There’s always a lot going on from a tourism standpoint in the dynamic region of Latin America. Generally we leave the travel news reporting to others, but here are some new and noteworthy developments we wanted to highlight.
Hotel Sazagua in Colombia's Coffee Triangle region
The Coffee Triangle of Columbia has just been approved as a new UNESCO World Heritage site. International arrivals increased by 15.4% during the first quarter of this year for Columbia, with the U.S. sending more tourists than any other country. With a new open skies agreement in place, even more flights from the U.S. should arise soon. See more on the Colombia Tourism website and if you decide to go, check out our reviews of the best luxury hotels in Colombia.
Although it’s hard to imagine now, a century ago Machu Picchu was unknown except to some indigenous people living in the area of what is now Aguas Calientes. Then Hiram Bingham showed up with his expedition party and now it’s a struggle to keep the visitor numbers under the long-promised 2,500 per day. If you want to celebrate the discovery, you can ride the train that bears Hiram Bingham’s name and stay at the Orient-Express Sanctuary Lodge. Or take your time and relax in the Sacred Valley instead: Aranwa Hotels is running some promotional deals in honor of the anniversary.
Guadalajara, Mexico lives in the 2nd-city shadow of the capital most of the time, but it hosts multiple festivals throughout the year that bring in lots of visitors. Coming up in about a month is the International Mariachi Festival. Follow that link if you read Spanish, or see a description in English here and here. Several new chain hotels are on the way there, but our first choice will probably always be the intimate Villa Ganz.
Growing Brazil has another sign that it’s economy is booming, but I’m not sure this is one to be proud of: Sao Paulo is now one of the 10 most expensive cities in the world for expatriates’ living expenses. Ouch! “Sao Paulo jumped from 27th place to tenth on the latest Cost of Living survey from Mercer. The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.”
Rio was barely behind it, at 12th place—far above anyone else in Latin America. No wonder the best hotels in Brazil are so overpriced compared to their neighbors.