Visiting Colombia with outfitter Blue Parallel(one week starts at $11,500) comes with a major advantage: access. The new itinerary includes salsa dancing in a private 16th-century home and lounging on islets that are rarely seen by anyone but local fishermen. Coffee obsessives can sip joe at the source during a bean-to-roast tour of a plantation in the Andean foothills. – Sarah Purkrabek
Early fall in Ecuador brings dry, cool days and, if you spring for a seat on the recently restored Tren Crucero, an unimpeded view of one of the most challenging rail routes ever constructed. The shiny red train, outfitted with neoclassical antiques and an open-air caboose, traverses tracks built in 1908 that lead from Guayaquil to Quito in the Andes. During the four-day trip, you’ll visit indigenous markets, spend a night in a 17th-century hacienda, and, near Alausí, brave a toe-curling descent down Devil’s Nose. $1,393. (Pictured above) – Aislyn Greene
These stories appeared in the August/September 2015 issue.