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Few things in life are more liberating than setting out on a long trip, leaving everything behind. The only downside to something as major as a months-long is that it requires so much planning. It can take weeks to find the best places to visit in South America and the unmissable things to do. But don’t worry: we went through it and wrote this South America travel guide to help fellow travelers. And it includes some of the best places to visit in Central America!

South America Travel Guide: An Unforgettable 3-Month Trip

I would recommend everyone to get some major South America travel guide in their life. Also,  see the best places to visit in Central America. The best places to visit in South America are insanely varied, from white sand beaches to thriving city life. The same goes for the best places to visit in Central America. You’ll find all that and more on this South America travel guide!

read about my south america travel guide in this blog post

Our Trip

We took our time finding the best places to visit in South America and the best places to visit in Central America. This South America travel guide includes incredible places of all types. See a summary of our journey below!

  1. US, Florida 3 nights
  2. Peru 12 nights 
  3. Rio de Janeiro – 8 nights
  4. Argentina 8 nights 
  5. Costa Rica – 7 nights 
  6. Mexico 25 nights
  7. Cuba 7 nights 
  8. US , Florida14 nights 

Each of these countries is very different, and there are so many countries among the best places to visit in South America!

Miami Life Before Our South America Travel!

Duration 3 days
Where to Stay Delano South Beach
Key Things to Do & See Relax before heading to the best places to visit in South America!

 

We wanted to start off with the right foot, so we chose to stop in Miami to get into the timezone before heading to the best places to visit in South America. Here, we took a few days to just get into the right travel mood, also prepping for the best places to visit in Central America!

miami is definitely one of the best places to visit in south america, look at this beach

Miami gave us the chance to walk by the beach, hang out by the pool, get into the thriving city vibe and just enjoy life, preparing us for the best places to visit in South America. However, if you’re starting your own South America travel on this side of the Atlantic, you won’t need this stop. The best places to visit in Central America await!nice beaches and pools is all over miami. something you'll see on your south america travel

Read about our Miami adventures here and then ready yourself for the best places to visit in South America!

Peru & the Best Places to Visit in South America, with Adventure, City Life and Ceviche

Peru took us by surprise as one of the best places to visit in South America.

Besides offering some magic places, like Machu Picchu, it also gave us so much in terms of nature, culture, and food. One of the biggest gems of this South America travel guide!

this view was breathtaking, this is a must see. also one of the best places in south america

Cusco & The Inca Trail 

Duration 8 nights
Where to Stay Los Portales
Key Things to Do & See Explore the city, go on the Inca Trail, see Machu Picchu, go on treks to the other nearby Inca ruins

 

Fly in from Lima to Cusco, and expect one of the bumpiest rides of this South America travel guide. When you’re doing the Inca trail, it’s best to stay in Cusco a few days ahead to get used to the altitude. You’re going to one of the best places to visit in South America, so you should be well prepared and healthy for it!

heres the streets in cusco that is one of the places in my south america travel guide
There’s so many beautiful colors at the streets in Cusco

Cusco is a beautiful and colorful city, where the Inca culture thrives, making it an essential place of this South America travel guide. Fall in love with the tapestries and handicrafts, and get to know the old streets and colonial remains. Even without the nearby ruins, this is one of the best places to visit in South America.

The Inca Trail

Then, head to the adventure of your life: Machu Picchu, one of the best places to visit in South America! This was supposed to be a great adventure in this South America travel guide, and it didn’t disappoint!

even on the way up the view made the hike so much easier. more about the inca trail in my south america travel gudie

The Inca Trail was built hundreds of years ago, and it remains one of the best places to visit in South America. Our days getting there were long and arduous, but nothing beats the accomplishment of seeing the sunrise over Machu Picchu.

It’s the most breathtaking moment on this South America travel guide. Only one of the best places to visit in Central America, Chichen Itzá, compares to it.

cusco and the inca trail is on my south america travel guide

Read all about our days in Cusco on my travel story and travel guide. To learn how to plan your Inca trail voyage, here are my travel story and travel guide!

Lima

Duration 4 nights
Where to Stay A lovely AirBnB at the Miraflores area
Key Things to Do & See Visit the museums from Inca and colonial times, explore the lovely areas like Miraflores and the boardwalk & eat, eat, eat!

 

Lima is the perfect weekend city and one of the best places to visit in South America! While there are plenty of museums, parks, and sites, the reason Lima belongs in this South America travel  guide is culinary. The food here is just amazing – a fusion of so many flavors!

one of the best places to visit in south america is cusco, so many beautiful streets and views.

