Pointing the car south
Collected by Jessica S., AFAR Contributor
Planning a 2014 Central and South American backpacking trip with my brother.
Playón Chico, Panama
The family-owned Yandup Island Lodge is located on a private island across from the remote Playon Chico community on the Caribbean coastline of San Blas, Panama. The eco-lodge offers two tours a day: a visit to a beach on one of the archipelago's...
Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile
During my stay in El Calafate, my hotel arranged a full-day tour to Torres del Paine for me. I was picked up by a tour operator at my front door, and escorted across the Chilean border into the beautiful national park. The tour and the views was a...
20401 Garzón, Maldonado Department, Uruguay
A 150-year-old general store is the unlikely setting for a five-room guesthouse owned by Argentina’s premier chef. Francis Mallmann grills his signature butterfly brotola whitefish on an open-flame infiernillo (“little hell”) stove. Savor it...
esquina, 18 - Baupres & 30 - Las Focas, 20100 Punta del Este, Departamento de Maldonado, Uruguay
On February 2, residents of eastern South America celebrate Yemanjá, the African goddess of the sea. By late afternoon Punta’s beaches are crammed with thousands of worshippers dressed in white and blue. Some burn candles in the sand as others...
Av. de Mayo 1222, C1085ABP CABA, Argentina
Wander through an old-fashioned flea market filled with unusual lamps, old Atari games, and cool radios. The items here have been preserved in perfect condition and the pricesare fair. Av. Álvarez Thomas and Av. Dorrego, 54/(0) 11-5382-6234 This...
El Calafate, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
Calle Carmen Alto 227, Cusco 08000, Peru
This store is just a little ways off the main street of the San Blas arts district in Cusco, but definitely worth the diversion. Inside, funky, modern jewelry and handbags are mixed with neatly hung vintage dresses, shirts, and jackets. The walls...
Amargura, Cusco 08000, Peru
Um...not so much. When in Peru, try one of the local delicacies: cuy. If it looks like guinea pig, that would be because it is. The skin is thick and rubbery; the meat is dark and gamey. You may want to chase it down with another local favorite,...
Avenida Miguel Grau 369, Barranco 15063, Peru
Everyone in Lima knows Canta Rana—some consider it the best cevicheria in the city. The owners’ son has a spot in the main market called Canta Ranita where the ceviche is just as good, and even though it’s a stall, the place has...
Urca, Rio de Janeiro - State of Rio de Janeiro, 22010-011, Brazil
Rio has never been busier. The city is building up and out for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Part of a massive port facelift, the Museum of Art of Rio opens later this year. But in colonial bairros, such as Santa Teresa, fresh...
Humaitá, Rio de Janeiro - State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Open only on Saturdays, this large market has stalls selling lots of fresh fruits and fish for good prices. Everyone who lives in Rio is addicted to açai, the Amazonian berry that’s loaded with antioxidants. The berry doesn’t come from this region...
Foz do Iguaçu - State of Paraná, Brazil
Experience the largest waterfalls in the world by doing the catwalks that hang over the falls on both the Brazil side and Argentina side. You are guaranteed to get soaked! For more action, take the 15 minute boat ride that takes you under two...
Zapatero, Cartagena, Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia: There are still undiscovered spots in the world that lure those who embrace true authentic experiences. Cartagena is just such a place. The historic walled city is a true gem in the world. Wander around the maze of...
Chía, Chia, Cundinamarca, Colombia
About 30 minutes north of Bogota by bus, Andres Carne de Res is not to be missed! The eclectic art and decor give it the atmosphere of being at a surreal carnival. Delicious steakhouse by evening with fantastic cocktails and unusually friendly...
Parque De La Sal, Zipaquirá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
When I flew from New York to Bogotá, I didn't really have plans to visit the city's neighboring towns and villages. As I quickly found out, that's a huge part of Bogotá's charm. If time permits, definitely take a day trip to Zipaquirá to see their...
The little city of Banos is situated on the side of volcano Tungurahua and has gorgeous waterfalls like this one, the Pailon del Diablo or Devil's Cauldron. To get up this high the trail first drops about 1000 feet into the valley and then climbs...
