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Best Adventure Vacations - Mexico, Central & South America

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The wealth of flora and fauna and opportunities to observe them are unparalleled in the Amazon. Riverboats ply the waters of this fascinating wilderness, home to pink river dolphins, clamorous howler monkeys and raucous toucans. Photograph your adventure, run the rapids or stalk elusive jaguars by night.
2Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco Region, Peru
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.
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    • History & Culture
      Machu Picchu
      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.
  • Find: Hotels in Machu Picchu | Flights to Machu Picchu | Vacation Rentals in Machu Picchu
3Ambergris Caye, Belize Cayes, Belize
Belize's largest island and an often overlooked Caribbean gem offers astounding diving and snorkeling. This English-speaking nation is home to the second-largest coral reef system in the world. If you want to stay atop the waves, this Caribbean idyll provides fabulous fishing, sailing and kayaking.
4Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula, Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
This tropical wilderness, home to more than 350 species of birds is a nature lovers' paradise. Explore pristine rainforest where scarlet macaws and toucans swoop and howler monkeys cavort. Horseback ride through dense jungle and along remote beaches where high breaks are perfect for surfing.
5Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The wealth of wonderful wildlife in the Galapagos defies the imagination. Get up close to fearless sea lions, majestic tortoises and amiable iguanas by hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and diving. Evolve to another level entirely by cycling by cinder cones, lava flows and tunnels or multi-hued beaches.
6San Carlos de Bariloche, Province of Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina
Set at the ankles of the Andes, the largest ski area in South America also offers thrilling boating, trekking, paragliding and climbing. Lakes abound and the brave at heart can take the plunge into icy Lake Nahuel Huapi which, even in summer, never rises above a chilling average of only 57°F.
7El Calafate, Province of Santa Cruz, Patagonia, Argentina
Renowned as the gateway to the glaciers, tiny El Calafate is perched on the brink of Lago Argentino. Take a boat trip to experience ice cracking and glaciers "calving" Los Glaciares National Park. Trot round Lake Roca on horseback. Cast a fly for trout in the shadow of the glaciers in the Rico River.
8Copper Canyon, Northern Mexico, Mexico
A gulf four times bigger than the Grand Canyon, this chasm in the Sierra Madres offers outstanding backpacking and eco adventures. Even getting to this gorgeous gorge is a thrill: The dramatic 400-mile train trip through almost 100 tunnels and over 37 bridges is one of the world's most stunning.
9Aisen Region, Chile
The turbulent Futaleufu River thunders a wild course through the heart of Patagonia, its thrashing waters presenting exhilarating whitewater rafting. Hike or trek the backcountry to famed Los Glaciares, take a wildlife safari to penguin colonies or stock up on the essentials and go eco-camping.