Life Changing Latin American Destinations To Visit In Your 20s

machu-picchu-peru-llama

It’s been quite a busy few weeks and I’m finally getting a chance to breathe! After visiting Panama for the first time just before my birthday this year while on a fantastic trip hosted by Superfeet (photo diary to come soon!), I realized how many different parts in Latin America I’ve gotten to visit and how it was wonderful to visit them while in my twenties. With that in mind, I got to write up a round-up story for AskMen of destinations south of the U.S. boarder that would be great for travelers to visit before turning 30 if they could. Preview the story below:

As written for AskMen:

Panama

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The tropical city is similar to other glittery, coastal cities in Latin America, but it still boasts unspoiled areas to explore and a historical district (Casco Viejo) that maintains its colonial charm while still allowing for the existence of hot spots and boutique hotels.

I got my nature exploration on thanks to Superfeet and the Panamanian touring company Leading Adventures, which made me appreciate how great a trip can be when locals are guiding you. If you’re able to splurge on a tour, I’d highly recommend it. From hiking to zip-lining in the Anton Valley to exploring the San Blas Islands (a cluster of 365 islands and cays, of which only 49 are inhabited) on a catamaran yacht overnight and meeting the Kuna Yala indigenous people, the opportunities for adventure and discovery are abundant.

Puerto Rico

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If you don’t feel like venturing too far from home, Puerto Rico is your best pick — and it’s technically not outside of the U.S.

San Juan boasts a vibrant city life, rich Puerto Rican cuisine offerings — an exotic blend of flavors with Spanish, African, native Taíno and American influences — and countless nightlife options (especially in the hip neighborhood of Santurce). Old San Juan is home to the charming, colorful buildings and various forts you’ve seen on the postcards, but it can get pretty touristy and crowded when a cruise ship docks. Home to a world-class art museum, Ponce is a great alternative. If you have the time, fly (or drive for 45 minutes and take an hour-long ferry ride) to Vieques to discover a tropical island paradise with amazing bioluminescent bays to explore at night.

Machu Picchu

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Peru has it all! OK, I am Peruvian so I am a little bit biased — but the fact is Peru now boasts an internationally-beloved cuisine, a vibrant capital, surfing and desert adventures, the Amazon rainforest, Cusco and the Inca Trail, and the mesmerizing Machu Picchu — a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. If you’re in decent shape, you should easily get adjusted to the elevations — but don’t make the mistake of starting in Cusco before going to the lost city of the Inca Empire, as Cusco is about 3,000 feet higher than Machu Picchu.

I traveled to Machu Picchu with Inkaterra, a luxury Peruvian hotel chain with several properties (including one located in the Andean cloud forest at the base of Machu Picchu). The best way of making the journey is to stay in The Sacred Valley of the Incas for a couple nights and get used to the altitude. You’ll be flying into Cusco regardless, but if you head right over to The Sacred Valley, your chance of suffering from altitude sickness will be lower. You can then either start your trek (which takes about three days) or drive back to Cusco and take a train to Machu Picchu.

Valle Nevado

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If you are a skier, Valle Nevado, Chile has to be on your radar. Stay at the Valle Nevado Ski Resort for an adventurous Andean escape. Just under a two-hour drive from Santiago, Valle Nevado is located over 9,000 feet above sea level — and it’s one of the biggest ski surfaces of South America. There are three hotels, eight restaurants, apartments for rent and other amenities to make it easier for you to enjoy the powder and wilderness. I decided to add it to this list during an afternoon of skiing — when the clouds were so full and white you could barely see the skis in front of you. Quite a surreal experience.

Patagonia

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Wild and rugged, the Patagonia region of South America is not just for the die-hard adventurer (though it certainly can be). I got a taste of the Argentinian side of Patagonia while staying at the Correntoso Lake & River Hotel in the Villa La Angostura village. From sailing to horseback riding and exploring the Arayan Forest (the first national park in Argentina), there is no shortage of things to do in the area. Make sure to reward yourself by sipping on a cup of Yerba mate tea in the afternoon.

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Photos: Andrew Villagomez

See the full list and story over on AskMen, and stay tuned for more travel photo sets!
I have so many to catch up, but can’t wait to share them with you all 🙂


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READ MORE:

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About Andrew Villagomez

Andrew Villagomez is a lifestyle journalist, style photographer and owner of VeeTravels.com. He contributes to publications such as Details.com, Out Magazine, Logo TV's NewNowNext.com, Passport Magazine, Latina.com, Thrillist.com and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @VeeTravels

Posted on March 9, 2016, in Travel, Travel Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. We love Panama. Awesome post

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