Travel Weekly Readers Choice 2016

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.


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.


With its Atacama Desert and mountainous terrain, Chile is a natural draw for outdoor enthusiasts, while its Easter Island, aka Rapa Nui, holds perennial touristic appeal for its trademark Moai monuments and other artifacts. In recent years acclaim has grown for the country's wines, resulting in a burgeoning demand for wine tourism.

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 its pristine beaches and the diverse flora and fauna of its rain forests, Panama's touristic appeal goes beyond its famous canal. In recent years, resort operators have begun to stake their claims along the country's Pacific and Caribbean coasts, while hotel demand and development remains strong in Panama City.


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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