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18 immersive virtual ways to explore Latin America right now

Wanderlust logoWanderlust 08/04/2020 Wanderlust

Latin America is a vast and exciting part of the world, and its virtual equivalent is also overwhelming. That's why we've put together this virtual travel guide, to help you find the Latin American virtual experiences best suited to you. 

From whizzing around museums and touring ancient sites, to following a live cookery class and salsa-dancing up and down your living room, these virtual experiences from a mix of Latin American nations will help you to immerse yourself in their colourful cultures. 

Search based on your interests, or keep scrolling for the full guide...

 3 incredible Latin American virtual tours for culture seekers

1. Machu Picchu, Peru

a canyon with Machu Picchu in the background: Take a virtual tour of Machu Picchu, Peru (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Take a virtual tour of Machu Picchu, Peru (Shutterstock)

In real life, Peruvian authorities have closed this ancient Inca site. In the virtual world, however, you’re granted access into every nook and cranny of this mountaintop citadel. Better still, the audio guide will ensure you know exactly what you're looking at.

Take the tour

Related Slideshow: Before and after photos show impact of coronavirus on tourism (Provided by Photo Services)

2. The Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil 

a person standing in a room: Take a virtual look at the art on display in the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Take a virtual look at the art on display in the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil (Shutterstock)

Over in Brazil, art lovers can take a closer look at the wide collection housed inside São Paulo's MASP. With an overwhelming 8,000 pieces of art on display, the online exhibits have thankfully been sorted by category.

With everything from textiles and pottery to realism and modern art, simply select a category to whizz through a section of the museum, zooming in on and reading about the works that particularly catch your eye. 

Take the tour

3. Chichén Itzá, Mexico 

a large tall tower with Chichen Itza in the background: Chichén Itzá, Mexico (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Chichén Itzá, Mexico (Shutterstock)

Mayan history can be lapped up at the virtual version of Mexico's famous Chichén Itzá. Whether you want to stand at the bottom of the Kukulkan Pyramid, fly over the complex in a helicopter to see the temples from the top, or want to take a deep dive into the site's history - then this tour is for you. 

Take the tour

3 Latin American virtual experiences that are great for wildlife enthusiasts 

1. The Galápagos Islands

a seal lying down on a sandy beach next to a body of water: Meet the wildlife of the Galápagos Islands - virtually, of course (Dreamstime) © Provided by Wanderlust Meet the wildlife of the Galápagos Islands - virtually, of course (Dreamstime)

With sea lions and marine iguanas crowding the shores, sharks and whales hogging the waters and even penguins splashing in the shallows, the Galápagos Islands are probably the best place to go if you want guaranteed wildlife sightings.

And the online Galápagos is no different. The Google experience offers up videos of animal action above and below the shoreline.

Expect up-close, 360 degree encounters with the most popular of the island's residents. There's even a 'street view', allowing you to tour the archipelago at your own pace and in a direction of your choosing. 

Take the tour

2. Canopy Lodge, Panama

a colorful bird perched on a tree branch: Go birdwatching in Panama, without leaving your house (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Go birdwatching in Panama, without leaving your house (Shutterstock)

This eco-lodge in Panama's jungle-clad Anton Valley is a popular spot with birders, who come here to hear the birdsong and spot rare species of birds flitting around in the cloud forest.

The good news is that the lodge has a webcam, so you can keep your eye's peeled for great jacamar, black-billed flycatcher, macaw, and cuckoo, among other vibrant coloured species. And even if the birds are feeling camera shy, their song can almost always be heard on the livestream. 

Watch the livestream

3. Gardens of the Queen, Cuba

a group of fish in the water: Gardens of the Queen, Cuba (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Gardens of the Queen, Cuba (Shutterstock)

Arguably one of the best dive sites in the world, the Gardens of the Queen is an archipelago off the coast of Cuba, that was discovered by Christopher Columbus.

Its waters hide a vibrant coral reef, home to sharks, turtles and various other species of fish. Take a virtual dive beneath the calming surface to see sharks gracefully gliding past, turtles swimming towards you and hear the bubbles from the divers. 

Take the tour

 3 thrilling Latin American virtual tours for those feeling adventurous

1. Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil 

a waterfall surrounded by trees: Take a virtual tour of the mighty Iguazu Falls (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Take a virtual tour of the mighty Iguazu Falls (Shutterstock)

Spanning two countries and forming a sequence of drops that stretch for almost three km - and combining to create huge plumes of mist, and a deafening sound - standing at the top of the Iguazu Falls makes for a thrilling adventure. 

You can't witness the power of the Falls in person, but a virtual tour stimulates the thrill. You can stand on one of the viewing platforms, gaze down into the Devil's Throat, and even stand under upside-down rainbows. 

Take the tour

2. Chile's adventurous landscapes

a canyon with a mountain in the background: Take a virtual tour of adventure-packed Chile (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Take a virtual tour of adventure-packed Chile (Shutterstock)

With the Atacama Desert, the famous Torres Del Paine National Park, a salt flat, lunar-like landscapes and Patagonia's giant glaciers - Chile is home to some of the most adventurous landscapes on Earth. 

