South and Central America Ideas

Tulim Mexico

Kan Tun Chi, Mexico

Isla Holbox, Mexico

Mazaltan, Mexico
. Forbes top cheapest places of 2017.

Huatulco, Mexico
Not too touristy. Clean and Safe. Per W/S

Akumal, Mexico
Akumal is a small beach-front tourist resort community in Mexico, 100 km (62 mi) south of Cancún, between the towns of Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It is located on Akumal Bay and Half Moon Bay on the site of a former coconut plantation in Tulum Municipality in the state of Quintana Roo, and is part of the Riviera Maya area. The 2010 census showed a population of 1,310 inhabitants.[1]

Akumal is famous as a destination for snorkeling, where visitors can swim with endangered green sea turtles, who visit the shallow bay to feed on sea grass.

San Luis Potosí, México
Why: Picture a perfect class III white water rafting experience through a limestone canyon of turquoise waters, a visit to a living garden of eden, complete with art sculptures, hidden pools, butterflies and waterfalls, a hike to the largest known cave shaft in the world, which you can rappel into, and a series of waterfalls for cliff jumping. Top this all off with a plate of homemade tacos and a local beer for $2, and you’ve got yourself a piece of adventure paradise on a budget. Still very much under the radar to anyone outside of Mexico, San Luis Potosí could be compared to Costa Rica in terms of adventure and Cambodia in terms of affordability. Since Election Day, the dollar has been especially strong in Mexico, offering an even better excuse to travel south of the border.

Puerto Varas, Chile
With Puerto Varas as a hub, you can explore great places within a two-hour drive from the city: going to the top of a volcano, exploring waterfalls, finding the best cakes and food. This area sees very few American visitors and everything is CHEAP

“Less busy than Mexico but you can go there if you need something”
Modern conveniences and history collide in Belize. It’s a perfect place to take a budget romantic vacation. Many of the four-star hotels offer extras, like bicycle rentals, included in their low rates, as well as Belize’s excellent local wines. Some affordable resorts to check out are George Hardie’s Las Vegas Hotel in Corozal (Northern Belize) and the oceanside Royal Caribbean Resort in San Pedro along Ambergris Caye. Both can be booked for under $100 per night. Meals are also crazy cheap, but delicious. Two can eat at an upscale restaurant for less than $30, and much less at an everyday venue.

Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks are two of the best


Zapote, Costa Rica


Often bypassed in favor of nearby Costa Rica, Guatemala is unique unto itself in Central America. And because it’s a bit more “off the path” in the region, it’s also easy on the budget and a nice place to splurge. The villas and hotels rimming Lake Atitlán have all the beauty you could want for a small fraction of the price you’d pay in Europe or elsewhere. From the lake, you can then delve into the country’s unique culture by visiting the indigenous markets and villages in the Guatemalan highlands. Lush Atitlan is a gorgeous, affordable place to stay in San Marcos La Laguna, the prettiest and most culturally interesting of Lake Atitlan’s villages.

Where: Buenos Aires
Why: One of the world’s most intoxicating cities, Buenos Aires has only grown in popularity, but it’s still relatively cheap compared to European and Asian capital cities. There are many green parks, French-inspired architecture, late-night dancing, custom leather shops and fantastic food. Taxis are relatively cheap (around $5-8 a ride), but you should also walk for miles in all of the distinct neighborhoods, like Palermo (try Salon Canning, a super casual milonga, or dance hall, after midnight). Must-try cheap eat in Buenos Aires: anything dulce de leche. It is everywhere — inside crepes, drizzled over grilled bananas and in gelato.

Tip: Bring a ton of American cash and you’ll get better deals in many places. For example, I bought my custom leather jacket at a shop called Uru Recoleta (close to the famous Recoleta Cemetery) and was able to buy it for much less than using my credit card because I brought American dollars. On Sundays, the place to be is the San Telmo market for browsing leather, antiques, watches, jewelry and more.

Ecuador- Galapagos

Ecuador – Cuenca & Southern Highlands

Ecuador’s less-visited Southern Highlands are rich in tradition and filled with national parks, where you can camp and trout fish, hike through cloud forests or horse-ride in the hills. Pretty villages, intriguing cities and archaeological wonders are here too, so explore the historic streets of Loja, browse the indigenous markets of Canar and enter the magnificent Temple of the Sun at Ingapirca.

The main urban centre of Cuenca is Ecuador’s third largest city and, with its cobblestone streets, colonial buildings and domed churches it’s also its prettiest. Filled with art galleries and trendy cafes, it’s a great place to spend a few days, whether you fancy visiting the excellent Museo del Banco Central, shopping for Panama hats or people watching in the parks and plazas. Read less

Chile – Chilean Lakes / Lake District

Twelve huge lakes wet central Chile’s Lake District, with smaller pools splashing the surrounding landscape. Snow-topped volcanoes and green forests sit beside these waters, with sparkling rivers and swathes of farmland slicing between. For outdoor enthusiasts, it’s adventure heaven, with everything from hiking and rafting to horse-riding and skiing to get stuck into.

If action and adventure are your main objectives, the adventure hubs of Pucon and Puerto Varas make the best bases and are good places to meet other travellers. To experience more of the local culture, visit indigenous reservations and learn about Mapuche heritage. At the district’s northern extremity, the city of Temuco gives access to the wilds of Conguilio National Park, while the southern city of Puerto Montt sits near the fjords and islands of Chilean Patagonia.

