It’s one thing to experience tourist spots when you travel, but it’s a completely different adventure when you go beyond the beaten path and explore something entirely new! Latin America is filled with a ton of hidden gems, and AMIGOS will take you there. Here are five excursions in Latin America off the beaten path:
Cloudbridge Nature Reserve – Costa Rica
Tucked into the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica, the 700-acre Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is a massive slice of nature dreams. There are always major projects going on around reforestation, conservation, education, and research. Lots of self-guided hiking trails are accessible for a beautiful stroll through the Montane cloud forest for access to waterfalls and swimming holes. A Memorial Garden allows visitors an up-close view of local florals, hummingbirds, and more. For those who can’t get enough, cabins can be rented for the night so you can wake up to tropical birds and the sound of the Rio Chirripó.
Zona Colonial – Dominican Republic
Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, this “Colonial Zone” in Santo Domingo is the oldest permanent European settlement of the Americas. Nearly every corner is a Dominic Republican landmark here, with over 300 notable sights to see. The city center is Parque Colon, a square that borders a cathedral from the 16th century and statue of Christopher Columbus from the 19th century. The world’s oldest cobblestone street holds shops, restaurants, and pockets of history ready for a day of exploring.
Mt. Chimborazo – Ecuador
What’s more of an adventure than hiking a volcano that is the closest point on Earth to the sun? Towering over Ecuador, this stratovolcano is a part of the Andes mountain range. From desert ranges to glaciers to humid mountainsides, a wide variety of microclimates can be explored while hiking. Be sure to keep an eye out for vicuñas, a shy camelid relative of the llama!
Cuenca – Ecuador
A charming city filled with old-world cathedrals, cobblestone streets, and stunning views, Cuenca is a hidden gem tucked away in the Azuay Province. The third-largest city in Ecuador is filled with historical landmarks, kind locals, and delicious food. There is even a laid-back nightlife scene boasting international cuisine at a bargain price. Get a break from the city with the El Cajas National Park filled with beautiful hiking and remote biking trails.
Casco Viejo – Panama
This historic district of Panama City is a unique walled city filled with vibrance. Historical buildings and original streets sit comfortably next to brand-new developments and renovations. A true melting pot of cultures from around the world, Casco Viejo shines brightly with shades from around the globe. Go heron watching at the Palacia de la Garzas, grab an empanada from a local vendor, and enjoy the tremendous collaboration of cultures in this one-of-a-kind city.
Where are you going to explore next? Learn more about how you can visit these places and more with AMIGOS on a summer program or a gap year.