Are you planning a vacation and thinking about a trip to Latin America but the area is completely new to you?
First of all let us secure you, you are about to make a great choice! Latin America is an excellent holiday destination! Latin America offers mountains, volcanoes, glaciars, jungles, lakes, rivers and beaches, wildlife, indigenous and colonial cultures, great food, wine, coffee, amazing local people and so much more to get excited about.
If due to the variety of options your are struggling to make a choice where to begin, our guide about the destinations we recommend to first-timers to Latin America is a helpful starting point.
Each of these countries has its own charme, thus the final choice depends on what you are looking for during your holiday.
Chile: Natural Wonders & Stunning Landscapes
Chile is the land of extremes and the diversity of its vast landscapes is incredible. Thus we recommend it especially for travelers who love to explore the outdoors and immerse into nature.
If visiting the world’s driest desert, do a bit of hiking along majestic mountains and breathtaking glaciars and discover a mysterious culture on a remote island far away from the mainland sounds like a great time, Chile is the perfect destination for you. In a two weeks trip you can visit it’s highlights: the Atacama desert in the very north, Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park (the classical destination for hikers) in the South and then spend some days exploring Easter Island and its Moai statues.
If you rather prefer hidden gems and get away from the tourist crowds our advice is to take a look at the Aysen region. Landscapes are equally amazing as the better known parts of Patagonia, but this area is still a more remote and wilder destination and also an excellent place to spot Patagonian wildlife.
For those with hunger for real adventure we recommend the Dientes Navarino Circuit, a trekking route that actually is the southern most circuit of the world!
Peru: Ancient Culture, History & Inca Ruins
Peru was the cradle of the magnificent Incan Empire. It is the perfect place to spend your holiday learning about the amazing culture and history of the Incas, explore ruins of an ancient civilization and walk on former Inca trails.
Peru is a mecca for hikers and around Cusco, a great choice of stunning trails are available for trekking lovers. We recommend instead of doing the famous but over-visited Inca Trail opt for one of the alternative treks that lead you through quieter but equally amazing areas and usually can be combined with visiting the famous ruins of Machu Picchu either.
Some other popular tourist attractions of Peru include the Sacred Valley where travelers can explore Pisac market and climb Ollantaytambo Fortress, Nazca with its mysterious set of lines, Titicaca Lake and the beautiful city of Arequipa. Wildlife enthusiasts should consider visiting Tambopata Natural Reserve.
In addition lately Peru and particularly Lima have been recognized for offering some of the greatest food in the world and if you are into pisco sour and ceviche make sure to spare some time to explore Lima´s food scene.
Costa Rica: Wildlife & Adventure
Costa Rica is one of Latin America’s “greenest” countries and one of the most environmentally friendly tourist destinations worldwide. It is also a playground for all sorts of outdoor activities and the perfect destination both for nature and ecotourism lovers as for adventure seekers.
It awaits its visitors with wild beaches, lush jungles, amazing wildlife watching at some of the most biodiverse places on earth and a wonderful selection of outdoor activities. These range from hiking to the top of volcanoes, white-water rafting or kayaking in pristine rivers, zip-lining throught the jungle to mountain biking over the continental divide.
Costa Rica is also lucky enough to have two coastlines, the Caribbean in the East and the Pacific Coast in the west and for those who want to combine adventure with relaxation spending some days at its beautiful white sand beaches is the perfect way to conclude an adrenaline-packed holiday. If you are still not ready to rest, don’t worry, many of Costa Ricas beaches are excellent surfing spots and you can continue your adventure in the water.
Ecuador: Four Worlds in One
Ecuador is the smallest Andean nation, but is said to cover four worlds in only one place. Its compact size make it a great place for travelers who want to experience diversity but are short in time. The Galapagos Island are Latin America´s number one destination for wildlife enthusiasts.
Ecuador is like a sampling platter of South America and packed with a lot to get excited about: colorful markets, indigenous culture, colonial architecture, dense tropical rainforest, Andean cloudforest, snow-capped volcanoes and mountains, beautiful beaches and a wildlife paradise, the Galapagos Islands.
Following Darwin´s footsteps and experiencing up-close encounters with fearless creatures such as penguins, sea lions, iguanas, giant tortoises and a variety of curious birds is without doubt one of the most memorable experiences you can have in Latin America. However we recommend to spend at least a couple of days on the mainland as well, exploring Ecuador’s highlands and the so called “Avenue of Volcanoes” reaching from Quito to Cuenca. The charming city of Cuenca has been declared Ecuador´s best Adventure hub. Alternatively, head to one of Ecuador’s unique Ecolodges that offer excellent bird watching and wildlife spotting.