Central & South America

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

A Bolivian farmer stands next to dinosaur footprints. Bolivia is home to thousands of dinosaur tracks.

Where Dinosaurs Walked: Eight of the Best Places to See Prehistoric Footprints

Step in the footprints of giants on "dinosaur highways"

Pacchanta's Maria Merma Gonzalo practices weaving techniques that have changed little in 500 years.

In a Small Village High in the Peruvian Andes, Life Stories Are Written in Textiles

Through weaving, the women of Ausangate, Peru, pass down the traditions of their ancestors

A local girl celebrates her first communion at the main church in Vilcabamba, an Ecuadorian village that retains its small-town feel despite an influx of foreigners in search of Shangri-La.

Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

Hailed as a Modern-Day Shangri-La, Can This Ecuadorian Town Survive Its Reputation?

Vilcabamba is an idyllic little town—and that's its problem


Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

Handicraft Heaven: Nine Unique Gifts to Buy Along the Inca Road

Leave room in your suitcase for these irresistible items


Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

Photographer Yolanda Escobar Jiménez Captures Ecuador's Street Scenes

Take a peek inside Jiménez's visual journals

Ancient mummified bodies stand guard over windswept deserts near the Nazca and Ica mountain summits.

Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

The Fascinating Afterlife of Peru's Mummies

From inside stone palaces and atop sacred mountaintops, the Inca dead continued to wield incredible power over the living

Aymara people prepare an offering to Mother Earth during the sunrise of the winter solstice ceremony in La Apacheta, El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz.

Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

In Bolivia's High-Altitude Capital, Indigenous Traditions Thrive Once Again

Among sacred mountains, in a city where spells are cast and potions brewed, the otherworldly is everyday

A woman waits to participate in the annual silleteros' parade.

A Parade of Bright Flowers in a City With a Dark Past

Farmers carried 500 dazzling flower designs through the streets of Medellín, Colombia

Wild pigs go for a dip off Big Major Cay in the Exhumas, Bahamas.

Not Just Dolphins: Where to Swim With Pigs, Penguins and the Gentlest of Sharks

At these beaches, splash around with some more unusual creatures

The Skylodge with the sun peeking over the mountains.

Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

Sleep With the Condors at This Peruvian Hotel Hanging Off a Cliff

The cliffside Skylodge hotel dangles 1,300 feet above the ground

Why Do Hundreds of Macaws Gather at These Peruvian Clay Banks?

Brightly colored parrots of the western Amazon basin display a behavior not seen anywhere else

The Milky Way and moon illuminate a lone tree in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

An Astronomer's Paradise, Chile May Be the Best Place on Earth to Enjoy a Starry Sky

Chile's northern coast offers an ideal star-gazing environment with its lack of precipitation, clear skies and low-to-zero light pollution

Stone steps descend as far as 500 feet into the Moray concentric agriculture terraces near Maras, Peru, crossing a temperature differential of some 60 degrees. Ancient innovators may have domesticated and hybridized plant species here, using temperature ranges to simulate conditions found across the far-flung Inca Empire.

Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

What Endures From the Ancient Civilizations That Once Ruled the Central Andes?

To journey here is to roam through almost six thousand years of civilization, to one of the places where the human enterprise began

Taken by ship to North America and Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, the tiny fruit gave rise to all the many tomato varieties enjoyed today.

Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

Why Is This Wild, Pea-Sized Tomato So Important?

Native to northern Peru and southern Ecuador, this tiny and rapidly vanishing tomato boasts outsized influence on world gastronomy

Rumi Colca gateway, Cusco, Peru, 2014

Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

How the Inca Empire Engineered a Road Across Some of the World's Most Extreme Terrain

For a new exhibition, a Smithsonian curator conducted oral histories with contemporary indigenous cultures to recover lost Inca traditions

Monky’s street posters have become synonymous with the syncopated, high energy beat of a music genre, called Chicha.

When the Poster Promoting the Concert Is as Exciting as the Music, You Know You're Listening to Chicha

The sounds, graphic art and the mestizo lifestyle that goes with the music is the latest revolt of the Peruvian masses

Katya and Blanca Canto pose with their carved gourds at their home in Cochas Grande.

A Look Behind the Peruvian Art of Gourd Carving

With magnificent hand carvings, artisans craft stories of celebration and tragedy into dried gourds—a tradition practiced for more than 4,000 years

Q'eswachaka suspension bridge. Q'eswachaka, Apurímac River, Canas Province, Cusco, Peru.

Urban Explorations

A Dozen Indigenous Craftsman From Peru Will Weave Grass into a 60-Foot Suspension Bridge in Washington, D.C.

The ancient technology used lightweight materials to create soaring 150-foot spans that could hold the weight of a marching army

Monarch Butterflies, Sierra Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary, Angangueo, Michoacan, Mexico

Where to See Thousands of Monarch Butterflies

The species is being reviewed for potential addition to the Endangered Species list. Can tourism help save the butterfly?

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