If you’re having trouble thinking of a Christmas gift for your family that everyone will love, look no further than an unforgettable excursion to Latin America. A trip in 2019 will expand the cultural awareness of your family while they enjoy fun and exciting activities in some of the most gorgeous countries on Earth. This article explores five reasons why a trip to Latin America is just what you are looking for this Christmas season.
Reason #1: Peru
The first reason for visiting Latin America is Peru. Peru is a country with a fascinating history where you can immerse yourself and feel transported to a previous century. In Lima, you and your family can explore the Historic Center of town to learn about what life was like from the 15th to 18th centuries. You can tour well-preserved convents, churches, and homes representing various archaeological styles—including baroque, neoclassical, renaissance, and more.
Just an hour’s flight away, lies the city of Cusco that once served as the capital of the Incan people from the 13th to 16th centuries. Here your family will enjoy the blend of Inca and Colonial architecture that still stands to this day as well as boutique restaurants and shops. If your family is up for a hiking adventure outside of the city, visiting the famous ruins of Machu Picchu, considered one of the 7 wonders of the modern world, is an unforgettable experience. Here you can wander among temples, homes, and tombs to learn how the Incas lived. And Peru isn’t known only for its history — the food here is different from almost anywhere else in the world. European, African and East Asian flavors and techniques have converged with Peruvian cuisine to create amazing dishes that can’t be missed on your trip. If your family enjoys history and fantastic food, Peru is the place.
Reason #2: Chile
Chile is an excellent reason to visit Latin America and Lonely Planet designated it as the best country to visit in 2018, which comes as no surprise to visitors who have experienced the country’s stunning beauty. It spans 4,000 kilometers, from the Atacama Desert in the north to the sub Antarctic islands in the south. Although it’s hard to believe that arid deserts, mountains and glaciers all exist in one country, these landscapes offer thrilling adventure activity opportunities for your family. You can hike among glaciers in Torres del Paine National Park, kayak whitewater rapids in the Futaleufu River, ski on some of the most celebrated slopes in South America, or surf off of the Pacific shore, all in the same trip. Chile is also known for its top-notch vineyards, as its extreme geography makes for ideal grape-growing conditions. Those in your family who appreciate wine will enjoy taking a daylong winery tour, as many of the vineyards are clustered together in especially fertile areas. Enjoying a glass of wine while surrounded by snow-capped mountains is a truly special experience.
Reason #3: Brazil
One of the most frequently visited countries in Latin America, it’s easy to understand why Brazil keeps travelers coming back again and again. One of the most popular destinations is Sao Paulo, considered to be one of the finest culinary cities in the world. Here you can enjoy not only Brazilian and Latin American delicacies, but thanks to the city’s large immigrant population, you can feast on Italian, Lebanese, Japanese food and more. Whether your family appreciates a nice sit-down dinner, or prefers to grab some street food and continue wandering the neighborhoods on foot, Sao Paulo has something for you to enjoy. The city also has a rich cultural heritage and an abundance of interesting museums for you to explore — including its famous soccer (“futebol”) museum.
Another fascinating city in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro, with its beautiful bay and its famous Christ the Redeemer, considered one of the 7 modern marvels of the modern world. Just outside the city, the regions surrounding Rio de Janeiro are a gem, offering activities appropriate for all ages. Within a short drive of the city you can scuba dive among coral reefs, hang glide, surf, and hike towering peaks that trace the coastline and overlook the Atlantic Ocean. And your kids will especially love exploring the nearby zipline courses, where your family can sail along treetops on a kilometer-long course.
Reason #4: Argentina
For a fascinating look at the convergence of cultures that created modern-day Latin America, Argentina is a great option. The city of Córdoba has preserved much of its heritage dating back to Spanish Colonial rule and you can stroll the streets of this beautiful city while taking advantage of everything Argentinian culture has to offer, including beautiful architecture, art galleries, street festivals, and musical venues. For a more modern look at Argentinian culture, Mendoza is a cosmopolitan city featuring a number of artistic centers, where locals share unique Argentinian dance, theater, and music with visitors. Located in a beautiful foothills region, the wine lovers in your family will love exploring Mendoza’s vineyards that make up one of the top wine-producing regions in the world. And for a family adventure, Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires offers bike tours of the city, sailing, kayaking, and horseback riding though majestic landscapes just outside of the city. Taking advantage of these activities will provide your family with an entirely new perspective on the cities you are visiting, allowing everyone to bond in new ways as you explore and share new interests together.
Reason #5: Colombia
If you and your family love going outdoors and exploring nature, visiting Colombia is a great option to consider. Outside the high-altitude capital city of Bogotá lie gorgeous mountain ranges, waterfalls, and lakes for you to hike, boat, and bike around. For the adventurous members of the family, you will love walking through the Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral, an incredible site located 600 feet underground in a hollowed out mountain. Another beautiful Colombian city filled with gorgeous places to explore is Cali, which is nestled in the spectacular Cauca Valley. Cali is well known for its salsa dancing; here you and your family can learn to dance salsa directly from some of the best dancers in the world. Lessons range from beginner to expert and can be taken by people of all ages. Your family is bound to have wonderful time exploring Colombia and its unique culture.
Wherever in Latin America you decide to go, your family will have a fun, educational, and unforgettable experience. This Christmas season give your family a gift that they will talk about for years to come.