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SOUTH AMERICA

The Best Places to Visit in South and Central America in Spring

From the cloud forests of Costa Rica to the Mayan ruins of Mexico, Central and South America make for thrilling travel destinations. Visit them via TRIPS by Culture Trip.
Louis Rabinowitz
23 Dec 2021
Trekking through the cloud forests of Costa Rica; swimming in wild cenotes and exploring Mayan ruins on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula; snorkeling with sea lions around the Galápagos Islands – whatever your wish for a memorable spring vacation, South and Central America have it all. To fire your imagination, we’ve curated the best TRIPS by Culture Trip across South and Central America, with ideas for thrill-seekers, wildlife enthusiasts and beach lovers.
1 . Costa Rica, for swimming in waterfalls and rafting through the rainforest
Looking to combine some exhilarating activities with ample time for rest and relaxation in an idyllic, tropical setting? Costa Rica is the place to go, and in spring, the weather is both reliably warm and mostly dry. White-water rafting down the Balsa River, trekking through the jungle of Arena National Park in search of jaguars and capuchin monkeys, and spotting sloths in the Monteverde Cloud Forest are just a few of the incredible experiences that await. You can do all of that on this nine-day trip, as well as swimming in waterfalls in La Fortuna, coffee tasting at the Doka Estate and learning to surf in Tamarindo.
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2 . Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, for swimming in wild cenotes and exploring Mayan ruins
Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is a haven for wild swimming, exploring ancient Mayan ruins, partying and relaxing on gorgeous beaches. It’s home to the majestic, 1,500-year-old pyramid of Chichen Itza – one of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites – as well as Cobá, the last Mayan pyramid in the region which can still be climbed. You can visit both as part of this nine-day adventure, while also swimming in cenotes (natural sinkholes), learning the secrets of traditional Yucatecan cuisine in a cooking masterclass, making cocktails in Tulum (with plenty of tequila), and enjoying a private catamaran cruise along off the coast of Holbox at sunset. As in Costa Rica, spring is a warm, dry time to go.
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3 . Colombia’s Caribbean coast, for glorious beaches and jungle trekking
Many travelers to Colombia head straight to the Andes and the cities of Bogotá and Medellín, but the Caribbean coast shouldn’t be overlooked. With rainforests, snow-capped mountains, idyllic islands and vast swathes of golden sand beaches, it’s jam-packed with gorgeous scenery. On this eight-day adventure, you’ll go hiking through the Tayrona National Park, river tubing along the Rio don Diego and snorkel among coral reefs on a day excursion to the Rosario Islands. The vibrant city of Cartagena ensures a taste of history and culture, not to mention pulsating nightlife. March and April are favorable if traveling in spring, as May tends to bring heavier and more frequent rainfall.
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4 . Ecuador, for hiking around volcanoes, cycling and horse riding
Boasting a combination of rugged, volcanic landscapes, thick jungle and vibrant, high-altitude cities, Ecuador offers an enormous catalogue of adventures to enjoy. From hiking around the emerald green Quilotoa crater lake and the Laguna Limpiopungo in Cotopaxi National Park to cycling past gushing waterfalls between Baños and Puyo, it’s one of South America’s prime destinations for outdoor pursuits. This eight-day adventure features all of the above, as well as chocolate tasting and a cooking class in Quito, white-water rafting in the Amazon, and soaking in the Papallacta hot springs. As Ecuador lies on the equator, temperatures are fairly consistent throughout the year; if you want to avoid the crowds of peak season, spring is a good time to visit – if you don’t mind the occasional rain shower, that is.
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5 . The Galápagos Islands, for viewing a vast array of wildlife
It’s impossible not to be enthralled by the sheer variety of wildlife and unspoiled nature on the Galápagos Islands – and with spring bringing the warmest temperatures of the year, it’s an ideal time for snorkeling and scuba diving. Galápagos giant tortoises, white-tipped reef sharks, eagle rays, Galápagos penguins and sea turtles are just a few of the extraordinary creatures you’re likely to come across, as well as an abundance of endemic bird species. This five-day trip is a fantastic way to see the best of the archipelago in a relatively short space of time. Go kayaking in the Itabaca Channel, sleep in a luxury safari tent in the Santa Cruz highlands, swim with sea lions at Punta Carola beach and head snorkeling or scuba diving at Kicker Rock – one of the best spots in the Galápagos for encountering marine wildlife.
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