Local Restaurants and Fun Facts
Mi Empanada (Argentinian)
4034 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Casa Brasil (Brazilian)
5904 Bryant St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Chicken Latino (Peruvian)
2100 Broadway Ave., Beechview, PA 15216
Cilantro y ajo (Venezuelan) Pittsburgh, PA 15203 https://www.cilantroajo.com/
The Colombian Spot (Colombian) 2019 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 https://www.thecolombianpot-pgh.com/
La Palapa (Mexican) 2224 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203 https://www.lapalapapgh.com/
New Hope Coffee (Nicaraguan coffee) https://www.buildingnewhope.org/order-coffee
Con Alma (Latin American) 5884 Ellsworth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232 https://www.conalmapgh.com/
Café Tu y yo (Latin American) 3447 Harts Run Rd., Glenshaw, PA 15116 FB-Tu y yo cafe IG-Tu y yo cafe
Ten thousand Villages (Gifts and handcrafted products from Latin America) 5820Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 https://www.tenthousandvillages.com
Reyna Foods (mini market) 2031 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Fun Facts About Latin American Countries
- De la Plata River: It is the widest river in the world. It flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The most curious thing about this river is not its width, but everything that it shelters in its depths. Inside it hosts airplanes, boats and even hot air balloons. All of them come from very different times and very different events. There are even wrecked pirate ships, so the wealth that could be found is incalculable.
- Iguazu Waterfalls: Natural border between Brazil and Argentina. The waterfalls represent a refuge for some animals that are in danger of extinction.
- Argentina’s traditional dance is called Tango.
- A dinosaur called Argentinosaurus lived in Argentina many millions of years ago. It was a herbivore with a length of 40 meters and a height of 18 meters. The dinosaur lived on the then-island continent of South America somewhere between 97 and 93.5 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period.
- Llama, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos are all animals that are related to camels but live in the high plains of South America. The biggest one is the llama, and the smallest one is the vicuña.
- The Titicaca Lake is the highest lake in the world than can be sailed by boat, and it is located between Peru and Bolivia. The Uros is an ancient people that live on the lake on floating islands made from rushes, a type of plant.
- Beni Pink Dolphin: It really is pink! It lives in rivers, and is very friendly to humans
- Pachamama: On August 1st, Bolivians celebrate the Day of the Pachamama, or Earth mother. They give thanks to the Earth for the food that it provides them.
- Bolivia is the biggest producer of quinoa in the world.
- Cal Orcko is a location found near a cement factory that has the largest amount of dinosaur footprints in the world, more than 10 thousand ones from more than 15 different dinosaurs. Dinosaurs really liked to walk around Bolivia!
- There are no McDonald’s in Bolivia. They had some for a while but didn’t like their food, so they had to leave. People prefer local food.
- Chile is the longest and narrowest country in the world.
- There are more than 1300 volcanoes in Chile.
- Empanadas are a traditional food in many South American countries, including Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. It is composed of dough filled with meat and other foodstuffs depending on the country. It is baked and usually served hot.
- Even though potatoes are grown in many countries, they were initially found in an island in the south of Chile called Chiloe. There are more than 211 types of potatoes now.
- Atacama Desert: the driest desert in the world, it is the closest place to Mars on Earth. NASA tested out their rovers here before sending them to Mars.
- Easter Island: home of the legendary Moais, this island is part of Chile.
- Its name comes from the explorer Christopher Columbus (“Cristobal Colon” in Spanish).
- Arepas are a traditional food from Colombia and Venezuela. They are made from corn and filled with many different things, such as chicken, egg, meat, and beans.
- The big-butted ants (hormigas culonas) are considered a delicious dish in Colombia. They are very expensive, $40 for a pound of ants. They live in the northern parts of Colombia. Chefs make pizzas and meat sauce out of them. They taste like nuts, salty, and the texture is similar to eating popcorn (crunchy).
- There are more than 1900 different types of birds in Colombia, which is a world record. Colombia is the country with the biggest number of hummingbirds in the world. The swordbeak hummingbird (colibri picoespada) is the only hummingbird that has a beak longer than its body. They live in high places near mountains, so they can be found in the city of Bogota.
- Emeralds are green gems that are used for jewels. Colombia is the main world producer of emeralds; around 95% of the world’s emeralds come from Colombia. There are more than 150 emerald mines in the country.
- Colombia has around 3500 types of butterflies, being one of the countries in the world with the most variety of butterflies.
