 🇵🇷
Grenada Carnival is Monday-Tuesday, February 20-21, 2023. 🇬🇩
Carnival Tuesday (Mardi Gras) is Tuesday, February 21, 2023.
Santo Domingo Carnival 2023 combines the climax of Dominican Carnival, with Dominican Independence Day celebrations in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; on Sunday, February 26, 2023. 🇩🇴
Holy Week 2024 is Sunday, March 24 – Saturday, March 30, 2024. Nazarene processions are important community gatherings.
The CITA tango festival is in Buenos Aires, Argentina from March 14-18, 2023. cita.dance 🇦🇷
The Santo Domingo Merengue Festival is in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic the last week of July and the first week of August.
Las Fiestas de Santiago Apóstol (St James Festival) in Loíza, Puerto Rico is one of the most profound expressions of African Diaspora culture in the United States. July 25 is the feast day, but the community celebrates all month long. It’s also a bomba music festival. 🇵🇷
La Fiesta del Yamor in Otavalo, Ecuador is an Indigenous harvest festival to th🇨🇱ank the Sun God. It’s usually the first week of September. otavalo.gob.ec 🇪🇨
There is a long weekend of festivals around Chile Independence Day on September 18. There is usually a kite festival in Antofagasta, a national rodeo in Rancagua, and concerts in San Pedro de Atacama. 🇨🇱
Rock in Rio is a big music festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s usually in the last half of September. rockinrio.com
The Day of the Dead Parade in Mexico City is Saturday, October 28, 2023. 🇲🇽
The Campeche Salsa y Bachata Festival is in Campeche, the Mexican salsa capital on the Yucatan Caribbean, from October 26-29, 2023. Facebook @LaCapitalSalseraSur 🇲🇽
National Merengue Day in the Dominican Republic is November 26. 🇩🇴
Celebrate Panamanian Independence Day in Panama City, Panama; on Tuesday, November 28, 2023. 🇵🇦
Día de las Velitas, the Colombian festival of lights, is Thursday, December 7, 2023. 🇨🇴
Traveling the Latin World
We live and work from the road. Traveling in the Latin world is more complicated than traveling in the United States.
Poverty is the Normal State of Humanity
Most Americans have no idea how fortunate we are. Poverty is the normal state of humanity. Get used to it.
In many places, the electricity and internet go out regularly. There may not be usable internet. You can’t drink tap water, or ice from roadside stands. Some places don’t have running water. Don’t put toilet paper in the toilet, unless you are in a fancy hotel, or ask first.
You’re Not in Kansas Anymore
You must constantly watch out for your personal safety.
In our own country, Americans intuitively know where we can and cannot go, but we can be clueless when traveling. In the Latin world Americans are fish out of water. Locals may think you are rich, whether you are or not, and that makes you a target.
Tourist areas are usually better protected, but urban areas in the Latin world may not be safe. In many parts of the Latin world, everyone has guns (Made in the USA), including young hotheads who are dangerous.
In places that have moto culture (taxi and delivery motorcycles), trouble can come at you in a flash. Always pay attention.
Home Boundaries are Different
In The States, the home boundary is the four walls, or the fence or property line. In the Latin world, the home boundary is the community. The moment you enter a community (or step out your front door), you are being watched.
And just like New York, one block may be good, and the next one may be bad.
The key point is to be mindful and respectful, just like you would when entering someone else’s home.
Previous Travelers May Have Poisoned the Well
Wherever you go, the CIA, soldiers, and tourists have been there before. Many have behaved badly.
Locals may see you as just another ugly American.
The rule in urban areas everywhere (including New York City), is that if people are around, you are probably okay. But it can be dangerous to be alone. Some tourist places are full of people (and thieves).
Never dress in a flashy way, or show possessions on the street. Protect yourself from pickpockets, especially in tourist crowds. If someone bumps into you, you may have been robbed.
Don’t carry more money or credit cards than you absolutely need.
Don’t get drunk and watch your drink in bars, especially women. Locals often expect to see a bottle opened in front of them, and keep a napkin in mouth of their beer bottles.
Pay attention to time of day. In some places, even locals don’t go out at night, unless they go and return directly by car. Dawns are beautiful, but early morning can be one of the most dangerous times.
Make sure your room and belongings are secure, before you go to sleep.
Never look for trouble overseas. You may find far more than you bargained for. Gangs and police often come from the same neighborhoods, even the same families. Avoid both.
But the Latin World is Beautiful
The Latin world is a beautiful place. 99.9% of the people you meet are super nice and glad you are visiting. Many will extend you courtesies that are really unexpected in this day and age.
The Latin world is very family and community oriented. It’s nice to be part of that.
Choose wisely, grasshopper. The U.S. State Department travel map is a good starting point for choosing destinations. state.gov
Oh, and smile a lot. Traveling is fun, and you make the place. Make it smile.