Mendoza & the Central Andes
A long, narrow sliver of desert landscape, the Mendoza region is home to two of Argentina’s claims to fame – the Andes and wine. The city itself is lively and cosmopolitan and the surrounding area boasts hundreds of wineries offering tours – an educational (and occasionally intoxicating) way to spend an afternoon or a month.
Bariloche & the Lake District
Home to some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, the Lake District is one of Argentina's prime tourist destinations. People come to ski, fish, climb, trek and generally bask in the cool, fresh landscapes created by the huge forests and glacier-fed lakes.
Ceará, Piauí & Maranhão
These three Northeastern states stretch along Brazil’s only north-facing coast and back deep into the arid interior. The main draw for visitors are the beaches of Ceará, arrayed for hundreds of glorious kilometers either side of Fortaleza, the state's fun-loving biggest city.
Salta & Jujuy Provinces
Intertwined like yin and yang, Argentina’s northwestern provinces harbor an inspiring wealth of natural beauty and traditional culture. Bounded by Bolivia to the north and Chile to the west, the zone climbs from sweaty cloud forests westward to the puna highlands and some of the most majestic peaks of the Andes cordillera.
Cali & Southwest Colombia
Out of the way and with a reputation for security problems, southwest Colombia is often overlooked by travelers, but this fascinating region warrants an appearance on all itineraries. It's an authentic land of contrasts: Andean and African, modern and pre-Columbian.
South of Santiago, squeezed between the Andes and the coastal cordillera, the central valley is Chile's fruit bowl. With a Mediterranean climate and endless orchards and vineyards, this region produces most of Chile's wine. The Andes in this sector are spectacular, with deciduous beech forests climbing their slopes and broad gravel-bedded rivers descending into the valley.
Boyacá, Santander & Norte de Santander
Boyacá, Santander and Norte de Santander together form one of the first areas settled by Spanish conquistadores and its calling as Colombia's heartland cannot be understated. It's here that the seeds of revolution were sowed, culminating in the victory at Puente de Boyacá that ultimately led to Colombia's independence.
Córdoba & the Central Sierras
Argentina’s second city is bursting with life. Home to not one but seven major universities, Córdoba has a young population that ensures an excellent nightlife and a healthy cultural scene. Córdoba also boasts a fascinating history, owing its architectural and cultural heritage to the Jesuits, who set up shop here when they first arrived in Argentina.
For such a small sliver of land, Chile's Norte Chico (Little North), offers up fantastic diversity. La Serena, a coastal colonial capital and the region's largest city, is a must-see for anybody visiting. From there, move on to the mystical Elqui Valley: the verdant home to Chile's pisco producers, new-age communes and cutting-edge observatories.