 

Read my Lima travel story here, and a more thorough travel guide here. For my list of local eateries, enjoy my Lima restaurant guide!

Brazil – Getting to Know Rio, the Ultimate Party Town

Duration 8 nights
Where to Stay AirBnB at Copacabana
Key Things to Do & See Thrive on the beach city life, see the magic Copacabana sunsets, get to know more about the tough lives of the favelas, marvel in the street art, visit the Sugar Loaf &  the wonder of the world – Christ the redeemer

 

Rio de Janeiro isn’t just one of the best places to visit in South America, it might also be the most iconic. Just hearing the word Rio makes you think of beautiful women dressed up in colorful outfits and dancing. No South America travel guide is complete without some love to the carnival culture of Brazil!

brazil and rio de janeiro is a beautiful place to add to your south america travel

On this South America travel guide, you’ll find tips to keep yourself busy in Rio for about a week. Spend the days at the beach and the nights at the clubs and enjoy one of the best places to visit in South America.

Things to do in Rio

There are many gorgeous viewpoints to see the bright lights of the city along with the thriving beach. A sunset above is a must of this South America travel guide. Few of the best places to visit in South America offer such a varied experience. Go to the top of the Sugar Loaf and visit one of the new wonders of the world – Christ the redeemer statute. The views from here will for sure make you mesmerized! These are just some of the things that makes this Brazilian metropolis one of the best places to visit in South America!

this place is beyond beautiful and one of the best places to visit in south americaThen, see the real Rio as what it is: one of the best places to visit in South America, issues and all. Walk by the busy streets and see beautiful urban art, like the famous Selarón Steps. Visit one of the slums (or favelas), and remember how tough many people in the world have it. South America travel is about so much more than seeing the pretty places.

Rio de janeiro is so colorful and vibrant i would definitely recommend adding it to your south america travel

Read my Rio travel story here, and find a more thorough travel guide here!

Argentina – An European City & the Most Impressive Waterfall in the World

Argentina wasn’t a planned stop during our South America travel, but we wish we’d have stayed more. Here, we were surprised to find some of the best places to visit in South America!

While we only visited two places, Argentina is a huge country with lots to offer, and a must on any South America travel guide. What we found was a city that seems misplaced in its continent, and one of the great natural wonders of Earth, both among the best places to visit in South America.

arriving to argentina, also a place in my south america travel guide

Buenos Aires

Duration 5 nights
Where to Stay AirBnb in Recoleta
Key Things to Do & See Drink wine, marvel at the lovely old buildings, see the local markets, visit the many gardens, eat & drink at Palermo, catch a football game

 

Europeans will feel right at home in Argentina’s capital: Buenos Aires feels French or Italian! It’s full of neo-classic buildings from the 19th and early 20th century following European sensibilities.

We were pleasantly surprised to find one of the best places to visit in South America here. It’s also a hotspot for culture that very much deserves its place on any South America travel guide.

amazing surroundings in buenos aires, a place to visit on your south america travel

Come to one of the best places to visit in South America for the meat and wine, and stay for the lovely city. The streets of Buenos Aires are full of beautiful urban art, and there’s always something to do in hip Palermo or traditional Recoleta. You can even catch a football game at iconic Boca Juniors stadium, La Bombonera, which will be a South America travel guide highlights for sports fans!

colorful and calm streets in buenos aires, another place in my south america travel guide

Read my Buenos Aires travel story here, and check out my favorite spots and activities in my travel guide!

Iguazú

Duration 3 nights
Where to Stay La Cantera Jungle Lodge
Key Things to Do & See Explore the Argentina and Brazil sides, get in touch with nature, see the largest waterfall system in the world

 

A truly magical experience, particularly for nature lovers, and surely one of the best places to visit in South America. Take at least two days to really see the Brazilian and Argentine side of these gorgeous waterfalls. Few natural places are as breathtaking on any South America travel guide!

we made sure to take some photos of this beautiful waterfall. Add this to your best places to visit in south america list

We’d covered so much on our South America travel guide, but the best places to visit in Central America awaited!

Don’t forget to read my Iguazu travel story and travel guide!

Costa Rica & the Best Places to Visit in Central America

Our South America travel guide had reached its end, but now Central America was waiting for us, with a small but fierce country: Costa Rica. This is a wonderland and hosts many of the best places to visit in Central America.

