||This chain of 19 islands in the Pacific Ocean not only inspired Charles Darwin to come up with his famous theory of evolution, but they continue to inspire thousands of visitors every year. And it’s no wonder – the Galapagos are home giant tortoises, penguins, iguanas and countless other species, most of which you’ll be able to get up close to see. Choose between staying on an island hotel and taking boats out for day-long excursions or cruising through the islands to explore the rare flora and fauna.
|Monteverde Cloud Forest
||You’ll have your head up in the clouds–literally–in this gorgeous rainforest. Visitors can see more than 100 different types of mammals, more than 400 types of birds, and thousands of different kinds of plants… including 420 types of orchids alone! Take a canopy tour, visit a coffee plantation, or go horseback riding through the forest.
||Machu Picchu was built by the ancient Incans, high in the Andes Mountains, above the Urubamba River. Hike trails up to the peak, or ride a mountain train or a bus to get to this “lost City of the Incas.” Sacred, well-preserved, and one of the most enchanting vistas on the planet, it’s well worth a trip to this spectacularly-preserved archaeological site.
|Los Glaciares National Park
||With some of the most spectacular–and accessible–glaciers in the world, this Unesco World Heritage Site is worth a hike, especially this year, as the park celebrates its 80th anniversary as a protected area. Here, you’ll see ice flowing into waterfalls, and melting into rivers and lakes. While you have your choice of glaciers to visit, perhaps the most stunning (and famous) is Glaciar Perito Moreno, which creaks and crashes into Lago Argentino.
|Amazon Rain Forest
||It’s truly a jungle out in the Amazon Rainforest, which is home to some of the most amazing–and fragile–biodiversity. The Amazon River itself winds its 4,400 miles through eight different countries so you’ll have a wide choice of jumping off points. Hike through it, stay in a jungle lodge or cruise it – the choice is yours.
|Uyuni Salt Flats
||The world’s largest salt flat doesn’t sound as truly exciting as it is – and believe us, it is beyond exciting. This semi-desert region boasts geysers, extinct volcanoes, and scenic rock formations to take in, but it’s also got scenic lagoons and horizons so unusual you can’t tell where the sky meets the earth. The crazy beauty of this place makes for selfies like no other.
||The hundreds of Moai statues you’ll find here make the décor of your favorite tiki bar pale in comparison. And this ancient outpost of Polynesian culture – which is halfway to Tahiti, even though the island itself belongs to Chile – also boasts beaches, volcanoes and even scuba diving to take in.
||Considered one of the Seven New Wonders of Nature, the 275 waterfalls found here fall 260 feet to crash and thunder in the jungle. Take a train to visit the falls from Argentina, or fly over them in a helicopter from Brazil. No matter which country you see them from, the view’s breathtaking.
||Come for the beaches and scuba diving, but stay for the national rainforests. This small fishing village boasts luxury resorts, island day tripping and the northernmost rain forest in the world. It also boasts plenty of beaches and beach activities to enjoy.
||It’s the end of the world here, really, as Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world and the jumping off point for Antarctic and Falkland Island cruises. Check out some penguin colonies, explore the Tierra del Fuego National Park, or even take a ride on the “End of the World” train. Whether you come to ski on a glacier, tour an old prison, or visit with some sea lions, the adventure is yours for the taking.