South America, you wonderful

South America, you wonderful

Béla Soltész: Clandestino – Egy év Latin-Amerikában (Clandestino – One Year in Latin America*) (Publikon Kiadó 2012)

Béla Soltész: Hátizsákkal Brazíliában (With a Backpack in Brazil*) (Európa Könyvkiadó 2016)

Béla Soltész: Eldorádótól az Antillákig (From Eldorado to the Antilles*) (Noran Libro Kiadó 2020)

*My translations.

In 2016, when the second book was published, I bought it since I’ve always been interested in South America. According to its subtitle, “An Adventurous Travel Guide from Rio to the Amazon”. Adventurous indeed! In addition to the must-see beaches and samba dancers, the readers can also hold something unique in their hands. We can see people much more natively than in other guidebooks, as society is the main element of the country. It’s exactly a book that makes you want to travel right away (at least for me it is).

However, instead of traveling, I quickly got the first book, which I liked even more because I could read descriptions of more countries in it. In this book, the author visited Chile and Mexico, not as a backpacker tourist, but on a university scholarship, where in addition to / instead of studying (according to his own admission) he also traveled to other Latin American countries.

Then, since his third book hadn’t been published at that time, I started reading the blog and used its Ecuadorian part when I was preparing for my own trip to Quito. Since I had read the relevant posts several times, our Hungarian host was very surprised at how much I know about the city. When he asked me how I knew so much, I simply said: from Béla Soltész.

If you want to read more about these books and South America, you can visit the author’s Facebook page: or his blog:

And now comes the surprise: Béla Soltész answered my questions in a mini-interview.

Boglárka Döncző: Which county was your favorite of the ones you visited?

Béla Soltész: It’s hard to choose one country, but perhaps I consider Mexico the most exciting Latin American country because of its rich Native American cultural heritage, which permeates everything from folk art to gastronomy to folk religiosity in the country. As a European, I found those places the most interesting where non-European traditions live on: Mayan culture in Guatemala, or the heritage of the Inca Empire in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. But the culture of African descendants is also very interesting, such as in the northeastern part of Brazil, the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Cuba or Jamaica.

Boglárka Döncző: Where would you travel next?

Béla Soltész: When it is allowed to travel again, I’d like to go back to Mexico and explore places I’ve never been to – like the Huasteca Potosina region. I would also like to travel to Panama or to the Dominican Republic, due to not being able to visit them so far. But I am also interested in Asia, I would also like to go to China, Vietnam, India. If only I would be able to go, my list is so long that there are plenty of places to choose from.