The Best Places to Visit in Latin America in 2024
Published on: November 21st, 2023
Last modified: December 1st, 2023
Latin America was the first destination we ever offered at Jacada, and we’re passionate about the extraordinary experiences and exquisite luxury this region has to offer. In 2024 we’re excited about overland adventures across the Bolivian high plains, bespoke behind-the-scenes tours in Colombia, wildlife immersion on the Galápagos Islands and discovering new places to visit in Peru and Panama
We’re especially excited about Guatemala, which is experiencing a rebirth in the post-pandemic travel era. And in the Brazilian Amazon, newfound government support for sustainable tourism initiatives means that it’s easier than ever to make a positive impact through travel.
Our expert travel designers have been busy researching. On trips from Ushuaia to Tikal, and almost everything in between, they’ve been able to hand-pick the best places to visit in Latin America in 2024. Our list includes perennial classics that brim with brand new experiences and opportunities to reach lesser-visited regions, and also features more recent favourites that we predict will be positively shaping luxury travel in 2024 and beyond.
If your interest is piqued, we can help you create a bespoke itinerary to enjoy Latin America in style.
Guatemala’s tourism sector is growing quickly in the post-pandemic travel era, with airlines adding new routes to the country and millions of visitors expected to arrive this year. Even so, it’s still a relatively underexplored destination – which means you’ll find plenty of authentic experiences, uncrowded archaeological sites and opportunities for customised excursions.
Start in the charming city of Antigua with a bespoke tour of its historical sites, museums, restaurants and small businesses. Guatemala is renowned for its textiles, chocolate and coffee, and you can see first-hand how each of these artisanal products is made. We suggest staying at El Convento, an elegant hotel that reflects the colonial history of Antigua.
To witness a one-of-a-kind cultural event, plan your trip to coincide with All Saints’ Day on 1st November. This is when Guatemala’s Kite Festival takes place, with colourful kites filling the skies to honour deceased loved ones. If you’re more interested in ancient culture, don’t miss the archaeological sites of Iximche and Tikal, where you can even camp out amidst the ruins.
The magnificence of Brazil is no secret, with many travellers flocking to the cosmopolitan hubs of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. But while these cities, and the country’s gorgeous beaches, are certainly worth visiting, in 2024 we’ll also be exploring the lesser-known locations scattered throughout this massive country.
Many of our favourite destinations in Brazil strike a balance between protecting the incredible natural environment while also offering amazing experiences. In the country’s interior you’ll find one of the world’s largest wetland areas – the Pantanal – and the remote refuge of Casa Caiman. From this environmentally conscious hotel, set at the heart of a 53,000-hectare oasis, you can spot jaguars in the wild with the Onçafari conservation project.
Farther north, Cristalino Jungle Lodge is the perfect place to experience the wonders of the Amazon first-hand. It’s located within a huge forest reserve and relies on renewable building materials, natural ventilation systems, permaculture and solar panels to work in harmony with the natural environment.
In recent years, the Casco Viejo (historic centre) of Panama City has been completely revitalised with urban regeneration projects and new hotel openings. In 2024 we suggest checking out the Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo, a sophisticated hotel set in the building that once housed the iconic Union Club. You can also experience the Panama Canal from a VIP area at the Miraflores Locks, allowing you to skip the crowds and see the canal up close.
Panama has plenty to offer outside of its capital city as well. We love the new Nayara Bocas del Toro, a true tropical paradise featuring private overwater villas in the Caribbean Sea. You can go glamping in the San Blas Islands, meet the Emberá people in the Darién province or spend a week sailing between Panama and Costa Rica on a brand new luxury yacht – including a few nights on your own private island.
In fact, it’ll be easier than ever to combine a trip to Panama with Costa Rica in 2024 – thanks not only to the aforementioned yacht, but also to increasingly frequent flights between these neighbouring countries. Visiting both in the same trip allows you to experience different cultures and explore contrasting landscapes, from lush green jungles to idyllic secluded beaches.
Chile’s sheer variety of landscapes astound. The desolate Atacama Desert, lush green undulating wine valleys, snow-capped volcanoes of the Lake District and windswept plains of Torres del Paine keep us coming back year after year. In 2024 we want to journey a little further, to places like Chiloé, Aisén or Navarino Island – where the rewards of longer trips mean exploring coastlines, islands, and national parks away from the crowds, and the chance to delve into the Indigenous culture of the Mapuche.
Our travel designer Charles has been on the ground exploring and we’ve been hearing wonderful things about Explora Patagonia National Park, an intimate and peaceful lodge. From here you can navigate some of the worlds most crystalline waters on the Cochrane River, mountain bike across the Patagonian steppe or attempt a high mountain ascent of Tamango or Oportus,.
