The Colors of Latin America – a Travelogue

This Spring break, my family and I visited Latin America, a vibrant mosaic of cultures, colors, and contrasts. Our 4 stops were Panama, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. I even got to practice a lot of my Spanish! Here are some pictures to take you along my journey…

In Panama we visited 1 of the 7 “modern” wonders of the world – the Panama Canal. Before the canal was built, ships had to travel around the southern tip of South America, adding unwanted miles to their journey. This canal shortens the journey between the Pacific and Atlantic ocean by 1000s of nautical miles. There are three locks systems: the Miraflores Locks, Pedro Miguel Locks, and Gatun Locks, each lifting ships up to 85 feet above sea level. It is no wonder the Panama Canal is such a vital source of revenue for its country!

The Miraflores Lock

Can’t forget the scrumptious South American treat – EMPANADAS!!

2 goat meat (cabra) and 2 cheese (queso)

In Cuba, we visited its capital, Havana (ha-ba-na). A quaint, old town but with such lovely people (and old fashioned cigars!). One of the first things I noticed as I entered was the colorful vintage cars that lined the streets. Here’s why: By 1919, Cuba was the largest Latin American importer of US cars and parts. However, in 1959, old friends became foes, and there was an embargo placed on all US imports. This meant that no American cars could be exported to the island anymore. So now, tourists get to ride on these beautiful babies!:

In Santo Domingo, we visited the beaches with pristine, crystal-clear waters. My favourite thing though about the country, DR, is its flag. Right in the middle of the flag we see a display of John 8, 32 from the Bible: “And the truth shall make you free.” (In Spanish, “la verdad os hará libres”). Indeed, even in our day to day lives, there is something liberating when we speak the truth and release the burden of secrets! When it comes to food, the daily lunch for Dominicans consists of rice, beans, and meat.

In Jamaica, we chased the sun in the paradisiacal island of Montego Bay. Here I rode on a horse named Zogi along the beach, and went swimming in the Luminous Lagoon. The natural blue glow of this lagoon is formed from small microorganisms that emit a flash of light when the water is disturbed. It’s like northern lights but in the ocean! Truly magical.

Zogi & Me
Luminous Lagoon

Jamaican food – Jerk chicken, veggies, fried dumplings, and bread

That wraps up my journey around Latin America.

Traveling really does leave us speechless, then turns us into storytellers!

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚‍♀️

54 thoughts on “The Colors of Latin America – a Travelogue

  1. I am unable to tell the joy and getting knowledge through you without been there.This reminds me of MahaBharat episode where the blind king Dristrast knew every details of the Epic War through his friend .
    I am really overwhelmed by your descriptions of the places you visited as if I myself in person there.Thanks my lovely child.


  2. How fantastic Saania. The colors really are that vibrant in that part of the world. And your photos are stunning. Of course the cars in Cuba are treats for the eyes.
    And all those places. All that food. And do you know you were so close to my native country? Belize 🇧🇿?! Yup, you were. Maybe next time, huh?!
    Loved all the photos and your words. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post Saania 🙂

    It was strange to see mention of The Miraflores Lock – years ago 1977 when l returned to the UK after living abroad in Australia and Malaysia we returned via the Australias which was a liner and we travelled through the Panama Canal which although was fully functional was still having intensive work performed. It was a fascinating experience watching our huge ship being lifted – although l believe it has sped up now as a process whilst nearly fifty years ago it took us 18 hours to get through now l think it is 8 or 10.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this. Truly beautiful. We went through the Panama Canal several years ago on a cruise ship. It was really cool to go through the locks. It was strange to be on such a large vessel and being raised and lowered. I always like your travel posts.


  5. The empanadas in Albuquerque usually have meat and fruit jam or jelly. The first one I ever tasted was so good! Then I asked what was in it. Turns out it was beef tongue and jam. Not a combination I’d ever imaging eating. And tongue? If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have tried them. After that I ate during thjem always during the holidays, as well as posole – tough field corn, sofftened with lime, and them cooked with pork – tamales, and green chile sour cream chicken enchiladas. I liked your photos. I’ve seen that phosphorescent tide by Assateague Island shore in Maryland and Virginia. That photo of you in pink by the pink car – so cute! Then you seemed like another person in the next photo – absolutely gorgeous. You and the horse – nice couple! Haha. How come the horizon is so slanted, but you appear straight up? 🙂


  6. As a former Spanish teacher, I’m so happy you were practicing your Spanish!

    I saw you’re coming to college in the US. From where exactly? I couldn’t piece together your nationality from your posts.


  7. Dear saania so nicely you have described about Latin America you are looking stunning I really think as if I am biding those places wonderful
    With Love Dadi Sudha


  8. Love your photos! This was a fun post. Eating goat empanadas reminds me of my pet name for my boyfriend, Cabroncito. Which is a slang vulgar term (but we made it sweet), but it literally means little goat, hee hee.


  9. Bonjour Mon Ami AMIE SANIA
    En moment de Paques à venir
    j’espère que tu profiteras de ces belles journées
    Pour faire la chasse aux œufs avec ta petite famille
    Passez un bon moment ensemble
    En souhaitant que le soleil soit au rendez-vous
    Je te dis bonne heureuse PAQUES à TOI et à Tous les TIENS
    Bise amicale Bernard


  10. Beautiful photos, Saania. I love your use of color in this photo essay. I love Latin America and the Caribbean! I should like to add that the old cars are not by the Cuban people’s choice. Beginning with the 1959 revolution, the people were not allowed to own cars newer than 1959. Raul Castro proposed a reform in 2008 that was approved by the Communist Party (the only party) in 2011 allowing the people to own used cars newer than 1959, but only the government may sell a car. The Cuban people have done a remarkable job of maintaining the beauty of these cars! 😎


  11. Yes, indeed the colours of America Sur are full on from birds to cars to textiles. I have some of brightly coloured skeletons in Merida Mexico. You inspire me to get on and post those.


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