Up and Coming Destinations in Central and South America
As more and more Americans have passport in hand and are exploring destinations further away from home, Travel Leaders recently surveyed its expert agents throughout North America to learn which Central and South American destinations they deemed the top up-and-coming. Those topping this list included Peru, Brazil, Panama, Ecuador and Argentina.
Peru. The allure of Machu Picchu, a mountaintop community built by the Incas around 1450, is irresistible. The fact that it is somewhat difficult to reach only adds to its mystique and allure for the hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who go up the mountain to marvel at the polished stone structures and stunning views. Many of these visitors also discover the beauty of Peru’s colonial cities, including Lima and Cusco; the pristine rainforest of the Peruvian Amazon; and the lovely beaches along the country’s 1,500-mile Pacific coast.
Brazil. At nearly 3.3 million square miles, Brazil is nearly as large as the United States. Each region of this vast country has a unique character, from the sparsely populated Amazon Basin to the cities influenced by waves of European immigrants. There’s a lot of new development in the cities that will host World Cup matches this summer, which will also serve Brazil well when Rio de Janeiro hosts the Summer Olympic Games in 2016.
Panama. Some visitors come just to see the iconic canal, an engineering marvel that created a shortcut from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Beyond the canal, this slender isthmus link between Central and South America is surprisingly diverse. Dense jungles provide habitat for an amazing variety of wildlife; the warm and humid climate turns cooler in mountain towns like Boquete; and Panama City is a modern capital with a beautifully preserved historic district.
Ecuador. Ecuador is another small country of incredible diversity. The Pacific coast has wonderful beaches; the central highlands offer the cities of Quito (the entire city is a UNESCO World heritage site) and Banos (a center of adventure tourism); and, just east of the mountains lie the rainforests of the Amazon. The Galapagos Islands, a remote archipelago known for unique and fearless wildlife, are about 600 miles off Ecuador’s coast.
Argentina. Many visitors focus on the city of Buenos Aires and its historic core, including the neighborhoods of La Recoleta and San Telmo. There are wonderful places to explore far beyond the city, too, including the central plains of the Pampas, the high plateau of Patagonia and the Andes along the western border. Then there’s the stunning Iguazu Falls that straddles the border with Brazil, just miles away from Paraguay. Vegetarians won’t go hungry, but Argentina is a fantastic destination for lovers of beef, the mainstay of the country’s diet.
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