Here, you’ll find adventure in every corner, plus many of the best places to visit in Central America. We only stayed here for 7 days, but it was much too short. Stay at least 2 weeks and don’t look back on the best places to visit in South America!

a blog post about the best hotels in costa rica

For a more in-depth account, read my Costa Rica travel story and travel guide!

La Fortuna

Duration 2 nights
Where to Stay Arenal Volcano Inn
Key Things to Do & See River rafting, horseback riding, visiting the waterfall, visit Arenal volcano

 

Unlike most of the best places to visit in South America, northern gem La Fortuna is made to thrive on adventure.

costa rica is one of the best places to visit in central america and you can read all about in hereWhat makes this one of the best places to visit in Central America is its many activities, all focused on ecotourism. Costa Rica is not just a South America travel guide hub for ecotourism, it’s one of the international pioneers!

in costa rica theres tons of adventures to experience. Have a look in this travel guide

Here, you can do everything from river rafting on the rapids to visit a worldwide famous waterfall, one of the best places to visit in Central America. A jungle paradise you won’t find on many a South America travel guide!

Monteverde

Duration 2 nights
Where to Stay Hotel Cala Lodge Monteverde
Key Things to Do & See Zip lining, hike in the cloud forest, bird watching

 

A beautiful forest in the sky, this is one of the fundamental wonderlands of this South America travel guide. Here, we got in touch with nature by hiking up to where the air seems rarefied and everything looks like a fairytale. One of the unmissable and best places to visit in Central America.

zip line in monteverde, what an experience! one of the best places to visit in central america

Plus, we were surrounded by gorgeous animals of all sorts, mainly colorful birds, unlike what we’d seen in the best places to visit in South America. Surely a must among the best places to visit in Central America!

Montezuma

Duration 3 nights
Where to Stay Ylang Ylang Beach Resort
Key Things to Do & See Relax by the ocean!

 

This gem of the Costa Rican Pacific coast is a beachy dream with clear water, and skies so blue you wouldn’t believe it, so different from the best places to visit in South America.

relax by the beach in montezuma, one of the best places to visit in central america

After a few days of adventure based on this South America travel guide, you deserve a break of full relaxation. When it comes to chilling by the beach, this is one of the best places to visit in Central America!

so many beautiful vibes at this beach in montezuma.

Mexico – Beach Relaxation, Parties & a UNESCO Site!

While we missed the adventures from our South America travel guide, we kept going north, this time heading to the land of the Mayas and Aztecs. Mexico offers some of the best places to visit in Central America, with a varied choice of beaches.

Also, one of the best places to visit in Central America is here: Chichen Itzá. Whether you’re at the Riviera Maya or the Pacific Coast, gorgeous white sand beaches lay ahead. It’s a totally different experience from the best places to visit in South America!

also one of the best places to visit in central america is of course mexico

Sayulita

Duration 14 nights
Where to Stay Petit Hotel Hafa + AirBnB by the village
Key Things to Do & See Chill by the beach, yoga,  practice water sports, party the night away

 

A boho chic paradise, this cute little beach village is the place to say goodbye to all troubles,. We needed a place like this in this South America travel guide. For us, its feel quickly made this one of the best places to visit in Central America.

whilst talking of the best places to visit in central america, this beach was a good find! mindfulness and sports in sayulita, one of the best places to visit in central america

Beach friends will find this to be one of the best places to visit in Central America. Sayulita is all about mindfulness and sports, so be ready for a treat to your body and spirit. This is the ultimate active destination of the South America travel guide. You won’t find this among the best places to visit in South America!

exploring the streets in sayulita, see more about in in this south america travel guide

Read more about Sayulita on my travel story and my travel guide!

Tulum

Duration 7 nights
Where to Stay Viento de Mar, Azulik, La Zebra
Key Things to Do & See Yoga, see nearby Mayan ruins like Chichen Itzá

 

Tulum is a hippie little village in the Mexican Caribbean, unlike every site we’d seen among the best places to visit in South America. It’s heaven for boutique hotels and sustainable restaurants, making it one of the best places to visit in Central America.

tulum is one of the best places to visit in central america, look at this beach

 

One of the best places to visit in Central America for its mindfulness. You can’t miss visiting Chichen Itzá and other nearby Maya ruins.

in this south america travel guide you can read more about this beautiful view from tulum

Check out my Tulum travel story and guide!

