Forget about sitting on a beach chair somewhere in the tropics. Bring out the adventurer in you and experience Latin America in a way that few other travelers do. Here are five ways to explore Latin America that will leave you wondering why you've waited so long.
Sail the Caribbean Sea to Cartagena, Colombia. You can fly from Panama to Colombia, but where's the fun in that? Instead, hop on a sailing ship for a 4-5 day trip across the Caribbean Sea. Along the way, visit one of the islands inhabited by the Kuna, the indigenous people of Panama. Best of all, you and your crew will have your own Caribbean island to swim, snorkel, sunbathe, barbecue, and even build a campfire. White sand beaches, blue-green water, and nothing else but the crashing of the waves. I went with the amazing ship and crew of the Stahlratte, a 110 year old Holland-built sailing ship. Read more about my trip here.
Explore Colombia's La Ciudad Perdida. Built over half a century before the birth of Machu Picchu, La Ciudad Perdida ("The Lost City") can only be reached through a 4-6 day trek within the dense Colombian jungle. The journey is as exhilarating as the destination. My trek was easily set up with Expotur. Read Explore the Lost City in Colombia for more.
Watch the Sunset Over the Amazon River. Imagine sitting in a canoe floating on the Amazon River. There's no other sound except for the dolphins splashing in the river, monkeys jumping from branch to branch, and the noise of the other fauna nestled deep within the Amazon Rainforest. Most people go to the Amazon to see the flora and fauna, but the sun setting over the river is worth a trip of its own. Like a giant fireball exploding in the sky, the setting sun lights up the abstractly shaped clouds and creates an alluringly beautiful image you'll never forget. I stayed at Otorongo Expeditions, a wonderful lodge located 200+ kilometers from the city of Iquitos. Read more about my time in the Amazon here.
Hike Up to the Alpine Lakes of Huaraz. Huaraz, Peru is a trekker's dream destination. Around the city are multiple opportunities to hike up past 4,000+ meters to stunningly beautiful lakes. At the nearby town of Pitec you'll find a jaw dropping view of Lake Churup. When the wind is calm, the reflection of Mount Churup is visible in the jade-green lake. Laguna 69, with the majestic snow capped Nevado Chacraraju in the background, is another alpine lake not to be missed. Read more on how to do this here.
Ride on the World's Second Highest Train. It runs once a month, and sometimes not at all. The Ferrovías Central Railway is a trans-Andean train that runs between the Peruvian cities of Lima and Huancayo. The ~209 mile journey is between 11-13 hours, and passes through 69 tunnels (the longest of which is the Balta at 1,375 meters), 58 bridges (the largest of which is the Carrion at 218 meters), and 6 switchbacks. Don't fall asleep, because you'll miss views of the snow capped Andes right outside your window. Read more about it here.
What are you waiting for?