Thoughts in the U.S. may be turning to pumpkins, apple cider and candy, but south of the equator, summer is just heating up.
With the Southern Hemisphere's summer starting -- and Hispanic Heritage Month underway -- there's no better time to take a look at some of the best Latin American beaches, some world-famous and some lesser known.
A note about our methodology: While Mexico has plenty of wonderful beaches, we skipped over the country's offerings in order to look further afield. Hello, Uruguay!
La Libertad, El Salvador
One of the surf capitals of Central America, La Libertad offers plenty of action for visitors who ride. (AP Photo/Luis Romero)
Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua
Near the Golfo de Fonseca shared with El Salvador and Honduras, Corinto faces the Pacific -- rather than the protected Gulf -- and sees cooler water and better waves.
Playa Majagual, Nicaragua
North of San Juan del Sur, this surfers' paradise appeals with rustic accommodations and great waves.
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Probably the best-known beach in all of Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur is a magnet for wave-lovers. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/GettyImages)
Jaco, Costa Rica
One of many surf-friendly beaches in the province of Puntarenas, this part of the Pacific draws wave riders from around the world.
At the northern tip of Peru, this somewhat hidden gem often gets overlooked due to the big draw of Machu Picchu.
Frenetic Lima is, like Los Angeles, home to some wonderful urban beaches that often get overlooked because of the city's bustle.
On summer weekends, it seems like all of Chile (and Western Argentina, for that matter) descend on this fantastic coastal resort town just outside Valparaiso. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
The only beach in South America with monolithic statues, this is Easter Island's only real stretch of sand.
Mar del Plata, Argentina
The Hamptons of Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata gets booming every summer.
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Home to international jet setters and Brazilians with more money than sense, Punta also has some of Uruguay's prettiest manicured beaches.
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay
Long a backpacker "secret," this idyllic enclave near the Brazilian border is getting more and more tourists as development ramps up.
The beaches of Florianópolis are some of Brazil's best, which is saying a lot for a country with more than 4,500 miles of coastline.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Like Lima, Rio's blessed with urban beaches that play a vital central role in the life of the city.
In Northern Brazil, this city has two great urban beaches, Praia de Iracema and Meireles.
Bocas del Toro, Panama
Off the coast of Panama, Bocas offers seclusion and relaxation.
Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
Far enough from the mainland that many residents speak English as their first language, lovely Little Corn is ringed by sand and coconut trees.
Rightly popular, this long peninsula in central Belize has beautiful sand and blessedly little to do but lay back in a hammock and relax.
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