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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Roatan Island, Honduras
Roatan Island, Honduras

Roatan Island, Honduras

Located between the islands of Utila and Guanaja, 37-mile-long Roatan Island is surrounded by one of the world’s largest barrier reefs. It’s a great destination for snorkelers and divers who can experience face-to-face encounters with marine life, including sea turtles and eagle rays. We recommend spending an hour or 2 walking along the beautiful beach near Turquoise Bay. 960 1280

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Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Hike a path that leads to impressive lava flows from the still simmering but young Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. Since October 2010, Arenal’s volcanic activity has been decreasing and explosions have become rare. Enjoy the picturesque scenery and take a fun road trip around Lake Arenal located nearby. 960 1280

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Cangrejal River, Honduras

Cangrejal River, Honduras

Feeling adventurous? Experience the rapids of the Cangrejal River, one of the best places in Central America to go white-water rafting. Experienced rafters can brave the river’s challenging class IV and V rapids. 960 1280

Andrew Baskett, flickr  

Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

The Concepcion and Maderas volcanoes form Isla de Ometepe, a jungle island that’s home to 35,000 people, countless birdlife, cattle and howler monkeys. The island is sacred ground. Archeology buffs will enjoy spotting rocks carved into figures and pre-Columbian petroglyphs found all around the island, including its lush tropical forest. 960 1280

Eric Molina, flickr  

Barrier Reef, Belize

Barrier Reef, Belize

Belize’s most popular tourist attraction is its 190-mile series of coral reefs. The Belize Barrier Reef is a hot destination for scuba diving and snorkeling, attracting half of its 260,000 visitors each year. 960 1280

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Panama Canal, Panama

Panama Canal, Panama

Visit the site in Panama City where the Atlantic Ocean intersects with the Pacific Ocean. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects, the 48-mile Panama Canal was built as a safe shortcut instead of taking the Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America. 960 1280

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Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

The Iglesia de La Merced stands high above Granada’s multicolored one-story cottages and townhouses. We recommend taking a stroll along the town’s cobblestone streets to see the opulence and history of the old Spanish Empire. 960 1280

nakashi, Wikimedia Commons  

Costa del Sol, El Salvador

Costa del Sol, El Salvador

Sample fresh seafood at a restaurant while witnessing an amazing sunset in Costa del Sol, El Salvador. It’s the largest beach in the country and there several activities to keep beachgoers active, including sailing, horseback riding, jogging and playing a couple rounds of beach volleyball. 960 1280

Andrew Griffith, flickr  

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Travelers visiting the islands in the western Caribbean should not miss Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize. Go kite surfing in Caye Caulker, snorkeling in Shark Ray Alley, bird-watching at Lalas Bird Sanctuary and golfing at Caye Chapel Golf Resort & Marina. End the day by sitting on the pier while the waves lap at your toes. 960 1280

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Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Once a funky beach town, Tamarindo is now a prime spot for commercial development, including a variety of shops, bars and hotels. Most tourists and locals flock to the town’s beaches. We recommend heading to Playa Langosta or Playa Grande for swimming and surfing. Other outdoor options include diving, sports fishing, wildlife watching and canopy tours. 960 1280

Tamarindowiki, Wikimedia Commons  

Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Guatemala’s Dulce River flows out of Lake Izabal and is a popular destination for sailboats. Surrounded by a lush forest, the entrance to the river is the Castillo de San Felipe de Lara, a Spanish fort once built to stop pirates from entering the lake from the Caribbean when this part of Guatemala was an important shipping port. 960 1280

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Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua has several ruins of colonial churches as well as well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture. Visit Cerro de la Cruz for the best view of the city or mingle with the locals around the newly reconstructed water fountain located in the city’s Parque Central (Central Park). 960 1280

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La Libertad, El Salvador

La Libertad, El Salvador

Experience the gritty vitality of La Libertad, El Salvador. The small port town has a steady flow of tourists because it is known as the country’s surf capital, hosting regional and international surfing championships. The town has a serious drug problem and in some cases, foreigners are easy targets for theft and assaults. So keep your guard up and travel in numbers when possible. 960 1280

Susana Soto, flickr  

Panama City, Panama

Panama City, Panama

With a blend of old Baroque architecture and modern skyscrapers, Panama City’s landscape tells a tale of 2 cities. The city’s Casco Viejo neighborhood is steeped in rich colonial history whereas the city’s Punta Paitilla neighborhood is thriving with office towers, banks, hotels, restaurants and shops. We recommend visiting Playa Kobbe, a beach less than 20 minutes from downtown, and taking a stroll through Parque Natural Metropolitano to see more than 200 species of birds. 960 1280

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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  

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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