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Margarita Island, Venezuela

Perched on a rocky ledge overlooking Baie Longue beach, La Samanna is the high point of Caribbean refinement and luxury. The crescent-shaped resort sprawls along the western edge of St. Martin, surrounded by clear blue-green water and a private, white-sand beach. It's a picture-perfect island paradise that's lush, plush, and utterly luxurious.

The grounds are magical. Tropical flowers...

Top pick for:
Luxury Resorts

Pantanal, Brazil

The vast waterlogged plains of the Pantanal stretch for over 50,000 square miles—some estimate much more—across Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay and host the largest concentration of flora and fauna in South America. Sadly, however, the world's largest freshwater wetland is threatened throughout by deforestation, hydropower projects, water pollution, overfishing, and poaching....

Top pick for:
Safari Lodges

East of Coca, Ecuador

After a two-hour motorized canoe ride down the Napo River, followed by a half-hour hike on a jungle-lined boardwalk plus a dugout-canoe crossing of Garzacocha Lake, guests are greeted at La Selva with cold towels, snacks, and juices. They're then shown to cheerful bamboo and thatched-roof bungalows, likely stopping along the way to watch monkeys, sloths, and rare birds at play in this...

Top pick for:
Eco-Lodges

Nanegal, Ecuador

Before travelers even arrive at Santa Lucia, they've been completely submerged into the cloud forests of northern Ecuador. Just getting to the lodge requires a 90-minute-plus uphill hike through jungle brimming with colorful birds and exotic mammal species.

Why build a lodge on the top of a remote hillside in the middle of the Ecuadorian wilderness? Good question. Santa Lucia was the...

Top pick for:
Safari Lodges

3 hours' drive from Cuzco, Peru

Awakening in a sunlit room, snug beneath a heavy down comforter, it might seem like you're still in a sleep-addled dream. Just beyond a funky, glass-enclosed nook adjacent to the bed, an enormous glacier-cloaked mountain appears almost close enough to touch. At 12,795 feet, in the cozy confines of the Salkantay Lodge, this is simply reality.

Salkantay Lodge sits in Peru's Soraypampa...

Top pick for:
Adventure Lodges

Patagonia, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile is a twisted mass of monoliths and hoodoos that rise some 10,000 feet from the dry Patagonian steppe, seemingly piercing the clouds overhead. It's a dramatic glacial landscape where The Horns, a block of sweeping granite, rise majestically...

Puerto Guadal, XI Region, Chile

Resting on the tree-lined shores of a turquoise-tinged glacial lake in Chilean Patagonia, Terra Luna is a remote getaway in the heart of some of the world's most breathtaking alpine scenery. This small resort is perched on a hillside overlooking island-studded General Carrera Lake and beyond to a bevy of jagged Andean arêtes that beckon to willing guests.

Spread out on Terra...

Top pick for:
Adventure Lodges

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

The enormous Atacama Desert, which stretches 600 miles from northern Chile to the southern border of Peru, is flanked by the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains. Its Martian terrain, at an average elevation of 10,000 feet, is the highest and driest desert on earth; too arid in some spots for even microbes to grow. But it endures as one of the most starkly beautiful places on Earth, where the...

Top pick for:
Adventure Lodges

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