Atacama Desert, Chile on the 2024 Cool ListWhile travelers not in the know might wonder how a desert made the top spots, the Atacama Desert isn’t just an empty wasteland. Here, nature puts on an incredible show in what is dubbed a “super bloom.” This phenomenon sees thousands of flowers sprouting from the harsh, dry ground.
This magnificent desert has received national recognition, with Chile’s government naming the desert a national park to protect this unique ecosystem.When visiting this destination, most travelers head to the San Pedro de Atacama area, due to its long list of fun activities. Adventure travelers can enjoy biking, mountaineering, off-roading, sandboarding and paragliding here. For those not seeking adventure, the city features a vibrant downtown center offering unique shops and restaurants serving local cuisine. Moreover, one of the main attractions of the Atacama Desert is its dark skies, offering incredible stargazing.
City break in Lima, PeruThe Peruvian city of Lima also made the 2024 Cool List and it is a worthy choice. Among the many attractions here are the Michelin-starred restaurants serving the delicious local cuisine. Once you get a taste of the local food, you can head to the Miraflores neighborhood to enjoy cooking lessons from the local Peruvian chefs. Among the most delicious items are picarone (a healthy version of donuts) and ceviche. There is also a good selection of museums and art galleries in the city and of course, beaches to enjoy. While out in the evening, Lima also offers many trendy rooftop bars to socialize with views over the city. Alternatively, head to the Barranco district for its lively nightlife. Try to time your visit to experience one of the fiestas and festivals held in the city, full of color, joy and music.
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina on the 2024 Cool List
Heading back to nature, the Iberá Wetlands in Argentina also drew National Geographic’s eye. This wetland was previously abused by commercial foresting and many years of cattle ranching. However, it has since been transformed into an exotic and lush place, teeming with wildlife and beautiful plant species. There are said to be more than 4,000 animal and plant species on offer in the wetland. Meanwhile, among the wildlife on offer are monkeys, deer, alligators and many bird species.As for the name, Iberá comes from the indigenous Guaraní language, with Guaraní language where I–Berá translates to “shining waters.” This is appropriate as a number of indigenous communities have lived here since the 9th century. Moreover, this is a really good sign as overtourism has stripped so many places of their former and authentic beauty.
The Iberá Wetlands are located in the remote, northern tropical area of Corrientes Province. However, it is conveniently accessible by plane from Buenos Aires to the Posada airport.
Make a note on your bucket list to visit one of these three destinations on the 2024 Cool List. Also, visit National Geographic’s website to find more winning locations in the world.