Things That Matter

25 Most Instagrammable Spots in Latin America

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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This Bomb Cyclone Is Plastering The West Coast And Making It Tough To Travel

Things That Matter

This Bomb Cyclone Is Plastering The West Coast And Making It Tough To Travel

You may not have planned to stay home for the holidays—but our country’s current weather situation might keep you there. Two powerful storms have been forming on both coasts, which means that traveling for Thanksgiving may be a little rough (or even impossible) this year. As the severe weather culminates in blizzard conditions and hurricane-force winds, weather forecasters are warning people to exercise caution and brace for major delays. So instead of trying to venture too far out into the snow, it may be best to cancel everything and cozy up with some Netflix and hot cocoa. Or, better yet, some Netflix and coquito.

Those on the West Coast are at the mercy of a “bomb cyclone,” a rare weather phenomenon that has already happened several times this year.

Credit: NOAA

These storms form when the air near the surface of the earth rises rapidly through the atmosphere, causing an abrupt drop in barometric pressure. As the air continues to rise, currents are generated at the base of the storm, sucking wind into its spin and causing the pressure to keep dropping. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm. Really, a bomb cyclone is just a storm that intensifies at an alarmingly high rate, and the results can be catastrophic. Last month, a storm of this nature descended on the Northeast and knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of homes.

This particular bomb cyclone is expected to plaster California—from Crescent City to Bakersfield—with several feet of snow. If that song “White Christmas” is any indication, white Christmases don’t usually happen in Beverly Hills, so this forecast is obviously unusual. Many meteorologists have also described it as unprecedented. Some experts say that that’s the true danger of bomb cyclones: they can (and often do) sneak up on us.

Bomb cyclones are kind of like cold-weather hurricanes, with strong winds, heavy precipitation, and eye-like features at their center. Definitely not the kind of weather you want to fly through.

“Fundamentally, the impacts of a bomb cyclone are not necessarily different from other strong storm systems, except that the fast strengthening is usually a signature of a very powerful storm system,” said Daniel Swain, Climate Scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

So what exactly should people in the West expect from this cyclone? The National Weather Service office in Las Vegas has a storm warning posted from 5 p.m. PT on Tuesday until 4 a.m. PT on Friday and some places in Colorado reported as much as 30 inches in just 20 hours. As the storm develops, forecasters predict that at least a foot of snow can be expected across the plains by Thursday. This means that the central part of the country will probably experience the most flight delays, as airports in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul have already experienced widespread cancellations (as of Tuesday morning, nearly 500 flights out of Denver International Airport have been canceled).

As for the East Coast? There is no “bomb cyclone” predicted. Instead, wet and windy weather is in the forecast, paired with heavy snow. It doesn’t take long to realize that plunging temperatures and abundant showers are a recipe for ice, ice, baby – but so far, there are no severe weather warnings encouraging people to prepare for icy conditions. In fact, it’s expected that rain will clear the coast by noon on Thanksgiving, though wind gusts might grow to more than 30 or 40 mph in some places. All the more reason to sip a warm beverage and cuddle up on the couch.

If you’re bummed about the weather ruining your holiday plans, look at it this way: you’re bearing witness to some serious meteorological history.

Well, maybe—that’s yet to be confirmed. Still, isn’t it cool that California may experience its lowest-ever air pressure reading? No? What about the fact that temperatures throughout the state will be 15 degrees lower than the average? Not doing it for ya? Okay. Perhaps the real silver lining to all this climate chaos is that it’s forcing some of us to stay put and relax. The holidays can be a stressful time, and sometimes we just need a powerful winter tempest to make us kick back and chill. Regardless of what your plans are, stay safe out there!

READ: Get Ready For Some Much Needed Couch Time: 10 Latinx Movies To Binge-Watch This Thanksgiving Weekend

A Hospital In Mexico Was Keeping A Couple From Leaving Until They Paid Their Bill In Full And Tyler Perry Helped Them Out

Entertainment

A Hospital In Mexico Was Keeping A Couple From Leaving Until They Paid Their Bill In Full And Tyler Perry Helped Them Out

Tori Austin / Facebook

Imagine: you and your boo are on your dream vacation, kicking back and sipping chelas on a Mexican cruise. Suddenly, one of you gets sick—like, really sick, and you’re rushed to a hospital in Mexico in critical condition. It sounds like a nightmare, right? Well, this happened to an American couple about a week ago. When they were faced with a $14,000 medical bill, film mogul Tyler Perry took immediate action to help them out.

