Central and South America destinations are some of the most beautiful travel spots in the world, yet they are often overlooked when travelers are planning their trips. They often get a bad wrap as unsafe areas for tourists when in reality they can be some of the most rewarding destinations to visit. As long as travelers practice common sense and safe travel practices the trip should go off without a hitch. Here are some of the most underrated Central and South American travel destinations you need to visit in your lifetime.
Guatemala is a country rich with history and natural beauty. There are dozens of archaeological sites, beach cities, and an abundance of wildlife to be seen in the country. Top tourist sites include Tikal, ancient Mayan Ruins surrounded by a wildlife preserve, the active volcano Volcan Pacaya, and Antigua, a city where much of the Spanish colonial architecture has been preserved.
Nicaragua is ideal for any beach bums or adventurous hikers. One of the most popular beach towns on the country is San Juan del Sur. It’s host to some of the best surfing beaches in the world. Or catch a boat to the Corn Islands on the opposite side of Nicaragua. You can be relaxing on white sand beaches in no time. Nicaragua is also home to the second largest rain forests in the Americas. If that’s not a major draw, I don’t know what is!
Panama is the country that connects South and Central America although geographically speaking its still considered a Central American country. Visit Panama City for a taste of the areas metropolitan life, complete with nightclubs and sky scrapers. Or head out to the San Blas Islands for some snorkeling and sailing adventures. Don’t forget to check out the rum distillery, Pedro Mandinga for some rum sippin’ fun!
Costa Rica is filled with beautiful, lush jungles, and pristine beaches just waiting to be explored. Zipline through the rain forest, or head down to Jacó for some of the countries most beloved shops, and restaurants. Need a little more time in the jungle? Check out the Tabacón Hot Springs or the La Paz waterfall gardens for views unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
El Salvador is known for it’s beaches, surfing, and its amazing hiking trails, just to name a few things. Be sure to check out the hiking trail San Salvador and the beaches and nightlife at El Tunco. And don’t skip seeing Joya de Cerén. It’s a Mayan Village that is well preserved due to a volcanic eruptions centuries ago. Think Pompeii, but in Central America. It is definitely worth a visit.
Honduras is a beautiful country filled with adventurous activities galore. Visit the Bay Islands Underwater Museum for a vantage point unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Don’t forget to view the Hieroglyphic Stairway, a stairway that is covered in Mayan Hieroglyphics. Seriously, how amazing is that!
Peru marks the first of our South American destinations. Perhaps the most notable (and most visited) site in Peru is Machu Picchui, the ancient Inca Ruins. Don’t underestimate the other Inca Ruins in Peru, they are equally as fascinating. After getting your archaeological fix, head to Lima the countries capital and view all the amazing sites, food, and culture the city has to offer.
Bolivia is one of the most unique South American destinations because it encompasses a wide range of terrains throughout. You can go on a mountain biking adventure through Yungas Road one day, be exploring a massive salt flat (Salar de Uyuni) the next, then try trecking the Andes mountains. Bolivia is the perfect country of the South American destinations if you love outdoor adventure.
Ecuador also has one of the most diverse terrains of any of the South American destinations. Head out to Quilota to view volcanoes and lagoons, or hike its many trials. After that head to see the earths equator at Ciudad Mitad del Mundo. You can even catch a boat to the Galapagos Islands from Ecuador. The limits are endless for this amazing South American destination.