Travel Guide

29 Greatest Locations to Go to in South America

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Exploring South America took us on superb adventures via a  spectacular array of landscapes; from the sweaty, humid rain forest within the Amazon, respiration skinny air over Andean peaks to marvel on the huge Patagonian glaciers. It is vitally tough to solely select a handful of greatest locations to go to in South America. The continent appears to exist in superlatives; the world’s largest glacier, largest jungle, driest desert and highest waterfall to say only a few. These magnificent landscapes are in-habitat by a thoughts boggling number of fauna and flora, a few of the most lovely, harmful and bizarre creatures on the planet. The tradition is not any much less spectacular starting from remnants of an historical Inca empire at Machu Pichu, dwelling historical past on the floating islands of Lake Titicaca to the trendy marvel of the Marvelous metropolis, Rio de Janeiro.

Making a listing of the most effective locations to go to is a tough job, however listed here are our 29 locations to not miss!

1 -Iguazú Falls, Argentina and Brazil

Iguazu waterfalls South America
One of the crucial well-known locations to go to in South America. The spectacular Iguazu Falls stretching from Brazil to Argentina.

The spectacular Iguazu waterfall system is the most important on this planet, consisting of 275 falls as much as 82m excessive the place the Iguazu River tumbles over the sting of the Paraná Plateau. This monumental waterfall system stretches from Argentina to Brazil and might be visited from each international locations. Don’t miss the satan’s throat and experience this unimaginable water mass at full blast! This spectacular pure marvel was undoubtedly considered one of my highlights to go to, touring via South America for greater than a 12 months.

Which facet of Iguazu is healthier, Argentina or Brazil?

The Brazilian facet of the falls with  panoramic views of the 275 waterfalls spanning an space of 3km large space with rainbows all over the place along with strolling nearly into the Satan’s throat was spectacular

On the Argentina facet I cherished the 15km of trails and strolling proper on to the waterfall at Garganta del Diablo, seeing that mass of water tumbling down proper in entrance of you was spectacular.

2- Machu Picchu, Perú

machu picchu one of the best places to visit in South America
Mystical Machu Picchu, this view is the nr 1 bucket record merchandise for a lot of guests to tick of on a visit to South America.

Machu Picchu ‘The misplaced metropolis of the Incas’ is a 15th-century Inca citadel located on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres above sea stage. Deserted by the Incas within the mid 15th century it was solely dropped at the eye of the world in 1911. Right this moment it is rather touristy with hundreds of holiday makers, touristy or not it’s a should see. The Inca ruins are probably the most spectacular synthetic buildings I’ve ever witnessed. There are various other ways to reach right here, by bus, a 2 hour hike from Aguas Calliente, mountaineering for five days following within the steps of the Incas on the Inca path or a 7 day of the crushed monitor hike via ‘Machu Picchu’s little sister’ Chocuequirao.

A preferred different to the Inca path is doing the Salkantay trek, the path is much less busy and it passes via fully completely different landscapes, ending in Aguas Calientes (from the place you stroll to MP) not at Machu Picchu itself. The Salkantay trek is considered one of the most well-liked treks in Peru.

3- Torres del Paine, Chile

The breath taking Torres del Paine Nationwide Park  stretches over mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers in southern Chilean Patagonia. The park might be explored by doing the well-known W – trek for five days, mountaineering for Eight days doing the O-circuit as we did or by a number of in the future hikes. The huge Glacier Gray and The Torres del Paine, three distinctive granite peaks of the Paine mountain vary are to not be missed. Multi day backpacking hikes within the park was difficult, carrying meals and equipment for the entire expedition, however was a tremendous experience. The park is situated 112 km north of Puerto Natales. We did a number of spectacular hikes in Torres del Paine Nationwide exploring Patagonia and this was considered one of my favourite place in South America!

4- Perito Moreno, Argentina

Perito Moreno glacier El Calafate
Strolling across the jaw-dropping Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina.

Perito Moreno in Argentina is considered one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Discipline situated within the Andes system and a vacationer favourite to go to in South America. It’s an advancing glacier, the place most glaciers are retreating. The glacier ruptures each Four or 5 years and large items of ice collapse of the advancing glacier into the water a number of occasions a day. The glacier is well accessible with board walks supplying you with lovely views of the ice discipline. Driving with a ship near the glacier or guided hikes on the glacier are doable. The nationwide park is a 2 hour drive by bus from El Calafate. Doing mini treks on Perito Moreno glacier is a very talked-about exercise when touring South America.

5 – Pantanal, Brazil

Pantanal places to visit South America

If you wish to see distinctive animals on the continent the Pantanal is the most effective place to go to in South America. The Amazon jungle has an enormous biodiversity, however is very large and really dense making recognizing animals onerous. In distinction the Pantanal is a wetland system, the open areas make seeing animals straightforward. There are many carbibaras, toucans and caimans, catching piranhas and feeding them to the caimans is frequent follow for taking photographs. Right here you also have a life like probability of seeing uncommon animals like jaguars and anacondas.  Need to know the place to search out which animals in Brazil?

6- Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 sq. kilometers and was fashioned on account of transformations between a number of prehistoric lakes. There are a number of fascinating websites on these salt flats and it’s a very talked-about vacationer attraction. A few resorts have been constructed at completely different websites utilizing salt blocks. The salt flats are normally explored as a Four day journey from Sucre and is a well-liked option to cross into Chile. Exploring this space for a few days was an unreal experience. Taking part in with perspective to take cool photographs and movies is standard on the salt flats, so bear in mind to seek for some concepts and take some props like toys alongside in your tour!

photo fun salar de uyuni bolivia
Taking enjoyable photographs taking part in with perspective in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

7 – Angel Falls, Venezuela

Angel Falls in Canaima Nationwide Park, Venezuela is is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, with a top of 979 metres (3,211ft).  Reaching ‘Salto Angel’ is a mission flying into Canaima Nationwide park in the course of the Venezuelan jungle in a small plain adopted by a Four hour canoe journey and a hour hike on a jungle path. Floating within the pure swimming pools trying on the water tumbling down from nearly a kilometer up is really spectacular. Undoubtedly top-of-the-line locations to go to in South America situated in Venezuela!

8 – San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Atacama desert places to visit in South America
The Atacama Desert was probably the most superb place to go to in Bolivia.

The Atacama desert is the driest place on earth some years receiving lower than a millimeter of rain is actually one thing particular. There’s an astonishing number of spectacular things to see starting from salt lakes to sizzling springs, caves, canyons, colourful mountains and don’t overlook to search for and admire the gorgeous evening sky. We rented bicycles and explored the superb rock formations of Valle de la Luna and surrounding Atacama desert for days. Strolling into the desert and tenting was a singular experience.

9 – Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Mount Roraima in Venezuela is the very best of the numerous Desk Mountains (tepuis) scattered over the grasslands of The Grand Sabana. Lined in unusual rock formations, quarts fields and bug consuming crops the distinctive fauna and flora on high this misplaced world developed in full isolation over millennia. We explored this unimaginable space for Eight days seeing what impressed writers and film makers over many years. Venezuela is a controversial nation to go to, it does nonetheless have a few of the most unusual and spectacular locations to go to in South America and we had a tremendous time exploring this off the crushed monitor websites.

10 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

the sugar loaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro
Sugar Loaf mountain and Rio de Janeiro is a website to not miss in Brazil.

The Marvelous metropolis is one metropolis to not miss in your South America itinerary with the enduring Christ the Redeemer overlooking tropical forest and golden seashores fringing this cosmopolitan metropolis. I all the time in contrast Rio with my dwelling city Cape City. Go for a swim or a sport of volley ball on the well-known Copacabana seaside with views of each Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana Fort. Be part of a Samba metropolis tour to get within the carnival vibe and hike some nice trails around the globe’s largest city forest. Be mesmerized, however be alert and keep secure in Rio de Janeiro probably the most lovely and thrilling metropolis in South America!

11 – El Chalten, Argentina

Need to hit the paths with a few of the most spectacular routes Argentina has to supply? Don’t miss El Chalten, the trekking capital of Argentina Patagonia with nicely taken care of trails and superb views for each stage from quick in the future walks to difficult multi day treks. El Chalten was considered one of our favourite locations to go to in South America. Hold your digital camera prepared for unreal surroundings at Lago de Los Tres and Mount Fitz Roy. Problem your self for Four days on the attractive The Huemul Circuit.

12 – Peninsula Valdez, Argentina

Go for a stroll with magellanic penguins on the Peninsula Valdez

Need to see a special facet of Argentina? Go to the distinctive Península Valdés. This coastal Patagonian nature reserve is understood for the marine animals inhabiting its surrounding seashores and waters similar to whales, sea lions and elephant seals. From Puerto Madryn go strolling with penguins, snorkeling with sea lions or go on world class whale watching excursions to see the Southern proper whales on their annual migration.

13 – Cusco, Peru

Colorful Rainbow Mountain on the Ausangate trek in Peru
The well-known Rainbow Mountain one of many highlights of the trek

Cusco, a metropolis within the Peruvian Andes,  as soon as capital of the Inca Empire, is right this moment identified for  archaeological stays and colonial structure. Town is situated at excessive altitude over 3000m and is a good base for exploring the encircling Andes mountains and the ruins of a number of Inca settlements, probably the most well-known being Machu Picchu. We have been based mostly in Cusco for a month doing a number of spectacular treks similar to Ausangate, Choquequirao and Salkantay. From Cusco you’ll be able to go to different spectacular Inca websites like Sacred Valley the place you’ll be able to see spectacular ruins of Ollantaytambo and Moray, Maras salt mines and extra.

