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Will 2024 Be the Year of the Latin American Summer?

Swap one continent for a region of abundance of adventure and culture across 33 countries.

 Ekaterina McClaud/Shutterstock
Ekaterina McClaud/Shutterstock
Ekaterina McClaud/Shutterstock

For the first half of 2023, there was one inescapable term on TikTok, perhaps more so and often in conjunction with terms like “clean girl.” European Summer was everywhere. How to plan your own European Summer. How to assemble a wardrobe for a European Summer. Mood boards to capture the European Summer aesthetic. And through all of this, trips were booked. Even though most Gen Z and millennial travelers were opting instead for domestic trips, it still felt like half of your Instagram feed was posting from Italy.

The real-life results of this fervent rush to spend a summer in the homeland of so many colonizers were mixed-to make one’s way to some of the historic sights that draw in visitors, you first had to wrestle your way through a copious amount of said visitors. European Summer revealed itself to be a summer of high prices, overtourism, and beige clothing. While Europe’s popularity as a travel destination is never going away, there’s an entire world to explore where you can have both similar and blessedly dissimilar experiences. In 2024, Latin America is ready to have its moment.

It’s not that Latin American travel isn’t already popular. In 2023, traveling, in general, was popular. But certain Latin American countries saw a noticeable uptick in the number of US visitors. In Argentina, the country saw a 48% increase in tourism in September 2023 compared to September 2022. Over 5.3 million visitors made their way to the country between January and September 2023, about a fourth of which were from the US and Canada. It’s a trend that can be seen beyond customs data, too.

On TikTok, the hashtag #LatinAmericaTravel has 5.5 million videos, while specific countries boast even higher numbers. For instance, #GuatemalaTravel and #TravelGuatemala have 32 million and 45.2 million videos under the tags, respectively. Most of the content is filled with suggestions on everything from the best places for beginner travelers to visit and the best itineraries for “can’t miss” destinations to guides on how to travel there alone as a woman.Plus, getting to certain countries tends to be a bit more affordable. Flights to some of the more northern countries-Guatemala, Costa Rica, Belize-can often be found for less that $600 roundtrip from the East Coast, and even cheaper from other regions of the county. That doesn’t hold true for countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Chile-you can probably expect to pay a fair amount more for destinations in those countries.

But it’s not just a bargain vacation. If you want that, you can park it on a beach at a low-tier all-inclusive resort and call it a day. Latin America has countries filled with rich histories, vibrant cultures, world-class museums, unparalleled adventure, and some of the best food. It’s never been a secret, but with the marketing power of TikTok, it’s becoming more and more discussed every day by young people looking to plan their next trip.There are 33 countries in Latin America. All of them have something fantastic to offer-though due to ongoing conflict some have been issued travel warnings and Americans are advised not to visit. Haiti and Venezuela have Level 4 warnings, and several countries have Level 3 advisories. Most of the Level 3 advisories are for specific regions of a given country. You can learn more here.

On TikTok, you can find numerous suggestions on which countries to visit and why but if you’re trying to narrow down your list, it can be incredibly overwhelming. Below are four countries that have been positively reviewed by an extensive number of travelers, and that pop up again and again under the #LatinAmericaTravel tag.

Colombia

Home to some of the most biodiverse regions of the world, Colombia offers everything from Caribbean island experiences to tropical mountains and incredible cities. Cartagena and Medellin are two of the biggest cities for guests, but places like Santa Marta, La Guajira Peninsula, Cali, and San Gil should also be on your radar.

Belize

Belize is filled with aquatic adventure opportunities like diving the Blue Hole, swimming with sharks, and swimming near the second largest reef in the world. The country also has ample jungles, and you can spend a few nights exploring the rivers, rainforests, and wildlife in the country. The country is also home to Mayan ruins and history.

Argentina

Perhaps most known for Buenos Aires, this country offers so much more than the bustling city-though it is fantastic. In the south, you can explore Patagonian glaciers, stunning mountain ranges, and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Further up, you can explore fincas, gaucho culture, and eat copious amounts of meat at parrillas in towns like San Antonio de Areco. In Mendoza, you can check out the home of Malbec wine, see the Argentinian side of Iguazu, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and explore Salta and Jujuy.

Guatemala

There’s so much to do in this Central American country that’s long been overlooked as a tourist destination. In Antigua, you can delight in history, culinary experiences, and even an area that’s built to look like the Shire from Lord of the Rings. You can hike the Pacaya Volcano, which is a little less than 20 miles outside of Guatemala City. One of the top experiences in the country is visiting Lake Atitlan, which offers stunning views of of mountains and turquoise blue waters,

This is but a short list of places to visit, even for each respective country. For more Latin America travel inspiration, check out some of the most beautiful destinations in Latin America, the best beaches in South America to escape the Northern Hemisphere winter, learn why it’s worth visiting Bahia, Brazil more than once, and explore how to plan a road trip from Lima to Machu Picchu in Peru.

Looking for more travel inspo?

If you’re ready for an adventure but not sure where you’d like to go or what to do, we’re on it. The best new hotels opening up around the world. The most exciting places to travel without a passport. The world’s best beaches, as ranked by travel influencers. It’s all here along with all the travel news you need to stay informed and inspired.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Journalism from NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She’s worked in digital media for eight years, and before working at Thrillist, she wrote for Mic, The Cut, The Fader, Vice, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.

News

Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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