Mountain range in Peru, best latin american countries to visit

15 Best Latin American Countries to Visit in 2024

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If you’re looking for the best Latin American countries to visit, you’re in for a real treat. Latin America is a treasure trove of history, culture, natural beauty, and those postcard-perfect beaches we all daydream about.

In this guide, I’m here to help you sift through the options and uncover the best Latin American countries you should seriously consider for your next adventure. My personal favorite is Costa Rica, a beautiful country known for its lush natural landscapes, tropical wonders, and incredible variety of wildlife. I also love Cuba for its historical significance and stunning scenery. Plus, there’s Chile, a land of striking contrasts that’ll leave you in awe.

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Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the best places to travel in Latin America.

1. Costa Rica, one of the best Latin American countries to visit

Costa Rica is undeniably the best Latin American country to visit, celebrated for its remarkable natural landscapes, abundant wildlife, and captivating cities full of attractions.

When you touch down in the country, you’ll find tons of wonderful things to do in Costa Rica. Begin your journey in the capital city, San José. I recommend kicking things off with this free guided tour to get a feel for the city’s history and traditions. Afterward, I suggest exploring the town at your own pace and enjoying the iconic sites, such as Plaza de la Cultura, the National Theater, and the Post and Telegraph Building, among others.

Costa Rica, best latin american countries to visit

1. Costa Rica, one of the best Latin American countries to visit

Costa Rica offers an impressive array of national parks, and the Manuel Antonio National Park is a shining star among them. This park boasts some of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful beaches in the country, along with an unparalleled biodiversity that’s hard to find elsewhere in my opinion. To make the most of your visit, I recommend booking this guided tour to increase your chances of encountering unique wildlife and discovering hidden treasures. Another great place you must visit is the Marino Ballena National Park, which offers an excellent opportunity for whale watching in Costa Rica. We took this tour and we absolutely loved it.

The country’s volcanic landscapes are equally captivating, and one of the most impressive ones is the Poás Volcano, located near San José. You can take this excursion that departs from the capital to explore the volcano and enjoy the breathtaking La Paz Waterfall, considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica.

If you’re still on the fence about which Latin American country to visit, let me make it simple for you – Costa Rica is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and cheapest places to travel in Latin America. For more information about this incredible destination, check our comprehensive guide on traveling to Costa Rica.

And don’t forget to secure the best travel insurance to Costa Rica before starting your journey. It’s your safety net against any unexpected events during your trip.

2. Mexico, one of the best Latin American places to visit

Mexico is among the best places to visit in Latin America. This country has everything a tourist wishes for: dreamy beaches, delectable cuisine, rich culture and history, and warm and welcoming people.

Kickstart your journey in the bustling Mexico City, the country’s capital city. Consider taking this free guided tour to get acquainted with the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Beyond the city limits, there are so many attractions to explore. One of them is Teotihuacán, an archaeological marvel you can visit by booking this excursion. You can also combine your visit to this archaeological wonder with a trip to the Basilica of Guadalupe, built in honor of the patron saint of Latin America, and Tlatelolco, the former capital of the Aztec empire. While it may take a whole day, the experience is truly rewarding. If that sounds good to you, I highly recommend this guided excursion from Mexico City.

Mérida, also known as the White City, is another captivating destination. Its unique heritage is a blend of colonial, Mayan, and African cultures. I recommend joining this guided tour (in Spanish) to explore Tulum’s Mayan pyramid, temples, and relaxing beaches, and also uncover some fascinating historical insights about these landmarks.

Mexico, cheap latin american countries to visit

2. Mexico, one of the best Latin American places to visit

But the reason Mexico stands out as one of the best countries to visit in Latin America is the presence of one of the world’s seven wonders, Chichén Itzá. While you can visit these awe-inspiring Mayan ruins with just a ticket in hand, I strongly advise opting for this guided tour, because you’ll delve much deeper into the wonders of this ancient site when you are accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. You can also reach Chichén Itzá from Mérida by booking this excursion.

To have a relaxing moment surrounded by nature, you can head to one of the cenotes (natural swimming holes) scattered across the country. The Gran Cenote and Ik Kil are two of the most renowned and beautiful options. Both are situated in the Riviera Maya, a region famous for the Tulum ruins and its pristine beaches, often considered the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. If you prefer a guided experience, consider this half-day tour to discover the fascinating history of the area’s Mayan culture.

