“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.
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.