Unesco: 1. Cueva de las Manos, Rio Pinturas 2. Iguazu NP* 3. Ischigualasto / Talampaya NPs 4. Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis: San Ignacio Mini, Santa Ana, Nuestra Senora de Loreto and Santa Maria Mayor (Argentina), Ruins of Sao Miguel das Missoes (Brazil) 5. Los Glaciares* 6. Peninsula Valdes 7. Quebrada de Humahuaca
Natural: 1. Nieve Penitentes (pass between Argentina and Chile has pinnacles of frozen snow) 2. Iguazu Falls* 3. Ibera Marshes 4. The Pampas* 5. Peninsula Valdez 6. Punta Tumbo, Chubut (central Atlantic coast, penguins) 7. Mount Fitzroy* 8. Perito Moreno Glacier* 9. Mid-Atlantic Ridge (longest mountain range on earth, extends pole to pole, ends at Iceland)
1. Fitz Roy Trek, Patagonia, –
Length: 36 miles, 4 to 7 days . El Chaltén to Laguna Torre to Poincenot Camp to Laguna Eléctrico
The Trip: This ramble through Delaware-size Los Glaciares National Park takes you from gnarled, spooky beech forests and open plains to glaciers, roaring waterfalls, and granite monoliths afire with orange dawn light. Hike among Argentina’s fabled Fitz Roy Massif, the iconic ridge where the peaks of Poincenot. (From Camp Poincenot, hike up in the predawn hours to Laguna de los Tres by headlamp for the full impact of sunrise on the Fitz Roy Massif), St. Exupery, and 11,073-foot Fitz Roy itself rise out of the steppes of Patagonia like a vision. This grand tour gives you three views of Fitz at sunrise, with Cerro Torre and Marconi Pass thrown in for good measure.
When to Go: February to March to avoid the crowds of midsummer and enjoy stable fall weather when the infamous Patagonian winds abate
Unesco: 1. City of Potosi* 2. Fuerte de Samaipata* 3. Historic City of Sucre* 4. Jesuit missions of the Chiquitos 5. Noel Kempff Mercado NP 6. Tiwanaku: Spiritual and Political Center of the Tiwanaku Culture*
Natural: 1. Lake Titicaca* 2. Federico Ahlfeld Falls, Santa Cruz 3. Yungas, La Paz* 4. Altiplano* 5. Red Lake, Potosi
1. Takesi Trail
There are 4 different Inca trails surrounding La Paz linking the Andes with the Yungas. The 3 day Takesi trail is the easiest of these. This is an ancient paved trading route 43 km from the high Andes to the gateway of the Amazon. Or hike the Sun island trail for full day.
2. Illampu Circuit.
Eight-day trek high altitude trek in the northern section of the Cordillera Real. Add multiple sections if desired.
Unesco: 1. Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves* 2. Brasilia 3. Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves 4. Central Amazon Conservation Complex. das Montanhas do Tumucumaque NP is the larges NP in the Amazon spanning 4 million hectares in the state of Amapa. do Jau NP protects 2.3 million hectares of teh Jau and Carabinaani River systems, both major tributaries of the Rio Negor located NW of Manaus. do Araguaia NP on do bananal, Tocantins, the world’s largest river island. do Pico da Neblina NP is 1000km up the Rio Negro in the NW corner of Amazonas State and has Pico da Neblina at 3014, the highest point in Brazil. 5. Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas NPs 6. Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves 7. Historic Center of Salvador de Bahia 8. Historic Center of Sao Luis 9. historic Center of the Town of Diamantina 10. Historic Center of the Town of Goias 11. Historic Center of the Town of Olinda 12. Historic Town of Ouro Preto* 13. Iguacu NP* 14. Jusuit Missions of the guaranis: San Ignacio Mini, Santa Ana, Nuestra Senora de Loreto and Santa Maria Mayor (Argentina), Ruins of Sao Miguel das Missoes (Brazil) 15. Pantanal Conservation Area* World’s largest wetland with over 230,000 sq.km (the drying remains of an ancient sea) – in wet season of October-April is when the Parana River