The Chilean borders may be closed for now, but that doesn't mean the adventure has to stop. The Chile 360 app allows you to travel the entire country. You can trek through the desert, get up close to the wildlife, and even fly over to Chile's remote Easter Island. 

Take the tour

3. Wander around the Amazon Basin, Brazil

a wooden boat in a body of water: Go on a virtual adventure through the Amazon Basin (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Go on a virtual adventure through the Amazon Basin (Shutterstock)

The Rio Negro Basin in the Brazilian Amazon is a true wilderness. The thick jungle may be remote, but it's filled with cultural and wildlife experiences. Way off the beaten track, it's the very stuff adventure is made of. 

Experience it for yourself by getting onto 'street' (jungle track) level with the help of Google. Journey down the epic river, trek one of the jungle trails, meet the local tribes and spot wild animals on an exhilarating journey through the lungs of the Earth. 

Take the tour

 3 top Latin American virtual experiences for those who want to learn a new skill 

1. Learn to cook Nicaraguan gallo pinto

a pan filled with food: Cook up a Nicaraguan-inspired gallo pinto (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Cook up a Nicaraguan-inspired gallo pinto (Shutterstock)

Fortunately, no travel doesn't mean we can't get a taste for the world's most unusual, inspiring and delicious cuisines. For example, Gallo pinto (beans and rice) is a staple in Nicaragua, and a great way to spice up your evening meals.

Now, imagine you are learning to make the dish in the country itself. All you have to do is cook alongside the renowned Chef Tito on YouTube. He has a variety of Nicaraguan recipes on his channel to try, as well, including plenty of seafood dishes. 

Take the cookery course

2. Learn to salsa in Puerto Rico

a person holding a red umbrella: Learn to salsa (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Learn to salsa (Shutterstock)

What better way to immerse yourself in the vibrant, lively culture of Puerto Rico than by joining some of its locals for a salsa dance? 

The enthusiastic teachers will take you through the routine step by step, so before you know it, your spirits will be lifted and you'll be salsa dancing like an expert up and down your house.

Take the tour

3. Learn to cook with professional chefs all across Latin America 

a close up of a bowl of fruit: Learn to make a Peruvian ceviche and a pisco sour cocktail (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Learn to make a Peruvian ceviche and a pisco sour cocktail (Shutterstock)

To help people feel like they are travelling, cruise company Aqua Expeditions has started a cookery series across its social media channels.

The first virtual class was taught by award-winning chef Pedro Miguel, who showed viewers how to make a traditional Peruvian ceviche and pisco sour.

Keep an eye on the rest of the series to meet different Aqua chefs in different destinations, not only to cook and taste their food, but also to hear about their experiences in their country. 

Take the class

6 more armchair wanderlust ideas for Latin America 

1. Feel the rhythm of Brazil 

a group of people playing instruments and performing on a stage: Listen to the music of Brazil (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Listen to the music of Brazil (Shutterstock)

This Spotify playlist curated by the director of tour operator Senderos mixes the many genres of Brazilian music and is bound to get you up and dancing. 

Listen now

2. Listen to a podcast 

a tall building in a city: Escape to Colombia via podcast (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Escape to Colombia via podcast (Shutterstock)

Travel podcasts have the power to transport you all over the world. So why not close your eyes, put your feet up, plug your headphones in and journey to Colombia with the Colombia Calling podcast? 

Listen now

3. Watch Latin America on TV 

Joanna Lumley et al. standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Joanna Lumley’s Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti is on ITV Player now (ITV) © Provided by Wanderlust Joanna Lumley’s Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti is on ITV Player now (ITV)

If you're anything like us, then you'll be hooked on the BBC's series Race Across The World right now.

The show takes you all the way through the continent, starting in Mexico and finishing all the way up in Ushuaia, Argentina.

And there's more, too. Watch The Americas With Simon Reeves or travel through Cuba with Joanna Lumley. 

See the TV shows

4. Hear the sounds of the jungle 

a plant in a forest: Listen to the sounds of the rainforest (Shutterstock) © Provided by Wanderlust Listen to the sounds of the rainforest (Shutterstock)

This playlist features two soothing soundtracks, recorded in the deepest parts of the Amazon Rainforest.

With animal calls, leaves rustling and the sounds of many insects, simply close your eyes to kid yourself you're in the middle of it all.

There are night and day soundtracks, so you'll be able to listen to how the sounds change as night approaches and different animals wake up.  

Listen now

5. Read a book 

a close up of a book: Read a book © Provided by Wanderlust Read a book

For example, Paul Theroux's On the Plain of Snakes takes you on a Mexican road trip, while cameraman Gavin Thurston describes his experience of filming in the Galápagos in his book Journeys in the Wild.

Countless authors can help you to travel to Latin America (and beyond) with the power of the written word.

Read the books

6. Curl up with Wanderlust magazine

a close up of a sign: Read Wanderlust magazine © Provided by Wanderlust Read Wanderlust magazine

In 1992, Lyn Hughes and her late husband, Paul Morrison, were on a flight to South America when they schemed out the idea for Wanderlust on the back of a sick bag.

Today, Wanderlust magazine covers destinations from all over the world, but  Latin American countries remain a firm favourite.

Make a cup of tea, get yourself comfortable, and enjoy travel tales from Latin America and beyond. 

Read the magazine

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