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Central and South America

From the jungles of Central America to the glacier laden mountains of South America, travelers can find themselves creating an almost limitless list of things to see and do. This area is also home to some of the largest and most dynamic cities in the world, with places like Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Buenos Aires, and Caracas. It is also home ancient ruins, unique cultures, one of the greatest rivers in the world, jungles, beaches, and an unimaginable amount of wildlife.

Traveling through South and Central America can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Beginning in Central America, visitors will find a wealth of travel experiences. In Guatemala, gaze out at volcanoes across the waters of Lake Atitlan, explore the colonial architecture of Antigua Guatemala, or see the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal. Surf along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, or step into a world of monkeys, sloths, and toucans in the surrounding hillsides and National Park of Manuel Antonio. In Honduras laze the days away on the beaches of Roatan or dive the stunning reefs just off shore. Throughout Central America visitors will find quaint villages, inland lakes, ocean side beaches, mountains, coffee plantations, and all kinds of wildlife.

South America is a whole other experience, with a mix of old and new. Some countries, like Brazil, have seen exceptional development and advancements on a world scale in the past couple of decades. In other areas, like in the small villages in the Andes, life remains much as it has been for hundreds of years. This contrast makes South America an interesting area to explore.

Some of the continents top tourist attractions are the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, the beautiful cities of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, the national parks of Chile, particularly the famous Torres del Paine, and Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. Additionally travelers might also consider a cruise up the Amazon River, a flight over Angel Falls in Venezuela, or wet walk around the huge Iguazu Falls on the Argentina and Brazil border.

When to travel in South America depends largely on the region. Due to the size of the continent the climate varies greatly between regions. There are also huge elevation differences to consider as you move from the coastal areas up into the Andes. In Peru, travelers can board a plane at sea level in Lima and be at Lake Titicaca, which sits at over 3800m / 12,300ft, later that same day. Depending on the country, travelers may want to plan a more gradually ascending route which allows for time to acclimatize, rather than beginning their journey at high elevations.

Visitors will also want to be aware of national holidays and major regional events. Many holidays are celebrated in big style, with parades and large crowds. In Brazil, Carnival draws huge numbers of visitors to the city of Rio de Janeiro. Traveling through most of Central and South America during Easter or Christmas can be challenging if you have not booked transportation and hotels in advance.