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10 Best Places to Visit in Latin America

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Travelers viewing The Devil's Throat from a platform on the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls

The Devil's Throat at Iguazu Falls, Argentina

The best places to visit in Latin America demonstrate the beauty and diversity of the cultures and scenery, wildlife and urban landscapes.

Combining the majesty of active volcanoes, the mystery of abandoned ruins, the intrigue of expansive plains, and the allure of cuisine, each place captures only a fraction of the overall wonder of the greater countries.

Enjoy tropical escapes, glacial grandeur, the pulse of city life, or the wonders of wildlife in their unique natural habitats as you experience Latin America’s immersive ambiance with these best places to visit.

Overview
  1. 1. Patagonia, Chile and Argentina
  2. 2. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  3. 3. Ambergris Caye, Belize
  4. 4. Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
  5. 5. Medellin, Colombia
  6. 6. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
  7. 7. Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador and Colombia
  8. 8. Atacama Desert, Chile
  9. 9. Wine Country, Chile and Argentina
  10. 10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  11. How Many Days Should I Spend in Latin America?
  12. Explore the Best Places to Visit in Latin America

1. Patagonia, Chile and Argentina

Jagged mountains and placid waters lake Pehoe in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Lake Pehoe in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Patagonia is the image of a frontier; untamed, wild, and with a vastness that spreads from grassy plains to jagged mountain peaks. The Andes range creates a natural border between Chile and Argentina, resulting in fascinating ecosystems with remote rivers leading to luxurious oases and panoramas demonstrating the grand scale of the wilderness.

The beauty and opulence around Patagonia can feel surprising, while providing access to secluded trails, views of wandering guanacos, and the whistling winds of the wide steppe. Calving glaciers, emerald forests, and reflective lakes only enhance an experience that connects exterior grandeur with personal exploration.

You can find more ideas on how to explore the estates, countryside, and unique scenery with our top things to do in Patagonia and best places to visit in Patagonia.

Highlights: Perito Moreno Glacier • Grey Glacier • Torres del Paine National Park • Wildlife spotting • Cycling • Hiking • Active exploration

Learn more: Patagonia Tours & Vacations • Patagonia Travel Guide

2. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Blue-footed booby in the Galapagos, Ecuador

Blue-footed booby in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands are a natural treasure in Ecuador. The volcanic archipelago is a unique collection of ecosystems that reveals wildlife untouched by outside influences. The tropical temperatures juxtapose islands that can feel barren, giving way to coastlines blanketed with fine sands or jagged lava fields surrounded by glassy Pacific waters.

Snorkeling can open a utopian view of underwater life and the landscapes protect unique nature, supporting giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, and Galapagos penguins, thus demonstrating the beauty and fragility of the region.

The Galapagos quickly demonstrates its wonder in alluring ways that you can experience with our best places to visit in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

Highlights: Santa Cruz Island • Wildlife • Water activities • Active volcanoes • Pirate history

Learn more: Galapagos Islands Vacations • Galapagos Islands & Ecuador Travel Guide

3. Ambergris Caye, Belize

Child snorkeling in Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris Caye is known as “Las Isla Bonita,” a beautiful island that effortlessly balances a relaxed ambiance and impressive natural beauty. Narrow streets in San Pedro give easy access to daily life and soft coastal sands.

Cafes, restaurants, and luxury accommodations overlook the water and small marinas open to the protected Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Diving, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, and visits to the world’s second-largest barrier reef accentuate the opportunities to experience local life, splendor, and charm.

With over 200 cayes, jungle, and coastline, our best places to visit in Belize can show you much more of its beauty.

Highlights: San Pedro • Hol Chan Marine Reserve • Secret Beach • Water activities

Learn more: Belize Vacations & ToursBelize Travel Guide

4. Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Corcovado National Park in Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Corcovado National Park in Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

The Osa Peninsula is considered one of the most biodiverse places in the world, where nature thrives and immerses visitors in the rainforest and Pacific coastline. The region feels wild, with jaguars and tapirs hiding beneath the dense canopy, and crystalline waters curling into perfect waves that beckon surfers of all skill levels.

As one of our best places to visit in Costa Rica, you can find mangrove forests, pre-Columbian spheres shaped from stone, river crossings, and hiking trails, with the greater regions offering treasures often overlooked by travelers.

Wildlife sightings are practically guaranteed, four-wheel drive adventures can reach secluded coastlines, and travelers can combine a rugged excursion with opulent accommodation for a perfect retreat that covers every kind of experience.

Highlights: Corcovado National Park • San Josecito Beach • Drake Bay • Wildlife • Wilderness spotting

Learn more: Costa Rica Tours & Vacation Packages Costa Rica Travel Guide

5. Medellin, Colombia

Botero sculpture at Plazoleta de las Esculturas in Medellin, Colombia

Botero sculpture at Plazoleta de las Esculturas in Medellin, Colombia

Medellin has shaken off the reputation of its past and emerged as a haven of culture, urban, and natural beauty, with an ambiance unlike anywhere else in the world. The bustling city center connects to terraced suburbs with steep stairways and public gondolas create a unique skyline, offering exceptional views over the narrow valley.

With art and nightlife, museums and local spirit, the city can connect visitors to the lives of locals and the enlivening flavors of the nearby coffee region. Discover new artists, embrace the success of public works, or experience local cafe culture as you discover the top things to see and do in Medellin or while enjoying the best places to visit in Colombia.

