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Located in the northwest of the country in the province of Salta, Cafayate is a small town of just over 12,000 residents. Although charming and with a few attractions worth visiting – including an archeological museum featuring objects from the local Indigenous people – most people arriving here are on their way to the Quebrada de Cafayate (or Quebrada de las Conchas). An area known for its towering reddish rock formations, the quebrada offers one of the most stunning drives in South America on Route 68. More than 60 kilometers of paved roads cut through colorful sandstone, offering plenty of stops to discover narrow canyons, natural amphitheaters, towers of sandstone and clay, and the shores of the Rio de las Conchas.
If there’s one man who lingers large over Colombia’s recent history, it’s the billionaire drug trafficker Pablo Escobar. What few people realize is that you can actually visit the lavish estate built and owned by Escobar in Puerto Triunfo, about 110 miles east of Medellin. The sprawling complex, known as Hacienda Nápoles, fell into disrepair in the decade after Escobar’s death in 1993. But the local municipality took control of the property in the mid-2000s and turned it into-of all things-an ever-growing amusement park with an eclectic mix of themed zones, hotels, a water park, and safari-style zoo. The amusements and hotels are new, and signs of Escobar are now limited. The ruins of his former mansion were bulldozed, and one of the Cessna planes he used to smuggle drugs to the US that used to be perched atop the entry gate is gone (as is the gate). The only thing remaining is a small museum that grapples with his legacy and some of his antique car collection rusting peacefully in the sun.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Parque Nacional Viñales is a beautiful, verdant valley in the Sierra de los Organos, north of Pinar del Rio. Steep limestone hills, called mogotes, slice through the valleys, creating a dramatic landscape. The valley floors in the Parque Nacional Viñales are agricultural areas where tobacco, fruit, and vegetables are grown. For outdoor enthusiasts, the park offers fantastic hiking and horseback riding in the hills. Nearby, the charming town of Viñales is a great base for exploring the surrounding area. Tour companies also offer day trips here from Havana. About 20 kilometers northwest of Baracoa is one of the area’s best beaches: picture-perfect Playa Maguana. If you’re looking for something adventurous to do in Cuba, you can rent a bicycle in Baracoa and peddle out here. Flights to Baracoa depart frequently from Havana.
Cast all of your outdated ideas aside, like drug wars and gangsters, and you’ll find that Colombia is a nation brimming with confidence and rushing headfirst into a more peaceful and prosperous future. In this land of contrasts, you’ll encounter snowcapped Andean peaks, tropical Amazonian jungles, turquoise Caribbean coasts, and two sun-kissed deserts. You’ll also find a host of spectacular attractions at the places in between, from the magic of Cartagena and the buzz of Medellin to the quiet colonial villages of Salento and Mompox. Above all else, the famous Colombian hospitality will undoubtedly find you coming back for more. Find the best places to visit with our list of the top attractions in Colombia.
It was the following day that I moved into an apartment in the more upscale neighbourhood of Vedado. And it would be the casa owned by the woman I’d eventually go back to Cuba to see. You’d know her as Che Guevara’s granddaughter. I’d come to know her as Fanny, my gorgeous beagle loving Airbnb hostess. Who was both the most frustrating woman alive and yet so gorgeous. I booked the first available flight to Buenos Aires Argentina. My favourite city in South America and where I’d spent quite a bit of time in my youth. I booked the first available flight and was on my way three days later. Arriving in Buenos Aires and being thrust back into the civilised world was a shock after about 4 months in closed off Cuba. See more info on https://inlovelyblue.com/.
The main hub for tourists visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Patagonia’s Los Glaciares National Park, the small town of El Calafate offers plenty of accommodation options and other amenities for visitors. It’s here that most visitors join excursions to see the park’s popular glaciers, most notably the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, a massive 30-kilometer-long ice formation (and the world’s third-largest freshwater reserve) just 78 kilometers from the town center. Named after a 19th-century explorer, it’s just a two-hour trip from El Calafate to the glacier’s large visitor center, and from here just a short walk to the glacier. For those wanting to climb the glacier, ice trekking tours are available that range from an hour’s walk over the ice formation to longer five-hour excursions. Another important feature of Los Glaciares National Park is the 3,359-meter-tall Monte Fitz Roy, a stunningly beautiful mountain straddling the border with Chile that is reputably harder to climb than Everest.
In a country known for its beautiful beaches, Playa Paraíso (Paradise Beach), on the island of Cayo Largo del Sur, is one of Cuba’s best. This sublime strand of powdery white sand and baby blue sea skirts the sheltered western edge of the island and merges with the equally ravishing Playa Sirena. The island of Cayo Largo del Sur is truly a sun seeker’s destination with a typically dry, sunny climate and few tourist attractions besides some of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba and many hotels and resorts. Cayo Coco is another of Cuba’s idyllic beach destinations and one of its most isolated. The island starred in Hemingway’s novels, Islands in the Stream and The Old Man and the Sea, along with nearby Cayo Guillermo. As part of the Jardines del Rey, the combined archipelago of Sabana-Camaguey, Cayo Coco is connected to the mainland by a bridge, though most visitors arrive by air. Sun-splashed beaches are the prime attraction. Playa Los Flamencos, on the Atlantic side of the island, is a standout with its five-kilometer strand of sun-bleached sand, while the quiet and undeveloped Playa Prohibida offers a peaceful nature trail. The island also offers excellent birding. Connected by a causeway to Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo also boasts a bevy of beautiful beaches, such as the ravishing Playa Pilar, as well as a string of all-inclusive resorts.