things that matter

25 Most Instagrammable Spots in Latin America

ryadoug/Instagram

For anyone who’s ever been there, it should come as no surprise that travel to Latin America is one of the greatest joys in life. There is so much to do and so many countries to visit that I often don’t know where to start. Do I go to the cities? To the beaches? To the ruins? With so many options, there really is no such thing as a bad trip to Latin America.

Still, if you’re trying to pick where to go, then there are a few places I might suggest: Some of the most Instagrammable spots in Latin America! These are the places that you see over and over again when searching the #traveltuesday photos and drooling every week (wait, am I the only one that does that?) and the places that you might not have even realized exist. From the stand-bys like Machu Picchu in Peru to the  Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia to Atacama Desert in Chile, here are the 25 most Instagram-worthy spots in Latin America that you absolutely will NOT want to miss. In fact, I think you should start packing your bags and camera equipment ASAP.

1. Havana, Cuba

CREDIT: msirinagonzalez/Instagram

It’s easier than ever to be an American and travel to Cuba, and you should take advantage while you can. I loved strolling through the streets of Old Havana, taking pictures of buildings and food and people. And, of course, the vintage cars.

2. Machu Picchu, Peru

CREDIT: ryadoug/Instagram

This is probably the number one spot in South America, and for good reason. The 15th century Inca citadel is a splendor and continues to be one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

3. San Juan, Puerto Rico

CREDIT: parliamentmeyer/Instagram

Although Puerto Rico suffered greatly during Hurricane Maria and recovery is still slow, San Juan remains a beautiful city to visit. Plus, by going there, you will put some much-needed tourism dollars toward’s Puerto Rico’s economy… And that’s definitely a great thing.

4. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

CREDIT: backpackersenameriquelatine/Instagram

Located in the southwest of Bolivia, this is the world’s largest salt flat. It is an incredible place to visit and taking an Instagram photo of you jumping up in this spot is the thing to do. Trust me on this one.

5. Merida, Mexico

CREDIT: abcpottery/Instagram

Merida is the largest city in the Yucatan and also the capital of that region, known for its beauty just off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. As a bonus, besides the city, you’ll want to check out the Mayan Ruins nearby because they are truly incredible and worth seeing.

6. Easter Island, Chile

CREDIT: @photography_by_ko/Instagram

This Chilean Island lies in the southeastern Pacific Ocean and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The thing to see here, of course, is the Rapa Nui National Park and the monumental statues of the early Rapa Nui people. 

7. Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

CREDIT: thebarefootaussie/Instagram

The glaciers in Argentina are a sight to behold. This is actually the largest national park in Argentina, and has many beautiful sights and vistas. The thing you’ll really want to see is the giant ice cap in the Andes, which is the largest outside of Antarctica, Greenland, and Iceland.

8. Angel Falls, Venezuela

CREDIT: odigransabana/Instagram

You’ll definitely want to take a selfie at the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall that reaches the height of 3,211 feet and has a plunge of 2,368 feet. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the water drops over the edge of the Auyán-tepui mountain in the Canaima National Park.

9. Torres del Paine, Chile

CREDIT: marcograssiphotography/Instagram

This National Park in the southern Chilean Patagonia has mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers. Basically, everything you could ever want for a truly magical Instagram photo. The views are breathtaking, so make sure you stay there long enough to catch the sunset.

10. Caño Cristales, Colombia

CREDIT: historiassencillas/Instagram

This is a Colombian River that is located in the province of Meta. It’s often called the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow” because of its striking colors. It’s considered one of the most beautiful rivers in the world,  so what are you waiting for before heading there ASAP?

11. Amazon River, Brazil

CREDIT: senior_golf_lady/Instagram

The Amazon River is the largest river in the world by discharge volume of water, but travelers know it for being so incredibly beautiful. If you travel along the river, you’ll want to pay attention to the natural wildlife and have your camera out because, well, there will be tons of photos to take.

12. Lake Titicaca, Peru

CREDIT: camilla.pos/Instagram

Technically, this deep lake in the Andes is on the border of both Peru and Bolivia. It is actually the largest lake in South America, based on volume of water and by surface area. And isn’t it so gorgeous?

13. Sucre, Bolivia

CREDIT: ophelie_ddl/Instagram

The constitutional capital of Bolivia (versus La Paz, where the government sits) is located in the south-central part of the country, and a very cool, temperate city year-round. One of the reasons that it is such a lovely Instagram-worthy spot is that there are beautiful houses and streets, plus the mountains behind too. 

