Central & South America

Where does the ocean end and the sky begin? It’s a little hard to tell as the sun sets on Aruba’s Baby Beach.

Smithsonian Photo Contest Galleries

These Inviting Photos Capture the Beauty of the Caribbean

The stunning shots will make you wish you were there

This year's top titles include The Last Ride of the Pony Express, Elixir, Airplane Mode, and more.

The Best Books of 2023

The Ten Best Books About Travel of 2023

Take a trip without leaving home with these adventurous reads from this year

A pod of ancient Nacional cacao offers hope for reforesting Ecuador’s Pacific coast, which by some estimates has lost 98 percent of its original forest cover over the past century.

Planet Positive

The Quest to Save the World’s Most Coveted Chocolate

For these ambitious scientists in the rainforests of Ecuador, helping the environment has never tasted so sweet

Caribbean reef sharks are as comfortable cruising coastal coral reefs as diving 1,000 feet into the depths. 

Efforts to Bring Back the Caribbean Reef Shark May Become a Conservation Success Story

The endangered creature is a target for fishing off the coast of the Bahamas—and a magnet for ecotourists who just might save it

Researchers think that servants maintained the site year round, while royals only came to Machu Picchu during the dry season.

New Research

Servants at Machu Picchu Came From Distant Corners of the Inca Empire

The city's servant class was a genetically diverse community, according to a new study of ancient DNA

The Church of San Pablo now stands above the underground passageways in the ancient city of Mitla.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Discover Entrance to the Zapotec Underworld Beneath a Church in Mexico

New scans of the site have confirmed the existence of an "underground labyrinth"

An inscribed stone found at the Ocomtún site

Cool Finds

This Ancient Maya City Was Hidden in the Jungle for More Than 1,000 Years

Archaeologists surveying the ruins of Ocomtún found pyramids, stone columns and a ballgame court

The European spaceport near Kourou, French Guiana, is an important launch site for rockets.

How a Jungle Prison Became a Famous Spaceport

An anthropologist explains how the South American launch site for the James Webb Space Telescope evolved

Large-scale production of green hydrogen is seen as an alternative to the use of fossil fuels in the coming decades. Latin America is well-positioned to play a large part in this new industry and already has several projects in the works.

Can Green Hydrogen Help Power Latin America?

In anticipation of future demand, several projects are underway in the region to produce this clean energy source

The Tuxtla statuette, discovered in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1902, now resides in the National Museum of Natural History.

What Secrets Does This 1,800-Year-Old Carved Stone Hold?

The Tuxtla Statuette illuminates an endangered Latin American culture

The cranium of an adult male, likely 25 to 30 years old, shows healed trauma affecting the upper jaw. The injury was probably caused by a punch from another individual in a fight.

Human Remains From the Chilean Desert Reveal Its First Farmers Fought to the Death

Three thousand years ago desert dwellers fatally stabbed and bashed each other, possibly due to diminishing resources

Seabird guano covers a small island off the coast of Peru.

Ancient South American Civilizations Bloomed in the Desert Thanks to Seabird Poop

Prehistoric farmers fertilized their crops with the waste, which they imported from the coast

Ricardo Martínez digging up the arm of the dinosaur Ingentia prima in Triassic  layers of Balde de Leyes, San  Juan Province, Argentina.

New Research

The Most Massive of Dinos Evolved Earlier Than Previously Thought

A Triassic giant unearthed in Argentina suggests that dinosaurs took the path to greatness at least twice

Fresh erizos del mar (sea urchins) served in the shell.

Seven Foods You Have to Try in Chile

Trajineras boats float long the canals of Xochimilco.

Mexico’s Famous Floating Gardens Return to Their Agricultural Roots

One of the capital city’s iconic tourist sites doubles as an experiment in urban farming

Guanabara Bay at night, Rio de Janeiro.

11 Fun Facts About Rio

It’s more than beaches, favelas and that Duran Duran song

The museum has generated controversy over gentrification of Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

Age of Humans

Imagining an Alarming Future at Brazil's Museum of Tomorrow

The ambitious museum looks at where humankind is headed—and asks how they'll live in a post-climate-change world

Round pyramids ruins of Guachimontones, just outside Tequila in Jalisco.

Explore the "Magic Towns" of Mexico

History and legend collide in Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos

Glacier National Park is located in Montana and is part of the National Park Service, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

Visit These Ten Sites Celebrating Major Anniversaries in 2016

From Winnie the Pooh's 90th birthday to the National Park Service's centennial, you won't want to miss out on these once-in-a-lifetime events

A woman in traditional Aymara dress sits with her daughter and their honored human skull, or ñatita, and a bag of coca leaves during the 2015 Fiesta de las Ñatitas in Bolivia.

Meet the Celebrity Skulls of Bolivia’s Fiesta de las Ñatitas

Each November, the Aymara people honor their special bond with the helpful spirits of the deceased

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