If you prefer spending some time on paradisiacal beaches, then you must visit Isla Mujeres from Cancun, also in the Riviera Maya, by booking this excursion. Alternatively, if you want to spend several days on the island, I recommend taking the ferry directly from Cancun.

Mexico is an all-encompassing destination with a multitude of attractions, making it one of the best Latin American countries for solo travel. While you’re planning your adventure, don’t forget to secure travel insurance for Mexico to protect yourself against unforeseen events. Additionally, you should choose one of the best SIM cards for Mexico to ensure you’re always connected to the internet in Mexico.

3. Peru, one of the most incredible places to visit in Latin America

Peru ranks among the best Latin American travel destinations that has truly won our hearts.

You can start your adventure by taking this free guided tour of Lima, the nation’s capital, a city steeped in history, culture, and delectable gastronomy. Its old town is even recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From Lima, consider booking this bus excursion to Huacachina, a beautiful town nestled within a natural oasis, surrounded by vast sand dunes and a lagoon that shares its name. Along the way, you’ll make a stop in the coastal city of Paracas, where you will take a boat to the Ballestas Islands to observe sea lions, penguins, and a multitude of bird species.

No Peruvian journey is complete without a visit to Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire. You can join this free tour to explore the Plaza de Armas and the San Blas neighborhood. But what truly makes Peru one of the best Latin American countries to visit is the magnificent Machu Picchu, an ancient citadel renowned for its Temple of the Sun and the Inti Mach’ay cave. You can opt for this guided excursion directly from Cusco, but if you prefer to explore this attraction on your own, make sure to book your ticket in advance.

Peru, best destinations in latin america

3. Peru, one of the most incredible places to visit in Latin America

I also recommend joining this excursion from Cusco, which will take you to the Maras Salt Mines, an ancient salt extraction center dating back to 500 to 1100 AD. The tour includes a stop at the Inca ruins of Moray.

From Cusco, you can also take this full-day excursion to venture to Humantay Lake, a natural wonder with incredible turquoise waters. Or, you can join this guided walk to witness the Rainbow Mountain in Vinicunca. Another popular excursion from Cusco is this multi-day tour through Manú National Park, located in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon.

However, if you’re a hiking enthusiast, Huaraz should definitely be on your itinerary. In fact, we run photography tours in Huayhuash every year to delve deep into this region, capturing the azure lakes, the Huayhuash Mountain Range, and the White Mountain Range, which create an authentic mountain paradise.

As you can see, if you’re looking for the top countries to visit in Latin America, Peru is an all-inclusive destination with a wide array of attractions and places to explore. Nazca, renowned for the mysterious Nazca Lines, is another must-visit destination that you can visit by booking this sightseeing flight. Or you can take this excursion to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.

Undoubtedly, Peru ranks among the best South American countries to visit, offering tons of captivating natural landscapes and historical landmarks to visit.

4. Argentina, one of the safest and cheapest Latin American countries to visit

Argentina vies for the title of the best Latin American country to visit, offering a warm welcome to travelers from all over the world.

You can start your adventure by taking this free tour through the historic center of Buenos Aires, the capital city. It’s a place full of history, culture, and intriguing contrasts. Here, you’ll find museums, vibrant markets, trendy districts, delectable cuisine, and so much more. To truly grasp the Argentinian culture and heritage, don’t miss the opportunity to catch this live tango show; it’s a mesmerizing experience.

Mendoza is also among the best Latin American places to visit, especially if you’re a wine enthusiast. For me, this vineyards tour with wine tastings was the perfect way to delve into the wine tradition of the region. Even if wine is not to your liking, you can still get to know the city through this free guided tour. And if you’d like to witness the pinnacle of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas, you can book this excursion from Mendoza through the Andes. The surrounding natural beauty is simply breathtaking.

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4. Argentina, one of the safest and cheapest Latin American countries to visit

Another one of my favorites is Calafate, a beautiful town located on the southern border of Lake Argentino which serves as a gateway to the Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier. Taking this day trip from Calafate is an excellent way to explore these natural wonders. However, if you’re here to enjoy some hiking, El Chaltén is your ideal destination. In fact, we were so captivated by this area that we had to include it in our Patagonia photo tours.

Argentina is one of the best Latin American places to visit, offering a wealth of intriguing destinations besides those I mentioned. San Carlos de Bariloche, for instance, is a captivating spot, famous for its pristine lakes. Start with this guided tour, and then take this excursion through the seven lakes, including Correntoso, Espejo, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner, Hermoso, and Machónico, all brimming with beauty. Don’t forget to visit the Arrayanes forest and enjoy the views of Cerro Tronador. And of course, no itinerary is complete without indulging in the local specialty—chocolate, a popular treat in this town.