- • Golden frog (ranita dorada), it is the most poisonous vertebrate in the world. If you touch it, you will most likely die. Its scientific name is phyllobates terribilis, as in “terrible”.
- The popular singer Shakira was born in Colombia.
- Cuba is the most populated country in the Caribbean.
- Often referred to as “el cocodrilo” (the crocodile) because of its shape.
- Cuban people love salsa dancing! Salsa is a mix of native, European, and African musical influence.
- The smallest bird in the world lives here – The bee hummingbird. It only reaches two inches in length in adulthood.
- They have a huge diversity of fruits: tropical fruits like mango, papaya, guava, chirimoya, coconut and pineapples. Experts recommend guava (guayaba) for daily consumption because of its health benefits. It is only found in Central America and it is characterized by high levels of vitamin C.
- The cotton or linen shirt, known as Guayabera or Guayavera, consisting of an often white, pleated shirt with its iconic four pockets seems to be European in its origin –specifically Spanish– but in the New World it developed its typical shape. A legend even tells the shirt was designed in order to keep, in its pockets, as many guava fruits as possible.
- There are more than 250 beaches in Cuba.
- When Columbus landed in Cuba he said it was the most beautiful land human eyes have ever seen. He named Cuba the “pearl of the Caribbean”
- Did you know? Ecuador is the only country named after a geographic feature. Yes, in Spanish Ecuador means equator. As in, the equator circling our planet. Ecuador is located then in the middle of the world, you can be standing here in both hemispheres at the same time.
- Ecuador is the only country where a village was built on top of a volcano.
- Ecuador’s official currency is the dollar.
- The condor is the official bird of several South American countries, including Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador. The Andean condor is Ecuador’s national symbol, and the world’s second largest land bird, with a wingspan of 3 meters.
- Galapagos Islands: 20 islands that are part of Ecuador. The Word “Galapago” comes from these islands’ iconic turtles. The Galapagos is the only place in the northern hemisphere where you can see penguins in their natural habitat. This warm weather penguins only survive in Galapagos because of the cold waters currents (Humboldt and Cromwell) you find here.
- The Galapagos Marine Iguana is the only lizard in the world with the ability to swim. These lizards enjoy water so much that they’ve learned how to swim in it and feed almost entirely on seaweed (algae).
- The green sea turtle is an ancient species. In fact, researchers believe that these turtles swam the ocean and walked the beaches along with dinosaurs.
- 30% of the bananas in the world come from Ecuador.
- The Tikal pyramids were one of the most important cities of the Maya civilization. They were declared a World Heritage Site. Part of the original Star Wars movie was filmed there.
- Mayan people used to pay with cocoa beans instead of coins. It is said that chocolate, made from cocoa, comes from Guatemala.
- Guatemala’s national bird, the quetzal, is famous for its long tail.
- It is known as ‘land of the eternal spring’ as it boasts a warm, tropical climate.
- São Paulo is the largest city in the southern hemisphere.
- Brazil has more animal and plant species than any other country in the world.
- Portuguese is the official language in Brazil. In fact, Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese.
- The name Brazil comes from a tree named Brazilwood.
- Brazil shares a border with all South American countries except for Chile and Ecuador.
- Brazil covers 3 time zones.
- The Amazon River flows through Brazil, it is the 2nd longest river in the world (after the Nile).
- Around 60% of the Amazon Rainforest is located in Brazil.
- Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Brazil with the national team consistently among the best in the world, winning the World Cup a record 5 times.
- The Rain of Fish of Yoro is an event that occurs every year in that city, in May or July. The sky turns dark and for 2 to 3 hours, a strong thunderstorm occurs. When it stops, the floor is filled with live fish. People celebrate by making yummy fish dishes!
- The Macaw is Honduras’ national bird. It is very friendly and good at repeating words. The Mayas used to worship them!
- Honduras is the second country in the world with the highest number of coral reefs, after Australia.
- Children’s Day in September is a big holiday in Honduras. Kids build pinatas (and then break them for candy!).
- The main music of Honduras is “Punta”, with other popular types including salsa, merengue, reggae, and reggaeton. Punta (or Tip) is called that way since it is danced on the tip of your toes.
- Mexico City is the oldest city in the Americas, as it used to be the capital of the Aztec Empire, when it was called Tenochtitlan. It is built on top of a lake, Texcoco.
- Chichen Itza is an ancient city where the Mayas lived for thousands of years.
- The Mexican axolotl is a salamander that keeps its baby fin when it grows up, as well as gills that look like feathers on its head. Unlike other salamanders, it lives in the water all its life.
