Machu Picchu: Incredible Inca Ruins

American archaeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Be an explorer and visit the ruins of the Inca -- pre-Columbian South America's most advanced civilization.

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Amazon Rainforest
Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Rainforest

Explore the Amazon rainforest, or Amazonia, and its indigenous plant life, including the water plant Victoria regia (pictured). This dense, lush forest covers more than 2 million square miles of South America’s Amazon basin. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, followed by Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The jungle represents more than half of the planet’s remaining rainforest, making it the largest and most diverse rainforest in the world. 960 1280

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Amazon River

Amazon River

Plan a mind-blowing excursion down the 4,000-mile-long Amazon River -- the largest river in South America, and the largest drainage system in the world. Although the length of this river is equivalent to the distance from NYC to Rome, there is much debate as to whether the Amazon is longer than the Nile River in Egypt. The Amazon River’s source comes high within the Andes Mountains, near the Pacific Ocean, and its mouth is in the Atlantic Ocean on the northeastern coast of Brazil. 960 1280

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Negro River

Negro River

Adventurous travelers can take a cruise along the Negro River from Manaus, Brazil, to experience the Amazon Rainforest and to explore the January Ecological Park. Some cruise lines offer unique excursions, including a hike through the jungle, alligator spotting, fishing, tree climbing, snorkeling, parasailing and educational excursions to learn more about the indigenous people that live along the river. 960 1280

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Ariau Amazon Towers

Ariau Amazon Towers

Stay at the Ariau Amazon Towers, a hotel built high in the treetops with canopy walkways 70 feet in the air. During your stay, enjoy the fauna and wildlife like the friendly monkeys, macaws, sloths and parrots. This exclusive hotel made Conde Nast Traveler’s list of the “25 Extraordinary Places Worth That Extra Mile.” We agree. For the perfect honeymoon hideaway, we recommend the honeymoon suite, built 110 feet up a mahogany tree. 960 1280

Jorge Andrade, flickr  

IBEROSTAR Grand Amazon

IBEROSTAR Grand Amazon

If a treetop hotel isn’t your thing, try the IBEROSTAR Grand Amazon. Guests can check into this floating luxury hotel -- featuring 73 cabins, each with private balcony -- for a 3-night stay along the Solimões River that includes a visit to a local village, bird-watching around the Igarapés and piranha fishing. For the 4-night stay, guests tour the Negro River and take a motorboat safari to the Anavilhanas Islands. Make the most out of your trip and combine the 2 options for a 7-night stay. 960 1280

Jorge Andrade, flickr  

Indigenous Nations Games

Indigenous Nations Games

While you are visiting the Amazon, you may be lucky enough to immerse yourself in a unique cultural event like the Indigenous Nations Games of Para in Altamira. Indigenous people from 38 ethnic groups participate in the Games in which athletes compete in disciplines like spear throwing, canoeing and swimming. In the photo, a member of Brazil's Kayapo tribe prepares to compete in the bow and arrow competition. 960 1280

Reuters  

Kayaking in the Amazon

Kayaking in the Amazon

Take an Amazon kayaking tour on the Urubu and Jatapu rivers. Manaus is surrounded by the Amazon Negro rivers, but some companies do not offer kayaking tours on these rivers because they are miles wide and can be dangerous for kayakers during rainy and stormy weather. 960 1280

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Boi-Bumba Folkloric Festival

Boi-Bumba Folkloric Festival

Plan a fun trip to witness the Festival do Boi-Bumba or the Parintins Folklore Festival in June. This festival is the 2nd largest annual festival in Brazil -- only Rio’s Carnival draws more participants. Held in Parintins, Amazonas, this 3-day festival celebrates a local legend about a resurrected ox, and 2 teams -- Garantido and Caprichoso -- must compete to retell the story in 2.5 hours. The teams try to outdo one another using flamboyant dances, singing and parade floats in the Bumbodromo -- a stage that holds about 35,000 spectators. 960 1280

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Uakari Mamirauá Reserve Lodge

Uakari Mamirauá Reserve Lodge

Located in Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve, the Uacari Floating Lodge is a rustic, eco-tourism getaway to observe the Amazon’s wildlife. Recognized by UNESCO as part of the Natural Heritage of Humanity, this floating lodge has 5 bungalows with 2 rooms, 2 bathrooms and a porch with a view of the river and forest. The central floating area has a natural swimming pool, kitchen, restaurant, bar, video room and library. What makes this lodge unique is that it generates income for the reserve’s 8 local communities and preserves the natural community. 960 1280

