South America offers many options for us as travelers. The area is home to many beautiful sights, including lost cities and ancient civilisations.As shoppers we can also choose from upscale boutiques in major cities like Rio de Janeiro and the vibrant markets in Andean villages. We can also feast our eyes upon the local cuisine.
Here’s a list of the best South American countries to visit on your holiday. Each comes with their popular tourist destinations.
Best South American countries to visit: Colombia
Tayrona National Park
If you want to protect the environment and its inhabitants, while taking in breathtaking views, Tayrona National Park is a great choice. It’s located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia.
Tayrona, the country’s second-most visited national park, is also a protected marine reserve. It covers both land and water. Here you’ll find a lot of biodiversity in both the fauna and flora. There are more than 300 species of birds and over 100 mammals, as well as 70 types of bats.
Tayrona is most famous for its stunning beaches. These are located in deep bays, backed up by mountains, and shaded with coconut palms. Most beaches are not suitable to swim due to strong currents.
Cartagena, a major city along Colombia’s Caribbean coast is home to many tourists. It was named after Cartagena in Spain by the Spanish when it was established. The city was the economic and political center during Spain’s dominance in South America.
Cartagena today is a modern city, but you will find a walled historical center and fortress that were once the most powerful defenses of the city. Cartagena is home to a vibrant cultural scene with many festivals throughout the year, museums, and galleries.
Best South American countries to visit: Brazil
Salvador was founded by the Portuguese in 1548. This makes it one of the oldest American colonial cities. Its rich history can be seen in Pelourinho (the historic center named after the whipping post at which slaves were beat).
Brazil’s third-largest city was also the Americas’ first slave port. Today, there are traces of African heritage in Brazil’s culture and cuisine. Salvador is also a party city, hosting the largest celebration in the world: the annual Carnival celebration.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is a must-see destination. Even The Girl From Ipanema can learn the samba, Rio’s most famous dance. This cosmopolitan city is also known for its Carnival, bossa nova and Copacabana Beach. Rio’s residents prefer soccer. Maracana Stadium is the largest soccer stadium in the world.
It can be hard to reach the Pantanal. Access is by boat or plane. But once you are there, it’s worth it! The Pantanal is a large tropical wetland that covers an area roughly the same size as Washington State. It is located mainly in Brazil, but some is also in Bolivia and Paraguay.
Although not as well-known as the Amazon wetlands, the Pantanal is a great place to see wildlife in South America, including jaguars and capybaras.
Best South American countries to visit: Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands offer a glimpse into the past for prehistoric animals. These animals include terrifying-looking iguanas and giant tortoises.
These were the catalyst for Charles Darwin’s 19th century controversial book, On the Origin of Species. This archipelago, which includes 18 major islands, is located approximately 900 km (550 mi) off Ecuador’s coast. It was created – and is still being formed by volcanic activity.
Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is unique among the world capitals. It is the capital of Ecuador and the closest to the Equator. Quito’s vibrant old town was founded by the Spanish in 1534. It is the largest, best-preserved and least altered American city.
The city is located in Ecuador’s northern highlands and is surrounded with volcanoes that can easily be seen from the sky on clear days. Quito is the world’s only capital under threat from active volcanoes.
Best South American countries to visit: Venezuela
Angel Falls is a standout in Venezuela’s Guayana Highlands. It is 15 times more than Niagara Falls, which is shared with Canada and the United States. The water cascades down Auyantepui Mountain for more than 950m (3,200ft) to the Rio Kerepakupai Meru.
American Jimmy Angel, who was the first pilot to fly above the waterfall in 1937, is the waterfall’s name. It takes a combination of riverboat and plane rides to get there.
Best South American countries to visit: Peru
Machu Picchu, a stunning representation of the Inca civilization that existed before the Spanish arrived, is magnificent. Machu Picchu is located in the Peruvian Andes and was once a palace for Emperors, fortresses, and a place for religious ceremonies, where sacrifices of human flesh were made to please the gods.
