There’s so much more to South America than Rio, the mythical site of Machu Picchu, and the Amazon, and folks in search of its hidden gems will find such enchantment once they get off the tourist trail. With so many authentic, culturally rich and naturally diverse destinations, Latin America off the beaten path promises intrepid travelers an incredible journey of discovery.
From remote deserts and beautiful beaches to rainforest-laden mountainous lands and indigenous villages, discerning visitors looking for something new and above all unseen in this beautiful part of the world have so much in store for them. Whether it’s relaxation, adventure, or the perfect blend of the two, consider some of these underrated South American destinations the next time those jet-setting feet start to itch.
8 La Guajira, Colombia
Nestled in the far northeast of Colombia, La Guajira is located along the sparkling Caribbean Sea, right next to its neighbor, Venezuela. It is shocking that this part of Colombia is not as highly valued as its other regions, as it is one of the most striking places in the country. the region’s desert coastline and clear salt flats blend with the brilliant blue of the ocean to create remarkable landscapes completely unique to other parts of the country.
La Guajira is one of Colombia’s most perfect destinations for people who love secluded, off-the-beaten-path realms combined with wildlife not seen anywhere else; it is home to many native and endemic flora and fauna, as well as communities of indigenous peoples and excellent scuba diving opportunities. One of the best spots in the area for those interested in experiencing wildlife is the secluded Los Flamencos Sanctuary – a dedicated wildlife sanctuary home to amazing species – especially breeding birds, including American flamingos. The reserve is also located near Camarones, which is a beautiful little fishing village located right next to estuaries and marshes right next to the Tapias River.
7 Chachapoyas, Peru
If exploring the lesser-known ruins of an ancient civilization sounds like an adventure to check off the bucket list, then pack a bag and head to this wonderful Peruvian retreat in the cloud forest that towers over the Andes, where the pre-Inca archeology and intense ecosystems of pristine flora and fauna thrive.
This town – which is only an hour from the magnificent Gocta Waterfall – is hardly visited and as such has beautifully preserved historic lands brimming with archaeological remains, such as the huge Kuelap Fortress, Purunllacta and the Eerie burial sites of Pueblo de Los Muertos and Karajia balanced on the edge of the cliff.
Interestingly, the ancient people of the Chachapoyas civilization who once inhabited the area were known as the “Cloud Warriors” and were particularly famous for their extraordinary circular architecture.
6 Aisen Region, Chile
Chile is accelerating to become one of the newest tourism hotspots on the map, offering incredible diversity in its landscapes and a plethora of unique things to do and see. One of its legendary but less visited regions is the Aisen region, which is as untouched as it is dreamy, offering verdant forests, sparkling clear blue lakes and most majestic of all; Breathtaking Patagonian Ice Fields. As the least populated part of the country, visitors are far more likely to encounter wildlife than humans, with sea otters, sea lions, and even dolphins being sighted frequently.
And it’s not just photographers and wildlife lovers who will be at peace here; adventure junkies have a huge playground to discover, and one of the highlights is kayaking or boating on Lago General Carrera in search of the Patagonian Marble Caves – the work of natural art of millennia of wind and water that has carved these mesmerizing blue and gray marble caverns, tunnels and pillars into a crystal clear turquoise lake.
5 Uyuni Salt Pans, Bolivia
Bolivia’s surreal, otherworldly salt flats may be one of the country’s most famous attractions, but they’re still one of the most underrated in South America, often overshadowed by its most popular. Indeed, the best way to explore these vast off-road plains is to hop in a 4×4 and drive through it, navigating through lands that reflect the sky as they shimmer and reflect the blinding white light of the sun. If you thought the color white couldn’t get any whiter, it’s time to think again, because this place really challenges the eyes as much as it dazzles them (plus, the photo opportunities to be had here are quite aliens too).
4 Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
Remote and remarkable, Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica is one of the best wildlife-viewing areas in the country. With dense rainforest populated by equally dense amounts of rare plant and animal species, walking the endless nature trails of this jungle wonderland is a surefire way to become one with the natural world.
And this open-world wildlife zoo is not limited to land; jump feet first into the waters in and around this location, and there’s a whole world of marine life to encounter while snorkeling and diving over kaleidoscopic coral reefs.
3 Puna, Argentina
An adventure in Puna is a travel trail that few people can experience, where there are apparently more animals than humans as well as alluring landscapes of massive pumice fields, ancient volcanoes and unreal alien landscapes . Whether it’s salt pans, historic Inca trails, desert labyrinths, or intense turquoise oases, there’s so much of Mother Nature’s stunning work at play in one place – a place that feels like a completely different planet. . The wildlife to be seen in and around these parts is just as eye-catching as the ever-changing terrain; think colorful flocks of flamingos and grazing llamas that hang out near old brick pueblos.
2 Puno, Peru
As home to one of South America’s largest lakes, you’d think Puno would see more outdoor and adventure-seeking tourists than it does. In fact, not only is Lake Titicaca one of the largest on the continent, it is also the highest navigable body of water on the planet – a prestigious label that should attract the most amateur globetrotters and photographers. strong sensations, but it does it in a minimal way.
It’s illogical that the place isn’t more popular, as it’s a melting pot of untouched land and rich local culture – like in the fascinating city of Puno nestled along its northwest side, where traditions deep-rooted cultures seem to be the order of the day. Festive dances, folklore, cultural music and traditional performances really add to the charm of this isolated but historically significant part of Peru, which is home to a population of less than 150,000.
In addition to an interesting local culture, Puno also offers a menu of awesome outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy tours of the lake, as well as its unique floating islands, shoreline and stunning surroundings. But don’t get too carried away on arrival – some travelers may need to take some to acclimatize to the altitude before committing to anything too strenuous and strenuous as the terrain is around 2,830 meters altitude.
1 Huacachina, Peru
Golden desert sands and bold blue skies combine with choppy horizon mirages in this stunning setting that looks like something out of a Star Wars movie, where a refreshing green oasis of palm trees marks the spot – Huacachina. Located in Peru’s fascinating Ica district, Huacachina invites travelers to another planet, where rolling sand dunes under starry skies offer a truly unique experience, off the beaten track.
From sandboarding and hiking to candlelit dinners in the desert under the stars, there’s both relaxation and heart-pounding action in this under-famous part of Peru. Plus, Huacachina is a great base to discover other amazing Peruvian destinations that aren’t too far away, such as Nazca and Paracas.
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