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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
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Henrico County Public Library
Science Museum of Virginia
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LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES FUN FACTS
Get your virtual passport ready and take a trip with us as we travel to over 20 different Latin American Countries during the month of May. Be sure to visit us at our festival in person May 7th, 2022 to immerse yourself in the culture of Latin America!
Capital: Buenos Aires
Did you know? Located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazu Falls is the largest waterfall system in the world, stretching over 1.6 miles and has 275 different waterfall drops.
Culinary Staple: Carbonada– a savory thick stew often served in a holed-out pumpkin.
Capital: La Paz (executive capital) & Sucre (constitutional capital)
Did you know? Amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia, is the world’s largest salt flat named Salar de Uyuni, measures 7,522 square miles and sits at 11,995 ft.
Culinary Staple: Saltenas– traditional Bolivian savory pastries usually filled with meaty stew but often also containing eggs, olives or even raisins.
Did you know? Covering most of the country’s western parts is the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland and spanning over 70,000 square miles.
Culinary Staple: Coxinha de Galena– Brazilian breaded and deep-fried snack filled with shredded chicken, usually served with a chili dip.
Did you know? Chile is home to the driest nonpolar desert on Earth, the Atacama Desert. This desert plateau stretches across roughly 600-miles nestled between the coastal mountains and the Andes mountains.
Culinary Staple: Sopaipilla– a typical snack consisting of fried pastry sometimes topped with sugar, marshmallows or chancaca, a sweet sugarcane sauce.
Colombia houses the world’s largest protected tropical rainforest called the Serrania de Chiribiquete, covering 16,000 square miles and is one of the most untouched and unexplored wildernesses on the planet.
Culinary Staple: Arepa– maize flatbread, a common snack usually baked or grilled and often eaten with avocados or meats, sometimes split open and stuffed with a variety of fillings.
Capital: San José
Did you know? Costa Rica is home to over 500,000 animal and is also home to the world’s first sanctuary for sloths.
Culinary Staple: Gallo Pinto– traditional breakfast of Costa Rica made of rice and black beans, served with sour cream, tortilla and fried plantain
Did you know? Cuba is home to the world’s smallest bird, which is the Cuban bee hummingbird, also called zunzuncito, measuring in at 5cm from the head to the tail.
Culinary Staple: Ropa Vieja– this is a stew made with shredded beef, tomato sauce, bell peppers and various spices and is usually accompanied by rice.
Capital: Santo Domingo
Did you know? The Bay of Samaná is one of the best places to watch North Atlantic Humpback Whales migrate from about mid-January to mid-March, welcoming between 2,000 and 3,000 of giant humpback whales every year.
Culinary Staple: Biscocho Dominicano– the “Dominican cake” is a frosted sponge cake filled with pineapple jam.
Did you know? The summit of Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest mountain, is the point on Earth closest to the sun and the farthest point from the Earth’s core, due to the mountain’s location along the equatorial bulge. This also means that Ecuador is the closest country to space.
Culinary Staple: Encebollado– this soup is often considered the national dish of Ecuador. The spicy soup is made with albacore (long fin tuna), cassava, onion, and cilantro. The soup is usually served with fried plantains (patacones) or white rice and bread.
Capital: San Salvador
Did you know? El Salvador is known as the “Land of Volcanoes” because there are more than twenty volcanoes in the region, two of which are active.
Culinary Staple: Pupusa– the national dish of El Salvador, consists of a thick corn tortilla stuffed with a savory filling, that’s eaten with pickled cabbage and tomato sauce.
Capital: Guatemala City
Did you know? The deepest lake in Central America is located in Guatemala, called Lake Atitlan. This volcano-ringed lake measures 340 meters deep.
Culinary Staple: Pepián– A spicy stew, commonly made with chicken, but can also be made with beef or pork. All varieties of the dish contain both fruit and vegetables (usually pear, squash, carrot, potato and corn) and a rich mix of spices. It’s traditionally served with rice and tortillas.
Did you know? Honduras is part of the second largest coral reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef.
Culinary Staple: Pastelitos De Carne – made with ground beef and cooked with wine, tomato, onion, sugar, and raisin, before being stuffed into the pastry.
Capital: Mexico City
Did you know? Mexico is home to the world’s smallest volcano, the Cuexcomate Volcano sits just outside the city of Puebla and stands a cute 43 feet tall.
Culinary Staple: Chilaquiles– made with fried corn tortillas cut into quarters and topped with green or red salsa. Scrambled or fried eggs and pulled chicken are usually added on top, as well as cheese and cream. Chilaquiles are often served with frijoles.
Did you know? Lake Nicaragua is the only freshwater lake containing oceanic animal life, including sharks, swordfish, and tarpon. originally formed as a result of volcanic eruption, the ocean fish trapped adapted themselves as the salt water gradually turned fresh.
Culinary Staple: Baho– made with chunks of beef, green plantains, mature plantains, yuca, onions, and peppers are slowly steamed together in a huge cooking pot that is sealed at the top with layers of banana leaves.
Capital: Panama City
Did you know? Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic.
Culinary Staple: Sancocho– chicken and vegetable stew, often also made with yuca and plantains.
Did you know? Situated on the Paraná River, the Itaipu Dam is the 2nd largest in the world.
Culinary Staple: mbejú– a starchy cake-like patty made with mandioca flour, crumbled cheese, pork fat, eggs and milk and then fried in hot oil.
Did you know? Peru is home to Vilicunca, also known as, Rainbow Mountain. Located high up in the Andes mountains, the seven colors of the mountain are due to the different minerals in the soil.
Culinary Staple: Picarones– this sweet dessert is similar to a fried donut ring that has been dipped into syrup. They are made with squash and sweet potatoes instead of flour and eggs.
Capital: San Juan
Did you know? The coqui is a small frog that can be found only in Puerto Rico. It’s about an inch long and makes a unique, high-pitched song: “ko-kee, ko-kee,” especially at night.
Culinary Staple: Mofongo- made with fried plantains as its main ingredient, seasonings, and an unlimited choice of fillings—including vegetables, shrimp, steak, pork, and seafood.
Did you know? Spain has the most olive trees in the world. Spain produced a whopping 1.8 million tons of olive oil in 2018 and about 1.2 million tons in 2020. The main region for olive oil production is Andalusia.
Culinary Staple: Turrón– Nougat sweet cake made with honey and nuts
Did you know? Uruguay is the only country in the world located entirely south of the Tropic of Capricorn.
Culinary Staple: Chaiá– layered sponge cake with dulce de leche, peaches and cream
Did you know? Angel Falls, located in the Canaima National Park, is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall with a height of 979 meters and a plunge of 807 meters. Angel Falls also inspired the setting of Disney’s animated film UP.
Culinary Staple: Pabellón criollo– consists of juicy pulled beef, black beans, white rice and fried plantain. Usually, it is served with some shredded salty white cheese grated over the black beans and a slice of avocado on the side.