Latin America: Off the Beaten Track


Latin Americans have a wide variety of options when going on holiday: heavenly beaches, snowy mountains, emblematic cities and the rain forest. However, not everybody can afford to go on a long trip to a beach resort or take a cruise around the Caribbean. There are also those who have no other choice than to stay at home and rediscover the ‘hidden treasures’ of their own cities or regions. Typically, people will go to the movies, gather with friends, party, go to some cultural activity or walk around malls looking for good deals. Anyhow, we always find a way to have fun and enjoy our holidays without worrying too much and with a great deal of improvisation.

I might add that the definition of summer varies from country to country. For some countries summer is synonymous with January and for others with August. Taking this into account, we can divide Latin America into two zones. On the one hand, we have the Caribbean and the countries near the equator, and on the other, the Southern Cone. For those living in the Caribbean countries, ‘summer’ is not a long-awaited event or a blessing that only happens once a year. In the Caribbean they don’t even have seasons! So the only possible difference between August and November is the school holidays. In the Southern Cone, like in Europe or in the US, summer means holidays and high temperatures. These are both well appreciated, since they only occur once a year.

I dare to say that Latin Americans travel primarily in their own countries, secondly to the US and Europe, and thirdly to other countries within Latin America. I think we are well aware of the beauty of our region, but somehow the lack of competitive prices and attractive deals, and maybe the extension of our continent, has some effect on us when picking our travel destinations. I’m still waiting for low-cost airlines to discover the niche that exists in the Latin American tourism market, even if at some point they want to charge me for using the toilet or the seatbelts on the plane.

But while we wait for them to come, you can take a look at this list of not-so-well-known places in Latin America that are definitely worthy of a visit. This is my way to promote Latin America among Latin Americans… and you’re more than welcome to contribute to my list as well:

Lago de Atitlán (Guatemala)

El Salar de Ayuni (Bolivia)

Gran Sabana y Monte Roraima (Venezuela)

Torres del Paine (Chile)

Islas de San Andrés y Providencia (Colombia)

Parque Nacional Talampaya (Argentina)

La Barranca del Cobre (Mexico)

La Cordillera Blanca (Peru)

Laguna y Volcán Quilotoa (Ecuador)

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