Chile – Torres del Paine & Patagonia

Southern Chile is the proud parent of Patagonia – a wild and untamed region it shares with Argentina. Come here to fly-fish in the rivers and ride across the pampas, or to raft down the rapids and gaze at the saw-tooth scenery. Discover the woods, water and ice fields of Northern Patagonia, or head further south to sail past penguins and fjords in the Strait of Magellan.

One of South America’s most astounding national parks, Torres del Paine sits in Patagonia’s extreme south. Three immense granite towers dominate a landscape of horn-like mountain tops, glistening glaciers and blue lakes. Explore with a multi-day trek, hiking a choice of set circuits and camping out or sleeping in lodges. Track through verdant forests beneath snowy peaks, wobble across rickety bridges over raging rivers, and look for pumas and flamingos, Andean condors and outstanding panoramas. Read less

Cusco, Peru
Why: Most people who pass through Cusco are en route to the very popular Machu Picchu, but you should make sure to spend a few days, maybe even a few weeks in this colorful city. Not only is the city absolutely stunning and oozing with culture, most accommodations range from $20 to $100 a night. Peruvian textiles are extremely affordable and the vibrant colors are stunning. Eating out in Cusco can be extremely cheap, if you know where to eat. Restaurants are quite affordable compared to most American and European restaurants, but street food here is the real winner. I’m personally addicted to ceviche and can’t find it cheaper than $15 for a small portion in the states, but in Cusco’s San Pedro Market you can find ceviche plus Peruvian fried rice for only $3. On my last trip, I had steak and ceviche nearly every day and never spent more than $15 for two including a drink and soup.

Peru  – Amazon

More than half of Peru is drenched in jungle, making it ripe for intrepid Amazon adventures. To explore the southern section, head to the town of Puerto Maldonado, where mud streets and mototaxis skirt the rainforest. Join a multi-day tour through the forests of Madre de Dios and float along the waterways in a canoe. Venture deeper and discover the remote reaches of Manu National Park, home to jaguar and giant river otter.

A terrific place for off-the-beaten-track adventures, no roads lead to the northern city of Iquitos, so the only access is via plane or boat. String up your hammock and drift down the Amazon, sleeping on-board and watching the water for piranha and pink river dolphin. Trek into the remote Pacaya Samiria Reserve, staying in a luxury lodge or camping beneath the canopy and listening to anacondas slither through the undergrowth.

Peru – Northern beaches

Surf bum, culture vulture or avid explorer, Peru’s northern beaches won’t disappoint. Whether you’re ‘hanging ten’ on a surfboard or soaking up the scene from a beach towel, surf’s-up all along the coast, from the perfect Peruvian pipeline at Cabo Blanco to the world’s longest left-hand wave at Chicama. Off-the waves, there’s horse-riding and deep sea fishing to get involved in, while Mancora is the best place to party.

For astounding archaeology, make a base in the colonial town of Trujillo and discover the pre-Inca tomb at Sipan and the Temples of the Moon and Sun at Chan Chan – the largest pre-Colombian city in South America. Nearby, visit the laidback village of Huanchaco where fishermen surf the waves in one-man boats. As you’re leaving, take a bus ride to the mountain town of Cajamarca and discover ruined citadels and isolated villages scattered in the highlands. Read less

Peru – Nasca Lines, Arequipa and the South

Follow the Gringo Trail and venture south of Lima through southern Peru. Discover reefs, desert and ancient culture in Paracas National Reserve, or sail to the penguins and pelicans of the Ballestas Islands. Stop off in Ica to tour the wineries and drink pisco sours, then head to the Huacachina oasis and go sand-boarding down the dunes.

Two hours south lie the mysterious Nasca Lines – fly over to see razor-straight lines and giant animal drawings etched in the desert floor. Continue to the colonial city of Arequipa, where volcanoes watch over the white-walled streets. Home to some of Peru’s best cuisine, try the adobo pork and fried guinea pig, cold octopus and river shrimp casseroles. Finish with a trekking or rafting adventure in the dramatic Colca and Cotahuasi canyons, gazing up to see soaring condors. Read less

Puerto Rico
Caves, snorkeling, bioluminescent bays (Kayak), diving.
San Sebastian Waterfall with rope swing
Culebra and Viquez- bioluminescent bays.
Isabela – horseback riding
Utuado – swimming holes
Eastern Side – Hacienda Moyano – place to stay
Fajardo – El Yunque – zipline
Camuy – caves
Arecibo Observatory
Window Cave?
Surfing at Rincon

Surf Camp
Granada – can walk everywhere.

Brazil – Rainforests
Ilha Grande, Brazil

And Ecuador has lots of variety; from surf beach towns like Montanita, to the volcanic Banos with famed hot springs at the gateway to the Amazon basin, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cuenca in the high Andes, there’s a lot to see.

Puerto Ahora, and Santa Cruz (Galapagos) Ecuador
Puerto Ayora is a town in central Galápagos, Ecuador. Located on the southern shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is the seat of Santa Cruz Canton.
Charles Darwin Science Centre. Beach nearby with 100+ iguanas. Fish Market on Main Street. Pelicans and Sea Lions. Los Grietas boar ride to a Grotto. Isla Isabella boat. Snorkel just out of the harbor to see Mantas, sea turtles, penguins.