I also recommend visiting the majestic Iguazú Falls with this multi-day tour and exploring the mountainous landscapes surrounding Salta. Plus, you can join this full-day trip to discover the rich cultural heritage, stunning scenery, and historical attractions of the region.

Without a doubt, Argentina ranks among the best countries to visit in Latin America. Its cities and natural landscapes are simply astounding, ensuring that you’ll always find something interesting to do.

5. Ecuador, another cheap Latin American country to visit

Attention! Due to the current situation in the country, we do not recommend traveling to Ecuador at this time.

Ecuador is one of the cheapest Latin American countries to visit. Your Ecuadorian journey can start with this free guided tour of Quito, the vibrant capital city that’s steeped in history and adorned with monuments, historical sites, and captivating buildings. If you are looking for a more comprehensive exploration, consider this full-day tour that not only covers the city’s highlights but also offers interesting information about Ecuador’s history. From there, you can also take this adventure tour to the Mindo Cloud Forest, one of the country’s most visited destinations.

To the south of Quito, you can go on a thrilling expedition to Cotopaxi National Park with a volcano tour. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the Cotopaxi volcano, one of the world’s highest active volcanoes. Additionally, you’ll visit the Quilotoa volcano and the Limpiopungo Lagoon. Further south, you can also see the Chimborazo volcano, which is the highest mountain in Ecuador.

Ecuador, best countries to visit in latin america

5. Ecuador, another cheap Latin American country to visit

Cuenca, known as the City of Four Rivers, is among the cheapest places to travel in Latin America. I suggest you take this tour of Cuenca to discover the must-visit sites in the city. But don’t miss the attractions in the surrounding areas, such as Cajas National Park, where you can join this hiking trip.

For adventure sports enthusiasts, Baños is a haven for trekking, cycling, kayaking, rafting, and various outdoor activities. However, if you’re in the mood for relaxation, you can enjoy the Agua Santa thermal baths, located at the base of the Tungurahua volcano. Trust me, you’re in for a truly delightful and rejuvenating experience.

Ecuador is certainly one of the top Latin American countries to visit, offering lots of stunning beaches. The most beautiful ones include Playa Esmeralda, Montañita, and Salinas. If time permits, I highly recommend an excursion to the Galapagos Islands, where you can observe numerous endangered animal species. In fact, you can book this 10-day excursion, if you feel like spending part of your trip around these beautiful islands.

6. Chile, an amazing place to travel in Latin America

Chile is a paradise for nature lovers and avid hikers, making it one of the top Latin American travel destinations. To begin your journey, I recommend starting with this free tour of the capital city, Santiago de Chile. For a more comprehensive experience, you can opt for this private guided tour that offers a deeper insight into the city. Additionally, you won’t want to miss this full-day excursion to visit the breathtaking Cajón de Maipo, one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring gorges in the country.

I also recommend visiting the vibrant city of Valparaíso, renowned for its historical and cultural significance. You can take this free tour to discover the city’s main attractions. However, if you’re a wine aficionado, you can’t miss this excursion that includes wine tasting. During this tour, you’ll visit Viña del Mar, a key region in Chile’s wine industry, and enjoy a tasting session at Viña Indómita in the Casablanca Valley.

San Pedro de Atacama is another popular destination that must be on your itinerary. I wholeheartedly recommend joining this tour to visit the El Tatio geysers, as well as this excursion to explore Piedras Rojas and the Salar de Atacama, which have some of the most stunning landscapes in all of Latin America. Moreover, this region of Chile offers the darkest skies in the world, so, make sure to take this night tour to enjoy the starry sky. And if you’re interested in mastering the art of photographing the Milky Way, consider joining one of the Atacama photo tours we run each year.

Chile, best latin american countries for solo travel

6. Chile, an amazing place to travel in Latin America

Heading south, Puerto Natales in the Chilean Patagonia is another incredible and highly touristy destination. Here, you can explore the Milodón Natural Cave, where remnants of prehistoric mammals were discovered. From Puerto Natales, consider this full-day excursion to Torres del Paine National Park. I can assure you that it’s well worth the visit, as it’s one of the most beautiful natural parks in the world, characterized by its remarkable landscapes and diverse wildlife. We organize photo tours in Patagonia every year, and touring this unique park is always a highlight.

