From the Mods: What To See and Do In My Town (Latin America Edition)

With the imminent arrival of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the world is (slowly) shifting its attention away from their Pokémon Go screens to the Latin American region. We’re doing the same here at ModSquad, offering a glimpse into the everyday lives of Mods based in the region. From Mods in Brazil to those in Mexico and Central America, we’ve got digital-engagement pros stationed all over the Latin American region working on exciting projects.

But how do they enjoy their downtime? To learn more about the Mods and their countries, we asked these Mods to tell us about their home towns, revealing what visitors typically do when they arrive — and what they really should be doing. That is, if they can pry their eyes away from the games (both Olympic and Pikachu-related) long enough…

Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

What people typically do: Visit a few tourist attractions. Those with local friends get to know where locals go, like bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and hidden corners of the city.

What they should do: Most people aren’t far off from what they should be doing. But please, definitely try the original Brazilian-style BBQ in the city we think of as the Barbecue Capital. There isn’t a single soul (vegetarians aside) that won’t start drooling and eating like a Neanderthal when they taste it — all while using the most creative slurs to complain about why they don’t have this kind of food back where they came from!

—Marcio Lopes

São Paulo, Brazil

What people typically do: Tend to walk around and view the sights from the outside, rather than digging deeper.

What they should do: People should enjoy the variety that this city has to offer. Go to bars, shows, coffee houses, plays, museums, and stores. Meet our people and study our history. Looking at this city from the outside doesn’t enrich your traveling experience that much; this town doesn’t have a lot of beautiful design. The beauty emerges once you involve yourself with our people and culture. The essence of São Paulo can be found in its variety, its people, and its opportunities.

—Debora Ferraz

Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico

What people typically do: Get some carne asada and some ice cold beers! People enjoy the local grilled beef fajitas and some ribs.

What they should do: Did I say carne asada? There are also a couple of old classic joints that you must try, like Lonches el Popo and Hamburguesas Rio. We also have a very nice golf course at our local club, Campestre Ribera del Bravo. On a side note, beware of the salsas — they are very spicy! We are a small city just across the border from Laredo, Texas, so we get to have the best of both worlds.

—Cesar Gonzalez

San Salvador, El Salvador

What people typically do: When people come to the city, they usually enjoy going out at night. There’s a popular place called Paseo El Carmen, which is a shopping and entertainment district where you can listen to a rock band playing live in one place, dance some salsa and merengue next door, and walk a few more steps to find a little restaurant with great local food and soft music. Most restaurants have the option to stay indoors or dine outdoors. Some street artists offer such creations as paintings, necklaces, wristbands, and shirts with local themes.

What they should do: Visit El Volcán de San Salvador. With an elevation of 1,893 m (or 6,211 feet), this volcano offers great weather (around 19ºC/67ºF), which is nice for a city with temperatures around 30ºC or 86ºF) and an impressive view of the city and Lake Ilopango. There are several food options available at the top of the volcano, serving corn-based dishes, hot and cold drinks, local cuisine, pasta, seafood, and more. Most of the restaurants have large gardens where people can walk around, appreciate different types of flowers and plants, and take pictures of the amazing view of the city. But what people really enjoy in this trip is a hot cup of coffee, probably the best coffee you can have in the country.

—Alex Vasquez

Lourdes, La Libertad, El Salvador

What people typically do: Visit Playa El Tunco. Our city is actually very small, and there isn’t much to do for tourists here, but people normally go to the beach, which is 20 to 30 minutes away. At Playa El Tunco, it’s very common to run into people from different countries. It has a relaxed atmosphere — people just hang out on the beach. No chairs are needed, just a cooler full of beers and perhaps a guitar, and people will just sit around and enjoy the night.

There are a variety of restaurants; some offer live reggae performances and cold drinks, others offer pizza from wood-burning ovens. There’s also the traditional seafood. It’s a surfing hot spot, with good waves, surfing lessons for a very reasonable price, and great people.

What they should do: Visit Ruta de Las Flores, or “the Flower Route.” Tourists may think that the only place worth visiting in La Libertad is the beach, but I would encourage them to take this trip to Ruta de Las Flores. The name comes from the plentiful wildflowers that grow along the road, and there are officially four destinations included in this Ruta: Juayua, Apaneca, Ataco, and Ahuachapán. To be honest, the most interesting area is Juayua. This town is quiet during the week, but the weekend is a different story. Tourists from Guatemala and many other countries gather around the plaza to listen to live music and enjoy the famous food fair that takes place every weekend. There you can also sample many dishes and have some drinks; it’s paradise for food junkies.

In Juayua you can also visit the seven waterfalls, a series of small waterfalls that form several swimmable little pools. Just keep in mind that you will need to walk 15 to 20 minutes from the plaza to get there. But the forest, the great weather, and the waterfalls themselves make the trip totally worth it.

—Jose Martinez

Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

What people typically do: This city is known as the City of Eternal Spring, as we have a year-round temperature of 29ºC (84ºF). It’s an hour away from Mexico City, the nation’s capital. People from Mexico City typically come and rent a weekend house if they want a quick getaway; it’s pretty close, and we don’t have the horrible traffic jams that they do in the capital city.

Cuernavaca is a city made to rest. People here are friendly and you won’t be bothered by the stress or pollution of big cities. It’s the perfect getaway if you just need a quick break. The city also offers a lot of history regarding the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortez, who ordered a palace built right here. You’ll also find several parks, pubs, clubs, and restaurants where you can enjoy Mexican culture to the utmost.

Close to Cuernavaca you will find two small towns where you can take a day trip. One of these towns is Tepoztlán, where in addition to typical Mexican food and drinks (such as mezcal, tepache, and pulque) you’ll find an exciting hike that will eventually take you to the view of the town and a pyramid on top of the mountain. Yes, a pyramid!

The other nearby town is Tequesquitengo, which has a big lake where people enjoy water-skiing, parachuting, paragliding, and other extreme sports favored by adrenaline junkies. It’s also great if you simply want to relax, sunbathe, and have one, two, three, or as many beers or tequilas as you can handle.

What they should do: You certainly can’t go wrong with a day trip to Tepoztlán and a good barbecue next to the pool here in Cuernavaca. You can enjoy the sun and weather all year round. And please, if you visit, do not miss my house! While it is not as historic as the city, you’ll always find a place to crash for a few days or months. We start charging rent after the second year. 😛

—Daniel Ménez

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