Av Central, León, Nicaragua
With my rudimentary Spanish, I hadn’t understood why a local suggested wearing long pants to the night’s festival. “Because of the fireworks,” she had said (I thought). The recommendation seemed odd considering the stifling heat and humidity. But...
When my wife and I first visited Nicaragua, some of our friends and family asked, "is it safe? I mean isn't there a war or something going on down there?" Well, yeah--there WAS a civil war...over TWENTY years ago! Now Nicaragua is reasonably...
These little red frog are the namesake of a beautiful stretch of sand on Isla Bastimentos, an island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The island is easily reached by water taxi from Bocas del Toro and has a few good trails...
San Felipe, Panama City, Panama
Head to Casco Viejo, the old part of Panama City, a stunning mix of Art deco, Caribbean, French and Colonial architectural styles. Hungry? Look for the Havana Club. I thought I'd walked onto a set. 'Buena Vista Social Club’ was playing on a small...
Provincia de Puntarenas, Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Some experiences in life immediately have that once-in-a-lifetime quality. For years, my birdwatching boyfriend spoke of the elusive Scarlet Macaws. How desperately he wanted to see them in the wild (they're quite limited in their range). Last...
San Antonio, Limón, Costa Rica
One of the most amazing places I have stayed, and would stay again in an instant, is the Pacuare Eco Lodge in Costa Rica... I stayed in the above cabana high in the rain forest canopy above the ground. The cabana has its own private bridge and hot...
Negroman Rd, San Ignacio, Belize
Black Rock Lodge is the ultimate Belizean jungle lodge, located a few miles outside San Ignacio and down a dirt road that leads you into a high-walled, karstic river valley. All the cabinas are perched on the hillside with spectacular river views...
My friend Joan and I were staying at Ni'tun Private Reserve on Lake Petén Itzá near Flores, and planned to visit several Maya sites in the Petén region, but were most excited about visiting Aguateca. What an adventure it was! Our guide Bernie of...
4a Ave Sur 24A, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
Antigua is chockablock full of beautiful and intimate posadas. We stayed at Posada del Angel. The staff is so friendly and willing to take care of your every need. The bathrooms are large and well done. The best part about our stay was breakfast...
Zona 2 de Mixco, Guatemala
When U.S. school buses are decommissioned, they are reincarnated in Central America and given new life. Repainted and rechristened, they become tropical intercity transport worth taking. For travelers, a journey on one of these is an immersive...
Quintana Roo 109, Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
We decided to visit the Gran Cenote outside of Tulum and were expecting to swim with turtles and fish. While there were a few pet turtles and goldfish, the only real wildlife were bats that hang up in the cave openings. The Gran Cenote is more...
Hipódromo Condesa, Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
The Condesa neighborhood has to be one of my favorite neighborhoods in Mexico City. If you want a really good mezcal-and-cilantro margarita while sitting at a very chic, cool bar, then head to Condesa DF. Avenida Veracruz 102 | Colonia Condesa,...
2a Frontera 37, San Ángel, 01000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Right off the market hubbub is this colonial square flush with bougainvillea. You go through a narrow alleyway, and all of a sudden you’re in the most tranquil placein Mexico City. Near Calle del Arbol and 2a Cerrada de Frontera. As told to...
Av. Veracruz 102, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Mexican hotelier Grupo Habita turned the shell of a 1928 French neoclassical mansion into a wholly contemporary property, CONDESAdf, which immediately became the standard for boutique hotels in Mexico City when it opened to rave reviews...
Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Just when it seemed like the Riviera Maya Riviera had become nothing but a sea of all-inclusive beach resorts, you stumble upon the quaint little Mexican village of Puerto Morelos. There are almost no huge developments, no shopping outlets, and no...
Por la 54 y 56, Calle 47, #471, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yuc., Mexico
Casa Lecanda, situated off the city centre of Merida, the capital of Yucatan; was easily the most stunning boutique hotels that I have stayed in. The hotel's owners and architects have managed to restore the ruined old hacienda and transform it...
Carretera Federal & Cancún - Chetumal Km 230 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
While not as large as other ancient Mayan cities in the region, Tulum draws in visitors for its stunning setting of centuries-old temples perched on a cliff by the Caribbean Sea. You’ll pass a large market with souvenirs, a casual Mexican...
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