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13 Don’t-Miss Bucket List Experiences in Latin America

Prepare to lap this continent from top to bottom—here’s a bucketful of Latin America’s best.

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Hi, I'm Jade!

Jade is a writer with a passion for travel, drag queens, and baked goods. Her happy place is South America, but when she's not exploring the world, she enjoys cooking and reading Gothic novels in her London flat.

Infused with Latin flair and home to some of the most biodiverse landscapes on the planet, Latin America is the perfect blend of culture and nature. Deserts, glaciers, rainforests, mountains, oceans, and beaches all magically coexist on the continent, while cities and towns are flush with ancient archeological sites, world-class gastronomy, and atmospheres that infuse you with energy and excitement. While the number of bucket list activities in Latin America could reach triple figures, we've narrowed it down to these top 13.

2. Experience Day of the Dead in Mexico

Head to Mexico to celebrate the annual Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) each November. Although you can partake in processions and parades, it can be hard to experience the festivities as a visitor without the help of an insider. This Day of the Dead tour in Mexico City guides you through an after-dark cemetery experience, takes you along the Xochimilco canals, and more so you can enjoy this special day alongside locals.

3. Island hop in the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador

Formed by lava thousands of years ago, the Galápagos Islands are one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, home to many species you can’t find anywhere else in the world. It can be challenging and expensive to explore the destination on your own, but this 5-day guided adventure takes you from island to island to swim beside sea lions and seals, watch blue-footed boobies perform their epic mating dance, scuba dive with hammerhead sharks, and hike to the top of a volcano for stunning views of the nature-rich archipelago.

4. Enjoy paradise in the San Blas Islands in Panama

Ask someone to draw a desert island, and it's likely they’ll depict the San Blas archipelago. These islands exemplify typical Caribbean beauty with their white sand, coconut trees, and crystal-clear water. Take a day trip from Panama City or go full Robinson Crusoe on a multi-day sailing tour to swim in natural pools and discover deserted beaches.

5. Party at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Just before Lent, Brazil explodes into celebration for Carnival. The biggest and best version of the spectacle is in Rio de Janeiro, where samba schools compete for the title of best parade, and dancers dress in exceptional costumes. VIP experiences secure your front-row seats to the marvel.

7. Reconvene with nature in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil

Home to thousands of rivers and more than 390 billion trees, the Amazon Rainforest teems with life. Although you can experience the Amazon’s natural splendor in various countries, this 4-day Brazilian adventure from Manaus immerses you in the world’s green lung and includes Rio Negro canoe rides, piranha fishing, a visit to an Indigenous tribe, and multiple nature walks.

11. Look into the world’s largest mirror at the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

Holding the record for the world's largest salt flat, Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni is a bright white wonderland. During the rainy season, the flats create a mirror effect that reflects the entire sky. But even if they're dry, you can always pose for epic photos that distort your perception of distance—think: people running from a toy dinosaur or walking into each other's mouths. This epic journey through the Atacama Desert to the salt flats reveals spurting geysers, lava red lakes, and other otherworldly rock formations. Ready, salt, go!

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