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Buenos Aires is Argentina’s big, cosmopolitan capital city. Its center is the Plaza de Mayo, lined with stately 19th-century buildings including Casa Rosada, the iconic, balconied presidential palace. Other major attractions include Teatro Colón, a grand 1908 opera house with nearly 2,500 seats, and the modern MALBA museum, displaying Latin American art.
Ushuaia is a resort town in Argentina. It’s located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, the southernmost tip of South America, nicknamed the “End of the World.” The windswept town, perched on a steep hill, is surrounded by the Martial Mountains and the Beagle Channel. It’s the gateway to Antarctica cruises and tours to nearby Isla Yécapasela, known as “Penguin Island” for its penguin colonies.
Punta Arenas is a city near the tip of Chile’s southernmost Patagonia region. Located on the Strait of Magellan, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it’s often used as base for excursions to the surrounding wilderness and Antarctica. The Plaza Muñoz Gamero has a memorial to explorer Ferdinand Magellan, and the Museo Nao Victoria features a replica of one of his galleons.
Valparaíso is a port city on Chile’s coast. It’s known for its steep funiculars and colorful, clifftop homes. La Sebastiana, the quirky former residence of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, is now a museum with far-reaching Pacific views. During the 19th century, an influx of European immigrants left their mark on the city’s architecture and cultural institutions, many of which congregate around downtown’s Plaza Sotomayor.
Iquique is a coastal city in northern Chile, to the west of the Atacama Desert. A prosperous saltpeter mining town in the 19th century, today it’s a popular holiday destination with a tax-free port area, Pacific beaches and a seafront casino. In its historic district, an iconic 19th-century clock tower stands in Arturo Prat Square, the city’s main plaza.
Lima, the capital of Peru, lies on the country’s arid Pacific coast. Though its colonial center is preserved, it’s a bustling metropolis and one of South America’s largest cities. It’s home to the Museo Larco collection of pre-Columbian art and the Museo de la Nación, tracing the history of Peru’s ancient civilizations. The Plaza de Armas and the 16th-century cathedral are the heart of old Lima Centro
Quito, Ecuador’s capital, sits high in the Andean foothills at an altitude of 2,850m. Constructed on the foundations of an ancient Incan city, it’s known for its well-preserved colonial center, rich with 16th- and 17th-century churches and other structures blending European, Moorish and indigenous styles. These include the cathedral, in the Plaza Grande square, and ultra-ornate Compañia de Jesús Jesuit church.
Colón is the capital of Colón Province, in Panama. It sits on the Caribbean coast, at the entrance to the Panama Canal. The Canal Expansion Observation Center is a park with viewing platforms over the canal’s Atlantic locks and Gatún Lake. The vast Colón Free Trade Zone offers tax-free shopping. Just west of the city, at the mouth of the Chagres River, Fort San Lorenzo is a well-preserved colonial military structure.
Cozumel, a mostly undeveloped Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea, is a popular cruise ship port of call famed for its scuba diving. At Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, there’s diving spots around a section of the Mesoamerican Reef and the Museo Subacuático de Arte’s submerged sculptures. Chankanaab is an eco park surrounding a lagoon with underwater caverns, home to dolphins, manatees and sea turtles.
Fort Lauderdale is a city on Florida’s southeastern coast, known for its beaches and boating canals. The Strip is a promenade running along oceanside highway A1A. It’s lined with upscale outdoor restaurants, bars, boutiques and luxury hotels. Other attractions include the International Swimming Hall of Fame, with pools and a museum of memorabilia, and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, featuring trails and a lagoon.