Things That Matter

25 Most Instagrammable Spots in Latin America

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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An American Died In The Dominican Republic In March But The Death Was Ignored And Treated As Natural Causes

Things That Matter

An American Died In The Dominican Republic In March But The Death Was Ignored And Treated As Natural Causes

Justin Aikin / Unsplash

More Americans have died while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. News agencies have been reporting on the increasing number of American deaths in the Dominican Republic and now one more death has come forward from March after being ignored.

A Georgia man’s death and under investigation months after dying in the Dominican Republic.

Credit: @LaurenPozenWSB / Twitter

Tracy Jerome Jester Jr., of Forsyth County, Georgia died in March while vacationing in the Dominican Republic with his sister. Allegedly, Jester started to complain of not being able to breathe after a day of sightseeing with his sister.

Jester Jr.’s mother told ABC News that his death certificate references “respiratory illness” as the cause of death.

Credit: @ABC7Chicago / Twitter

Jester Jr.’s mom told ABC News that he did have lupus. Yet, the man’s mother remembers her son telling her about a “nasty” Sprite he drank in the Caribbean country shortly before his death.

According to ABC7, Jester’s mother got a call from her son the night before his death and he told her about his activities, including the questionable taste of the soft drink he purchased at the hotel. While she told him that it might be a different flavor in the country, he insisted that something was odd about the drink.

At 4:40 a.m., she got a call from her daughter and the conversation was troubling.

Credit: @jockosims / Twitter

At this point, Jester Jr. was vomiting blood and telling his sister that he wasn’t able to breathe. Their mother instructed her daughter to call emergency services but there was a delay in someone assisting, according to ABC7.

There was no toxicology performed because of when the young man died in connection to the increase in tourist deaths.

It wasn’t until there was increased media attention to the deaths and three deaths at one hotel that toxicology screenings started to happen. So far, the FBI is performing toxicology screenings on the three victims from the same hotel.

Officials in both the U.S. and the Dominican Republic claim that there has been no significant increase in deaths.

Credit: @ulisesjorge / Twitter

People are trying to calm down the fears of everyone talking about the deaths in the Dominican Republic. While it is not abnormal for tourists to die while on vacation, the deaths of those in the Dominican Republic have left Americans stunned.

READ: Dominicans Are Taking To Social Media To Make Sure That People Stop Trying To Cancel The Dominican Republic

Cancun Has a Major Algae Problem and The Cause Could Be Global Warming

Culture

Cancun Has a Major Algae Problem and The Cause Could Be Global Warming

@newsnest00 / Twitter

For the past several years, Cancun has notoriously become one of The Summer Spots. With promises of cheap beer, crystal clear surf and fun hangs, tourists typically flock to the vacation destination for good times in the spring and summer in troves. The location’s sands, beaches, and resorts are typically packed by this time of year, but a nasty visitor is washing up on the shores of these beaches, scaring off the usual summertime travel industry.

For the past several months, an invasion of seaweed-like algae hasn’t been just an eyesore for tourists, it’s also been a nasal deterrent.

Hundreds of pounds of seaweed-like algae is washing up on the shores of Cancun and it’s ruining the city’s tourist season.

Twitter / @tictoc

The past several months, the sunny resort town has been inundated with slimy, brown seaweed-like algae. It’s name is sargassum and it has washed up all along the coast around Cancun; stretching all the way down to Playa del Carmen and even further to Tulum. With the stench of rotten eggs, the algae smells just as gross as it looks and makes for a pretty unappealing soggy mess. It’s definitely not the sort of beach conditions that encourage tourists to visit.

Though Cancun businesses are feeling the effects of this invasion, the president of Mexico isn’t as concerned. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has reportedly called the problem controllable and has only allocated 2.6 Million for the removal of the algae. The removal is a slow process — being shoveled away by city workers — but the lack of resources makes the task even more difficult. Also, the endless onslaught of fresh algae with every tide doesn’t help. Even using front loaders and trucks for the cleanup, the work takes several hours and results in an algae-covered beach only moments later.

Officials aren’t certain what the cause of this algae is but there are clues that point to it being caused by major global issues.

Twitter / @DKaimowitz

Scientists have suggested that the increase in algae is caused by the warming of our Earth because of the global climate change we are currently experiencing. This is the same hypothesis that has been suggested to explain Florida’s Red Tide. Earlier this month, scientists at the University of South Florida used satellite imaging to discover the largest bloom of the algae in the world. It’s being called the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt and it is impacting beaches along North, Central, and South America.

Others believe that deforestation is to blame for the assault of algae on these beaches. Due to the logging and increased use of herbicide and fertilizers by Brazilian lumber companies in the Amazon forest, dangerous runoff flows into the ocean. The nutrients in these fertilizers encourage the growth of the algae; causing super blooms to occur.

In a release about a study of these super blooms, Dr. Chuanmin Hu of the USF College of Marine Science expressed concern about the state of the Atlantic ocean. He has predicted that:

“The ocean’s chemistry must have changed in order for the blooms to get so out of hand.”

Regardless of what the Mexican president and scientists say, locals who face this problem every day are the ones most impacted by the algae.

Twitter / @newsnest00

Tourism in the community has taken a major hit during a time when Mexico is already heading towards a recession. The first three weeks of June, hotel occupancy in the area dropped by 3.4%. Air travel to the city also saw numbers that aren’t as optimistic as Cancun usually sees during this time of year. It only claimed 1.2%, the smallest amount of growth that the area has seen since 2011.

It isn’t just the international travel industry that loses money to the algae. In a city like Cancun, as much as 40% of jobs are tied to tourism alone. Events like this — that impact the beaches so severely — threaten the livelihood of locals. The Mexican transportation industry, local artisans, restaurants, beach resorts, and sight-seeing locations depend on this busy season to provide the bulk of their yearly income. In order to lure travelers, hotels in the area are even running specials. In many places in Cancun, tourists can get as much as 20% off rooms and free transportation to unaffected beaches.

Cleaning up after this mess will take a lot more than a few hundred shovels.

Twitter / @ElCanaco

Reversing the effects of climate change can not really be accomplished on an individual level. Realistically, a single person does not cause this damage. Instead, it is large conglomerations that hurt our Earth with their anti-environmental policies. Until the governments of the world decide to hold these companies accountable, nothing productive will be done to stop this damage.

Right now, we’re seeing this onslaught of algae but who knows what is in store for our environment if we don’t make major improvements soon. It’s more than just our Cancun vacations that are counting on these changes.

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