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Best History & Culture Vacations - Mexico, Central & South America

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Results for: Best History & Culture Vacations - Mexico, Central & South America
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1Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco Region, Peru
The majestic ruins of the astounding "Lost Cities of the Incas," Peru's most visited site, date back to the mid 1400s. Built by the Incan Emperor Pachacuti, proud Machu Picchu perches on the Andes plateau, 7000 feet above sea level, a marvel of mortar-free limestone architecture deep in the Amazonian jungle.
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    • Adventure
      Machu Picchu
      Hike the Inca Trail to the majestic Lost Cities of the Incas, hidden in dense Amazonian jungle, 7000 feet above sea level. This ancient road treks 25 miles from Cuzco through deep Andean gullies and is not for the faint-hearted. Climb up to overlook the ruins and the Urubamba Valley from Huayna Pichu Mountain.
  • Find: Hotels in Machu Picchu | Flights to Machu Picchu | Vacation Rentals in Machu Picchu
2Buenos Aires, Capital Federal District, Argentina
Buenos Aires' European heritage is evident in its architecture, boulevards and parks. Recoleta Cemetery is the final resting place of many of the city's tycoons and presidents, as well as still-beloved first lady Eva Peron. Cafe Tortoni, the city's oldest bar, will transport you back to 1858, and the spectacular Teatro Colon impresses just as it did in 1908.
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    • Romance
      Buenos Aires
      The birthplace of the sensual tango is an incredibly romantic city to sashay to. Atmospheric old neighborhoods present captivating corners and enticing restaurants to linger in. Restaurants and nightlife options are appealingly priced, making it even easier to enjoy any number of romantic meals out.
    • Shopping
      Buenos Aires
      Latin America's shopping capital offers exciting experiences along its grand, wide boulevards. Galleria Pacifico and Patio Bullrich are upmarket malls, crammed with Argentine fashions. You'll find fabulous shoes, bags and other items for appealing prices throughout the city, known for its leather goods.
  • Find: Hotels in Buenos Aires | Flights to Buenos Aires | Vacation Rentals in Buenos Aires
3Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Although it has its share of coastline, Tulum offers a taste of the Yucatan that is different from the touristy beach resorts at Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Here visitors find the startlingly well-preserved remains of ancient Mayan civilization, the only preserved ruins on the sea.
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    • Spa
      Traditional Maya spas have become yet another reason to visit ruin-rich Tulum. Today's spas offer Westernized takes on the mystical, spiritual Maya massage rituals. Acclaimed Yucatan health haven Maya Tulum offers the blissful combination of palapa rooms on a sandy spit and soothing holistic treatments.
    • Beaches & Sun
      Nature, sun and history unite at Tulum's sugar-white beaches, which are calmly lapped by the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea. Maya ruins, tropical forest and affordable hotels are an easy amble from the sands, making this Yucatan beauty a hit with those seeking relaxation and spiritual retreats.
  • Find: Hotels in Tulum | Flights to Tulum | Vacation Rentals in Tulum
4Mexico City, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast, Mexico
A breathtaking array of historic sites beckons visitors, from the ruins of Aztec capital Tenochtitlan to the Great Pyramids of Teotihuacan. The city's broad, leafy streets are lined with monuments and museums. Day trips reach the floating gardens of Xochimilco, colonial Coyoacan and Tula's gargantuan statues.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Shopping
      Mexico City
      From the older department stores of the Centro Historico district, to local handicraft markets like Bazar del Sabado in San Angel, to the upscale shops and boutiques of the Polanco neighborhood, huge Mexico City has a plethora of shopping options, and something to fit every style and price range.
  • Find: Hotels in Mexico City | Flights to Mexico City | Vacation Rentals in Mexico City
5Lima, Lima Region, Peru
Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, the colorful City of Kings' Historical Center area offers an array of fascinating neighborhoods, elegant cathedrals, opulent palaces and stately colonial architecture. A flotilla of captivating festivals showcases the country's rich Spanish and Inca culture.
6Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
Founded in 1541, Santiago was built on a typical colonial grid pattern. The city became capital of the republic in 1818 and modernization hit in the 1930s. Now, Santiago is one of the most modern conurbations in Latin America - and one with an amazing abundance of museums and two symphony orchestras.
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    • Shopping
      While Santiago has a couple of American-style shopping centers, Mall Panorámico is a better and slightly more authentic local choice, with a cavalcade of cool but reasonably priced goods being sold by over a hundred vendors. For Chilean handicrafts, clothing, jewelry and antiques, Los Dominicos is the place.
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7Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil
Brazil's capital was constructed between 1956 and 1960 on tropical savannah. It's a gem of modernist urban planning with stunning, world-renowned architecture sights. Cosmopolitan Brasilia celebrates a slew of festivals and is home to the National Museum and National Library of the Republic.
8San Miguel de Allende, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast, Mexico
This colonial gem of cobblestone streets and picturesque churches continues to inspire artists with its color, character and light. Baroque, neoclassical and neogothic mix in the city's buildings, notably at the pink stone 18th-century church on the Plaza Principal. Founded in 1542 by a Franciscan monk, the city is a mix of Hispanic and Mesoamerican influences.
9Guadalajara, Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Mexico
Colonial-era buildings, beautiful parks and a reputation as the birthplace of mariachi music and the hat dance give Mexico's second-largest city plenty of flavor. Don't miss the mural-filled Hospicio Cabanas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and nearby Tonala, the region's pottery capital.
10Merida, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
The Yucatan capital has both colonial and Maya treasures to discover. The Spanish conquered the city in 1542. Nearby ruins at Uxmal give some insight into the lives of the conquistadores' predecessors. Maya culture is also still evident in daily life and in the colorful festivals celebrated in the city.
11Oaxaca, Southern Mexico, Mexico
Oaxaca keeps its heritage close to its heart: The historic center is a World Heritage Site and home to the spectacular Macedonio Alcala Theater and traditional markets selling wool garments, black pottery and local cheese. The archaeological zones of Mitla and Monte Alban sit near the city.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Shopping
      Known for its beautiful black pottery, textiles, baskets, painted tin and woodcarvings, Oaxaca is a delight for seekers of Mexican handicrafts. The Benito Juarez Market at the city center is best for fresh food and produce, while the Tlacolula Market just outside of town is great for rugs and such on Sundays.
  • Find: Hotels in Oaxaca | Flights to Oaxaca | Vacation Rentals in Oaxaca