7 Hidden Gems of Latin America
A region boasting some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, from verdant jungles to sparkling city skylines, Latin America offers a spectacular spectrum of destinations to make for truly unforgettable travel. While it is easy to picture the terraced gardens of Machu Picchu or the cascading waterfalls of Iguaçu when envisioning a Latin American vacation, there is so much more to experience outside even the most ‘must-see’ destinations of the area.
These hand-picked hidden gems unveil the allure of the road less travelled, away from the crowds of popular Latin landmarks and into a world of captivating beauty and cultural richness. While Latin America's popularity as a destination is undeniable, travelers seeking to enrich their experience beyond the well-trodden routes can uncover the magic that awaits in these lesser-known spots — and truly create an authentic itinerary unlike any other. Ensure that your trip is marked by cultural immersion, untouched landscapes, and cherished memories by uncovering these Latin American secrets below!
— Salvador de Bahia, Brazil —
Trade the hustle and bustle of Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo for the quaint coastal charm of Salvador de Bahia — a laidback city overlooking the serene waters of the Southern Atlantic and Bay of All Saints. This Brazilian treasure offers an incredibly authentic feel combining Portuguese architecture, Caribbean Culture, and the sweeping seascapes of Bahia's eastern coastline. From cruising across its cobblestone streets to lounging on the local beaches, Salvador offers a delightful escape away from Brazil's more highly-trafficked towns.
— Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil —
Taking up nearly half the South American continent, Brazil’s biodiversity is truly magnificent boasting six distinctive biomes within its borders — and Lençóis Maranhenses National Park showcases some of the most stunning scenery that the country has to offer. An otherworldly coastal reserve in northern Brazil, this one-of-a-kind landscape is best known for its hundreds of deep blue lagoons held between miles of rolling sand dunes. Despite inspiring backdrops throughout pop culture — like mystical planets from ‘Avengers’ franchise — this gem is still relatively unexplored.
— Marble Caves, Chile —
The dramatic mountain façades of southern Chile are often dominated by the craggy cliffs and icy glaciers of Torres del Piane, but hidden within the pristine waters outside Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafaellie lies an equally awe-inspiring natural feature in the Marble Caves. Firmly off the beaten path in the mountainous Patagonia region between Chile and Argentina, these enchanting caves enclose walls of intricate swirling marble, sculpted over centuries by the constant lapping of the turquoise waters beneath them. The dancing light and reflections throughout the caverns create a surreal and captivating experience that promises to make the expedition more than worthwhile.
— San Andrés, Colombia —
Nestled among the crystalline Caribbean waters off Colombia’s northern coast lies the picturesque island paradise of San Andrés — a local vacation destination that is surprisingly overlooked when considering a journey into Latin America. Known for its outstanding beaches, friendly hospitality, and abundance of outdoor activities from diving to horseback riding, this compact coastal oasis has everything you need to make your trip truly unforgettable.
— Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica —
Arguably Latin America’s capital for outdoor adventure, Costa Rica and its rugged Osa Peninsula beckon nature enthusiasts with untamed wilderness and a bounty of opportunities for exciting natural engagement. Far from the more commercialized routes and jungle activities that have grown in popularity, this unspoiled paradise offers a glimpse into the heart of the rainforest where jaguars, scarlet macaws, and countless species thrive. Enjoy the serenity of pristine beaches, explore the lush jungles, and immerse yourself in sustainable ecotourism.
— Choquequirao, Peru —
Take in the rich heritage, captivating infrastructure, and gorgeous hillside scenery of Peru’s cultural heart without the large crowds and foot traffic in Choquequirao, a hidden gem just a few hours’ drive outside Cusco. Often referred to as the 'sister city' of Machu Picchu, this equally impressive archaeological site reveals its secrets amidst similar rugged terrain and lush surroundings. Embark on a trek through ancient terraces, temples, and panoramic vistas, forging your path to an authentic and awe-inspiring Latin American experience.
— Montevideo, Uruguay —
An often-overlooked city when creating an itinerary through the modern-day hubs and metropolises of Latin America, Montevideo is an underrated gem that seamlessly weaves urban sophistication with breathtaking coastal beauty. Uruguay’s enchanting capital overflows with historical beauty from its captivating colonial gems and art nouveau architecture, as well as a vibrant modern culture fueled by a vibrant culinary scene. Experience a serene, authentic, and unforgettable addition to any Latin American adventure.