Art / Arts and Crafts
Early Argentine art is derivative, but today’s Buenos Aires is the heart of a vigorous contemporary painting, sculpture, and multimedia scene. The city has only a handful of late colonial constructions around the Plaza de Mayo.
Argentina’s finest colonial art and architecture survives in the northwest, on an axis that runs south from Jujuy and Salta through Tucumán and Córdoba. Contrasting with Mesopotamia’s verdant subtropical vegetation, bright red sandstone blocks distinguish Mesopotamia’s colonial Jesuit missions; Guaraní artisans crafted the elaborate adornments.Destination:Activities:
As Calle Florida became an elegant shopping district in the late 19th century, Francisco Seeber and Emilio Bunge were the main shareholders in the proposed Bon Marché Argentino, inspired by Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II. Unfortunately, their French investors backed out, but Seeber resurrected the project by 1894 as the Galería Florida.Destination:Activities:
Nearly encircling Plaza Pagano, buskers, bakers, candle-makers, flower arrangers, and other crafts workers have transformed Bolsón’s street fair from a once-a-week gathering to a Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday event (and in summer there is a smaller version on Sunday).
Forgo a restaurant lunch and snack to the max on the Belgian waffles, empanadas, sandwiches, sausages, and sweets, and wash them all down with fresh-brewed draft beer. It starts around 10 a.m. and winds down around 3 p.m. or so.Destination:Activities:
Plaza Teniente José Antonio Mijares
The center of all the action in San José is a wide brick plaza with a white gazebo-like structure in the middle. On the west side of the plaza, where the original mission once stood, is the 1940 Iglesia San José.
Opposite the church, a relatively new fountain has a continuous light show at night. And behind it a row of statues pays tribute to important leaders in Mexican history. Mature trees provide ample shade, while street performers entertain adults and children alike. Restaurants and shops line the plaza on Calles Zaragoza, Hidalgo, and Obregón and Boulevard Mijares.Destination:Activities:
Shopping in Cozumel is aimed straight at cruise ship passengers—and it’s no wonder, since they tend to spend a lot of money quickly. Avenida Rafael Melgar is where most of the action is, with a succession of marble-floored shops blasting air-conditioning to entice sweaty passersby in for a refreshing look around. Overpriced jewelry, T-shirt, and souvenir shops see the most buyer traffic, although here and there are a few shops worth checking out.Destination:Activities:
After the Jesuit Iglesia de la Compañía burned to the ground in 1863, Archbishop Rafael Valdivieso decreed what became one of Santiago’s longest ongoing construction projects: It took seven years to lay the cornerstone, three more to start building in earnest, and 19 more before its formal inauguration in 1892. Now a national monument, the massive Basílica del Salvador could hold 5,000 worshippers in an area 89 meters long, 37 meters wide, and 30 meters high.Destination:Activities:
At the east end of the Alameda, lively Plaza Italia (formally known as Plaza Baquedano) marks the boundary of the comuna of Providencia, the westernmost of the affluent eastern suburbs that also include Las Condes, Vitacura, and Ñuñoa. While this mostly staid, middle-class to upper-middle-class area has shopping malls that look like something straight out of the San Fernando Valley, it also has Bohemian enclaves like Barrio Bellavista (Santiago’s main restaurant and nightlife area) and bar-hopper zones like Avenida Suecia.Destination:Activities:
One of few survivals from colonial Las Condes, the Iglesia y Convento San Vicente Ferrer de los Dominicos sits on lands that Pedro de Valdivia himself seized from Mapuche cacique Apoquindo for Valdivia’s mistress Inés de Suárez. Willed to the Dominican order by a subsequent owner, the property deteriorated during more than a century of litigation, but the Dominicans managed to add its twin Byzantine domes in 1847.Destination:Activities:
In a class of its own, the new Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda (Plaza de la Ciudadanía s/n, tel. 02/3556500, www.ccplm.cl). In addition to gigantic atrium and special exhibit galleries, facilities include the Cineteca Nacional (national film archive, with regular repertory programs) and a sprawling crafts shop displaying museum-quality pieces from artisans around the country (not all of these are for sale).Destination:Activities:
Santiago may not be a world-class shopping mecca, but quality handicrafts and antiques from around the country are widely available. Many visitors, of course, take home Chilean wines.
Handicrafts and Souvenirs
Downtown’s best souvenir shops are Chile Típico (Moneda 1025, Local 149, tel. 02/6965504) and Huimpalay (Huérfanos 1162, tel. 02/6721395), with premium prices. Cerro Santa Lucía’s Centro de Exposición de Arte Indígena (Alameda 499, tel. 02/6641352), in the semisubterranean Grutas del Cerro Welén, has the best Mapuche, Aymara, and Rapanui crafts; it’s open 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily except Sunday.Destination:Activities:
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