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    Carnival in Peru and Argentina

    So with Carnival around the corner, and Brazil charging through the roof for their extravagant celebrations, where are the best places in Peru and Argentina to celebrate?

    In Peru, this is a much more traditional affair, with dances and songs performed, along with street processions and ceremonies all over the country. The place best known for Carnival is Cajamarca, where there is all the above and more. Here all the city’s inhabitants and tourists alike will dance around a ‘yunsa’ (also known as ‘humisha’ in the Peruvian jungle), appropriately decorated and adorned with prizes, such as alcohol and toys.

    Carnival in Peru and Argentina

    The Master of Ceremonies kicks things off by attempting to chop down the tree in 3 blows, before handing the machete over to someone else. The fall of the tree marks the start of the fiesta as all surrounding people rush forward to claim the prizes attached to its branches!


    Like every year, Buenos Aires is getting dressed up for the occasion illuminating its principal arteries and plazas throughout the city with the traditional lights, decorations and big Christmas trees.

    This month the main topics of conversation are not tango or football, but what to do for Christmas in Buenos Aires. Due to the warm summer climate, the city invites its neighbors and visitors to spend a different type of Christmas, and at the same time keeping alive the classic season’s spirit and the joy that Santa brings to all.

    AMAUTA Spanish School in Buenos Aires has the following tips to kick off the festive season in Argentinean style:

    Christmas in Buenos Aires

    In Western countries eating on the streets is not a usual sight due to all the regulations. Here in Buenos Aires all is a tit-bit different. Actually, outdoor eating in Buenos Aires is just as common as anywhere else in Argentina offering visitors one of those true delights, and cultural experiences, of travel in Argentina.

    Surrounded by out-door vendors and Empanadas in Buenos Aires!

    My roommate Gigi, an Argentinean girl who is able to do yoga, tai chi and kung-fu (I feel really safe here), knows how to make homemade empanadas as well. Yesterday she came home with bags full of cebollas, choclos, semillas and other verduras to make some to sell on the street. She had made arrangements for her and a friend to sell empanadas vegetarianas during a concert somewhere in the city. She took to it and while humming to Indian mantras she prepared them in record time. A few hours later she dressed up and went out with a box full of deliciously tasting empanadas.


    At AMAUTA Spanish School in Buenos Aires we focus on teaching the Spanish language while providing a full immersion experience into a vibrant new culture. What better way to do this than to join our new Wine Workshop in Buenos Aires!

    Our Spanish and Wine course is a godsend to wine lovers all over the world. You’ll spend four very entertaining afternoons learning all there is to know about the wine making traditions of Argentina, while you study Spanish in the mornings. Each workshop session is given in easy to understand Spanish (with English or Portuguese explanations when needed) lasting for an hour and a half, while the Spanish group classes are tailored to your comprehension skills, beginner or not.

    New Spanish and Wine course at AMAUTA Buenos Aires!

    The wine sessions are held off-campus, hosted by prestigious sommeliers at a classy vinoteca in Buenos Aires. You will get insight into the different varieties of Argentinean vineyards and grapes, the elaboration processes of espumantes for red, white and oak aged vinos and study the importance of pairing different types of wine and food and which combinations should be avoided at all cost. Each day you will get to take part in a wine tasting session, known as a Cata de Vino, of some of the best new wines produced in Argentina. You will appreciate to distinguish the unique exponents not found in wines produced for mass consumption. This event alone is reason enough for some students to take part in this program!


    So what do you do when you study Spanish in Buenos Aires, you just watched an ‘Original Tango Show’ that sparked your imagination and got your energy going? You don’t just go home and sleep. Not in a city like Buenos Aires where you can go to the pharmacy all night long, buy a bouquet of flowers early in the morning while waiting for your 04.45 bus ride back to your barrio. After viewing a master Tango Show you end the night in style.