Gabriel Britto, flickr  

Zip Lining in the Amazon

Zip Lining in the Amazon

Get an amazing view of Brazil and the Amazon’s canyons, rivers, waterfalls and more, by taking canopy tour. Rafting, hiking, cycling, snorkeling and surfing are few examples of how you can keep your adrenaline pumping when visiting the area. 960 1280

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Ver-o-Peso Market

Ver-o-Peso Market

Go shopping at the Ver-o-peso Market in Belem, Brazil. Locals and tourists visit this market to pick up fresh fish, handcrafts, natural essence perfumes, and native vegetables and fruits. Clock Tower Square, Solar da Beira, Feliz Lusitania and the Açaí Fair are a few places to visit and things to do when visiting this popular market. 960 1280

M.Maselli, flickr   

Amazonas Theatre

Amazonas Theatre

For travelers looking for an alternative to “roughing it” in the Amazon -- visit the Amazonas Theater in Manaus. This theater is home to the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra, which regularly rehearses and performs here. Music concerts and other popular performances are held here. 960 1280

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Amazonas Opera Festival

Amazonas Opera Festival

From March until May, the Amazonas Theater also hosts an annual Amazonas Opera Festival. The Amazonas Philharmonic is the official orchestra of the Festival. This photo shows a scene from the 2008 world premiere performance of the opera Ca Ira, composed by former Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters and performed by an all-Brazilian cast. 960 1280

Reuters  

Yungas Road
Yungas Road

Yungas Road

Bolivia’s North Yungas Road, dubbed the “world’s most dangerous road” and “Death Road,” is notorious for the roughly 100 deaths that occur here yearly. This 43-mile stretch of road, with its hairpin curves and 2,600-foot drops in the Andes Mountains, has now become a tourist destination for the daredevil traveler. 960 1280

Michael Fernando Jauregui Schiffelmann, flickr  

Sucre

Sucre

Sucre, the first capital of Bolivia, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1991. Known for its whitewashed colonial architecture and indigenous population, Sucre is a must-stop when touring Bolivia. 960 1280

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Laguna Verde

Laguna Verde

Laguna Verde (“green lagoon” in Spanish) is a striking salt lake at the southern tip of Bolivia, near the Bolivia-Argentina border. Visitors often see pink flamingoes near this stunning blue-green lagoon. 960 1280

Pedro Szekely, flickr  

Carnaval de Oruro

Carnaval de Oruro

Bolivia’s Carnaval de Oruro is its most celebrated festival, taking place 8 days before Ash Wednesday. Carnaval begins with the diablada (devil dance), a traditional folk ritual with dancers dressed in elaborate costumes and frightening masks. 960 1280

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Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada, the “Red Lagoon," is a shallow salt lake located within the Eduardo National Reserve. Red algae and plankton give the lake its striking red color, which is a stark contrast to the white salt deposits that line the lake. 960 1280

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Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca, South America’s largest lake and the world's highest navigable lake, is located between Bolivia and Peru. On the Bolivian side of the lake lie the village of Challapampa and the labyrinthine ruins of Chinkana. 960 1280

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Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni

A trip to Bolivia wouldn’t be complete without seeing the spectacular Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flats in the world. With a seemingly limitless horizon, the Uyuni salt flats are so vast that they can be seen from space. 960 1280

Alicia Nijdam, flickr  

Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku

Located near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca lies one of the most mysterious ancient ruins in South America, Tiwanaku. This World Heritage Site includes temples and intriguing megalithic statues. 960 1280

Danielle Pereira, flickr  

Mt. Illimani

Mt. Illimani

Mt. Illimani is the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real, a subrange of the Andes Mountains, and the second highest in Bolivia. It dominates the city skyline of La Paz with its snow-capped peaks, which soar more than 21,200 feet. 960 1280

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La Paz

La Paz

While Sucre is the first capital, La Paz is the center of all government and commerce in Bolivia. One of the highest-elevated capital cities in the world, La Paz soars over 13,000 feet above sea level. 960 1280

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Madidi National Park

Madidi National Park

Bolivia's Madidi National Park, one of the most protected and biodiverse areas in world, has a landscape that ranges from glaciers to rainforests. A new species of the titi monkey was discovered here in 2004. 960 1280