Tori Austin’s fiancé, Stephen Johnson, suffered a sudden medical emergency while on a Carnival Dream cruise ship. He was diagnosed on board with diabetes, pancreatitis, and a kidney infection that required urgent dialysis. He was rushed to Centro Médico Americano, a private Mexican hospital in the city of Progreso.

A health administrator told NBC News that Johnson was “near death” when he finally made it to the medical center on November 14.

Credit: Unsplash

“He suffered kidney failure and is currently undergoing dialysis,” the administrator said. Johnson received three days of intensive care, which included an endoscopy and dialysis. After everything was said and done, the hospital bill totaled $14,000 and the hospital, Centro Médico Americano, prevented the couple from leaving until the bill was paid in full. Austin even claimed that hospital staffers locked the windows to ensure that they could not leave, and threatened to call the police if the couple tried to take off.

Whether or not those steps were actually taken by hospital staff, preventing patients from leaving before paying their bills in full is not unusual for private hospitals in Mexico. Many of these hospitals require patients, especially international patients, to pay their fees upfront, because they don’t have an effective way of billing patients after they have been discharged. If they don’t have travel insurance, Centro Médico Americano does try to help patients find a way to pay through credit cards or money transfers, but what if you just don’t have the means to cover the cost?

Well, you hope that Tyler Perry gets word of your situation.

After seeing a news report on the couple’s dilemma, Tyler Perry contacted Austin and sent a payment to cover the bill, which by that time amounted to more than $16,000.

Credit: tylerperry / Instagram

Perry also offered to pay the couple’s travel expenses back to Atlanta once they were permitted to leave the hospital. According to NBC News, Centro Médico Americano said on Saturday that they had not yet received Perry’s payment. However, the hospital did note that international transfers typically take several days to process, and conceded that the couple would be free to go on Monday if Johnson was healthy enough to travel. In the meantime, Austin expressed her gratitude for Perry’s support.

“Today I am thankful for and will always be thankful for Tyler Perry,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. She also shared positive feelings about Carnival Dream, affirming that the company “has been great” and that she will continue to “only cruise with them.” Additionally, in spite of this chaotic experience, Austin wrote that she would definitely continue to travel to Mexico in the future.

“What is going on with Stephen has nothing to do with the entire country, it has to do with this particular hospital,” she wrote. “We were unaware that this particular hospital and administration staff have been known to take American passports and hold them for payment.”

“I love MEXICO and the Culture,” she added. “I’ll be back again but will leave on my own terms. We have no ill feelings for the country or the people, just this hospital.”

Credit: Tori Austin / Facebook

The website of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico informs U.S. citizens that unexpected hospitalizations in Mexico can be “a difficult experience.” They recommend that if a traveler ends up in a Mexican hospital, they should “obtain the estimated cost of proposed treatments, request an itemized bill every day, and, if uncomfortable with costs, change hospitals if medically possible.” The Embassy states that hospital quality in Mexico varies, and there are different types of hospitals with a range of protocols.  

The Embassy also confirms that the couple’s experience is not unique, warning that “while most U.S. citizens have acceptable hospitalization experiences in Mexico, some have reported hospitals failing to provide an itemized list of charges, withholding U.S. passports, and delaying medical evacuations.” The Embassy reiterates that “the U.S. government does not pay for medical care overseas,” but some private insurance companies do. So, if you have insurance, make sure to check with your insurance company before leaving the country, to know what services are covered in case of an emergency.

If you don’t have insurance, don’t let that hold you back from setting out to see the world — just do your best to stay safe, and cross your fingers that a good Samaritan steps in if something unexpected happens.

READ: Atlanta Will Be The Site Of The First Latino-Owned And Operated Production Studio