Travel Weekly Readers Choice 2015

Destinations: Central/South America


Famous for its tango, soccer and wine, Argentina is one of the best travel values in the world, with 21st century infrastructure, spectacular scenery and outstanding cuisine and service at substantially lower prices than U.S. visitors are used to. Visitors can experience the European-style boulevards and tango rhythms of Buenos Aires, the glaciers of Patagonia and the world-famous vineyards in Mendoza. Ushuaia, called the southernmost city in the world, is the cruise gateway to Antarctica.


English-speaking Belize has long attracted scuba divers and water-sports devotees to its spectacular off-shore wonders such as the Blue Hole and Ambergris Caye. Belize has also become popular for its pristine jungle environments and its ancient Mayan ruins, as well as an increasing number of upscale resorts. About the size of Massachusetts, Belize welcomes growth but wants to keep it on controlled development terms.


Sensual and scenic Brazil lures visitors to stunning Rio de Janeiro for Carnival, caipirinhas, the Cristo Redentor statue atop Corcovado and to its 26 other states for attractions such as Iguazu Falls, Amazon River jungle cruising and the pristine beaches in the northeast. The 2016 Summer Olympics will bring an estimated 300,000 visitors to Brazil, and the country’s tourism officials are focused on encouraging exploration beyond Rio.

Costa Rica

With one-quarter of its land area a national trust for parklands and wildlife refuges, Costa Rica is a draw for ecotourists and adventure travelers.  Visitors are also attracted to its “ring of fire,” with the Arenal Volcano being among the 10 most active volcanoes in the world, and its diving, especially in Cocos Island National Park, a World Heritage Site.


From the urban sophistication and historical architecture of its capital to the pristine beaches of its Caribbean and Pacific coasts and the diverse flora and fauna of its rain forests, Panama’s touristic appeal goes beyond its famous canal, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014. Next year, Ritz-Carlton will make its debut in Panama City and is also scheduled to open the Reserve on Pearl Island.


Peru has it all: Amazon jungle rain forests, snow-capped mountains of the Andes, ruins dating to Paleolithic times, the grand buildings of the pre-Columbian Inca civilization and a cosmopolitan city with colonial charm in its capital, Lima. Machu Picchu, the remains of a mountaintop Inca city high in the Andes, is one of the most visited destinations in all of South America. Peru travel and tourism is expected to generate $19.3 million annually by 2018.

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