Lovers of adventure won’t have missed Lonely Planet’s list of the best destinations to travel in 2017, which was released in October to much international fanfare. As the globe’s leading series of guide books, their writers scour each and every country for the last remaining untouched paradises for adventure, creating a list to inspire and thrill the brave traveler.
But who took the coveted spots at the top of the lists of best countries and regions and how did our own adventure playground, South America fare?
South America dominates the list of top travel destinations for 2017
A continent that has seen yet another rise in the number of tourists visiting in 2016, it should come as no surprise that South America was at the front of the pack when it came to the most exciting destinations to visit in 2017 according to Lonely Planet.
Peru hits the top spot for best region
The ruins of the Inca citadel, Choquequirao, a short distance from famed Inca city, Cusco topped the list of best regions to visit in 2017. Offering a taste of what Machu Picchu was like before the hordes of tourists descended, it’s exceptionally difficult to reach as hikers must trek a steep, jungle-lined path up to the ruins
However, the “Cradle of Gold”, as the name translates into English from the indigenous Quechua, is a rich, barely-discovered jewel in the Andes and which merits a visit by trekking one of the lesser-known routes to Machu Picchu.
Colombia named second best country
Colombia, throwing off the shackles of its historic reputation, was another top pick in South America according to Lonely Planet’s list, coming second in the world’s ten best countries to visit this coming year. Until recently, Colombia has been associated with decades of civil war and guerrilla conflict, but travelers here should now expect a warm welcome in a country that has emerged from its dark past vibrant and alive.
Expect to find a nation where the colonial cities of Bogotá and Villa de Leyva stun with their pretty streets of Spanish-style buildings, and where the Amazon rainforest in the east and glorious palm-fringed sandy beaches in the west offer the ultimate range of contrasting landscapes for adventure and relaxation.
Chilean Patagonia recognized as one of the best regions on the planet
The Aysén Region of Chilean Patagonia wasn’t far behind Peru and Colombia on the list of recommendations for travel in 2017.
Coming sixth on the best region list, this huge but sparsely populated stretch of Chile was highlighted for its epic diversity of landscapes, which Lonely Planet suggests can be best seen from Chilean Patagonia’s only road, the Carretera Austral.
We couldn’t agree more. An adventurer’s paradise where marble caves have been etched out by lakes and temperate rainforest and scorched pampas grasses are inhabited by rare, elusive animals, the 770-mile (1,240km), barely-paved Carretera Austral is the finest way of exploring this region.
Which other countries should you visit in 2017?
Some of our other favorite places around the world received some well-deserved recognition, include Canada, which Lonely Planet praises for its dynamic cities and low dollar making it an affordable – and splendid – place for a vacation.
Nepal also took the top spot for best value destination in 2017. With its impeccable system of hiking trails that introduce trekkers to some of the most breathtaking vistas on earth and the low price of travel, Nepal remains a prime adventure holiday destination for all budgets.
More recognition for South America in 2018?
We’ll admit that we’ve no crystal ball confirming that South America will continue being recommended as one of the most fascinating and compelling continents to visit, but we’re confident that 2018 will see more destinations highlighted as must-visits for intrepid global travelers.