Highlights: Orquideorama • Explanadas of Parque de los Deseos • Metrocable • Plazoleta de las Esculturas • Parque Lleras

Learn more: Colombia Vacations & ToursColombia Travel Guide

6. Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Aerial view of Devil’s Throat in the Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls in Argentina

Thunderous, misty, and endlessly inspiring, Iguazu Falls is a magnificent reflection of nature’s raw power, and you can visit the natural wonder from Argentina.

The series of cascades spreads across nearly two miles, adding extra moisture to the air intensifying the ambiance of the rainforest. Brimming with eclectic flora shaped by the environment and thriving wildlife crossing the borders between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls is unlike any other waterfall in the world.

Protected by a national park on both sides of the border, Iguazu can feel like it emerges from the haze caused by the rumbling water tumbling nearly 230 feet into the river below. It is an exceptional experience that can be added to a trip when exploring the best places to visit in Argentina.

Highlights: Devil’s Throat • Upper Circuit • Lower Circuit • Hiking Trails • Birdwatching

Learn more: Argentina Tours • Argentina Travel Guide

7. Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador and Colombia

Jaguar in the Amazon Rainforest

Jaguar in the Amazon Rainforest

Mystical and daunting, brimming with wildlife and dense with rare flora, the depths of the Amazon Rainforest are still little known and endlessly exciting.

The greater rainforest and river basin expand across the borders of a number of countries in South America, acting as the lungs of the world, while connecting and dividing communities steeped in the otherworldly ambiance cast by rain, singing trees, and active wildlife.

From hooting howler monkeys to hiding jaguars, boisterous macaws to timid tapirs, the possibilities when exploring the wilds of the untamed Amazon are endless, adding discoveries and adventure to every trip, including when exploring destinations on our list of the best countries to visit in South America.

Highlights: Wildlife spotting • Unique flora • Jungle lodges • River cruise • Amazon Basin

Learn more: Ecuador Tours & Vacations

8. Atacama Desert, Chile

Valley of the Moon at sunset in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Valley of the Moon at Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert is otherworldly and untamed. As one of the driest places on Earth, the coastal, high-altitude desert wedges between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, featuring sporadic oases that defy the otherwise lunar-like landscape.

Home to the world’s tallest volcano, active geysers constantly spouting steaming water, mummies protected by glaciers, and clear skies that open to nightly shows of impeccable starlight, the Atacama Desert is enchanting.

Home to Chilean flamingos grazing on remote lagoons and salt flats that look blanketed with snow, it’s a wonderland of nature that defies expectations as one of the best places to visit in Chile.

Highlights: Valley of the Moon • Salt Flats • Chaxa Lagoon • Miñiques Lagoons • El Tatio Geysers

Learn more: Chile Tours & Vacations • Chile Travel Guide

9. Wine Country, Chile and Argentina

Wine cellar in Mendoza, Argentina

Wine cellar in Mendoza, Argentina

Wine has become inextricably linked with Chile and Argentina, which have produced world-class flavors, award-winning vintages, and specialties demonstrating the strengths of their respective regions.

Many of the most notable areas for wine production in both countries sit at the Andean foothills, where temperatures range, water is carefully irrigated from the snowcap melt, and high altitudes help reduce the possibility of agricultural diseases.

The history of Spanish colonialism followed by Italian emigration has added incredible variety to the production, as well as the luxurious estates that accompany local winemaking traditions. When considering where to visit for a wine-tasting tour, you can find more ideas with our best wine regions in Argentina.

Highlights: Mendoza • Maipo Valley • Cachapoal Valley • Catamarca • Casablanca Valley • Salta

10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

View of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities. The urban cultural landscape creates a combination of eclectic architecture, incredible cuisine, and seaside panoramas demonstrating Brazil’s gorgeous natural scenery and regional history.

Open plazas connect to the history of Portuguese colonialism, with distinguished buildings sitting in the shadows of the famous surrounding mountains, such as Sugarloaf and Corcovado. Tijuca National Park sprawls over the landscape, creating one of the world’s largest cities within a city limit, and the beaches share golden sands and iconic pop-culture references.

Rio de Janeiro is a great representation of wider Brazil in its colorful representation of life and culture, making it an essential experience on our best places to visit in Brazil.

Highlights: Christ the Redeemer • Sugarloaf Mountain • Copacabana • Ipanema • Santa Teresa neighborhood

Learn more: Brazil Tours & VacationsBrazil Travel Guide

How Many Days Should I Spend in Latin America?

Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos, Ecuador

Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos, Ecuador

Ten to 14 days in Latin America is enough to enjoy the highlights of a single country or more.

With 10 days, you can wander the pampas of Patagonia, embrace the splendor of Machu Picchu, or explore the islands of the Galapagos. The number of days you spend in Latin America should directly coincide with the experiences you wish to have. Many countries are larger or farther apart than many travelers originally realize, requiring more than 10 to 14 days to visit and explore.

You can combine multiple countries and visit iconic places when traveling for more than two weeks, allowing you space and opportunity to cross borders while traveling comfortably.

Explore the Best Places to Visit in Latin America

Toucans in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil

Toucans in the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

From colorful architecture to traditions spanning centuries, desert landscapes painted white with salt, or the endless charms of a Caribbean paradise, Latin America offers endless opportunities for every kind of traveler.

Discover more inspiration for your preferred experience with our Latin America tours and vacations and Latin America travel guide. You can also find new ideas, adventures, or places to visit with our itineraries to Latin America for a first-timer.

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