Depending on your available time and preferred itinerary, you can venture further south and explore Cape Horn, known as the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, and the Chiloé National Park. Aside from navigating through an evergreen forest, you might even catch a glimpse of pygmy blue whales.

The best thing about visiting Chile is that if you’re traveling from Europe or North America, there will be a good chance that you can explore this captivating country without the need for a visa, as long as you possess a valid passport. Chile is also one of the cheapest countries to visit in Latin America, making it a fantastic choice, especially if you are on a tight budget.

7. Guatemala, another one of the best places to travel in Latin America

Guatemala is one of the best places to visit in Central America and ranks among the best Latin American travel destinations. It’s a country rich in history, culture, and stunning natural landscapes, but many travelers come here to explore the archaeological remnants of the pre-Columbian Mayans.

Guatemala City, the country’s capital city, is one of the most modern cities in all of Central America. You can start the trip by taking this city tour that not only provides you with fascinating historical tidbits about the capital but also introduces you to its key points of interest. If you plan to spend a few days exploring other Guatemalan cities, I highly recommend Quetzaltenango, the second-largest city in Guatemala, and Antigua, which was the capital of the colonial-era Kingdom of Guatemala.

Tikal National Park is one of the largest pre-Columbian Mayan ruins in the world and serves as the country’s primary attraction. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While you can find excursions to this national park from virtually any city in Guatemala, the most convenient option is this day trip from Flores which includes meals.

Guatemala, latin american countries to visit

7. Guatemala, another one of the best places to travel in Latin America

From here, you can venture to other captivating places like the Mayan archaeological complex of Yaxhá or the Blue Crater, where you’ll be fascinated by a deep, sapphire-hued sinkhole surrounded by lush jungle.

Other interesting destinations in Guatemala include Lake Petén Itzá and Lake Atitlán, with the latter being the most famous lake in the country and the deepest lake in all of Central America. To make the most of your visit, I recommend booking this full-day excursion in advance, which allows you to explore charming towns like Panajachel and Chichicastenango.

If you have some spare time, I recommend climbing the Pacaya volcano, where you can witness the intense activity of the Fuego Volcano, alongside the impressive Agua and Acatenango volcanoes. if you are looking for a more peaceful experience, your best choice is to visit the Semuc Champey Natural Monument, a renowned site celebrated for its turquoise pools and quiet setting, where you can bathe and relax surrounded by magnificent natural wonders.

8. Cuba, one of the cheapest Latin American countries to visit

Cuba is not only one of the cheapest Latin American countries to visit but also a land full of history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes.

I suggest you start your exploration in the heart of Havana. For instance, you can take this free guided tour of colonial Havana to explore the city’s colonial architecture and get a firsthand impression of the capital city. If you want something more comprehensive, consider booking this guided tour.

Also, in case you like urban exploration, there are other charming cities steeped in colonial history, such as Trinidad and Cienfuegos. In fact, if you’re in Havana, consider taking this two-day excursion to visit both of these cities and learn about their fascinating historical heritage.

Cuba, easiest latin american country to visit

8. Cuba, one of the cheapest Latin American countries to visit

The Viñales Valley is another essential stop on your itinerary. Visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best things to do in Cuba as it offers a unique glimpse into rural life, with picturesque tobacco fields and a rich local culture. The valley is also famous for its mogotes—rounded mountains that paint an enchanting landscape that’s almost otherworldly.

If you’re yearning for some quality time on the seafront, then Cuba is the best place to visit in Latin America. This country has some of the best beaches in Latin America, including Varadero, one of the most popular beach resort towns. But if you’re after a more untouched and wild beach experience, head to Cayo Jutías, where you’ll discover unspoiled beaches. Another dreamy destination is Cayo Largo del Sur, home to idyllic shores, where you can enjoy snorkeling and diving among mesmerizing underwater landscapes.

To make the most of your Cuban adventure, you can check our guide on traveling in Cuba.

I also recommend securing the best travel insurance for Cuba to ensure you’ll be covered in case of any unforeseen event.

  • Recommended accommodations:
    • Hotel Nacional de Cuba – an iconic 1930s hotel with fantastic views of Havana and its surroundings.
    • Casas particulars: These are rooms or accommodations for rent in the homes of Cuban families. I’d recommend finding one in each city you plan to visit, like Trinidad and Viñales, to experience the true Cuban culture firsthand.

9. Brazil, one of the best places to visit in Latin America for adventure

Brazil is a globally renowned destination, not just for its dazzling Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, but also for its stunning beaches and lush rainforests. It’s no surprise that many travelers believe that Brazil is the best Latin American country to visit.

Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil, is a must-visit city that captivates travelers not only with its famous Carnival celebration but also with one of the Seven Wonders of the World—the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. I recommend starting your exploration with this free tour of the historic center. However, if you’re short on time and want a more comprehensive experience, this guided tour is an excellent choice.

From Rio, you can easily venture to São Paulo, a city bursting with art, nightlife, and entertainment. If you’re looking for other fun things to do in this town, I recommend this half-day tour to visit the most popular attractions. You can even plan to stay a night or two for some memorable partying.

Brazil, best latin american country to visit

9. Brazil, one of the best places to visit in Latin America for adventure

Salvador is another one of my favorite destinations in Brazil. This city is not only one of the oldest cities in the Americas, but also offers stunning beaches, historic buildings, and delicious cuisine. To truly uncover the charm of Salvador, I recommend this half-day tour, which delves into numerous captivating attractions in the city.

Nature lovers, get ready for a treat! The awe-inspiring Iguazú Falls, one of the world’s largest and most impressive waterfalls, will leave you in awe. To get a closer look at the falls, I recommend booking this boat trip—an experience you won’t soon forget.

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest adds to its allure as one of the best Latin American places to visit. So, if you want a taste of the Amazon rainforest, head to Manaus and take this multi-day jungle excursion that promises encounters with a wide array of wildlife, including endangered species and numerous unique plant species.

If the jungle isn’t your favorite setting and you prefer a more peaceful experience, you can go to Parque das Dunas in Natal and enjoy its incredible beaches, especially Copacabana. You can also explore Ilha Grande, Florianópolis Island, Conceição Lagoon, and Joaquina Surf Beach. And if your Brazilian adventure takes place during the rainy season, you surely won’t want to miss a visit to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. This park is famous for its rolling hills, sand dunes, and valleys. What makes it even more special during this time of year is the formation of freshwater lagoons between the dunes, perfect for a refreshing swim or water sports.

Brazil offers a rich tapestry of experiences, from its vibrant cities and natural wonders to pristine beaches, making it one of the best Latin American countries to retire in.

10. Colombia, another cheap country to visit in Latin America

Colombia is another cheap Latin American country to visit. It not only won’t break the bank, but it’s also a truly beautiful destination with charming cities and magnificent natural beauty.

You can start your trip through Colombia with this free walking tour of Bogotá, one of the largest cities in the Americas. You’ll explore iconic sites like Plaza de Bolívar, the National Capitol, and the Primate Cathedral of Colombia. If you’re short on time but want the full Bogotá experience, consider booking this complete tour, which includes visits to the La Candelaria neighborhood, the fascinating Gold Museum, and many other attractions around the city.

But that’s just the beginning. From the capital, you can venture on this excursion to the Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral, nestled inside a salt mine, or opt for this hike through the Andean jungle to witness the awe-inspiring La Chorrera Waterfall, the tallest in Colombia.

I also recommend visiting Medellín, Colombia’s second-largest city. You can kick it off with this free walking tour, or explore other captivating options like this graffiti art tour or the Pablo Escobar tour.

Colombia, best latin american country to visit

10. Colombia, another cheap country to visit in Latin America

From Medellín, you can also take this full-day excursion to El Peñol de Guatapé, a geological wonder that’s millions of years old. While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to climb the famous El Peñol Rock and enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

If you prefer the sea and pristine beaches, I recommend the Rosario Islands, accessible via this boat trip from Cartagena. Before you leave Cartagena, make sure to join one of the available free tours to get a feel for the city. You can choose between this free walking tour of Cartagena de Indias, the Getsemaní neighborhood tour, and the free tour of the historic center.

The island of San Andrés is another beautiful destination, where you can enjoy a thrilling scuba diving experience. Keep in mind that reaching this island involves a short plane ride. So, make sure to book your tickets in advance through platforms such as Skyscanner or Kiwi.

If you’re a nature enthusiast, consider heading north to Tayrona National Park. This remarkable destination is celebrated not only for its breathtaking beauty but also for being home to the world’s most diverse bird species. It’s estimated that more than 1,950 species live in this incredible place. The landscape, with its coves, lagoons, and lush forests, makes you feel like you’re in a whole other world.

Colombia, with its mix of urban beauty, natural wonders, and magnificent beaches, is undeniably one of the best destinations for a joyful vacation in Latin America.

11. Bolivia, a beautiful and cheap Latin American country to visit

Bolivia is another one of the cheapest Latin American countries to visit, which is also renowned for its rich cultural heritage and natural wonders.

