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San Miguel de Allende best small city in the world 2018


San Miguel de Allende in Mexico is acclaimed as the ‘Best Small City in the World for 2018’ at the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. San Miguel is the only Latin American city in the top-ten cities alongside places like Salzburg, Florence and Edinburgh. The city boasts colourful streets, quality handicraft markets, colonial churches and vibrant nightlife. It’s a great place to explore street food. There is also a lush tropical park, Parque Juarez, right in the centre of the city. Further out is El Charco cactus park on the edge of town. My favourite activity was people watching in El Jardin, the main square.

San Miguel de Allende was also named the ‘American Culture Capital for 2019’. From January 2019, San Miguel will promote its cultural, artistic and foody offerings along with its rich history. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 for its architecture, but also for its role in Mexican Independence. The city has a cosmopolitan vibe due to the large number of foreign residents. It is a popular place for folks to retire due to the pleasant climate and low cost of living.

Select Latin America can design a self-drive or chauffeur-driven Colonial Cities itinerary. Start in Mexico City – including San Miguel de Allende and other colonial jewels.

Related: Interesting Facts about Mexico

Q’oyllur Riti Festival Peru


Q’oyllur Riti is one of the most intriguing festivals in the Andes, combining Pre-Columbian fertility ceremonies and Catholic processions with colourful dancers and Andean music. Said to be the greatest indigenous pilgrimage in the Americas. Each year just before Corpus Christi the people of the district of Ocongate in Peru perform a ritual based on the image of Christ. The main ceremony is held at the foot of Mount Ausangate, at 4,700 meters (15,416 feet), above sea level, where temperatures often plunge below freezing. The ritual brings thousands of pilgrims, including shepherds, traders and the merely curious who gather at the shrine. Legend has it that the infant Christ, dressed as a shepherd, appeared to a young highland Indian boy, Marianito Mayta  who died, and the image of the Lord of Qoyllur Rit’i appeared on the stone. Qoyllur Rit’i also means Lord of Star Snow. Another interpretation is that it is worship of the Pleiades star constellation that reappears in June and signifies the upcoming harvest. More than 10,000 pilgrims climb to the snowline, accompanied by dancers in full costume as various mythical characters following stone cairns, built along the way, to atone for their sins. An elite group of sturdy queros set out for the mountaintop, at 6,362 metres (20,867 feet), in search of the Snow Star, reputedly buried within the mountain. On their way back down they haul massive blocks of ice on their backs for the symbolic irrigation of their lands with holy water from the Ausangate mountain. Video.

RELATED: 10 classic things to do on your first time in Peru