14. Valparaiso, Chile

CREDIT: livingaloha123/Instagram

This city is one of Chile’s major seaports, and located northwest of Santiago. Besides the beautiful seaport views, you might also enjoy walking through the streets of this city. It’s a bit magical to go here, so make sure you visit ASAP.

15. Vinicunca Rainbow Mountains, Peru

CREDIT: francescosgrazzutti/Instagram

Located in the Andes Mountains, Vinicunca is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit. It’s not yet known by many tourists, so you’ll want to visit the Mountain of Seven Colors pretty soon. And yes, you’ll pretty much feel like you’re inside of a Disney movie when you’re here.

16. Tulum, Mexico

CREDIT: creative.cowboy/Instagram

Located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, one of the most incredible things to see in Tulum is where the archaeological ruins meet the beach. The city itself is also a splendor to visit, with tons of markets, great food, and incredible people. And yes, beautiful Instagram-worthy places for a photo.

17. Baños, Ecuador

CREDIT: jfiorent/Instagram

In central Ecuador, you can find the adorable little town of Baños. Located on the foothills of Tungurahua volcano, this is known as the “Gateway to the Amazon” because it is the last big city in the mountains before reaching the jungle and the towns located in the Amazon River basin. 

18. Huacachina, Peru

CREDIT: jordhammond/Instagram

This incredible little village is a small oasis surrounded by sand dunes in southwestern Peru. It is built around a small natural lake in the desert and often called the “oasis of America” because it is a resort for local families from nearby Ica, along with being a tourist destination for its unique beauty.

19. Iguazu Falls, Brazil

CREDIT: drtourismokung/Instagram

On the border of Brazil and Argentina, there is no wrong place to view Iguazu Falls from. This is the largest waterfall system in the world and will absolutely thrill you with its enchanting beauty. You might be so captivated that you actually forget to take a picture, though.

20. Atacama Desert, Chile

CREDIT: atacamaexcursiones/Instagram

This incredible piece of land on the Pacific Coast of Chile, west of the Andes mountains, covers about 600 miles. It is actually the driest desert in the world. It also happens to be an incredible piece of land that is truly beautiful. Time for that Instagram trip through Chile, huh?

21. Río Celeste, Costa Rica

CREDIT: michellegalvantv/Instagram

If you go to Costa Rica, then you should definitely plan to head to the Tenorio Volcano National Park. That is where you will find the Celeste River, which is known for its beautiful turquoise water. It also borders several hot springs and a large waterfall, and only takes an hour to hike from the park’s entrance to the waterfall. 

22. Cartagena, Colombia

CREDIT: ft_howtospendit/Instagram

Founded in 1533, the city of Cartagena in Colombia is one of the most gorgeous and historic cities in the country. From the brightly-colored streets to the historic buildings, you’ll pretty much be walking around and taking pictures the whole time. It’s okay, no judgment.

23. Concepcion, Paraguay

CREDIT: elchad/Instagram

Lying next to the Paraguay River with plenty of nature to see, you’ll want to head to this town in the north of the country to explore. There’s a lot to do here, but most likely you’ll want to wander around and snap photos with your camera phone the whole time. It’s okay, it’s worth it.

24. Isla Margarita, Venezuela

CREDIT: go.plamplam/Instagram

Primarily known for its fishing and tourism, this little island located on the Caribbean Sea is a great place to relax, sip on a cocktail beach-side and… Well, enjoy your time. Between the beach and the mountains, there is plenty to see and Instagram.

25. Pedra do Telégrafo, Brazil

CREDIT: trilhar.rj/instagram

The cliff known as Pedra do Telégrafo is the world’s most Instagram-worthy rock. Yes, really! The views here look amazing and kind of scary, but it’s actually an optical illusion when people hang off this famous rock. Plus, did I mention the the views here are amazing? Bring on the cameras!

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Dear Mike Huckabee: When Did You Decide To Turn From God's Light Towards Hateful Darkness?

Things That Matter

Dear Mike Huckabee: When Did You Decide To Turn From God’s Light Towards Hateful Darkness?

Spencer Platt / Getty

Dear Former Governor Mike Huckabee:

I know I’m not alone when I say I am deeply disappointed by your racist tweet featuring MS-13 gang members. Before you go on dismissing me for using the “R” word, that big, bad label us liberals give to people we “disagree” with, I need to tell you the basis for my very careful choosing of that word, so that we may both learn something from this experience.

Your tweet depicting a group of gang members as “Nancy Pelosi’s campaign committee to take back the house” was intended to paint her as a gang sympathizer. There’s no doubt about your intentions. You must have known how this would look to your base. You were attempting to paint someone who is a leader of a party advocating for the rights of immigrants who deserve due process and basic human rights as a being soft on crime. Even before the 2016 presidential campaigns, you and other in the Republican party have equated immigrants to criminals. President Trump is included in the class of Republican politicians demonizing hardworking immigrants for minuscule political gains.

