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The Biggest & Best Events in South America

By Josie Martin

Posted: 18th April 2013 15:11

Those of you lucky enough to be jetting off for a sun-kissed tour of South America this year will probably already have to-do lists as long as your arms.  But if life is for the living, then you can never squeeze too much in, so allow us to humbly suggest a few additions to your itineraries.  Here we present a run-down of the biggest and best events going on in South America over the next 12 months.

Limeira Tattoo Festival
Late April
ão Paulo, Brazil

Situated in the city of Limeira, this annual festival brings some of the world’s best talents in tattooing together.  The aim of the festival is in part to encourage respect and reverence for this ancient art form, by educating festival-goers about the process of tattooing.  If you’re already a fan of tattoos and convinced you’re ready to get one here, there are plenty of artists to choose from, each with specialities in design and inking.  Whether you’re interested in the history of tattoos, fancy getting one yourself to commemorate your trip, or fascinated by the displays and exhibitions, this festival is well worth a visit.

International Poncho Day
27th May
Nobsa, Colombia

If you’re in the mood for a celebration that’s a little off the wall, how about International Poncho Day? With the claim to fame of the biggest ever poncho draped across the town’s church, this is certainly an event that fits the bill.  A way to promote Nobsa’s talent in extensive poncho-making, this day sees the town’s inhabitants dressed in their well-made garments, and even the pets seem to agree! It’s been known for dogs and parrots to dress up, so grab a poncho from one of the many stalls and join in with the celebrations.

Boi Bumba
Parantins, Brazil

Now, it’s pretty well-known that Brazil likes its festivals, and Boi Bumba (pictured) is no exception.  A cultural event shrouded in folklore, the history of Boi Bumba is a story of magic and shamans, and this is seen in the huge floats that crowd the streets and the artistic displays throughout the day.  There is also a competition between two teams within the town, with presentations and enthusiastic encouragement from the supporters.  A stunning area situated by the Amazon, the mysticism of the event permeates it with excitement, and the celebrating goes on well into the night. 

2013 FIFA Confederations Cup

15-20th June 2013


If you want to see the beautiful game played at its natural home then make sure you visit Brazil this summer.  The Samba Boys are hosting this year’s confederations cup – featuring footballing heavyweights such as the hosts Brazil, Spain, Italy, Uruguay…. and Tahiti! The talents of the Brazilian national team are only matched by the fiery passion of the Brazilian fans – take the opportunity to watch see the team in yellow and blue play in brand new state of the art stadiums while being cheered on by some of the world’s most passionate supporters!

Inti Raymi
24th June
Cuzco, Peru

Inti Raymi, Festival of the Sun, is one of the biggest festivals in all of South America, commemorating the solstice and the history of the event from its 16th Century beginnings.  The festivities last all week long, but the most celebrated day is that of Inti Raymi itself.  Entry to the celebrations is free, so the main expense will be the exceptional Peruvian food from local vendors.  With large-scale dramatisations of the story of Inti Raymi, processions flowing down the streets and traditional fire-dances, this is an event not to miss. 

Dia de la Independencia
9th July
Buenos Aires and across Argentina

It may not be as well-known as the USA’s version, but if you’re in South America this summer, a trip to Argentina for their day of independence is well worth it.  While the event is celebrated across all of Argentina, the capital city of Buenos Aires hosts the most public events.  Parades and floats fill the streets, while evening celebrations begin with fireworks and end with music and dancing throughout the night.  This is a prime spot to get to grips with some of the most delicious tastes of Argentina with street food common throughout the celebration.

Dia de los Muertos
1st and 2nd November
Across Mexico

Following just after Halloween, the Day of the Dead holiday is an integral part of the culture of Mexico.  As well as honouring those who have died, the holiday is a festive occasion.  Mexicans will spend the day visiting cemeteries of the deceased, and celebrating with feasts, parades and elaborately decorated alters.  If you fancy joining in with the dia de los muertos, check out the bigger cities in Mexico for the best surreal and interesting events.  Dances, theatre performances and parades of sugar skulls are particular highlights to look forward to, and the traditional food served is a real treat.

Gala del Vino
Late November
Santiago, Chile

Since Chile is known as the home of many types of delicious wine, this is the place to go in South America for the best bottles around.  In November, Santiago hosts this Gala in celebration of the top wineries in Chile, and with a long history of winemaking, it is sure to be competitive.  With plenty of free samples, there’s a real sense of what makes this wine so world-renowned, and the event supports Chilean agriculture and farming, so it’s a good cause too, bringing many well-known Chilean officials to the event.

Buenos Aires Fashion Week
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Held in February and August for each seasons’ collections, Buenos Aires Fashion Week is the highlight of the Argentinian fashion world.  The ticket may be a bargain, but get there early because it’s a hugely popular event and you don’t want to spend your day queuing!  A mixture of designers from all around the world premiere their collections, so it’s the perfect chance to get ahead of the curve in what to wear for the upcoming months.  After watching the shows you’ll have time to browse the showrooms for new lines in clothing and accessories to keep your wardrobe updated.

National Rodeo Championships
Last weekend of March

Rodeo is the national sport in Chile, and as such the National Rodeo Championships are the highest level of rodeo the riders can participate in.  The main event is of course the competition itself, so prepare to watch highly skilled riders herding cattle with expert precision.  Aside from this, there’s plenty to do around the arena; with food and drink stalls, performances from traditional Chilean country musicians and exhibitions and demonstrations explaining the history of rodeo, you’ll have plenty to explore.  Tens of thousands attend, so it’ll be a busy weekend, but certainly an entertaining and enlightening one.

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