- Ushuaia, Argentina
Situated at El Fin del Mundo (The end of the world), Ushuaia ranks alongside Timbuktu and Ulan Bator as iconic symbols of far-flungness.
- Puerto Natales, Chile
I plumped for Puerto Natales as my first bit of cheating in this list! I chose it as a hub from which you can venture out to explore the magnificent Torres del Paine, Mount Fitzroy, the Perito Moreno glacier and Caleta Tortel which lies off the glorious Carretera Austral highway.
- Rio de Janerio, Brazil
I don’t think Rio needs a lot of justifying in this list…
- Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
A wonderful place to camp, cycle, ponder and take silly photos of yourself. A bit of a tourist hotspot but a justifiable one, I think. I’m also going to squeeze La Paz in here as my favourite big city in South America.
- Popayan, Colombia
I could have chosen ten fabulous, charming, vibrant small Colombian towns. Fried plantains, fresh fruit juices and a spirit of adventure are my main memories of Colombia. Popayan is a charming old university town.
- Caye Caulker, Belize
OK, so it’s packed with tourists, but after thousands of hot sweaty miles on a bicycle I felt that I had earned a big chocolate cake and some fabulously refreshing scuba diving.
- Tikal, Guatemala
Howler monkeys shrieking in the misty jungle dawn added to the mysterious atmosphere of the magnificent Mayan pyramids.
- Leon, Nicaragua
This is a choice really that is based on that loveliest of travel sensations: when you arrive in a place with no preconception or particular interest and end up staying for days or weeks! I have very happy memories, though for no real reason. You’re probably better off stumbling across your own happy discovery rather than hotfooting it to Nicaragua on my recommendation!
- Dominical, Costa Rica
Jungle, waves, surf boards for hire. Need I say more?
- Panama Canal
An audacious and impressive feat of engineering. Try to wangle your way onto a yacht for the day to help out as a line handler and really get to see the canal up close.
This piece originally appeared in Wanderlust