What you refuse to acknowledge in doing this is the many Latinx Americans who are painted in a negative light because of your fear mongering. Those of us of Latin American heritage have continuously been flagged by leaders of your party as “rapists,” “criminals” and “animals.” It is no wonder then, that so many Americans are now open to the idea of putting immigrant children in cages. Those are the confines to which (dangerous) animals belong.

I know many of your ilk are quick to distinguish yourselves as not being racist. When you make racist remarks, jokes, or generalizations, you quickly point out that aren’t talking about “us.” You certainly don’t want to ostracize any potential voting block, no matter their skin color. But, you are talking about us.

Governor Huckabee, I’m an American daughter of a Mexican immigrant father and a Mexican-American mother. I was born in Texas and was educated in Ohio. I have lived among upper-class white people my whole life. I am familiar with the defense “Oh, I didn’t mean you” when defending a joke or a controversially demeaning stance on immigrants, especially those of us from Latin American countries. This has been my whole life. As a white looking, American-educated woman of Mexican descent, I have privilege that isn’t afforded many of my Latinx brothers and sisters. It’s always assumed in my presence that people with your philosophy are in safe standing when airing your viewpoints. I can assure you, that this is not the case.

No one you encounter is fine with this casual racism, no matter how well you think you know them. Anyone you work with, share dinner with, or meet at campaign events, who is a member of any marginalized group, is exhausted with being told we are the exception to your unwitting hatred. We are all offended. We’ve just gotten so used to being offended that many of us swallow our true opinions at the risk of being viewed as “uncivil.” We ought not be compared to animals, after all. And of course, you’ll find those rare exceptions, who will gladly go along with the joke, or make themselves a case for how they are different. Perhaps their parent was a refugee in the 1950’s, but that’s ok because it was a different time. They will side with you, making a case that there are those from “el otro lado” who have no place here with real Americans. Those people are the saddest among us. They are so terrified and in need of ensuring their survival, that they will sever any source of empathy, and reject the instinct to identify with their ancestors.

We are living in sad times. I know it hurt your feelings when your daughter was lambasted at the White House Correspondents dinner, and when she was refused service at the Red Hen. I wonder, as a parent, if you are able to feel empathy for your own daughter (and she for her children). How exhausting it must be to reject empathy towards all people different than you. To reject the sights and sounds of caged children, to continuously tell yourself it’s for their own good. How difficult and sad it must be to distance yourself from God himself, by inspiring fear in others. How terrifying and lonely it must feel to have the ability to love but to be suppressing every instinct thus in order to perpetuate hate. As the book of John (2:9) tells us “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.”

I want you to know, as a Mexican-American, whose relatives have fought in wars for the United States, and contributed as business owners, mothers and therapists, you are hurting us. When you attempt to make the distinction of “I didn’t mean you” to any one of us, please know that’s not good enough.

Racism is uttered in the very attempt to defend your ignorance. I’m telling you now so that you can see the error of your ways. You were a reverend, isn’t that right? Do you believe that you are following God, even today? Because I’d argue that God’s way isn’t separation, and name-calling, and painting whole swaths of people with one demeaning stroke. You know this to be true in your heart, sir. As a father, I’d have to assume you see the damage you’re doing to God’s children. “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

But, perhaps I’m being too idealistic.

Perhaps your brand of empathy only extends to your own children, wife, community, or, narrower perhaps, your political party, which you place before God and country. Perhaps you can’t be swayed by “civility,” which many in the Republican party have called for since Americans voiced outrage at the caging of innocent migrant children. Let the broken hearts of the citizens of this nation remind you of how to lead with love.

What I want to tell you, if you read this, is that we are already here, sharing the same country. No matter the language or tactics you use to stir hate and fear in white America with the threat of being “infested” or “invaded”, as your leader says, we are here. We walk among you and with you. We and the refugees from other nations deserve to be seen as human beings. If you cannot do this, I fear your heart will continue to plunge into the darkness you have begun to embrace.

As much as terrorists and gang members from other countries pose a threat to our nation, the seeds of hate you aid in planting do the same. Fear leads to hate, which leads to alienation, and ultimately violence. The same kind of hate and fear that led to the attack on protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. I implore you to turn away from the darkness and lead the way into the light.

Do not shirk the American or Christian tenants of due process, fair treatment, and loving of your neighbor (Galatians 5:14). God, and your Twitter followers, are watching.

Sincerely,

Sara Alvarez Kleinsmith

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