Joe Lazarus, flickr  

Eduardo Avaroa National Park

Eduardo Avaroa National Park

One of the most unusual sights in Eduardo Avaroa National Park is the Árbol de Piedra or “stone tree” (pictured here). Bolivia’s most visited national park is also is home to the Laguna Colorada (“Red Lagoon”), 3 species of flamingoes, as well as hot springs and geysers. 960 1280

Pedro Szekely, flickr  

Glover's Atoll Belize
Glover's Atoll Belize

Glover's Atoll Belize

Divers and snorkelers will find an abundance of marine life at Glover’s Atoll, a protected reef system and the southernmost and smallest of Belize’s 3 atolls. Divers frequently encounter dolphins, turtles, sharks and manta rays there. 960 1280

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Whale Shark in Belize

Whale Shark in Belize

Catch a glimpse of the largest fish in the world – the whale shark – from Placencia, Belize. The gentle (believe it or not) creatures are typically found within only 20 feet of the water’s surface, and congregate in Belize each year to feed on fish eggs. 960 1280

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Carocol in Belize

Carocol in Belize

Belize has the highest concentration of Mayan sites of all the countries in Central America, and archeologists suggest that Carocol, believed to have been one of the most important political centers of the Mayan civilization, was home to more than double the number of people that currently live in Belize City, the country’s largest metropolitan area. 960 1280

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Laughing Bird Caye

Laughing Bird Caye

Laughing Bird Caye is one of the beautiful islands that make up the Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage Site. 960 1280

Victoria Reay's, Wikimedia Commons  

Stingray

Stingray

A stingray is one of the impressive creatures you may come across on a snorkeling trip in Belize. Be careful not to walk along the ocean floor -- you wouldn’t want to step on one! 960 1280

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Actun Tunichil Muknal

Actun Tunichil Muknal

Actun Tunichil Muknal -- one of Belize’s many Mayan archaeological sites -- houses the skeleton of a teenage girl, dubbed “The Crystal Maiden” because of the sparkling, crystalized appearance of her bones. To reach the cave, visitors must embark on a 45-minute hike, followed by a swim to the inside of the cave. Visitors can also get a look at the remains of the 13 other humans that now share the cave with the Crystal Maiden. 960 1280

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Belize City

Belize City

Boats are anchored in the harbor of Belize City, the largest city in the small Central American country. 960 1280

anoldent, Flickr   

Sea turtles

Sea turtles

Belize is home to one of the world’s most endangered marine species, the sea turtle. Green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles can all be found between the coast and the barrier reef. 960 1280

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Blue Hole in Belize

Blue Hole in Belize

The aptly named “Blue Hole” is a large collapsed sinkhole near the center of Lighthouse Reef. Explorer Jacques Cousteau named the hole one of the top scuba diving sites in the world. 960 1280

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Red-footed booby in Belize

Red-footed booby in Belize

Visit Half Moon Caye to get a look at one of the island’s 4,000 red-footed boobies. 960 1280

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Silk Cayes in Belize

Silk Cayes in Belize

One of the Silk Cayes – tiny, serene, white-sand islands on the Belize Barrier Reef. 960 1280

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Red lionfish

Red lionfish

The exquisite red lionfish. Watch out for them -- it’s their large venomous spines that make them resemble lions. 960 1280

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Half Moon Caye in Belize

Half Moon Caye in Belize

The sun rises over Half Moon Caye in Belize. 960 1280

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Antillean Manatees in Belize

Antillean Manatees in Belize

Antillean manatees can be found in the rivers, lagoons and coastal areas of Belize. Because of their slow metabolisms, they prefer shallow, warm water, and can be spotted in water only a few yards deep. 960 1280

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Photos

Africa's highest peak is Mount Kilimanjaro where hikers may encounter elephants moving across the African savanna. 960 1280

  

The trek through Nepal's Annapurna Circuit promises 21 days of crossing jungles, rivers and mountains. 960 1280

Explore Glacier National Park with a hike through the Logan Pass. 960 1280

  

Australia's Larapinta Trail, a 130-mile trek through the Northern Territory, is almost entirely through the desert. 960 1280

Photo by andydolman through Flickr Creative Commons  

Head to the hills in Cape Town, South Africa, for a scenic hike through the trails at Table Mountain. 960 1280

  

If you're looking for history and incredible vistas, head to Peru's Inca Trail for a 27-mile hike to Machu Picchu. 960 1280

  

The Val di Fassa in Italy is in the heart of the European Alps with gassy paths and endless mountain views. 960 1280

  

The John Muir Trail is a 211-mile stretch in the Sierra Nevada Mountains stretching from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney. 960 1280

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