Panama’s making headlines—as an under-the-radar eco-playground with jungly interiors, pristine beaches and a steamy party-primed capital. All true.
No sector of the travel industry has been more important in opening up new vacation horizons than the tour operators specializing in Latin America.
Within a country roughly one-third the size of the U.S., one finds the jagged cordillera of the Andes and its tallest mountain peak, Aconcagua; the horizon-less pampas or prairies, of the heartland; 18 national parks; seaside, lake and ski resorts; colonial towns; the fjords of Patagonia in the south and the Indian villages of the north; and of course, the lively, cosmopolitan Buenos Aires.
Touched only lightly by the 21st century, Bolivia offers awe-inspiring terrain and seems to have a monopoly on things called the world’s highest: it’s home to the highest navigable lake, Titicaca, and the highest capital, La Paz at 12,160 ft.
Brazil is the giant of South America, not only its largest country—covering approximately 50 percent of the entire continent—but a gem of a country, with people to match.
Shaped like an arrow pointed at Antarctica, Chile averages 120 miles across in width and runs 2,600 miles north to south along the Pacific coast.
Colombia has reinvented itself to become one of Latin America’s fastest-growing destinations and Bogota is the new go-to Latin capital for lovers of art (a must-see is the Museo Botero) and history, great dining and a nonstop nightlife.
The country’s capital, Quito, is a welcoming, culture-rich town with scenery that takes one’s breath away. Nearly two miles high and almost directly on the equator, this Andean capital stretches along the foothills beneath the Pinchincha Volcano, and in its superb colonial churches all that glitters is undoubtedly pure gold.
This is a destination tailor-made for adventure- and nature-loving travelers, who find a warm welcome at rainforest resorts, ranches, and remote Amerindian villages.
One of South America’s two landlocked countries, Paraguay offers an unspoiled land where time and tradition have stood still for generations.
Tourism to Peru is booming and its capital city is now a must-visit destination. What’s old is new in Lima, showing off her rich history in the Larco Museum and highlighting her colonial splendors with the Magic Circuit of Water—high-tech fountains set to lights and music in historic Plaza Mayor.
This is the smallest independent country in South America, yet its neo-tropical natural resources come on a grand scale
While Uruguay’s attractions may be less dramatic than those of its neighbors Argentina and Brazil, its appeal lies in miles of fine-sand beaches and dunes, enormous ranches where guests get a taste of gaucho life, and a riverside capital that is interesting and welcoming.
Best known for its oil politics and feisty president, Venezuela is in fact one of Latin America’s most alluring natural treasures.