You may be surprised that one of the top blog posts in Luxury Destination is a summary list of the best places to visit in South America.
Most visited country in South America
7.4 million visitors (2021)
Argentina is the number one country with the most visitors in South America, with more than 7 million visitors in 2021, before the pandemic stopped planning its trips. You may be surprised to see Argentina gaining the number one position ahead of Brazil, but the country is very popular and has a lot to offer to its visitors. Start your journey in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. At least a few nights are personal enough to get a taste of the city atmosphere. And from there, check out some of the natural wonders the country must offer, such as Iguazu Falls and Patagonia.
6.4 million visitors
Coming second is Brazil, which owns some of the most famous cities and destinations on the continent. And yes, we are talking about Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro has an incredible reputation around the world for its natural beauty and colorful nightlife. However, there are many other destinations in this country, such as Bugios and São Paulo.
4.5 million visitors
As perhaps the most diverse country to visit in South America, Chile is full of bucket list items to check out. From Santiago, you’ll find popular attractions such as Easter Island, the Atacama Desert, and Patagonia in the South, with connecting flights to explore most of the country. There is also Valparaiso, the artistic center of the country, and the Andes if you want to go skiing or snowboarding.
4.4 million visitors
Immediately behind Chile is Peru. And given the sheer number of visitors to Machu Picchu each year, it’s not surprising to see Peru as one of the most popular countries in South America. However, if you want more adventure, head to Iquitos and use this as a base for exploring the Amazon River (believe me, you won’t regret it!)
4.2 million visitors
Colombia has had a hard time attracting visitors in the past, but this is changing rapidly. Today, drug cartels have far less impact on the country and politics than in the days of Pablo Escobar, and the country is rapidly attracting visitors from all over the world. Bogotá and Medellín are becoming big cities, so it is advisable to replace them with the old town of Cartagena (pictured above).
Also popular on the list of the most visited countries in South America is up-and-coming Uruguay. If you’re looking for a destination that goes back in time and enjoys a more relaxed pace than your neighbors, you might head south to Uruguay. Here you can enjoy horseback riding, spectacular coastlines, and a slow pace.
Ecuador, with its tropical beaches and abundant marine wildlife, is another popular choice for South American travelers. This country attracts people from all over the world who are looking for adventures of all shapes and forms. If you are interested in diving, our favorite picks include Kito and Galapagos.
For an adventure a little further away from the beaten road, you may consider adding Paraguay to your list of destinations. Travelers who risk their lesser-known destinations will be delighted to be surprised as they are rewarded with a more realistic adventure without the tourists’ traps. Here you can enjoy spectacular day hikes, cultural markets, and delicious local food (named, but there are several reasons to visit!).