14 – Salento, Colombia

Salento is a small colonial city within the coronary heart of Colombia’s espresso triangle, producing a few of the greatest espresso on this planet. Visiting these superb espresso farms in Colombia is likely one of the high things to do in South America. The charming city with its cobble stone streets and colourful homes is surrounded by inexperienced hills and low plantations. The primary attraction round city is to go on a espresso tour following the world well-known espresso beans from the plantations to your cup and to hike the Valle de Cocora. This valley might be reached from Salento by a 30 min jeep experience. The hike is a few 5 hour spherical journey with Colombia’s nationwide tree the 60m tall wax palms everywhere in the spectacular inexperienced panorama.

15 – The Amazon, Manaus, Brazil

Cayman on a river cruise on the Amazon. Brazil
Cayman on a river cruise on the Amazon.

Visiting the world’s largest rain forest and river was excessive on our South America to do record. Manaus the capital of the Brazil Amazon was the logical place to begin. Cities and cities can’t be reached by street within the Amazon so you could fly in or go on the river. From right here take a gradual boat down the Amazon river, swinging in your hammock for every week making an attempt to identify animals on shore or pink dolphins. Go on a visit catching piranhas, feeding Caymans and swimming with pink dolphins. You can too attain a smaller, extra genuine vacation spot similar to Alter do Chão or Tefe from right here. See this information for touring Brazil on a price range.

16 – Valparaiso, Chile

Valparaiso has an enormous number of things to do and is taken into account to be an artwork capital of Chile. Artwork is all over the place on this port metropolis from its streets to artwork galleries, from cafes to museums and every part with its personal distinctive model. This distinctive metropolis has Three very fascinating neighborhoods that could be a pleasure to discover on foot; Cerro Concepcion (Concepcion hill) a bohemian district on the highest of a steep hill with two elevators that may take you to the highest, Cerro Bellavista (hill Lovely view) with the Museo a Cielo Abierto (the Open Air museum) on the high and La Sebastiana with the house-museum of the well-known Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Need to know extra about transport in Valparaiso? You may stroll across the streets full of road artwork and much reaching Pacific views for hours.

17 – San Gil, Colombia

river rafting san gil
River rafting is only one of many superb actions in San Gil Colombia

We had a lot enjoyable in what is usually described as the journey capital of Colombia. The placement is ideal for mountaineering, paragliding, white water rafting and mountaineering. San Gil was on of our favourite locations to go to in Colombia. Put collectively your individual multi day hike itinerary and discover off the crushed monitor colonial cities from Barichara, experience rising sizzling air currents paragliding within the Chocomoca canyon or go rafting class Four and 5 rapids on the Rio Suarez.

18 – Tayrona Nationwide Park

Lovely Caribbean seashores surrounded by lush inexperienced jungle and delightful peaks make Tayrona spectacular.  This massive protected space on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is understood for its palm-shaded coves, lovely lagoons and rainforest wealthy in biodiversity. You spend your days mountaineering from one superb seaside to the subsequent and strolling on the jungle trails. Actually on a price range? sleep in hammock or lease a tent. Get to the park by boat from Taganga.

19 – Galapagos, Equador

Galapagos islands amazing things to do in South America
Seeing a sea iguana, visiting the Galapagos islands in Equador is a bucket record merchandise in South America.

The Galápagos Islands is a part of the Republic of Ecuador, this archipelago of volcanic islands are distributed across the equator within the Pacific Ocean. The islands with its huge variety of endemic species are identified to be the placement liable for Charles Darwin’s principle of evolution by the use of pure choice. Even when visiting The Galápagos on a price range it’s nonetheless costly to do, however you might be assured to see a wide range of animals you’ll not see in some other park on this planet!

20 – Cartagena, Colombia

Probably the most visited metropolis in Colombia is nicely often called the most effective preserved colonial metropolis in South America with some incredible structure from the colonial interval. Strolling the streets is a photographer’s dream, the attractive previous city is surrounded by the town wall, elements of the walled metropolis and the coral stone fords are greater than 500 years previous. The neighbourhoods Outdated City, Getsemani, or Bocagrande differ enormously and the place you keep in Cartagena can have a big effect on the way you experience the town.

There are some lovely seashores not too removed from Cartagena, Playa Blanca is a good seaside you’ll be able to attain in about an hour by bus and ferry from the town. Don’t miss taking a sizzling mud bathtub in Volcán del Totumo, a 15m excessive mud volcano about 45 km from the town. There are various enjoyable and funky things to do in Cartagena and the encircling space.

21 – Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

The floating islands of the Uru people on Lake Titicaca.
The floating islands of the Uru folks on Lake Titicaca.