This is the year to make that once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galápagos Islands. We recommend booking a suite on a luxury vessel like the Endemic or the Elite. Both of these ships have been working hard on minimising their environmental impact by reducing fuel consumption, using biodegradable products and implementing purified water dispensers to reduce single-use plastics.
If you prefer to stay on land, Galápagos Safari Camp and Pikaia Lodge are also terrific options. Galápagos Safari Camp is renowned for its reforestation efforts, while Pikaia Lodge was the first carbon-neutral hotel to open in the Galápagos. Staying on land affords a little more flexibility and a more bespoke approach to your daily activities, which we find works brilliantly for families.
The islands are a year-round destination, so they can easily slot into your 2024 schedule no matter when you’re planning on travelling. That said, our wildlife expert Lily points out that if you want to see certain animals, the best time to visit the Galápagos varies accordingly.
We know Antarctica isn’t technically part of Latin America, but combining it with Chile or Argentina creates an incredible three- or four-week trip. It goes without saying that this is a destination unlike any other. If you want to embark on a truly remote and thrilling adventure, challenging yourself in extreme conditions, we can’t recommend the White Continent enough in 2024.
You can reach Antarctica by sailing the Drake Passage from Ushuaia, or do a fly-in cruise from Chile to save time. When it comes to ships, we recommend Sylvia Earle, which has the world’s lowest-polluting marine engines, or the Magellan Explorer, which re-uses heat from the engine to warm up the ship – among many other environmentally conscious initiatives. Both of these ships are adventure-oriented, with spacious suites, lovely lounge areas and observation decks and state-of-the-art educational facilities.
Our travel designers Jen and Lily have both returned from Antarctica with incredible stories of sleeping out on the ice, kayaking with whales and extremely brave ice swims. Make sure to keep in mind the best times to visit Antarctica, as some months bring harsh and inhospitable conditions.
Over the past few years, Bolivia has been working hard to establish itself as a tourism destination on par with its popular neighbours. In 2024 you can reap the rewards of those efforts by experiencing lesser-known destinations and rugged adventures that highlight not only the country’s natural beauty, but also its distinctive cultural identity.
Bolivia is best known for the spectacular Salar de Uyuni, which can form either end of an adventurous journey between Bolivia and Chile (with stops at luxurious lodges along the way). Visit the salt flats during the rainy season from November to March to see the famous ‘mirror effect’ – and avoid the crowds that descend during the dry season.
Although Uyuni is not to be missed, there’s much more to discover in Bolivia. The lofty city of La Paz is nothing short of magical – but smaller cities like Sucre, Cochabamba and Potosi are also packed with ancient history and cultural landmarks. Then there are the stunning caves and canyons of Torotoro National Park; the mystical Islands of the Moon and Sun in Lake Titicaca; and the ancient temples and pyramids of sites like Tiwanaku.
Bolivia borders both Peru and Chile, making it easy to combine with these classic destinations. That said, 2024 could be the perfect year to dedicate more time to exploring this country in depth, rather than just hitting the highlights. This will give you plenty of time to get to know Bolivia’s culture – not to mention its cuisine, from hearty soups to salteñas (crispy baked empanadas).
There are so many reasons to go to Colombia, from the lively cities of Bogotá and Medellín to the coastal paradises of Cartagena and Tayrona. In 2024, we’ll be recommending destinations that have seen the most positive change in the past few years, now with some of Latin America’s most exclusive accommodations and enriching experiences for travellers. For instance, the highland town of Barichara (now easily reachable via a new airport), the tropical grasslands of Los Llanos and the seaside village of Bahía Solano.
While Colombia’s larger cities offer all the usual urban attractions such as world-class restaurants and museums, these places provide the kind of peaceful escape that only small towns can offer. They also have a growing selection of boutique hotels like Casa Barichara, where you’ll feel right at home.
According to our travel designer Jen, Colombia is one of the best places in Latin America for an off-the-beaten-track honeymoon. You can escape to secluded beach villas, hilltop retreats and luxurious hotels in Bogotá or Cartagena for candle-lit dinners and rooftop sundowners. The variety of activities like horse riding, hiking, salsa classes, tuk tuk rides and hot air ballooning also make Colombia an exciting family destination (ideally with older children or teenagers).
Peru’s main appeal may be the legendary site of Machu Picchu and the nearby town of Cusco, but it’s also increasingly famous for its burgeoning culinary scene and wealth of cultural experiences. In 2024, new governmental efforts aim to expand the tourism infrastructure and reduce overtourism, promoting lesser-known archaeological sites and authentic cultural immersion.
Machu Picchu attracts millions of international visitors a year for a reason, and is well worth visiting – but there are so many other things to do in Peru. The Sacred Valley and Choquequirao have their own Inca ruins, while Trujillo and Chiclayo are charming cities to explore. And then there’s Lima: a bustling metropolis with a well-earned reputation as one of the best cities in Latin America for food.