The Spanish never touched the site, and it was left undiscovered by Americans after their conquest. Machu Picchu, a stunning example of classic Inca architecture, was built from polished stones. Machu Picchu, Peru’s most popular tourist attraction, is known for its stunning views.
Cusco is a city with a rich history. It lies at 3,400m (11,000ft) elevation in the Andes Mountains. Cusco was once capital of the powerful Inca Empire. In the 16th century, the Spanish conquered Cusco, decimating the Incas.
Although it is not Peru’s capital, the constitution of Peru names it the country’s historical capital. Many Inca sites are still visible in the area, while the Spanish colonial heritage is found in the Old Town.
Colca Canyon is third in Peru’s most popular tourist destinations. It is because of its stunning views. Although the canyon is the deepest in the world it is not the deepest in Peru. It is twice as deep as the U.S. Grand Canyon.
You don’t have to be content with scenic views. If you are tired of them, you can look up at the sky and see Andean condors or the largest hummingbirds that you’ve ever seen. You can buy handcrafted items from the local villages.
Best South American countries to visit: Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni, located in the Andes at nearly 3700m (12,000ft) above the sea level is the largest salt flat in the world. The salt flat, located in southwest Peru is covered with a thick crust that provides salt and covers a salt solution.
Salt flat is flatter than you could imagine and the harsh terrain makes it look amazing, especially after rains when the Salar transforms into a gigantic mirror. It’s a great place to see flamingos and is also one of the most unique places in South America.
best South American countries to visit: Chile
It can take a while to get to Easter Island, as it is the least inhabited island in the entire world. Nearest residents are approximately 1,300 miles away. It’s not for its remoteness that Chilean territory is famous. You’ll find almost 900 primitive statues made by early Polynesian settlers when you reach Chile.
These amazing statues, known as moai, were carved around 1,000 years ago. Obsidian was used to create the black eyes. Most statues are made from solidified volcanic ash.
Uniquely, the Atacama Desert may be the most dry desert in the world. It only sees rain once every four years. It runs approximately 1,600km (1,000 miles) along Chile’s coast, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
It is similar to the soil on Mars. Some portions of the soil were used as Mars substitutes in the movie Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets. This region has many extraordinary features, including vast salt flats and active geysers.
Torres del Paine National Park
Although it may be in remote Chilean Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park, is one of Chile’s most popular and largest parks. Why? The scenery is quite spectacular.
One of the most spectacular sights you will see is the Torres del Paine. These three peaks dominate the Paine Mountains landscape. The park is home to many other outdoor enthusiasts, including mountains and rivers. A rare species of deer lives in the park.
Best South American countries to visit: Argentina
Los Glaciares National Park
Los Glaciares National Park is a place where they don’t take things lightly. The park is Argentina’s largest national park and also houses the largest icecap outside of Greenland, Antarctica. This ice cap feeds 47 large glaciers. One of the most well-known glaciers is Perito Moreno, which is unique because it is moving at a time when others are receding.
It is also home to Lake Argentino which is the country’s largest lake. It is also home to the Magellan Subpolar forest, which is well-preserved, and the Patagonian Steppe.
Buenos Aires is home to 17 million people and is the fourth-largest in the Americas. The city, located on the Argentinian coastline at Rio de la Plata, is known for its cosmopolitan spirit.
Buenos Aires is South America’s most popular city due to its rich culture and architecture. The Recoleta is a neighborhood that’s well-known for its rich history and is a must-see. The Recoleta Cemetery, where Eva Peron is buried, is the most prominent attraction in the district.
Ushuaia is a great place to go if you love remote areas. Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego is the most southern city in the world. Here is where the train to the End of the World stops.
Ushuaia, nestled between mountains and a bay, is very picturesque when it isn’t cloudy or windy. It is home to a museum that houses penguins, seals, and orca whales.
So, never forget to pick South American countries as your next vacation destinations.
As a bonus, you may find this article about Paris interesting.