destinations for ecotourism to enjoy nature in Latin America

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Praia de Joaquina

Brazil

Known mainly for its beaches, Florianópolis also offers fatbike rides. These bicycles feature wide tires, which allow you to ride on the sand and explore more than the island’s sun and ocean. Try the dunes that connect Lagoa da Conceição and Praia de Joaquina.

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Parque Nacional Pico de Orizaba

Mexico

Its almost 20,000 hectares are home to the Citlaltepetl Volcano (known as the Pico de Orizaba), the tallest mountain in Mexico, at an altitude of 18,855 feet [5,747 m]. Hiking and climbing to the top is quite an experience. 

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Ruta del Bufeo

Bolivia

The only cetacean in Bolivia, the river dolphin (bufeo, in Spanish) found in the area of Ibare-Mamoré, in the department of Beni, is surrounded by mysticism. Several stories are told by the region’s natives. Visitors can explore plantations, take boat rides and eat among locals.

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Estación Biológica Tres Gigantes

Paraguay

A perfect destination for people looking for relaxation. Located inside a research center only accessible by speedboat and nearby Puerto Bahía Negra, Tres Gigantes has limited lodging capacity. There, you can enjoy the Pantanal by going fishing, rafting and hiking on trails – or simply relaxing.

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Villa Serrana

Uruguay

The hills in Lavalleja can be explored in a special way: on horseback. Villa Serrana, with a few restaurants and lodging options, is a rustic and bucolic area, perfect for contemplation. There you can learn natural horsemanship techniques that allow you to emotionally connect with a horse to gain its trust. 

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Sierra Nevada del Cocuy

Colombia

In the second area with the highest concentration of glaciers in Colombia, El Cocuy is the starting point to cross mountains whose peaks can reach an altitude of over 16,400 feet [5,000 m]. In the village, you can find hiking trails that last more than six days, pass by lovely lagoons in the mountains and allow you to observe the endemic vegetation.

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Reserva Botánica San Jorge

Ecuador

Two hours from Quito there’s a haven for people who enjoy birdwatching. In Reserva Botánica San Jorge, located in Milpe, you can go up an observation tower and spot hummingbirds, toucans, and parrots in flight. The birds can also be seen on trails in the middle of the forest.

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Valle de Uco

Argentina

Exploring the rocky labyrinths under the moonlight is an incredible experience. Especially when you’re in an area with a delightful microclimate, to the south of Mendoza. One good idea is to combine these hikes with stops at rural hotels and inns among vineyards to take a break. 

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Cascadas de Jaén

Peru

At the Yungas, or highlands of Jaén, in the region of Cajamarca, falls like the Chorro Blanco (photo) are the main tourist attraction. They feed the orchids grown in the villages, refresh hikers with their drops and quench the thirst of people who are brave enough to try a spicy cuy (guinea pig, a typical dish in the region).

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The surroundings of Colchane

Chile

In these parts in the plateau of the region of Tarapacá, near the border with Bolivia, you can feel like an Aymara shepherd. In villages like Chulluncane, visitors can herd llamas and explore the surroundings. They also offer rock-climbing tours and excursions to outdoor, isolated hot springs.

By José Francisco Hurtado
Photos: Jonatha Jünge, Alamy, Antonio García Bravo/Dircetur Cajamarca, Pierre Ferron, Shutterstock