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9 Inspiring Latin American Trips


  • En español
     | Your next vacation could take you to an incredible place in Latin America, where you can disconnect from your routine and just relax. But if you are also someone who would like to volunteer in your spare time to take part in conservation efforts or care for the environment, perhaps it's time to combine both activities. Here's a list of places where you can rest and be inspired and, in some, make a valuable contribution. 

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  • Reinhard Dirscherl/Getty Images

    Monitor whale sharks in Baja California, Mexico

    If you know how to swim, love the sea and are passionate about animal conservation, check out this initiative — headed by the Whale Shark Research Project in Baja California, Mexico — to protect the biggest fish in the ocean. As part of your vacation, you'll be able to collaborate in the photographic identification of these beautiful animals and participate in other activities such as monitoring the state of their home and conveying to the community the importance of this species and its ecosystem.  You don't need experience — only a passion for this cause. 

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  • Sean Crane/Aurora Photos

    Support the Charles Darwin Foundation in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    The Charles Darwin Foundation offers volunteer opportunities for periods of three months or longer in the Galapagos Islands, a natural paradise. Participating in the conservation of natural areas and monitoring birds and invertebrates are among the most fun activities. If you want to delve deeper, there are programs focusing on environmental education, supporting scientific investigations and even administrative tasks. The foundation, which has worked to preserve the islands and their species since 1959, accepts applications year-round. Try to be there in May and June or November and December, during the breeding seasons of the marine birds.

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  • Michael Hanson/Aurora Photos

    Volunteer in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

    This natural park, south of the Chilean Patagonia, boasts lakes, glaciers, granite rock, mountains and valleys, and is home to condors and pumas. Highly visited by tourists looking for adventure and hiking, it is in imminent danger of erosion. Would you like to explore it, and at the same time help improve its trails and protect the habitat of endangered species? For a period of 13 days you can join experienced forest rangers while they work as guides, and maintain and care for the park. Be prepared to stay in shared accommodations.

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  • Kike Calvo/National Geographic Magazines/Getty Images

    Help with sea turtle conservation in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

    Here’s an initiative for people who want to vacation in one of the most beautiful natural reserves in the Caribbean while they work as volunteers. With this program you can deduct part of your expenses from your taxes while supporting the conservation of various species of sea turtles in the Tortuguero reserve, the most important nesting beaches in the western hemisphere. You will receive training for one to three weeks in the care of the species; you'll also have accommodations, three meals a day, boat trips and lots of rest. 

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  • Pintai Suchachaisri/Getty Images

    See the sunset in Isla del Sol, Bolivia

    Visiting Lake Titicaca (which straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia) is among the most recommended tours in South America. And if you let yourself be seduced by nature and the indigenous ruins, the tour continues until you reach Isla del Sol, the mythic cradle of the Inca culture, situated on the Bolivian side of the lake. After taking a boat ride from Copacabana, La Paz, to the island, allow yourself time to get used to the altitude and enjoy its terraces and beaches while you wait to be delighted by the most spectacular sight of all: the unforgettable sunset.

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  • Maxime Dube/Alamy

    Visit the Lost City, Colombia

    The Lost City is an archeological site in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world's tallest coastal range. This is the birthplace of the Tayrona civilization, from which the indigenous communities that live in the region today descended: the Kogui, Arhuaco, Kankuamo and Wiwa. For the Kogui people, the Sierra is the world's mother as well as its heart, and as you explore it you will find its ancestral and natural riches contagious. We recommend bringing a bathing suit, clothes suitable for walking and insect repellent. 

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  • Adhemar Duro/Getty Images

    Contemplate the stars in the Atacama Desert, Chile

    The Atacama is the world's most arid desert and the biggest public observatory in South America, home to about 40 percent of the planet's best telescopes. Book a specialized tour with guides who will teach you how to pick out the major stars and constellations, recognize gas and dust clouds, and observe planets that can be seen only with high potency equipment. In the desert, the nights are very cold, especially between April and August, so we recommend wearing plenty of warm clothing and bringing hot beverages with you.

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  • Alex Cruz/Alamy

    Celebrate the spring equinox in Teotihuacán, Mexico

    Every year, around March 20, the sun and Earth align, and both of the planet's hemispheres receive the same amount of light. On this date, thousands of spectators gather from around the world to celebrate this phenomenon, which symbolizes the end of winter and the beginning of the planting season. According to tradition, you should dress in white and arrive very early to see the sunrays rise behind the pyramids. Bring a hat, sunblock and plenty of water. 

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  • Participate in the regeneration of tropical forests in Costa Rica

    Are you ready to leave the city, the comfort of your home and your electronic gadgets, and take shelter in a tropical forest? Whether you go with family, friends or by yourself, Finca Bellavista connects you with Costa Rica's biodiversity on a recreational trip. In this refuge, you'll be able to build your own tree house, or simply volunteer to help restore arid lands, plant trees or guide other tourists in ecological tours. It's an experience that forces you to leave your comfort zone and recognize your abilities. 

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