South America has been at the top of my travel list. The cities are known for their lush scenery, historic UNESCO sites, the beautiful people, and their food. Deciding where to go in an unfamiliar country can feel scary, but with research and a little guidance, you'll be traveling like your favorite Instagram wanderlusters in no time.
Here are a few cities we think you should add to your travel bucket list!
1. Lima, Peru
Located on the Pacific Coast, this capital city is known for its eats and nightlife. Since Lima is the only city that has had two restaurants land in the top 10 on World's 50 Best Restaurants list, your inner foodie will want to make a stop in this eclectic town. Beyond their buzzing food scene, the city offers an opportunity to surf at Punta Roquitas and Playa Waikiki. If surfing isn't your ministry, then take a bike ride through the town to check out the architecture.
2. Mendoza, Argentina
Wine lovers will rejoice when they hit Mendoza, as it is known as the "Napa Valley of South America" mainly for its red wine. Since the temperatures in Mendoza can reach the 100s in January, book your trip from July to early September if you're not about sweating it out. The quaint town is all about rest, relaxation, good food, wine, and spa treatments. We hear the thermal pools and mud baths are a must.
3. Machu Picchu, Perú
Visiting Machi Picchu seems both glorious and frightening because of its elevated location, but hey, they say if conquering your fears is how you grow. Machu Picchu does have a rainy season from October through April, but rain can happen at any time — so don't let that deter you. The closest airport to Machu Picchu is in Cusco. From Cusco, you can take a short ride to a neighboring town called Poroy, and take a 3.5-hour train ride to reach the great Inca Ruins.
4. Bogotá, Colombia
Since Colombia has grown into a tourist hot spot, many cities have nonstop flights from the US — and Bogotá is one of them. Like many of the cities I've mentioned, Bogotá is a great city to see by bike. My art lovers will enjoy exploring the Botero Museum as it's free to visit and you can see works by Fernando Botero, Picasso, Monet, and Claude Monet.
5. Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena was once one of the largest slave ports in the Americas. That history alone is enough for me to want to pack my bags and explore the coastal city. Beyond the city's troubled history is a cultural mecca filled with fantastic street food, street art, and picturesque white sand beaches.
6. Santiago, Chilé
Santiago is Chilé's capital city and will give you all the hustle and bustle you crave. From the museums to Sanhattan (the city's financial district), the South American city is full places to get lost. If you grow tired of the sight and sounds of the city, venture off to Valparaiso by bus. The trip is about two hours one way, but a change of scenery is always a good thing — even on vacation.
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