There’s an endless list of reasons to visit Central and South America. The reason that’s highest on our list? The wide array of distinct flavors and cultures that vary from city to city. Here, some quick insight into the allure of some of our favorite Latin American cities.
Puerto Varas, Chile
Must-taste: A curanto dinner. Similar to a clambake, a hole is dug in the ground and lined with red-hot stones. Seafood is layered on top, then covered with wet sacks and dirt to create an oven.
Must-see: Llanquihue Lake, from which you can take in the view of Osorno Volcano.
Fast fact: The city’s architecture, cuisine and culture has a strong German influence due to the number of German colonists who settled on the shores of Lake Llanquihue in the 19th century.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Population: 6.3 million
Must-taste: A caipirinha. Made of Cachaça (a sugar cane liquor), lime and sugar, caipirinhas are the national cocktail of Brazil.
Must-see: The towering Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corvocado Mountain, named one of the modern Wonders of the World.
Fast fact: Rio is home to 43 miles of white sand beaches, including the world-famous Ipanema and Copacabana.
Population: 2.2 million
Must-taste: Hornado, whole-roasted pig served by street vendors with potatoes and vegetables on the side.
Must-see: The Quistao Reloj, a towering sundial at La Mitad del Mundo.
Fast fact: You can stand on both sides of the equator just north of the city at the Equatorial Line Monument.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Population: 2.8 million
Must-taste: Milanesa napolitana, a breaded meat cutlet topped with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese—an Argentinian dish with an Italian twist.
Must-see: Watch the tango at a milonga, the name given to places where the passionate dance is performed.
Fast fact: It’s one of the largest metropolitan areas in South America, second only to Greater São Paulo in Brazil.
Population: 7.6 million
Must-taste: Ceviche finds its origins in Peru, and consists of bite-sized pieces of raw white fish marinated in spices, lime juice, and chilies.
Must-see: The Nazca Lines, which are massive geoglyphs (geometric designs made of rocks) visible only from the air.
Fast fact: Quechua—a native South American language derived from the Incas—is considered an official language of Peru.
Monteverde, Costa Rica
Must-taste: Salsa Lizano, a sweet-and-spicy condiment that is a great addition to your standard rice and beans.
Must-see: The lush, green scenery from the great height of a rope bridge—or at top speed on a zip line.
Fast fact: The Monteverde Cloud Forest, which spans six ecological zones, gets its name because of the atmospheric conditions that allow for consistent cloud cover.