Sucre, which is the constitutional and official capital of Bolivia, is a city you shouldn’t miss. Here you’ll find whitewashed Spanish colonial buildings, 16th-century churches, ancient architecture, and many other artistic creations. To truly appreciate its history and interesting details, I recommend taking this guided tour to explore this city, as it’s filled with fascinating history and stories that only a knowledgeable guide can bring to life.

Another must-visit city is La Paz, which also serves as a sort of capital due to its role as the headquarters for the Executive, Legislative, and Electoral Bodies. La Paz offers a plethora of interesting sights, including the Plaza Metropolitana Murillo, the Basilica Menor de San Francisco, and the Killi Killi viewpoint, which provides breathtaking views of Mount Illimani and Huayna Potosí. Consider booking this guided tour to make the most of your visit.

Bolivia, places to visit in latin America

11. Bolivia, a beautiful and cheap Latin American country to visit

Lake Titicaca is another captivating destination and one of the reasons why Bolivia is among the best places to travel to in Latin America. You can easily take this full-day excursion from La Paz, which includes transportation and a boat ride on the lake, as well as visits to the charming towns of Copacabana and Yumani.

While all of Bolivia’s cities are beautiful, nothing quite compares to the Daniel Campos Province. This place is home to Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world, spanning approximately 3,900 square miles. It’s a photographer’s dream come true, and I highly recommend booking this excursion to truly appreciate this otherworldly landscape. With a guided tour, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the unique flora and fauna of the Bolivian Altiplano, including its beautiful flamingos.

Another fantastic option is booking this private 4×4 Jeep tour, which allows you to witness the mesmerizing Laguna Colorada, a salt lake with distinctive reddish and white hues. For a truly remarkable experience, consider joining our Atacama and Bolivia photography tour, complete with several nights to capture the Milky Way in the Salar de Uyuni.

12. Dominican Republic, one of the best places to visit in Latin America for beaches

The Dominican Republic ranks among the best countries to visit in Latin America and is also one of the best islands in the Caribbean. Here, you’ll discover pristine beaches perfect for soaking up the sun, swimming, or practicing water sports, all while enjoying lots of entertainment and vibrant nightlife.

If you find yourself in Santo Domingo, the capital, don’t miss the chance to take this free tour of the Colonial City. This way, you can delve into the city’s history through its fascinating landmarks like the ruins of San Francisco, San Nicolás de Bari, and the Dominican Convent, among others.

Another hotspot in the Dominican Republic, and a key reason it’s one of the top Latin American countries to visit, is Punta Cana. Here you will find some of the best beaches in the country, such as Playa Bávaro and Playa Macao, known for their fine white sand. For an even more exciting experience, I recommend taking this buggy tour, a thrilling adventure that we absolutely loved. While in Punta Cana, you should also go on this whale-watching tour, which I wholeheartedly recommend. This tour also gives you the opportunity to explore Bacardi Island and the magnificent Limón waterfalls.

Dominican Republic, best latin american countries to retire

12. Dominican Republic, one of the best places to visit in Latin America for beaches

And if you’re into nightlife, make sure to visit Punta Cana and its famous nightclubs, such as Coco Bongo. Your best option here is to book this Coco Bongo nightclub experience with transfers included, ensuring an unforgettable and unique night at this legendary nightclub in Punta Cana.

If you are looking for a more peaceful setting, head over to Saona Island, an authentic Caribbean paradise full of mangroves and coral reefs. If you’re in the mood, you can even take this catamaran cruise to enjoy pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and untamed vegetation surrounding the island. You can also try this full-day snorkeling tour to Catalina Island and experience one of the most vibrant underwater ecosystems around the Dominican Republic.

And remember that it’s always a good idea to get your travel insurance for the Dominican Republic before starting your journey. It’s your safety net against any unexpected events, whether related to health, luggage, civil liability, or other situations.

13. Panama, one of the best Latin American places to visit for history buffs

Panama is one of the top Latin American countries to visit and one of the safest countries in Central America.

The real star of the show here is the Panama Canal, a 50-mile waterway full of history and surrounded by fascinating legends. To get a good introduction, I recommend booking this excursion. But if you want to experience sailing through the canal, you can join this ship cruise and visit the Miraflores Locks, Pedro Miguel Locks, and the Bridge of the Americas. The Panama Canal also flows into Gatun Lake, home to charming islets like Monkey Island, where—you guessed it—monkeys live, along with other animal species.

