%TNT Magazine% LA PAZ

1 La Paz, Bolivia

Inca ruins, real-life witches and the world’s most dangerous road – La Paz has a hell of a lot in store for adventure-seeking travellers. The world’s highest capital city sits in a basin at 11,975ft, surrounded by the Andes.

Perched so high in the mountain range, La Paz’s landscape is beautifully unforgiving – so it’s the logical place to find the notorious ‘Death Road’. The highway, on which up to 300 people die each year, clings precariously to mountainsides from La Paz to Coroico and descends about 11,000ft in just 43 miles. Adrenaline junkies can take the road by the saddle of a mountain bike, careering down as close to the vertical drop as they dare (gravitybolivia.com).

For thrill-seekers who don’t need wheels to get their kicks, there’s the intriguing Mercado de los Brujos, aka the Witches’ Market. Tourists are routinely baffled by the array of items on sale here – including amulets, potions, dried birds and llama fetuses – to cater for practising witches in need of spell ingredients and other spooky must-haves.

Traditionalists will be pleased to find La Paz has some more historical attractions. Nearby, you’ll find the mysterious Incan Tiahuanaco ruins, which many archaeologists consider the world’s most ancient city. And this sits on the south eastern banks of the majestic Lake Titicaca – one of the highest in the world at more than 12,400ft above sea level.

La Paz also provides a welcome, if hectic, base to visit the awesome salt flats and the striking Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), its canyons eroded by centuries of wind and rain.

See: boliviaturismo.com.bo/en

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2 San Carlos, Nicaragua

Nicaragua is most famous for its lakes and volcanoes. And what better way to see them than from 13,000ft above?
Strap on a parachute and jump out of a plane for both an adrenaline rush and a great view – you’ll see this stunning natural landscape for miles.

A good spot for skydiving is San Carlos – a small town on the shores of Cocibolca lake where the San Juan river starts. It’s a great way to get into extreme sports if you aren’t already.

See: visit-nicaragua.com

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3 San Salvador, El Salvador

As the smallest country in Central America, El Salvador is often forgotten by tourists bound for Guatemala and Costa Rica. But its capital, San Salvador, has one hell of a party scene.

You’ll find live bands, raves, DJs and pretty much everything in between. Swanky clubs and bars are in Zona Rosa and the Multiplaza Mall.

Or, for more laidback drinking holes, head to Calle San Antonio Abad.

See: elsalvador.travel/ musica.com.sv

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4 Pacuare, Costa Rica

Rush down the tropical Pacuare River (that means warm waters, folks) in a raft – chilling out in serene pools before paddling through pounding white-water rapids.

Located on Costa Rica’s Atlantic slope, the 108km tropical river is next to the Talamanca mountain range. Here, you might be lucky enough to spot parrots, toucans, jaguars, ocelots, butterflies and monkeys. Make sure you get to the capital, San Jose, for
its spectacular nightlife, too.

See: visitcostarica.com

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5 Atacama Desert, Chile

The world’s most arid desert is in northern Chile. Venture to this part of South America and you’ll also see hot springs, geysers and copper mines.

But the best reason to trek through this parched terrain is the local culture. Ravines and oases are home to both Incan and Spanish-influenced communities.

In June, the festivals of St Peter and St Paul bring parades and dancing throughout the streets of San Pedro
de Atacama near the Bolivian border.

See: chile.travel