There are hundreds of natural wonders around the world that would take a lifetime to see, so instead, focus on one corner of the world. Latin America is home to some of the most beautiful natural and manmade wonders of the world. From waterfalls to rainforests, to reefs and erupting volcanoes, Latin America has it all.
Here are my choices for the seven natural wonders of Latin America.
Rock formations and dinosaur fossils are what put Ischigualasto on the map. The protected park holds the most important deposits of dinosaur bones paleontologists have found. Most importantly it is the only place in the world where scientists can study the complete transition from dinosaur to mammal, which took place in the Triassic period. For the visitor though, the rock formations that sit like well placed sculptures throughout the park are responsible for Ischigualasto’s nickname- the Valley of the Moons.
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano is the most active volcano in Costa Rica, and the most magnificent in Latin America. The popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica, Arenal is just one part of the Arenal Volcano National Park which covers thirty thousand acres in all. If you are one of the lucky ones, you can see the top of the mountain during the day while out on a hike or riding horseback around Lake Arenal. Stick around at least one evening to watch the sky light up from the lava flowing out of the volcano’s craters.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Sky below and above, that is what you will see reflected in the salt flats of Bolivia. Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flats, holding an estimated ten billion tons of salt in the Andes Mountains. The creation of the dried flats has left behind uniquely shaped salt piles that dot the landscape. Even when the flats are covered with water backpackers and bikers have been known to cross the landscape.
Belize Barrier Reef, Belize
The Barrier Reef is one of Latin Americas underappreciated gems, running up the coast of Belize and into the southern coast of Mexico. Second in size to the Great Barrier Reef, it is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and considered one of the most diverse ecosystems- most of which hasn’t been explored yet. The reef is home to over one hundred types of coral, five hundred species of fish and hundreds of underwater structures waiting to be explored.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina
According to legend the falls were to be an eternal plunge for two lovers trying to escape the gods. The two hundred and seventy five waterfalls divide the Iguazu River into upper and lower sections, with the famous section known as Devil’s Throat spanning one hundred and fifty meters on its own. The falls sit on the border of Brazil and Argentina, but the view from the Argentinean side is better letting you look over Devil’s Throat.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Nineteen islands and several more islets make up the Galapagos Islands that were made famous by Charles Darwin. The islands are special because of their location and natural beauty, but the biggest draw is the number of endemic species that call the Galapagos home. The Galapagos land iguana, blue footed booby, and the thirteen species of Darwin’s finches are some of the distinct wildlife that roam free on the islands.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
To see the highest waterfall in the world you will have to fly into Canaima camp in Venezuela and then take a trip down the Churun River. The waterfalls are named for James Crawford Angel after he landed his plane on the flat topped Devil’s Mountain, here water freefalls for thirty-two hundred feet. Before the water even hits the river below it covers the mountain in mist. Angel Falls, because of its hard to reach location, is truly a special natural wonder in Latin America.