overlows and is hot. May-September is dry and cooler season when the Pantanel is less flooded and wildlife are concentrated around diminishing water sources. August and September peak times to see jaguar. Biodiverse with many of the animals found in the Amazon but in a more viewer-friendly terrain. Caymans, giant river otters, jaguar and monkeys. Roseate spoonbills, wood storks and rheas. Porto Jofre is deep in the Pantanel. Chapada dos Guimaraes NP, just north of the Pantanel, has waterfalls and temple-like rock formations. Morro do Urucum is an 1100m moutain, 20km south of Corumba for views of the Pantanel. Only 2% is under government protection. 16. Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas 17. Sao Francisco Square in the Town of Sao Cristovao 18. Serra da Capivara NP
Natural: 1. Rio Solimoes and Rio Negro Confluence 2. Amazon Basin – Massive, it is 40km across and can dump 300 million litres of water into the ocean per second (as much as the next top 10 rivers combined. 6000km from its source to the Atlantic, it drains more than a third of South America. Formed when the Solimoes, Negro and Madeira-Mamore Rivers converge in Amazonas State. White rivers (Solimoes, Madeira) contain sediment eroded from younger mountains, loaded with nutrients. Black rivers (Rio Negro and Rio Urubu) are from northern Amazonia, flow over older land with no sediment, slower and warmer, vegetation rots releasing organic acids that turn the water black. The same acids kill mosquito larvae so black-water areas have a low incidence of malaria. Also fewer animals. Clear rivers have neither sediment or organic acids. Supports 3000 species of fish plus freshwater dolphins known as botos. December-June is rainy season, July-Nov drier and much hotter. Manaus, 1500km from the ocean, is main access city with 2m people. 3. Amazon Bore 4. River Xingu (large river turtles congregate on sand bars at low water near mouth of Amazon 5. Anavilhanas Archipelago (world’s largest inland archipelago 50km upstream of Manaus) 6. Flooded Forest, Amazonas 7. Igapo Forest, Amazon Basin 8. Emas NP, Goias (rheas, birds, mammals) 9. The Pantanel 10. The Cerrado (high inland plateau NW of Rio, rock fields, rivers) 11. Caraca NP, Minas Gerais (Atlantic rainforest) 12. Caatinga (semiarid, large blocks sandstone, fossils) 13. Aparados da Serra NP (S Brazil, canyons, waterfalls, monkey puzzle tree 14. St Peter and St Paul Rocks (tips of submarine mountain in middle of Atlantic, fish, birds). 16. Ilha de Marajo, a 50,000 sq. km island lies at the mouths of Amazon and Tocantins Rivers. the ancient home of the Marajoara indigenous culture. known for their large ceramic burial urns. Bicycles outnumber cars. Water buffalo, buffalo cheese, steads and buffalo mounted police force. 17. Uncontacted People – 67 groups in Brazil.
1. Coffee Museum. Rua XV de Novembro 95, Centro Santos, Sao Paulo. wwwmuseudocafe.org.br
It’s the spiritual home of coffee. Sure, coffee originated in Ethiopia, but Brazil is by far the world’s biggest producer of the much-loved little pep-up bean: a third of all coffee is cultivated and produced here.
The museum is housed in the former coffee stock-exchange building – coffee was Brazil’s primary source of income for much of the 20th century and Santos was where the traders would come to do their coffee business, setting the price of the precious, wonderful bean. The building is striking in its own right, with the trading room’s stained-glass ceiling, the 37-metre clock tower and the art throughout. The museum explores Brazil’s coffee history and industry through permanent and temporary exhibits. You can even buy a coffee at the cafe and enjoy the brew outside as you check out the coffee-bean patterned pavement.
