I returned to Los Angeles yesterday after a whirlwind business trip to South America (with a few adventures squeezed in of course) and my heart is aflutter with a renewed passion for the magic that is Latin America.
Taking a trip to South or Central America can transport you to some of the loveliest natural beauty in the world. From the breathtaking scenery of Iguazu Falls in Brazil, to the vibrant street life of Buenos Aires in Argentina, to the colorful colonial towns of Guatemala, it seems there is something to see or do around every corner that will keep you captivated and touch your heart deeply.
My journal is full of notes I hope to turn into full stories soon, but for now I wanted to take a quick look at five countries you have to visit in Latin America. A visit to these favorites will let you come away with some of the best memories the region has to offer.
While there is so much to see and do in Mexico due to the vast size of the country, one thing that draws tourists from around the world year after year are the amazing beaches with crystal clear ocean waters. Cozumel, Acapulco, Los Cabos and the less famous Tulum have some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and world class resorts that attract millions of visitors, year after year.
Don’t forget the sheer size of Mexico and all the interior beauty as well. Before finalising your plans for a holiday in Latin America, make sure your luggage will accommodate an extended stay. You can find matching and complementary pieces from sites like www.charlesfordlondon.com that will easily hold what you need for a holiday long enough to visit several exotic locations.
If you love nature as much as I do, then Chile is a definite must on your Latin American bucket list. To the North is the Atacama Desert, the world’s driest desert, home to landscapes that are so otherworldly they might as well be from the Moon or Mars. The South is home to Patagonia, a region also shared with Argentina renowned for its lakes, glaciers and mountain peaks. Speaking of mountains, the country is bordered by the Andes to the East.
Santiago is a vibrant capital city that also delights visitors with its museums, history and shopping. No visit is complete without enjoying at least one round of pisco sours, a cocktail made from citrus juice, sweetener and pisco liquor.
Throughout time, Brazil has held a fascination for tourists from the farthest reaches of the world. As the Latin American country with the largest portion of the Amazon between its borders, many of the visitors that head this way do so to tour one of the most breathtakingly lovely places on the face of the earth. The Amazon Rainforest is home to more than 420 species of mammals, 10,000+ species of vegetation, 1,300 types of birds, 378 different reptiles and the list goes on. For the outdoorsy type who wants to see nature at its finest and sometimes most frightening in rainy season, the Amazon in Brazil is definitely the place to go.
You don’t have to trek to the Amazon to find adventure in Brazil. Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfalls system in the world, lines the border between Argentina and Brazil. Of course, cosmopolitan cities such as Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro also offer their own twist on adventure.
The birthplace and heart of the Mayan world, Guatemala is home to unique cultures, national wonders and fascinating history. I was so enchanted during my visit that this country snagged the honors of being my favorite country in Central America.
From the cobble stone streets of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to the glimmering waters of Lake Atitlan, which has been described as “the closest thing to Eden on Earth,” to Pacaya volcano, an active volcano you can hike to the crater of, there’s so much action to get up to in Guatemala.
Get to Cuba now! It’s such a special place, but I fear it will be changing quickly due to the influx in tourism that is expected as airlines resume flights between the United States and the island nation. What touched me most about Cuba was the people– I’ve truly never met such open, loving and kind people concentrated in a single area in my life.
From a historical perspective, there’s heaps to see including Prado Avenue, the capitol building, Morro Castle and the winding streets of Havana Vieja. Taking a ride in a classic car and dining at a local Cuban Paladar are also absolute musts while visiting Cuba.
No matter what your passion, Latin America really does have something for everyone. With some of the world’s most spectacular scenery to bustling cities with a thriving nightlife, you can do it all on just one holiday abroad. The only ‘warning’ is to make sure to plan ample time on this trip because there is so much to see and do that you’ll need that extra time on your itinerary. If you visit nowhere else when touring Latin America, these are five countries you really have to visit!