Panama City, the country’s capital, has plenty to offer as well. You can start by taking this guided walking tour to explore the essentials, including the Old Town, the National Theater, and El Tornillo, a peculiar corkscrew-shaped building. If you’re up for a stark contrast, then make sure to join this excursion to the San Blas Islands that departs from here. You’ll journey from a bustling city to a village where there is no electricity or running water. I assure you that living like an authentic Kuna is an unforgettable experience and well worth the journey.

Panama, latin america best places to visit

13. Panama, one of the best Latin American places to visit for history buffs

Bocas del Toro, especially its main island, Colón, where you’ll find Bocas Town, is another place you cannot afford to miss. The town is so unique and well-preserved that it reminds you of the Wild West. Aside from the charming town, you can also enjoy beautiful beaches and exciting excursions, like the one leading to Playa Estrella and Isla Pájaros. Another delightful option is to join an excursion to Cayo Zapatilla and Cayo Coral. I promise you that these destinations are authentic tropical paradises that will leave you speechless.

As one of the top travel destinations in Latin America, Panama has a lot to offer. The Barú volcano, the tallest volcano in Central America, is just one example. Plus, if you enjoy outdoor activities, you can hike the Quetzal Trail through Barú Volcano National Park and enjoy lush jungles and tropical rainforests. This trail also connects Cerro Punta with Boquete, two charming towns located in the western highlands of Panama.

If you have some spare time, consider heading over to Coíba Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has become a paradise for diving enthusiasts. And if you enjoy surfing, make sure to visit Santa Catalina. With so much to see and experience, Panama rightfully claims its spot as one of the best destinations for a lovely vacation in Latin America.

14. Nicaragua, one of the best Latin American countries to visit with a rich biodiversity

Nicaragua is another one of the best places to travel in Latin America, and it’s a country teeming with volcanoes and geothermal wonders.

The capital, Managua, can be an excellent base for exploring the country. You can start your adventure by booking this excursion to the Masaya volcano, a hub for the country’s geothermal activity. This trip also includes a stop at the Laguna de Apoyo Natural Reserve, a tropical dry forest filled with a variety of plant and tree species, along with birds and other animals. If you want to witness the Masaya volcano from a different perspective, consider this night excursion, a perfect opportunity to see the lava’s fiery glow from up close.

Heading east from Masaya, you’ll find another must-visit location in Nicaragua: The Mombacho volcano, which last erupted in 1570. For this adventure, I recommend booking this guided walk to ensure a memorable experience in the middle of breathtaking scenery and native fauna. Plus, with a guide by your side, you increase your chances of spotting red-eyed frogs, sloths, and other rare local wildlife.

Nicaragua, cheapest latin american countries to visit

14. Nicaragua, one of the best Latin American countries to visit with a rich biodiversity

It’s fascinating to note that the eruption of this volcano gave rise to the Islets of Granada, located within Lake Nicaragua. You can even book this day trip from Granada, which also includes a visit to Ometepe Island, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

If you’re up for exploring an active volcano, Cerro Negro is a fantastic option. I recommend this guided tour from León, which takes you right to the crater on foot to enjoy the thrill of sliding down this active volcano.

If you’re looking for famous places in Latin America to enjoy volcanic landscapes, pristine nature, and diverse wildlife, I assure you that Nicaragua is one of the best choices.

15. Uruguay, another must-visit destination for travel in Latin America

Uruguay, aside from being one of the safest countries in South America, also ranks as one of the best countries to visit in Latin America.

I suggest kicking off your exploration in the capital, Montevideo, a city full of history and culture. You can start with this free walking tour of its historic center. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive experience, opt for this half-day tour that will take you to iconic spots like the Legislative Palace, the Centenario Stadium, and the Agricultural Market, among other points of interest. While you’re in Montevideo, consider taking an excursion to Punta del Este, which is widely known for its idyllic beaches, particularly Playa Mansa, famous for the iconic sculpture of “La Mano” (The Hand) emerging from the sands of Punta del Este.

If you plan to continue eastward, explore the charming town of José Ignacio as well as the beautiful Laguna Garzón, a perfect spot for those interested in outdoor activities and tranquil environments.

Uruguay, best latin american places to visit

15. Uruguay, another must-visit destination for travel in Latin America

Montevideo is just the beginning of what Uruguay has to offer, making it one of the best places to travel in Latin America. You can’t miss a visit to the city of Colonia de Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a historic neighborhood brimming with culture and tradition. If you want to explore the most emblematic monuments of Colonia de Sacramento, consider this guided tour. But if time is short and you don’t plan to stay overnight, you can opt for this day trip from Montevideo.