Lake Titicaca is a big, deep lake within the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia. Situated at an altitude of 3812m above sea stage this enormous lake is the “highest navigable lake” by massive boats. The most important attraction on the lake is the person made “Floating Islands”. The islands are made by the Uru folks from layers of lower totora, a thick buoyant reed that grows in Lake Titicaca. Boat journeys exit to the islands, it’s fascinating however may be very touristy.

22 – Center of the world, Equador

La Mitad del Mundo, or the Center of the Earth, situated 26 km away from Quito highlights the precise location of the Equator from which the nation takes its title. Right here you’ll be able to straddle the equator, see  how  water flows straight down as a substitute of forming a vortex or attempt to place an egg gently on a nail. Aside from being on the equator there may be not a lot to see, however a Disneyland like theme park for taking photographs and demonstrating these results on the equator.

23 – Sieta tasas, Chile

Alya going for a swim within the freezing water of Siete Tazas, Chile.

This unreal nationwide park has loads of beautiful pure swimming pools with crystal clear water, waterfalls and canyons that’s surrounded by mountains and forest with loads of mountaineering trails. The park is understood principally to native vacationers, pitching tents in a number of camp websites all through the park.  The primary attraction is the river Claro and the canyon it flows via with pure swimming pools, terraces and caves. Swimming within the vivid turquoise water is freezing, however it’s so lovely it’s completely irresistible. Siete Tazas is situated close to the city Molina, about 200km from Santiago. Siete Tazas (seven cups) is called after 7 swimming pools or cascades in one of many canyons. Learn right here for all about our experience at Siete Tazas.

24 – Cuenca, Equador

The laid again city of Cuenca in southern Ecuador’s Andes mountains with its beautiful structure and gorgeous views have to be probably the most lovely metropolis within the nation. Town middle is compact, making it superb to discover on foot, situated 2500 m above sea stage it ought to take you a day or two to acclimatize. Go and discover many superb websites  such because the historic ruins of Ingapirca or the attractive viewpoint, Turi, across the metropolis on in the future journeys from Cuenca.

25 – Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia

Las Lajas Cathedral
Las Lajas Cathedral

The magnificent Las Lajas Cathedral is constructed on a stone bridge spanning the canyon of the Guaitara River on the border of Colombia and Ecuador, close to the town of Ipiales. This development of this unimaginable gothic church began in 1916 and it took nearly 33 years to complete it. Myths of miracles that occurred within the cliff sparked the the dramatic setting for the development of this church.

26- Punta del Este, Uruguay

The sculpture on the beach- Los Dedos (“the fingers”), a famous work by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal.
The sculpture on the beach- Los Dedos (“the fingers”), a well-known work by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal.

The seaside city of Punta de Leste is a fishing village turned resort city, identified for the ‘Los Dedos’ seaside sculpture at Playa Brava by well-known artist Mario Irarrázabal, seashores and browsing. The entire nation, Uruguay, is off the crushed monitor, Punta is a very talked-about locations for Argentinians, Brazilians and Uruguayans in summer season.

26 – Isla Grande, Brazil

llha Grande is a smashing tropical island situated off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil a brief quick boat journey from Angra dos Reis. This gorgeous island is surrounded by over 100 seashores and is roofed in dense jungle. We hiked round Ilha Grande for five days strolling and tenting on lovely seashores whereas listening to howler monkeys growling within the tropical paradise fringing the seaside. This tropical hike experience was unreal, stopping to snorkel within the crystal clear, heat water once in a while, mountaineering, tenting and cooking on the seaside for a few week strolling round this incredible tropical island.

28 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Experience Buenos Aires Argentina’s huge, cosmopolitan capital, the town is really alive.  ‘The Paris of South America’ is full of museums, artwork galleries and theaters, full of fascinating structure and road artwork the town is actually lovely. Discover the colourful neighborhood of La Boca, admire {couples} dancing tango on the road, get pleasure from Argentina’s world well-known beef and wash it down with a glass of Malbec earlier than dancing the evening away within the metropolis’s golf equipment, that is the place to be taught to Tango. Be ready to get by with little relaxation, the get together begins late and the town by no means sleeps.

29 – Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Fernando de Noronha a volcanic archipelago about 350 kilometers off Brazil’s northeast coast is likely one of the nation’s greatest saved secrets and techniques. Famend for  undeveloped seashores, good scuba diving and snorkeling, marine life is protected and vacationers are few. Sea turtles, rays, dolphins and reef sharks swim within the heat, clear waters of the protected nationwide park and each day guests are restricted to 400 per day. With the world’s highest focus of untamed dolphins and three of the 5 greatest seashores in Brazil this can be a tropical paradise. Drink Caipiroskas  eat ceviche having fun with this divine setting.

All particulars and tips about packing for a backpacking journey you’ll discover on this publish. ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓


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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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