Playa del Carmen

Duration 4 nights
Where to Stay Soho Playa Hotel
Key Things to Do & See Partying, beach life, snorkeling, visit Cozumel island

 

this south america travel guide definitely has a lot of lovely beaches

One of the great party cities in Latin America, Playa is all about the wild beach life and one of the best places to visit in Central America. A definite change from the chill and hipster towns we visited before and from all the best places to visit in South America!

Read my Playa del Carmen travel story here!

Cuba – An Island Stuck in Time

Cuba is a unique place in the world since its streets are frozen in the late 50s, a unique feature on this South America travel guide. We stayed here for 7 nights in total, but I recommend at least 10. There’s so much to see here we took a four-day road trip through the island.

Once you have gone to the best places to visit in South America, the Caribbean should follow. And why not go for one-of-a-kind Cuba?

we wished we had more time to stay in this beautiful town, a south america travel must

Read my travel story and travel guide here to see some of the best places to visit in Central America!

Viñales

Duration 1 night
Where to Stay Casa Particular (staying at someones home)
Key Things to Do & See Visit the Vinales alley, visit a tobacco farm, see traditional rural life, zip lining, horse back riding

 

A rural population that was reportedly Fidel Castro’s favorite place on the island, Vinales is an economic hub in Cuba, and one of the most fascinating places on this South America travel guide.

This is where local agriculture thrives, including tobacco farms, where every step is done traditionally. What makes it one of the best places to visit in Central America is how unique it is!

such a unique and beautiful place. this is on my south america travel guide

Varadero

Duration 2 nights
Where to Stay Royalton Hicacos Varadero
Key Things to Do & See Hang out by the beach, see the old mansions turned into museums

 

A strange find in vintage Cuba, Varadero is an all-modern resort town full of international chain hotels. It makes this one of the most exotic and best places to visit in Central America. You wouldn’t expect to find this on a South America travel guide!

Here you can enjoy an Aruba-like Caribbean town and then see the old mansions from before the Revolution. It’s one of the most unique spots among the best places to visit in Central America.

varadero is the next stop thats in our south america travel guide

Havana

Duration 4 nights
Where to Stay Florida Hotel, Saratoga Hotel
Key Things to Do & See See the majestic old buildings in Old Havana, walk around the Malecón

 

Like most of the island, the Cuban capital is a city stuck in time, making it one of the best places to visit in Central America and the Caribbean. 50’s cars cruise around Havana streets, surrounded by gorgeous old buildings.

the feeling you get when you walk the streets in cuba, everything is so vibrant. cuba is definitely one of the best places to visit in central america

Enjoy life, fine Cuban meals, and world-famous cocktails and dance salsa. This is one of the best places in Central America, so take advantage of it. A colorful Caribbean addition to this South America travel guide!

more of cuba in this south america travel guide

Though certainly too northern to be considered one of the best places to visit in South America, Havana is worth it. Read more about our Havana experience in my travel story and guide. 

Florida Road Trip to Bid the Americas Farewell

After three months building this South America travel guide and seeing the best places to visit in Central America, we headed back to Florida for one last hurrah. Another road trip awaited us for the next two weeks, between Miami and Key West . The perfect end after the best places to visit in South America!

if you are planning a south america travel trip, florida is definitely a place to visit

Read all about it on my travel story and my list of must-do road trips!

Key West

Duration 7 nights
Where to Stay Cabana Inn
Key Things to Do & See Follow the trail of Ernest Hemingway, see the early 20th century mansions, beach relax

 

With its strong Caribbean vibes, Key West gave us a chance to relax after our South America travel guide. Here we saw the luxurious homes from the early 20th century, including Hemingway’s! It’s a city to relax by the beach and listen to live music all day. A perfect end to our South America travel guide and so close after seeing the best places to visit in Central America!

a south america travel trip could include road trips for sure

Miami 

Duration 7 nights
Where to Stay W South Beach
Key Things to Do & See See the Wynwood street art, take an alligator tour, visit Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, shop at Sawgrass Mills, eat in hip restaurants

 

Long gone were the stories of our South America travel guide, and it was time for Americana. We really took in all the best from Florida’s biggest city, from shopping and eating to seeing the alligators.

street art in miami, another place in my south america travel guide

The End

It was time to head home, fully charged. Three months on the best places to visit in South America and the best places to visit in Central America!

Hope you enjoyed my South America travel guide, including the best places to visit in Central America. Prepare for the trip of a lifetime on this fascinating continent. You can’t miss the best places to visit in South America and the best places to visit in Central America!

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