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The coolest thing about Europe? The (practically) infinite amount of glamour spots that mean you can literally stand in the middle of the continent (which would be the city square in Frankfurt) and then stumble across somewhere wow whichever way you decided to strut. The snow-covered aprés ski bars of the Swiss Alps, the Mamma Mia-inspired islands of Greece, the beaut beaches of the French Riviera, the romantic waterways of Venice... Monaco... Mykonos, Lake Como, and then a (beach)bucket load more. And, guess what, they all have one thing in common -- they’re places you want to be seen bouncing about on your Insta-stories.
But South America, that’s where you go when you want to disappear (in a good way, not a Man of Fire way). And here’s the best bit: this huge landmass is no longer about finding towns and regions you can escape to, but places to brag about going.
The beaches are ah-may-zing, the exchange rate is dreamy, the food is yum-yum, the cultures and landscapes are nuts, beach volleyball is basically a continental-sport and you’ll get to leave with stories way more exciting than the usual, “this one time I was in Paris...”
When in Brazil, hit up Paraty
We love what Santorini (and the other Greek islands) have done with their surplus amount of white and blue paint, but Paraty proves they’re missing out on an entire rainbow. Exterior walls, lattice windows, old wooden doors -- they’ve all been decorated in enough bold and beautiful shades that you’ll let you favourite filters take a siesta. And that’s just part of the reason Mykonos should be a little bit worried. Pristine beaches, snorkel-ready seas, soul-nourishing weather, happy-go-lucky locals, fresher than Will Smith cuisine and the lazy clip-clop of horse-drawn carts bouncing along cobbled streets instead of noisy cars. Yeah, Paraty is the real deal.
When in Guyana, go see Georgetown
This is one of those places where you’ll land and think you’ve landed in the wrong country, and that’s because it feels less like South America and more like a Caribbean paradise. It’s got that chilled out, nonchalant, good-vibe thing about it. And while most people use it as a base from which to explore the nearby rainforests (yeah, they have local jungles), Georgetown is proper charming and fun and full of sights to pop on your ‘gram, like the colonial buildings made of wood, and the iconic markets, and a town-centre rum distillery. And when you’re done with them, there’s always the jungles.
When in Mexico, take a trip to Guanajuato
Okay, the first reason you need to go here is it has Mexican wine. And nice Mexican wine at that. Really nice. And Guanajuato is only one of, like, four destinations you can actually try these locally Nutri-bulleted grapes (that’s how you make wine, right?). And the second reason you need to head to this colonial city is the buzz: it’s a lively kaleidoscope of local lovelies and expats from 65-plus nationalities all dancing amongst the colonial buildings, eating the exciting foods, lapping up the year-round sunshine (which is why you might want to read our awesome advice on how to beat the heat).
When in Chilé, spend time in Valparaíso
Forget the promenades of Paris and the Dutch gables of the ‘Dam, this port city is more boho than a flowery maxi dress floating in front of a Warhol painting. There’s the vibrant houses running along the up-and-downy streets full of “how are you not famous?” street artists that work together to turn Valparaíso into a mammoth mural (as in big and not a hairy elephant). Oh and it’s also the perfect place to drink one too many as you watch the sunset across the water because this is the home to the Chorrillana (aka, the most top-drawer hangover brekky ever invented). Imagine a plate heaped with French fries and topped with fried onions, fried eggs, bits of sausage and strips of beef. Mmmmmm.
When in Belize, you gotta do Ambergris Caye
For all those that don’t fancy volcano hikes or trying to snap a blurry photo of a spider monkey in some jungle canopy, there’s Ahm-BER-gris-kē or, as we like to call it, South America’s Ibiza. Picture a place where you’re not in any hurry by day, get to chill out at bars every afternoon and then spend your night’s Cha Cha sliding across open-air clubs sat on the beachfront. And while it may not have the edible hangover cure of Valparaíso, Ambergris Caye does have the second largest barrier reef in the world, and no one has ever been so hungover they can’t be cured by a smorgasbord of dreamy diving spots. No one. Ever.
When in Colombia, take a taxi to Cartagena
Whoever came up with the tourism tagline for Cartagena nailed it by saying, “The only risk is wanting to stay.” It’s basically a Barcelona-inspired city that’s packed full of powdery beaches and a forget-me-not nightlife. What more could you want?
When in Puerto Rico, send it in San Juan
For most people, sleeping through the daylight hours on a beachy vacay sounds like guilt-ridden sacrilege. But for those that live for the party, there’s San Juan. The nightlife here is so good it pretty much tops every other reason to visit -- and the reason it’s become a party central is its unofficial title as the gay capital of South America. Yeah, there’s beaches to lounge on and pastel-coloured architecture that’s totally ‘grammable, but it’s the neon-illuminated beach clubs, pumping music, soul-stirring drag scene, exotic dance troupe’s and the steady flow of locals that fill the dance floor with fire emojis until dawn that really makes San Juan a must party here kinda place.
Thanks for reading. For more travelspiration and far-flung adventure ideas, follow us on Instagram and Facebook and, you know, don’t forget to grab yourself the most awesome towel ever made… and some shorts… and a hair wrap... and probably a poncho too. After all, everyone looks good in stripes.