    We didn’t know where to go but sometimes you just get lucky. First we headed down to the Avenida de Mayo. The streets here are long and sometimes have over 5000 numbers but what the heck, we were in the mood and willing to walk. We passed some places that seemed ok, but not quite perfect.

    Grandeur and more (about how to end a perfect night in Café Tortoni)

    We crossed the widest street in the world, which at night is much easier and less frightening than during daytime, and all of a sudden I saw a sign up ahead. Café Tortoni. I had read about it and there it was, the place where Carlos Gardel and many, many other famous people had spent so many nights of their life. It was midnight, the streets where quiet and the place looked closed. Could I really be passing Tortoni’s without being able to enter? We couldn’t look in because white curtains where obscuring our view so I peaked through the crack between the doors and to my surprise I saw light.


    Now that you are living and studying Spanish, or doing volunteer work in Buenos Aires, you might be willing to go to the next level within the Buenos Aires transport system and travel by bus (or colectivo as they are called)…. If so,  here are some do’s and don’ts you have to keep in mind.

    The way to go...#2(the do's and don’ts on colectivos on Buenos Aires)


    • Do buy a Guia-T upon arrival in Buenos Aires. It’s a small and cheap booklet you can buy at any news stand (kiosko) that will help you figure out where you are and which bus gets you from A to B. This site is very helpful in figuring out the way to read Guia-T.
    • Once you’ve figured out which bus to take you still have to find the bus stop that is closest to you. You can ask around but not everybody can help you because there are thousands of stops. The best way to find out is to check online here. Just give your place of origin and destination and choose your route. This site is a must if you don’t have a Guia-T by the way.
    • Ask for monedas whenever you receive a 2-peso or 5-peso bill. People will reluctantly give it to you, as everybody understands the need for coins in Buenos Aires. You cannot travel by bus without coins*.
    • Do stand in line at the bus stop. Everybody does and together you create a nice orderly line amongst the chaos.
    • Wave franticly if you see your bus coming. It sounds silly but please do because otherwise the bus will pass you by. And if the bus can’t reach your stop because of taxi’s or other buses standing in the way, make a run for it, otherwise you will have to wait for the next bus.
    • (más…)

    Most of my fellow students here at AMAUTA had their living arrangements taken care of by the Spanish school. They all live in the vicinity of the school, somewhere in Belgrano. Ole, the Norwegian guy, lives with a landlady who serves him breakfast and dinner and Luca, the one from Switzerland, lives in a student residence together with other students. Every day they leisurely stroll to school, ordering their medialunas on the way to Av. Federico Lacroze 2129.

    I never thought about living with a host-family or together with other students because before I knew it one of my best friends had arranged for me to live in an apartment with an Argentinean girl. My very own place! In Holland I am used to having my own space for quite some time now so this was right up my alley. Of course, being from Amsterdam, I am also used to ride my bike wherever I want to go. Holland is a small country and you can get virtually everywhere within a couple of hours. Even by bike.

    The way to go…#1 (about the colectivo in Buenos Aires)


    Not sure what to give your family and friends this holiday season? Buenos Aires, Argentina is the shopping capital of South America and it is absolutely full of great unique and cultural gifts this time of year. Come to South America to see the sights and shop ‘til you drop this holiday season 2011!

    Here we have compiled our list of the top five shops in the city that are definitely not to be missed! Buenos Aires has something for everyone on your Christmas list.
    If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for a special woman in your life go to Perugia Bottier. This shoe store has been around for 50 years and the shoes are handmade from the best Argentine and Italian leather. These shoes are a bit pricey and take approximately ten days to make, but the quality is well worth the extra cash and waiting time.

    Holiday Shopping Guide - Buenos Aires, Argentina

    If you are looking for a gift with an edge go to Autoria. This store offers a wide range of products ranging from jewelry and accessories to paintings and sculptures. Everything has an artistic flair! This store is a great place to shop for that cool teenager, young adult, or simply young at heart person in your life.