Would you like to know what the best places to visit in Central and South America are?Then you’ve come to the right place. There are so many countries to choose from on the South American continent (and the southermost top of the North American one) that it can be rather overwhelming to plan a trip to the region. Distance, accommodations, exchange rates, and language are just some of the many obstacles that might also come into play, especially if you like exotic destinations. Some countries are simply not well prepared to receive tourists, while others have turned tourism into a booming industry and make it as easy on tourists as possible.
In one of our previous lists on the top 10 travel destinations in South America, we presented a series of wonderful places to visit that you might want to check out. However, we realized we came up short, and thus we decided to create a list of the best places to visit in Central and South America. After all, the similarities amongst Latin American countries is noteworthy: most of them share the same language, a common heritage, have beautiful beaches, and great food. If you are currently living in the US, these countries are also relatively close, meaning you won’t have to endure an endless flight. In addition to favorable exchange rates, most of these countries are used to receiving tourists and offer great services that will make your stay that much more enjoyable.
The best places to visit in Central and South America not only possess natural beauty, but also have rich cultures. Whether you enjoy visiting ancient ruins, going to the theater or visiting museums, these destinations have much more to offer than just sandy beaches and all-inclusive resorts. While some countries are more sophisticated, others offer an ancient heritage dating back centuries, making your travel that much more interesting.
Let’s take a closer look at the ten best places to visit in Central and South America and see what wonderful places await those who decide to make the trip south.
10. Panama City
The capital city of Panama is definitely a place worth visiting. Visitors will be greeted by a wonderful waterfront and an abundance of high rises in this city that is sometimes compared to Miami. Panama City was chosen as the American Capital of Culture in 2003, meaning you won’t run out of things to do during your visit.
The list of best places to visit in Central and South America continues on the next page with a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9. Machu Picchu
Hidden in the Cusco region of Peru, these ancient ruins weren’t discovered until the 20th century, despite the fact that they were constructed around 550 years ago by the Incas. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, this treasure of ancient civilizations will leave you in awe.
8. Argentine Patagonia
If you enjoy nature and incredible scenery, the Argentine Patagonia should definitely be on your itinerary. A huge lake district, glaciers, the Cave of the Hands, and the beautiful Andes mountain range are just some of the sights to take in while visiting the southern part of Argentina.
7. Costa Rica
Costa Rica has so much more to offer than wonderful beaches, although these are certainly worth mentioning. Rainforests packed with exotic wildlife and a vibrant culture await tourists seeking not only an adventure, but also a great time.
6. Galápagos Islands
These islands were made famous by Charles Darwin for a reason. The incredible array of animals includes everything from giant turtles, to penguins and lizards, making the Galápagos Islands a very unique place teeming with life.
5. Rio de Janeiro
If you want to enjoy the perfect mix of beautiful beaches and an incredible nightlife, Rio de Janeiro is definitely the place to visit. Making the trip during the Carnival season is highly recommended, as you will see a spectacle like no other.
Culture and architecture come together in the capital of Colombia, offering tourists a chance to wander the streets for days. Great food and a rich colonial heritage make this city a great place to visit.
3. Green Lagoon
This nature preserve located in Bolivia offers the most jaw-dropping scenery you could imagine. The colors of the Green Lagoon vary depending on the wind, making this one of the most unique places on earth.
2. Easter Islands
The Easter Islands in Chile are well known for their Moai Statues, which are arranged along the coast. A total of 887 were found on this wonderful island, making it not only beautiful, but also a very interesting place to visit.
1. Buenos Aires
If you want to leave the beautiful scenery behind, or are simply fed up with nature, be sure to visit the capital of Argentina. Buenos Aires, which is also known as the Paris of South America, has a very rich culture, a vibrant nightlife and offers tourists a great culinary experience.