While you may not want to go polar-plunging among icebergs, a visit to Patagonia’s Laguna Torre is worth it for the views alone. The easy five-mile hike to the beach winds through twisty lenga forests and opens to a stunning view of Cerro Torre—an ice-glazed granite mountain once considered impossible to summit.

Laguna Torre, El Chaltén, Argentina

While you may not want to go polar-plunging among icebergs, a visit to Patagonia’s Laguna Torre is worth it for the views alone. The easy five-mile hike to the beach winds through twisty lenga forests and opens to a stunning view of Cerro Torre—an ice-glazed granite mountain once considered impossible to summit.
Photograph by BETH WALD, Nat Geo Image Collection

Visit the best beaches in South America

Explore the luscious sands of Baía do Sancho, the algid banks of the dazzling Laguna Torre, and all the stunning beaches in between.

“I need the sea because it teaches me,” wrote Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. “I don’t know if I learn music or awareness.” Truthfully, the sea has much to teach us all, and not only in Neruda’s beloved El Quisco. From the green sands of Kourou, French Guiana, to party-party Ipanema, every beach in South America offers lessons in geography, ecology, culture, and cuisine. Here are 14 shores you didn’t know you needed.

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This article originally published on "November 30, 2018. It has been updated.
Cait Etherton is a Virginia-based writer and frequent contributor to National Geographic Travel. Follow her journey on Twitter @caitweeting.

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