Travel Rankings & Advice

Best Family Vacations in Central and South America

It will require planning, but bringing your family to Machu Picchu's iconic ruins or Costa Rica's unspoiled rainforests can be the trip of a lifetime. To help you find the perfect destination, U.S. News created a list of options based on family-friendly activities, atmospheres, lodging and dining options, as well as expert recommendations and our readers' opinions. We encourage you to share your thoughts by vote for your favorite destination below.

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Why Go: In Costa Rica, you and your kids can create unforgettable memories while zip-lining above rainforests and sprawling across Nicoya Peninsula's sandy shores. Suited for beachgoers and adrenaline-junkies alike, this tiny nation features a variety of ways to keep everyone smiling. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Costa Rica

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Why Go: The Galápagos play host to an array of enchanting species, and whether you're exploring caves or admiring the magnificent white-sand shores of Turtle Bay, you won't be bored. However, the Galápagos is by no means cheap or easy to reach; you'll want to come with a thick wallet. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Galápagos Islands

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Why Go: Kids and adults alike will get a kick out of exploring ancient ruins of Machu Picchu (as well as those found closer to town). Hosting affordable hotels and restaurants, Cusco suits families hoping to take their kids on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation without over-spending. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Cusco

Machu Picchu
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Why Go: The pilgrimage to the Inca's lost city is long, but overlooking Machu Picchu would be a missed opportunity to witness the remains of a powerful ancient civilization. Once you board the train in Cusco, you and your clan will be in for an adventure.

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Why Go: You and your family will have a blast exploring this wind-whipped park. Climb the towering peaks of Torres del Paine National Park or mingle with Patagonia's curious penguins at Isla Magdalena. The only downside to visiting this region is the high cost of getting there. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Chilean Patagonia

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Why Go: With numerous kid-friendly attractions and eclectic culinary options, Buenos Aires boasts plenty to captivate family visitors. The Museo de los Niños is tailored to younger visitors, and the El Zanjón de Granados' maze-like channel of underground tunnels enchants travelers of all ages. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Buenos Aires

Panama City
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Why Go: This metropolis boasts both urban and rustic settings suited for travelers of all ages. Kids interested in history will love the Panama Canal, and aspiring musicians will take delight in the salsa and merengue dances. You'll also want to take your kids to Casco Viejo for a peek at Panama City's long colonial back story.

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Why Go: Rio's dramatic views, gorgeous beaches, and glittering skyline appeal to a wide range of visitors. Yes, you and the kiddos may feel a tad cramped as you battle through large crowds on Copacabana Beach, but when you and your crew need a retreat, it's easy to escape to the Jardim Botânico's serene gardens or Grumari's beaches. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

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