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Located in the northwest of the country in the province of Salta, Cafayate is a small town of just over 12,000 residents. Although charming and with a few attractions worth visiting – including an archeological museum featuring objects from the local Indigenous people – most people arriving here are on their way to the Quebrada de Cafayate (or Quebrada de las Conchas). An area known for its towering reddish rock formations, the quebrada offers one of the most stunning drives in South America on Route 68. More than 60 kilometers of paved roads cut through colorful sandstone, offering plenty of stops to discover narrow canyons, natural amphitheaters, towers of sandstone and clay, and the shores of the Rio de las Conchas.
Most visitors to Colombia will inevitably begin their trip in the nation’s largest city-and beating heart-Bogotá. It’s a city that often divides opinion, with some complaining of its gridlocked streets and dreary weather, and others falling head over heals for its unique combination of colonial charm and urban sophistication. Either way, this city of eight million tends to grow on people who give it enough time. Begin your sightseeing in the historic center of La Candelaria, where you’ll find the impressive buildings lining Plaza de Bolívar and can’t-miss cultural attractions like the blindingly bright Museum of Gold. Then, head over to the wealthier neighborhoods of North Bogotá for some of the nation’s best boutique shops and chef-driven restaurants.
A haven for birders and nature lovers, the Peninsula de Zapata is a remote, sparsely populated area of Cuba with diverse landscapes and one of the largest wetlands in the Caribbean. The Cienaga de Zapata, or the Zapata Swamp as it is affectionately known, is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, home to approximately 150 different species of birds, including waterhens, parrots, and heron. Crocodiles are also common. One part of the peninsula is a designated nature reserve, the Gran Parque Natural de Montemar, where you can see some of these creatures in their natural habitats. At the mouth of the Bay of Pigs (Bahia de Cochinos) is Playa Giron, the famous site of the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion. You can explore this fascinating history at the small Museo Giron. At the top of the Bay of Pigs, Playa Larga is home to a long beach backed by lush vegetation. Avid divers can explore the underwater wildlife at numerous dive sites here along the reef. Boca de Guama is the peninsula’s tourist center, and its main attraction is the Criadero de Cocodrilos, a crocodile farm.
Bogotá might be the Colombian capital, but it’s the smaller and more manageable city of Medellin that tends to capture the hearts of visitors. Medellin was dubbed the most dangerous city in the world in the early 1990s, but a quarter of a century later, it has earned a reputation for something entirely different: innovation. The city boasts cable cars linking the settlements in its hills to a modern metro system in the valley below, a greenbelt of lush “eco parks,” and striking libraries and community centers in some of the poorest neighborhoods. A great day of sightseeing in Medellin might start in the Old Quarter at Botero Plaza, where you’ll find a collection of 23 portly sculptures donated by the beloved Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Adjacent to the plaza is the must-visit Museum of Antioquia and the striking Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture. Then, head into the hills above town by riding the sleek escalator system through Comuna 13 to explore this neighborhood’s colorful homes and elaborate street murals. Finish your day in Medellin’s trendiest commune, El Poblado, where you’ll find buzzing eateries, boutique shops, and the vast majority of the city’s hotels.
In Cuba I had a friend I’d studied International Affairs with at the ANU in Canberra. And Cuba was looking a lot warmer than Europe by that point. With that visa I bid Jimmy farewell during another all night drinking session and over far too many pints. And I hoped a train to Frankfurt where I thought I could get a flight to Cuba. Buying the first available ticket I hopped a plane to Havana in mid 2021. And landed straight into Cuban Hotel Quarantine. After 2 weeks of locking me in a hotel room, feeding me something vaguely resembling food, shaking me down for cash everyday and randomly appearing at odd hours to shove a stick so far up my nose it tickled my brain, the Cubans finally let me out into the big wide world of their tiny little island. Find extra details on inlovelyblue.com.
Argentina’s diverse geography is one of the country’s main attractions. It encompasses everything from harsh deserts to humid jungles, and long ocean beaches to the soaring Andes. Stretching from the subtropical north to the subantarctic regions of beautiful Patagonia in the south, Argentina’s cultural, artistic, and architectural heritage is just as diverse, drawing upon influences from around the world. With its wonderful barrios, including colorful arts neighborhoods such as La Boca, old-world Recoleta, and trendy districts like Palermo, Buenos Aires sometimes feels more like Europe than Latin America. This lively capital city is the best place to begin sightseeing (it’s also the best place to learn to tango, the most iconic of Argentinian dances). In addition to its many cultural attractions, the other big draws – and for some tourists, its greatest appeal – are the country’s natural wonders, including the breathtaking Iguazú Falls, the world’s largest group of waterfalls. To make sure you find all the best places to visit and things to do, use this handy list of the top tourist attractions in Argentina.
In a country known for its beautiful beaches, Playa Paraíso (Paradise Beach), on the island of Cayo Largo del Sur, is one of Cuba’s best. This sublime strand of powdery white sand and baby blue sea skirts the sheltered western edge of the island and merges with the equally ravishing Playa Sirena. The island of Cayo Largo del Sur is truly a sun seeker’s destination with a typically dry, sunny climate and few tourist attractions besides some of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba and many hotels and resorts. Cayo Coco is another of Cuba’s idyllic beach destinations and one of its most isolated. The island starred in Hemingway’s novels, Islands in the Stream and The Old Man and the Sea, along with nearby Cayo Guillermo. As part of the Jardines del Rey, the combined archipelago of Sabana-Camaguey, Cayo Coco is connected to the mainland by a bridge, though most visitors arrive by air. Sun-splashed beaches are the prime attraction. Playa Los Flamencos, on the Atlantic side of the island, is a standout with its five-kilometer strand of sun-bleached sand, while the quiet and undeveloped Playa Prohibida offers a peaceful nature trail. The island also offers excellent birding. Connected by a causeway to Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo also boasts a bevy of beautiful beaches, such as the ravishing Playa Pilar, as well as a string of all-inclusive resorts.