Where to Stay
Sol y Luna Lodge & SpaSet among beautiful gardens in the magnificent location of the Sacred Valley, Sol y Luna is a charming and comfortable hotel with wonderfully relaxing amenities. Your bungalow, or ‘casita’, is designed with Andean touches and stylish interiors and boasts gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape. Spend your days exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas where you can partake in exciting activities such as horse riding, bird watching and para-gliding. Back at Sol y Luna the indulgent spa, sauna and pool is a peaceful place for you to unwind, while the dining consists of a number of Relais & Chateaux member restaurants: Killa Wasi, where Peruvian and European cuisine is served and Wayra, a separate restaurant set in the hotel’s Wayra ranch where Andean cuisine pays homage to the wealth of natural ingredients cultivated in the Sacred Valley since the time of the Incas. There is also a bar, Chicha Wasi, where you can enjoy authentic pisco sours. The hotel is also recognised for its community initiatives, particularly in education. After 10 years of working with different schools and programs, Sol y Luna opened the Sol y Luna Intercultural School, providing educational services to a number of local students. The hotel recently started another initiative, Sol y Luna Home, which provides a safe home for children without a family or who are victims of violence.
Cristalino Jungle LodgeTruly one of the best lodges to explore the natural world of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest – as confirmed by the National Geographic Traveller, who named it one of the best hotels in all the country – the Cristalino is a spectacular, very comfortable and conscientiously designed jungle lodge for serious nature lovers. Set in its own 28,167-hectare private reserve and only reachable by boat, the lodge also manages to combine several different accommodation options for every type of traveller. Families will find the two-bedroom bungalows very comfortable, and couples looking for extra privacy will find the ‘special bungalows’ ideal. Things like solar-powered hot water and biological waste treatment keep the property sustainable with minimum impact on the precious environment around you. Private verandas and outdoor showers come as standard in all category of rooms, and upper-tier options feature private gardens and L’Occitane products. The staff here look after every individual guest beautifully, as do the lodge’s team of naturalist guides and wildlife experts who lead you on your daily expeditions. Choose from a scheduled programme of diverse activities depending on your length of stay, or pick and choose what you like, mixed in with the right balance of relaxation. Combining remoteness with an elegant style of comfort, expert nature activities and outdoors adventure, and fantastic facilities for its position, Cristalino is without a doubt one of our favorites.
Explora Patagonia National ParkPart of the exceptional Explora family, the Patagonia Park Explora brings the same high-levels of comfort and sophistication with an exciting sense of adventure and submersion in the natural world. A self-sustainable project, the property was constructed and designed to reduce interference with the natural environment. Traditional Patagonian building techniques and local material were used as well as influences from sustainable properties in national parks around the world.
Galapagos Safari CampA truly unique way to enjoy the wonderful nature of the Galápagos islands. Set in 55-hectare grounds in a remote corner of Santa Cruz island, the GSC camp has just nine large and very well appointed safari style tents. Each is appointed with private bathroom with a hot water shower. The tents are spaced well and have a large double bed and private balcony from which to enjoy the views. The new family suite has three bedrooms suite (master and two twins), and its location next to the main lodge makes it an ideal option for families who favour more private and cohesive lodging. All the tents surround the main and very elegant contemporary lodge complete with restored antiques and furnishings installed by its well-travelled owners. There is a large main communal area where meals are served and a lounge to relax in. The hotel also boasts an infinity pool from which to admire the landscape. A variety of activities to explore the island and surrounds are possible from the camp. The camp is also renowned for its sustainable and positive impact efforts, including projects aimed at reforestation and protection of endemic flora.
Sylvia EarleThe Sylvia Earle honours highly accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer Dr Sylvia Earle. As the first female chief scientist of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the vessel pays tribute to Dr Earle’s long-standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife. The vessel has been purpose-built for undertaking expeditions to some of the most remote places on Earth. The revolutionary Ulstein X-BOW will allow it to cross oceans more efficiently. The Sylvia Earle boasts numerous observation decks from where you can marvel at the scenery you slip past. The 70 comfortable cabins can accommodate up to 132 guests. In addition to inviting communal areas, there is a modern lecture lounge, zodiac launching platforms, a restaurant, a gym and a wellness centre. There are variety of activities to fill your days, both on board and on land.
Casa BaricharaCasa Barichara is a gorgeous boutique hotel looking out across the town with its red-tiled roofs and cathedral dome. It’s the perfect spot for a few days of downtime in this spectacularly pretty part of Colombia. Designed by Ezekiel Alarcón, the simple but comfortable villa features exposed wooden beams, terracotta roof tiles and white-washed walls, invoking the Spanish colonial history of Colombia. There are six bedrooms as well as chill-out areas such as the lounge, sunny terrace with a pool and hammocks in which to laze away the afternoon.