Unesco: 1. Churches of Chiloe 2. Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso* 3. Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works 4. Rapa Nui NP* 5. Sewell Mining Town
Natural: 1. Valley of the Moon, Atacama* – striking dunes, lunar like terrain, volcanoes. 15km from San Pedro de Atacama. 2. Atacama Desert* 1000km long from Peru along the Chilean coast. Officially the world’s driest area on earth with less than 1mm of rain falling per year, some places have had no rainfall for over 400 years, but fog (camanchaca) from the Pacific condenses on the hills year around to form dew that waters a varied and tenacious group of plants and animals: guanaco, fox, birds. El Gigante de Atacama – dating from 900ad, biggest humanoid geoglyph at 86m high, reclines on slope 14km from Huara, tours from Iquique. Star tours. Laguna Chaxa has 3 species of flamingo. 65km from San Pedro de Atacama. Chiu Chiu is colonial town with petroglyphs dating from 2000 BC of the Atacameno people (2000 remain in region today) 3. Atacama Salt Flat* From when more water is lost through evaporation than is replaced by rainfall. 4. Tatio Geysers, Antofagasta – Spouts, fumaroles, steam pool and freezing temperatures at 4300m is world’s highest geyser field. 5. Lake Chungara, Tarapaca 6. Antuco Volcano 7. Malalcahuello Natural Reserve, Araucania 8. Salar de Surire, Tarapaca 9. Torres del Paine NP* Spectacular granite pillars formed 12 million years ago jut up 2800m. Animals consist of guanacos and pumas, rheas, flamingos and condors. 250 km of marked hiking trails including the 5-day circuit and the W-hike. Its many glaciers have markedly retreated over the last few decades. Cueva del Milodon (4m gian sloth). Kayak the Rio Serrano. Visit Glaciar Balmaceda. Take the Navimag through the fjords to Puerto Montt. 112kms north of Puerto Natales. The Andes have the most unstable weather on the planet. 10. Salto Grande Waterfalls* 11. Laguna San Rafael, Aisen 12. Fjordland 13. Balmaceda Glacier 14. Beagle Channel* 15. Pan de Azucar NP where the Atacama meets the more fertile Norte Chico region . Isla Pan de Azucar (Sugarloaf Island) has otter, sea lions and 2000 Humboldt penguins. Very cold a night even in the summer. 16. Valdivian Forests of Southern Chile. Lush rainforests on Chiloe Island and the lower slopes of volcanoes in Chile’s Lake District in Puyehue NP and Vicente Perez Rosales NP in a contiguous band of protected land along Chile’s Argentine border with volcanoes, lakes and waterfalls. Volcan Osorno at 2660m, in Vicente Perez Rosales requires ice-climbing gear. Volcan Casablanca at 1990m in Puyehue is easier. Termas de Puyehue are Chile’s premier hot-springs. Puerto Varas is city centre of the Lake District. Huge gunnera plants, minute 45cm tall deer called pudu. Visit in summer from December-March or come to ski in June-October. 17. Puyehue volcano and Cordon Caulle fissure complex, a geothermal area a 78 sq. km depression is the largest active geothermal area in the southern Andes.
Unesco: 1. Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia 2. historic Center of Santa Cruz de Mompox 3. Los Katios NP 4. Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary 5. National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro* 6. Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena* 7. San Augustin Archaeological Park*
Natural: 1. Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (ancient mountains in N corner, biodiversity) 2. El Cocuy NP 3. Choco Forest (on Pacific coast between Andes, very wet, biodiversity, preserved) 4.Los Nevados NP 5. Amacayacu NP
Unesco: 1. City of Quito* 2. Galapagos Islands 3. Historic Center of Santa Ana de los Rios de Cuenca* 4. Los Katios NP 5. Sangay NP
Natural: 1. Esmeraldas Region 2. San Rafael Falls 3. Imuya Lake 4. Maquipucuna Reserve 5. Cotopaxi Volcano 6. Galapagos Islands* 7. Galapagos Rift 8. Machalilla NP 9. Sangay NP 10. Cajas Plateau 11. Podocarpus NP
Natural: 1. Awala-Yalimapo (leatherback turtle nesting beach)
Natural: 1. Shell Beach, Barima-Waini 2. Iwokrama Mountains, Potaro-Siparuni 3. Kaieteur Falls 4. Kanuku Mountains
Unesco: 1. Jesuit Missions of La Santisma Trinidad de Parana and Jesus de Tavarangue
Unesco: 1. Chan Chan Archaeological Zone* 2. Chavin Archaeological Park* 3. City of Cuzco* 4. Historic Center of Lima 5. Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu* 6. Historic Center of the City of Arequipa* 7. Huascaran NP* 8. Lines and Geohlyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana* 9. Manu NP 10. Rio Abisco NP 11. Sacred City of Caral-Supe
Natural: 1. Sechura Desert* 2. Pachacoto Gorge, Ancash 3. Valley of the Volcanoes, Arequipa 4. The Sphinx/White Mountain Range 5. Colca Canyon* 6. Paracas National Reserve, Ica 7. Manu Biosphere Reserve 8. Tambopata National Reserve 9. Tamba Blanquilla 10. Huascaran NP*
1. Inca Trail*
There are 23,000 kms of Inca trails between central Chile and south Columbia with 1980 km between Cuzco, Peru, the Inca capital and Quito, Ecuador. The Inca Trail is the best known of them. Must go with a tour group. Four days passing several Inca ruins, a climb to the highest point, 4215 m Dead Woman’s Pass and on last day arrive at the Sun Gate, the entry point to Mach Picchu. Best to acclimatize in Cuzco at 3600 metres at least 2 days before starting.
