2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. However, know that once this year is over, there is still a magnificent Latin America waiting to be explored. The seven picks I include in the list will consist of different experiences you can get – whether it’s a delicious steak, you will eat on your final night in Argentina, or some textiles you will buy from a Peruvian lady in a tiny Andean village.
As cliché as it may seem, many people realize that life is too short and travelling when everything is okay now isn’t something you should take for granted. So, here are the beautiful destinations you may consider if you are making travel plans for 2021.
1. Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru, is a great one for first-time travellers of South America. For most people, Machu Picchu is the first thing that comes to mind when they think about South America. Whether you choose to take a day trip from Cusco or approach it from the Sun Gate after a
3-day-hike through Andean scenery of its many trails, you won’t be disappointed. The massive ruins are bigger than many people think.
You can also spend an entire day discovering what each part of the ancient city was used for, from Intihuatana used to measure the sun’s position to the earth and the quarry where much of the stone for the constructions was obtained. You can also climb the two mountains, Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu, for a better view of the ruins and mountains.
2. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos is one of the expensive Latin American destinations; however, it is worth saving up whether you plan to go here in 2021 or ten years. The fearless wildlife is the highlight of the Galapagos islands. We are talking about the sea turtles that drift past you close that you will keep on turning around to ensure you are not touching any of them and the sea lions that swim around you in circles, encouraging you to play with them as you snorkel among the brightly coloured fish.
The Nazca and the red-footed or blue-footed boobies are some of the unusual, beautiful creatures in Galapagos. You might spot these as you go near the volcanic islands on a boat, ready to jump off onto the beach in search of iguanas and giant tortoises, as they crawl pas your toes. Sally lightfoot crabs, frigate birds, cormorants, penguins, white-tipped reef sharks, and dolphins are other animals to look out for.
3. Chichén Itzá, Mexico
Many heard about the famous ruins of Mexico, but only a few know about the history of Mayan behind it. Despite being crowded and popular with tourists like Machu Picchu, it continues to inspire anyone who visits it. You can spend several hours in Chichen Itza – from the El Caracol Observatory with its spiral case leading to the tower, which gave them a clear view of the skies and surrounding landscape to the Grand Ball Court, where the Mayans did rituals. Combine this with some of the best food in the world, colonial cities, white-sand beaches, archaeological sites, and jungle ruins; you can get a perfect Mexico itinerary.
4. Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Christ the Redeemer is one of the three new Seven Wonders of the World that can be found in Latin America. Perched on Corcovado Mountain, this place towers over the city of Rio de Janeiro. This 30-metre tall statue of Jesus Christ is so high that it gets struck by lightning at least twice a year, although this rarely causes damage.
You can take a funicular train to go here while taking a chance for the photo opportunities of the panoramic view. The statue can be seen from most parts of the city like Sugarloaf Mountain, another impressive sight in Rio, which can be reached via a vertigo-inducing cable car.
5. Salt Flats, Bolivia
Largest of salt flats in the world, the Uyuni Salt Flats are arguably one of the best spots in South America for photography enthusiasts. The salt flats were formed from prehistoric lakes, which created a thick salt crust, hence, spreading across almost 11,000 square kilometres. Many locals work in the salt industry, which you can learn about when you go here and buy salt to support them.
The distinct landscape is great for snapping shots – with the help of your guide, you can make it look like you are walking across a shoelace standing on your friend’s shoulders. Watching the sun over the salt flats is another special experience and other sights, including an island full of cacti and an eerie train cemetery.
6. The End of the World, Argentina
The name is quite intriguing, which could be the reason why this place is on the list. By the way, we are talking about Patagonia, particularly, Ushuaia, the southernmost city. You can take a catamaran trip into the Beagle Channel to see sea lions and penguins, hike through the Tierra del Fuego National Park or walk to the end of the Pan-American Highway.
7. Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
For nature enthusiasts or birdwatchers, Costa Rica is a must. Each day, you will hike through unspoiled forests and learn about flora and fauna through an experienced guide. In the cloud forest, you get to stay in a cosy hotel built in harmony with nature, in a well-preserved home to numerous species of birds including hummingbirds and toucans, snakes, frogs, sloths, and monkeys. After hiking, you can go back and rest to your hotel, dip in the pool accompanied by birdsong, and later eat appetizing Costa Rica meals.
Costa Rica continues to grow in popularity. In just a week, you can experience visiting coffee plantations, hiking to waterfalls and lakes next to a volcano, seeing turtles on the Caribbean Coast, and spending time on the wildlife-rich rainforest-fringed beaches on the Pacific Coast.