From centuries-old civilizations and colonial sites to cosmopolitan cities and natural landscapes, this scenic region has an array of spectacular vacation spots. The hardest part is choosing where to visit first.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is South America’s most iconic archaeological site. Situated high in the Andes, above the Sacred Valley, the sprawling mountaintop ruins of the ancient Inca civilization draw millions of visitors each year. Built in 1450 and abandoned a century later, the mysterious citadel continues to intrigue with its mortar-free construction—temples, towers, terraces, walls, and ceremonial stones. June through August is peak season, so plan accordingly. Looking for more thrilling locales? Check out these adventurous getaways around the globe.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
WINDWALK/SHUTTERSTOCKWhile Americans may know it from the Frank Sinatra song “The Girl from Ipanema,” this city seduces with its beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, open-air markets, and pumping rhythms of the samba. It’s also famed for its 98-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer, the largest Art Deco statue in the world, and Carnaval, an annual festival of food, drink, music, dance, and festooned merriment.