14 Countries You Have to Visit in The Americas
Most Singaporeans associate the Americas with the United States and its many famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the Hollywood Sign, the White House and the Las Vegas strip, cultural icons we are all familiar with due to the high levels of consumption of North American media and entertainment content in Singapore.
However, there are actually 35 more countries and 19 dependent territories within this continent, which make for a staggering variety of travel experiences that the Americas has to offer. With a wide range of possibilities, there is something for every traveller to North America and South America.
Few regions have such a rewarding range of natural beauty – mountains, beaches, vast plains, forests, natural canyons, and so much more. Here are 14 countries in the Americas that should be on the list of every traveller worth his/her salt.
A true-blue American experience is about one thing – a road trip across the great land. With a near-perfect road network and the open sky, road-tripping is arguably the best way to see the USA. There are a few must visit locations, where you’ll find some of the best food, eclectic music scenes and a diverse, varying culture.
First on anyone’s list should be New York City, with its crazy, manic energy that lasts throughout the day. Apart from the city’s vivacity, there’s the food. Sample some of New York’s finest pizza for a dollar, or sit down at a gastropub, and hit the gourmet food truck scene later. One thing’s for sure – if you can dream it up, it’s probably happening in NYC.
Another popular tourist destination for Americans as well as international travellers is San Francisco. Good times often start in San Fran, with a food and drink scene that is buzzing with activity, a varied climate all year long, and picture perfect vistas wherever you look.
Orlando is often known by many to be the city that has Disney World. However, the city is much more than just that, with quaint neighbourhoods, a wild performing arts scene, and countless nature reserves and gardens. More than a party town, Orlando’s perfect if you want to kick back and watch the world pass you by.
Los Angeles is another must-visit location on a road-trip across the States, for more than a few reasons. After all, the draw of the birthplace of gangsta rap, skateboarding, Quentin Tarantino, and so many more iconic American concepts is too hard to miss. Add to that the beaches and the hills, and you’re sure to be mesmerised.
If a bustling metropolis isn’t quite to your fancy, then there’s always more than one natural setting to lose yourself in – Hawaii and Alaska. Hawaii is home to multiple islands scattered around crystal clear blue waters, hula dancing and ukuleles and wide smiles, all year round. Alaska, on the other hand, is for those who like the road less travelled. Challenging and often unforgiving, Alaska is slightly isolated, but that doesn’t make it any less stunning.
What’s a trip to the US of A if you don’t visit its capital? Washington DC is home to history that has shaped the United States, along with monuments and museums that are a reminder of glorious times. Another mind-boggling attraction is the Smithsonian Institution, which houses 19 staggering museums.
Moving down south, you’ll find Texas, which is bigger than a lot of countries. Texas has something for everyone. And then there’s the food. Since everything in Texas is supersized, so is the food. Expect huge portions of feel-good soul cooking at rodeos, fairs and festivals all over Texas.
Your final stop for must-visit regions in the USA is Florida, which isn’t called the Sunshine State for nothing. Florida is the perfect summer getaway, with warm weather, ethnic towns, pristine beaches and food that is served fresh straight from the ocean. Don’t forget to carry sunscreen!
Known for a wealth in natural beauty, Argentina is also home to a rich history and friendly locals. The country is famed for a love for football, the tango, Patagonia, gauchos, asado (barbequed meats) and the intimidating Andes.
A country full of beaches, saucy samba and music that never stops, Brazil is also home to an ecosystem that is legendary, with plant and animal species that aren’t found anywhere else in the world.
What makes Canada the perfect destination is its diversity. Apart from stunning natural settings like Niagara Falls, the Yukon, the Canadian Rockies and Whistler ski resort, Canada is also home to many charming French-influenced cities like Quebec City and Montreal.
From Patagonian slopes that are ravaged by the wind, to tall, intimidating granite peaks, Chile’s desolate landscape is hauntingly beautiful, and attracts the hearts of generations of travellers. It is no secret that Chile is also aptly named – la Última Esperanza – the Last Hope.
Colombia is truly one of the world’s prettiest places to travel to. With a melting pot of culture, climate, surroundings and things to do, it is quickly emerging as a hotspot for tourism. Another emerging trend is eco-tourism, which is gaining popularity.
A magical country in every sense of the word, Cuba is much like a city stuck in time. Locals still drive vintage cars around, and the colonial cities haven’t changed all that much. The atmosphere and architecture are a similar testament to how Cuba has stood the test of time.
Ecuador is home to a cultural explosion, with old colonial centres, 17th century architecture and cobbled streets. Beyond the city, there is an entire world of natural scenery, with mountainous highlands, Andean villages and the famed Galapagos Islands.
There are few locations in the world that have drawn generations of travellers. Guatemala is one of them, with its vibrant Mayan inhabitants (and Mayan ruins), adventure around every corner and an impressive natural backdrop.
At the heart of Mexico are its warm, welcoming people. Apart from the palm tree dotted beaches and the spicy food, the Mexican locals are charming and courteous. With crowded, bustling cities, and seemingly endless jungles, Mexico almost always lives up to your expectations.
Panama City is much like a rough-cut diamond, with sharp edges and a rare sophistication at the same time. The energy is effusive, the music never stops and the explosion of nature is constantly refreshing.
Considered by many to be the core of South America, Peru is much more than just Macchu Picchu. Take the road less travelled, and venture into the rainforests, fly over the geoglyphs of Nazca, or eat your way through Peruvian classics including ceviche, complex stews and endless skewers of grilled beef at street stalls.
A fitting title for Puerto Rico is the Island of Enchantment, which is perfect for a place with sun, sand and surf, limestone caves, endless cocktails on the beach and a Caribbean vibe. With a culture that has been shaped over years of war and revolt, Puerto Rico is an experience waiting to happen.
Venezuela is lesser known, and sometimes avoided by travellers. However, if planned sensibly, Venezuela can be a cheap and memorable destination, with unforgettable Andean peaks, magnificent beaches on La Isla Margarita, and the world’s highest waterfall, the Angel Falls.