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9 Books to Escape to Central and South America

by | July 14

There’s no better way to pack for a trip abroad, than to put together a list of the books you want to take with you! These books will help you feel like you’re hiking the Andes and experiencing the flavors of Central and South America.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Colombia: I know this is one you were probably told to read in school (and just read the SparkNotes instead), but it’s definitely one to try again as an adult. The book focuses on the years of change and magic in the fictional town of Macondo, all through the eyes and history of the Buendía family. Gabriel García Márquez’s writing will captivate you even after his famous opening line.

Life and Death in the Andes

Life and Death in the Andes

by Kim MacQuarrie

Peru and Bolivia: The Andes Mountains are no joke. This beautiful and mysterious mountain range has been the location of kingdoms, criminal hideaways, scientific studies, and more. Life and Death in the Andes covers centuries of history hidden in these mountains by asking questions like: What makes cultures of the Andes different from others that surround them?

The House of the Spirits

The House of the Spirits

by Isabel Allende

Chile: Isabel Allende is one of the most famous Latin American authors of our age, and The House of the Spirits is the novel that set her apart. In this book, the Trueba family fights and loves with fervor and learns to handle the consequences. Like many other incredible Latino novels, there’s a little bit of mystical power and magic that envelops the story and influences each of the characters, adding depth and imagination.

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

by Pablo Neruda

Chile: The Chilean diplomat and poet Pablo Neruda will steal your heart with the passion he infuses into his poems—this stuff can make your heart stop and start all over again. He covers love, beauty, lust, loss, and growth with just a few words. Definitely read the poems in Spanish, too, because even if you can’t understand them, you’ll know how he meant them to sound. Also, he was 19 years old when he wrote these.

Eyes That See Do Not Grow Old

Eyes That See Do Not Grow Old

by Guy Zona

Central and South America: Guy Zona takes dogma and short wisdoms from different cultures and creates a beautiful guide to live by in Eyes That See Do Not Grow Old. Plus, learning different colloquial sayings and idioms can help you better understand and embrace the people of each culture.

The Lost City of the Monkey God

The Lost City of the Monkey God

by Douglas Preston

Honduras: This completely true adventure follows Douglas Preston, a journalist for The New Yorker and National Geographic, as he becomes enraptured with the mysterious Honduran legend of the White City or Lost City of the Monkey God and the people who have been hunting it down for centuries. As scientific technology develops, so does archaeology, and when a few scientists believe they have found what could be the city, Preston joins the exhibition to the undisturbed depths of the Honduran rainforest.

Bolivar

Bolivar

by Marie Arana

Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru: If you ever studied South American history, you know that Simón Bolívar is a big hero—they named a whole country after him, after all. Marie Arana’s book paints the story of the life and legacy of El Libertador, the man who freed six countries from Spanish rule. The book is aptly described in its summary as “a stirring declaration of what it means to be South American.”

Let It Rain Coffee

Let It Rain Coffee

by Angie Cruz

Dominican Republic: Esperanza and her husband fled the Dominican Republic during the revolution to begin a new life in the dazzling adventure that is New York City. 10 years later, Esperanza has yet to see any dazzle. She and her family live in abysmal conditions in the city, struggling with bills they cannot pay and dreams that won’t come to fruition. But when her mother-in-law dies and her husband’s father comes to live with them, their lives change forever.

Waiting for Snow in Havana

Waiting for Snow in Havana

by Carlos Eire

Cuba: Winner of the 2003 National Book Award for Nonfiction, Carlos Eire’s autobiography is both heartbreaking and glorious. He had a wonderful, privileged childhood until the age of 11 when he and 14,000 other children were airlifted out of Cuba during the revolution, leaving their families behind. Eire’s story is about growing up in Havana and the magical memories he still holds dear.

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Caroline is a former publishing assistant for Simon & Schuster Audio, an art history graduate student, and the proud owner of a sassy dog named Obi-Wan Kenobi. If you walked into her apartment right now, you’d find stacks of books almost everywhere, even the bathroom. Caroline loves lightning bolt jewelry, thriller audiobooks, and cookies from Levain Bakery in NYC. Follow her on Instagram @cgiddis.