2. The Ancascocha Trail
Length: 19-mile hike from Parpishu to Camicancha (plus bus and train ride to Machu Picchu)
The Trip: Often called the Super Inca Trail or even the Hidden Inca Trail, it is a far more strenuous, yet less traveled and a more rewarding path than the Inca Trail which is crowded. The ruins of Machu Picchu and the surrounding passes and peaks of the Andes should remain on any bucket list.
The trek takes roughly five or six days wandering through traditional villages like Chillipahua at 12,000 feet and its namesake Ancascocha at 12,795 feet. Along the way, it goes over big passes, including a high point of roughly 16,000 feet on Inca Chiriaska, and takes in views of towering 20,551-foot Salcantay. The trail doesn’t actually end at Machu Picchu; you need a short bus and train ride to get there,
When to Go: Spring (April-May) and fall (September-October) are best, avoiding the winter storms and minimizing the hordes of tourists that arrive at Machu Picchu in summer.
3. Santa Cruz Trek, Cordillera Blanca
Length: 30-plus miles over 4 days
The Trip: The Cordillera Blanca are one of the most concentrated collections of big peaks in the Western Hemisphere, with 33 summits topping 18,000 feet and 16 over 19,500 feet, including 22,205-foot Huascarán, the highest mountain in Peru, all squeezed into a 13-mile-wide, 112-mile-long corridor. It offers the solitude of big mountains with far less of the hassle of the premier routes in the Himalayas. It’s also a less-crowded alternative to the Inca Trail.
The hike begins in the lively city of Huaraz, often referred to as the “hiking capital of Peru,” where you can hire guides. Seeing a little bit of everything, it may be the easiest way to experience high altitude as it crosses 15,580-foot Punta Union Pass.
From Huarez, you can also organize more ambitious routes like the 11-day Huayhuash Circuit that crosses 18,012-foot Punta Coyoc. There are also numerous day hikes out of Huaraz that get deep into the heights of the Cordillera Blanca. You can reach the stunning blue waters of 14,600-foot Laguna Churup via a 6.4-mile round-trip hike and scramble.
When to Go: April through September. The weather can be incredibly reliable here for such high mountains.
Unesco: 1. Central Suriname Nature Reserve 2. Historic Inner City of Paramaribo
Unesco: 1. Historic Center of the City of Colonia del Sacramento*
Unesco: 1. Canaima NP* Tepuis are the remains ofa 2 billion year old block of sandstone eroded over 200 million years into these one kilometre high flat-topped towers. 2. Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas 3. Coro and it Port
Natural: 1. Sierra Nevada de Merida 2. Henri Pittier NP 3. The Llanos 4. Orinoco Delta 5. Guacharo Caves 6. Angel Falls* In the dry months of Jan-May, may be a thin ribbon or water fading into mist (boat access may be impossible). In the wettest months of August and September it is a spectacular cascade but then it is often obscured by clouds. Accessible from Cuidad Bolivar by air to Canaima, a remote village in SE Guayana province. Jimmie Angel landed a plane on Auyantepui in 1937 when searching for gold. 7. Autana Tepui* 8. Pico da Neblina 9. Roraima Tepui* 10. Los Roques. 300 sandy islands 160km north of Caracas. Beaches, snorkelling and diving. No high-rise hotels, sand streets. Made a NP in 1972.
The Trip: This 6-day trip climbs Roraima, the highest and only one of over 100 tepuis that can be climbed. These kilometre high plateaus of 3 billion year old sandstone make for one of the most intriguing landscapes in the world. The top is black from cyanobacteria with wear areas of yellow where people have walked. The point where Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana borders meet is on top of Roraima. Crystals are everywhere.