Other captivating destinations include Cabo Polonio, a small village drawing water sports enthusiasts and anyone in search of a serene escape in the heart of unspoiled nature and wildlife. Equally fascinating is Punta del Diablo, a place that, although relatively well-connected, remains a tranquil haven far removed from the urban hustle and bustle. Plus, it’s an ideal spot for water activities and surfing.

And finally, if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation, I recommend a visit to the Daymán Hot Springs or the Arapey Hot Springs, both known as the best natural pools in the country.

Safest countries to visit in Latin America

All the countries mentioned in this guide are safe for travelers, particularly in the most touristy areas. However, if you ever have any doubts, you can refer to our guide on the safest countries in Latin America. We’ve selected these countries based on the statistics from the Vision of Humanity website as well as our firsthand experiences from traveling in these regions.

I also recommend choosing one of the best travel insurance companies when exploring any Latin American country. This way, you’ll be covered in case of illness, accidents, or any issues related to your luggage. We’ve been using Heymondo travel insurance for a while, and their quick and efficient response when we needed assistance has left us quite satisfied. Plus, as a Capture the Atlas reader, you can even take advantage of an exclusive Heymondo discount, so there’s really no reason to travel without insurance.

For a safe and convenient way to manage your finances while abroad, it’s best to avoid carrying large amounts of cash. I personally prefer choosing one of the best cards for traveling abroad; it’ll help you save on commissions when making payments and withdrawing cash from foreign ATMs. Plus, you won’t need to carry too much money with you.

Staying connected is also vital when visiting Latin America. It not only helps you keep in touch with family and friends but also allows you to contact your travel insurance provider in case of any incidents. You can ensure you have Internet access during your trip by using Holafly eSIM cards, which offer unlimited data in any country. We’ve used these SIM cards ourselves, and they work great. Plus, they come at a reasonable price, and you can even grab a discount for Holafly with our link.

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To fully enjoy all the incredible places to visit in Latin America, you should remember to use common sense and trust your intuition, as you would in any other country. Avoid potentially risky areas, especially at night, and steer clear of situations or places that make you feel uneasy. And keep in mind that we have a guide with the safest countries in Latin America in case you find it more reassuring to explore one of those destinations.

What is the difference between South America and Latin America?

The distinction between South America and Latin America can sometimes lead to confusion because these terms refer to different aspects of the continent, and some countries can fall into both categories.

Latin America encompasses all the countries in the Americas where Spanish, Portuguese, or French are spoken, as these languages have their roots in Latin. This includes a total of 20 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

On the other hand, South America is not categorized by the language spoken but rather by its geographical location within the continent, specifically in the southern region. The boundary between Colombia and Panama is the defining line, resulting in a total of 13 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

This means that a South American country can also be considered a Latin American country if it’s situated in the southern region of the continent and if Spanish, Portuguese, or French is spoken.

Map of the best Latin American countries to visit

For those considering a visit to any of the famous places in Latin America that I mentioned, I’ve included a map below to help you identify them quickly and easily:

And that’s all for now. I hope this guide to visiting Latin America assists you in planning your next adventure. If you have any questions or wish to share your experiences traveling to these places in Latin America, feel free to leave a comment below. I will be happy to hear from you!

Wishing you a fantastic journey through Latin America!

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CHIEF ADVENTURER, TRAVEL GURU, AND MASTER PLANNER AT CAPTURE THE ATLAS
Hey there, I'm Ascen, your personal trip planner on a mission to help you craft the most incredible adventure of your life. While I'm based in Las Vegas, you won't find me there often. As a full-time traveler, I'm always on the go, exploring new destinations and capturing the world through my lens. From the enchanting shores of Almeria, Spain, where I grew up, to the far reaches of the globe, I'm here to provide you with detailed travel guides and practical tips to make your trip planning a breeze. Find out more about me here.
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2 replies on “15 Best Latin American Countries to Visit in 2024

  1. Mike says:

    Would not agree that all the countries in Latin America are safe to visit. Colombia for example is level 3 reconsider travel – many trouists are being found dead with their bank accounts having been emptied beforehand. Express kidnappings are also becoming more common unfortunately in latin america.

    • Ascen Aynat says:

      Hi Mike,
      Yes, the increasing violence in Latin America is devastating. While our trips have gone off without a hitch, I know the situation in several countries has worsened.

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