Travel

What Every Latin American Country Is Best at

Published On 04/02/2015 Published On 04/02/2015

Latin America is known for its amazing food, rich history, and excellent telenovelas. Seriously, Marimar was amazing. Though all these countries share the memory of colonialism and Americans not really knowing where anyone but Mexico is, just like Europe and all 50 states, each Latin American nation is special and unique in its own way. 

To celebrate that diversity, we've tracked down what each one is best at. Everybody gets bragging rights.

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Argentina: Most Foreign Language Film Oscars

Argentina’s won two Academy Awards for best foreign film, most recently in 2009 with El Secreto de sus Ojos. Though Mexico has both submitted more films and been nominated for the award more times, Argentina's winning that battle, 2-0. Suck it, Mexico.
 

Bolivia: Best at reducing poverty

Bolivia’s poverty level dropped 32.2% between 2000 and 2012. Though they’re still not at Chile-level money, they’re quickly moving up the ladder.
 

Brazil: Best at soccer

A handful of images come to mind at the utterance of Brazil: Carnival, supermodels, and o jogo bonito. Brazil may not have invented the beautiful game, but they damn sure perfected it. Brazil has won the FIFA World Cup five times, more than any other nation, and produced a mesmerizing litany of players whose skills border on magical. For Americans reading this, the World Cup is a worldwide soccer championship the entire rest of the world cares about.
 

Chile: Lowest murder rate

Certain pockets of Latin America can be hellaciously dangerous. But not Chile. The nation also has the greatest number of daily newspapers, but you won't find homicides plastered across all those front pages.
 

Colombia: Best for doing business

Colombia rightfully earned its reputation as an "enterprising" nation in the '80s and early '90s. Pablo Escobar was the ultimate entrepreneur. But nowadays, Colombia is a lot safer, and deals with legit business -- and deals with it well.
 

Costa Rica: Happiest people

According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Ricans have the happiest and most sustainable lives. This is not surprising, given the country's proliferation of beaches, yoga retreats, and hammocks.
 

Cuba: Most empowered women

While the merits of Communism don't exactly outweigh all the negative aspects, gender equality got a serious bump under this regime. Women do still have to deal with machismo, but they also make up 49% of Cuba's parliament. Compare that to the US Congress, which only boasts 20% women.
 

Dominican Republic: Best at baseball

There are currently 73 Major League Baseball players from the Dominican Republic, making the country the second most common country of origin for MLB players, after the United States. Perhaps you've heard of such people as Big Papi, Albert Pujols, and Sammy Sosa? Alex Rodriguez is also Dominican by descent -- but neither the Americans nor Dominicans wanna claim that guy at this point.
 

Ecuador: Top banana exporter

Being top banana in any export is great. But to be top banana at exporting bananas? That's just bananas.

El Salvador: Most ladies

52.6% of El Salvador’s population is female, so there’s no doubt the cooking is good and the driving is spectacular. Right?
 

Guatemala: Lowest prison population

This means one of two things: Guatemalans simply don’t commit many crimes, or police and lawmakers are terrible at their jobs. Basically, Guatemala is either a fantastic place to raise your children, or your meth lab.
 

Honduras: Most silent letters in country name

OK, so most of the rankings you'll find Honduras in have something to do with crime and people losing their lives. It's home to the most violent city on the world, after all. But there's one unique factor: Honduras is the only Latin American country to have a silent letter in its name, since the H sound is not pronounced in Spanish. The “H” is cut off, just like the heads of thousands of its citizens every year.
 

Mexico: Best at Taekwondo

Mexico has won two Olympic gold medals and six Olympic medals overall in Taekwondo. Though they’re still outpaced by Asian countries such as China, South Korea, and Taiwan, Mexico can still lord over those countries how good adding rice to its beans is.
 

Nicaragua: Lowest energy use

Nicaragua has both the lowest energy usage and the lowest electricity usage. So at a minimum, they’re not the ones killing the rainforests.
 

Panama: Most cell phone subscriptions

Panama has 63% more cell phone subscriptions than it has people. It's also surrounded by water, making it the ideal country for those dramatic “throw the phone in the ocean” moments you see in TV and movies.
 

Paraguay: Fewest endangered plants

This gigantic nation has only 19 endangered plants species in the entire country. Paraguay -- the safest place to be a plant.
 

Peru: Most species of butterflies

Peru has literally thousands of species of butterflies. We’d tell you what the moth capital of the world is for comparison, but who really cares? Butterflies are so much cooler.
 

Uruguay: Most peaceful

Uruguay is one of those rare Latin American countries where people don't worry about violent crimes -- except when Luis Suarez is out on a soccer pitch.
 

Venezuela: Best at beauty pageants

Venezuela is the only country in the world to have won the “Big Four” beauty pageants more than once, and has a total of 21 titles to its name. All that oil money must be going straight into teeth whiteners, baton twirling lessons, and silicon breasts.


Kate Peregrina is a writer and English teacher living in Spain. Follow her on Twitter @kateperegrina

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