- Frida Kahlo is a Mexican painter. She was also married to a painter, Diego Rivera. When she was 18, she was in an accident and had to lie in bed for months, which is where she learned to paint. She is mostly famous for her self-portraits.
- Mexico is second city in the world with the most museums (London is number 1), with close to 150 museums, many of them free.
- Alebrijes are brightly colored sculptures made in Mexico that show fantastic animals that combine parts of real ones. They can be seen in the movie Coco as the animal spirits that help around.
- The tamal is a typical dish in Central America made with corn, beef, pepper, and other vegetables. Everything is wrapped in leaves, usually from corn plants. There are many variations. Some are sweet and some are salty!
- Mariachis is a type of music from Mexico. Mariachi bands use instruments like guitars, violins, and trumpets, and their songs are usually fun to dance and sing!
- Chihuahuas are the smallest dogs in the world, and they get the name from the state of Chihuahua, were they come from. Xoloitzcuintli is the national dog, and it was very important to ancient Aztecs.
- The bull shark is a specie of shark that can survive for an extended periods of time in freshwater.
- There are 70 protected regions of land and water in Nicaragua, which aid in saving many rare endangered species found in the country. These species Include various monkeys, sloths, jaguars, manatees, and sea turtles.
- Ruben Dario, a Nicaraguan poet, wrote a poem to president Theodore Roosevelt.
- There are no street names in Nicaragua. A person’s address is given by whatever major landmarks they live close to.
- Llamas are intelligent and can learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack, they can carry about 25 to 30% of their body weight for 8 to 13 km (5–8 miles).
- The Amazon River starts in Peru, considered the second longest river in the world.
- The Titicaca Lake is the highest lake in the world than can be sailed by boat
- Machu Picchu: One of the Seven Wonders of the World. Machu Picchu, the most representative and ancient city of Peru, was built in 1450. Machu Picchu is also known as the Lost City of the Incas. It is a city of stone built without the aid of wheels or iron tools. This is the best example of Inca engineering. More than 600 terraces prevent the city from sliding down the mountain. A water supply system extends over a length of about 1 km. No wheels were used to transport heavy rocks for the construction of the city. Structures were built with a technique called “ashlar.” Stones are cut to fit together without mortar. Remarkably, not even a needle can fit in between two stones. In the Quechua native language, “Machu Picchu” means “Old Peak” or “Old Mountain.” Many of the stones that were used to build the city weighed more than 50 tons. Some were chiseled from the granite bedrock of the mountain ridge. For others, hundreds of men pushed the heavy rocks up the steep mountain side.
- The Dominican Republic is the oldest country of the Americas, the first place reached by Christopher Columbus on December 5, 1492, during the first of his four voyages to Las Americas. He claimed the land for Spain and named it La Espanola.
- Mondongo is a soup prepared in several Latin American countries. In each country it is slightly different, but in all of them the main ingredient is cow stomach.
- The merengue is a musical style create in the Dominican Republic at the end of the XIX century. It is very popular in all of Latin American, where it is considered, along with salsa, as one of the greatest danceable musical genres.
- The most popular sport in the Dominican Republic is baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirates have 7 players that come from this country.
- The Theraphosa blondi is one of the largest types of spiders in the planet, and it is found in Venezuela. It can measure up to 30 cm. It eats mostly insects, and does not attack people.
- The anaconda serpent, famous from movies and terror stories, is the largest poisonous snake in the world, and it is native to Venezuela.
- Venezuela has the highest waterfall in the world, called the Salto Angel. Measuring 3212 feet in height, it is around 15 times higher than the Niagara Falls. It is feature in the Disney movie Up.
- Venezuela has an ice cream shop that is famous for the amount of different ice cream flavors it has. In total it has more than 870 flavors, including McDonald’s hamburger, Doritos, chicken and onion.
Other Fun Facts:
- Why does Hispanic Heritage Month start on 15 September? September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the commemoration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Hispanic countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, who all declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21 respectively.
- Which country in Central America is not Spanish speaking? Belize
- How many countries make up Central America? 7. El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica
- Which countries in South America are landlocked? Bolivia and Paraguay
- Which country has won the most World Cup soccer tournaments? .Brazil (5 wins)
- Which country is soccer star Lionel Messi from? Argentina
- Where was Simon Bolivar, known for his role in helping liberate the Americas, from? Venezuela
- What was the capital of the Incan Empire? Cusco