Top 25 destinations to visit in South America
Traveling in South America can be an exciting and breathtaking experience. In South America, you get to visit fantastic destinations like the Amazon Rainforest and Machu Picchu but there are so many other great places to visit that offer a lot of great things to do. This article will give you the top 25 destinations to visit in South America.
1. Bolivia, Uyuni Salt Flat
Located in the southwest of Bolivia, Uyuni Salt Flat is arguably the most popular destination in Bolivia. It is the largest salt field in the world, covering approximately 11,000 square kilometers. Salt flats look different all year round and are probably the most photographed during the rainy season (January-April). Of course, the adventure to Uyuni Salt Flat is half the fun. As they say in this part of the world, “the only consistency is inconsistency”, so be prepared for cancellations and delays! The most serious way to reach Salt Flats is by public transport. Buses to Uyuni Salt Flat run daily but are often delayed. So be prepared to spend your downtime by preloading good books and podcasts.
2. Colombia, Santuario de la Lahas
This famous cathedral church in southern Colombia is located in the province of Narino. The Gothic Revival style church has become synonymous with southern Colombia due to its unique location and was built between 1916 and 1949. Today, due to its dramatic placement and impressive structure, it is one of the most photographed places in Colombia.
3. See the Milky Way on Lake Titicaca in Peru
Lake Titicaca straddles the border between Bolivia and Peru in the Andes. Lake Titicaca, the birthplace of the Incas, is one of the most fascinating places to experience the Milky Way in South America. This is because you will find yourself in this remote part of Peru, below one of the darkest sky reserves here. So be sure to get out of town and shoot the Milky Way in total darkness. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
4. Cartagena, Colombia
The historic colonial city of Cartagena is one of the most beautiful places to explore in South America. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and provides a lot of insight into the colonization of South America. Located on the Caribbean coast, the Old Town was founded in the 16th century. To date, you can stroll through the cobbled streets, the facades of colorful houses, and the colonial buildings. If you want to feel like going back in time, this is the place to go.
5. Mt. Fitz Roy, Argentina
Mount Fitz Roy is located in Patagonia and is one of the popular choices for mountaineers and hiking enthusiasts when visiting South America. It is located near El Chalten, on the border between Chile and Argentina. It was first climbed in 1952 by the French alpinists’ Lionel Terrei and Guido Magnoné. To date, it is a popular hike in this southern part of Argentina. It is said to be the second most popular hiking trail after Torres del Paine, which straddles the border between Argentina and Chile.
6. Amazon River
The Amazon is one of the longest rivers in the world (as it is by some definitions) and is certainly the longest river in South America. There are many ways to experience the Amazon, but a great way to get to know the Amazon is to take a small cruise to a remote village. In this way, you can meet the locals and learn more about the lifestyle on Amazon.
7. Bolivia, the most dangerous road in the world
Bolivia’s Yungas Road is one of the most dangerous roads in the world. It’s a narrow, winding mountain road with no guard rails and sheer drops.
It has been called “the world’s most dangerous road” and “the world’s scariest road.”
The Yungas Road is located in the western part of Bolivia, which is a mountainous country. It spans from La Paz to Coroico, which are two cities that are separated by a height difference of about 3,600 meters (11,811 feet). The drive takes about 3 hours each way and it’s only open during daylight hours.
8. Ecuador, Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands in Ecuador. They are renowned for their wide variety of marine wildlife habitats and are therefore one of the most popular snorkeling and diving destinations in the world. This is one of the destinations you’ll need to stay for a while and one of the best places to visit in South America if you have the time.
9. Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel perched high on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley. The citadel was built in the shape of an “L” with a large central plaza and two long wings that extend to the east and west.
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The Incas began building Machu Picchu in AD 1450, but it was abandoned just 50 years later, and never fully completed. For centuries, its existence was known only to locals until American historian Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911.
10. Bolivia, La Paz
La Paz is the capital of Bolivia, and it is located in the Andean valley. The city is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and it has a population of over 1 million people. It is also the country’s cultural, political, and economic center.
The city’s altitude means that temperatures are cool year-round, but it can get as cold as -2 degrees Celsius in the winter months. La Paz has a dry climate with little rainfall throughout the year.
11. Swing to the ends of the world in Banos, Ecuador
Baños de Agua Santa is a small town in Ecuador that has a population of about 5,000. The town is situated on the edge of the Amazon rainforest and it is famous for its hot springs.
The town’s economy relies heavily on tourism and agriculture. It is also known for its colonial architecture, which includes churches and buildings from the 18th century.
12. Chile, Torres del Paine
The Torres del Paine National Park is the country’s most important natural area and one of the most beautiful in the world. The park was created in 1959 to preserve the ecosystems of the Patagonia region and to offer a space for recreation and tourism.
It is located in Chilean Patagonia, bordering Argentina, and covers an area of 7,902 km². The park consists of three main zones: forested mountains, glacier-covered mountains, and lakes.
13. Moai statue on Easter Island, Chile
Speaking of diversity, Easter Island is Chile’s hidden gem. This mysterious island is famous for its various forms of moai statues scattered around the island. There are many myths and legends about why it is there, but it remains a mystery in essence.
14. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a coastal city located on the edge of Guanabara Bay in southeastern Brazil. It’s also one of the most populated cities in Latin America with over 6 million inhabitants.
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The city has a tropical climate and is often referred to as “The Marvelous City”. Rio de Janeiro was chosen to host both the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2014 World Cup.
15. Canopy Walk, Amazon, Peru
Amazon is full of spectacular experiences, and Canopy Walk is no exception. You can easily spend a month exploring the depths of the Amazon, which spans Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil.
16. Chile, Valparaiso
Valparaiso is a coastal city in Chile, which lies west of Santiago, at the northern end of the Valparaíso Region, where the Chilean coast begins to turn southward.
Valparaíso is often considered Chile’s main port city and has been a center of both economic and cultural activity since its founding in 1536. The 2007 census reported Valparaiso’s population at 172,260.
17. Venezuela, Angel Falls
Venezuela’s magnificent Angel Falls, at a height of 979 meters, is the largest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. The entire region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
18. Geyser El Tatio, Chile
Located in northern Chile, Geysersel de Tatio is the third largest geyser field in the world. This natural phenomenon is best enjoyed in the morning when the fog fills the air and the morning sun hits the surrounding mountains. Be sure to include it in your trip as this is one of the lesser-known places to visit in South America.
19. Chile, Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in vibrancy. There is a cactus valley to explore and there are a lot of local cultures. This is one of the best places to see the Milky Way without light pollution.
20. Sacred Valley of Peru
The holy valley is The heart and soul of Peru. Here you can learn about ancient traditions, customs, and cultures. Start your journey in Cusco After spending a few days in the hustle and bustle, step into the Holy Valley on your journey to Machu Picchu.
21. Iguazu Falls – Argentina and Brazil
Iguazu Falls is the largest waterfall system in the world. Spanning both Argentina and Brazil, it is a major tourist attraction. It is also home to many types of animals such as monkeys, capybara, toucans, and more. The Iguazu Falls can be viewed from up close or afar and tourists can take a tour for different views of the falls.
22. Peru, Cusco
The province of Cusco is situated in the southern part of Peru, and it is the second boss region in population size. In the past, it was an important site for economic activity in Peru, as well as a stronghold of colonialism and Catholicism.
With a population estimated at 1 million people, Cusco has a large number of indigenous people living there. One reason why it was so heavily colonized by Spanish settlers is that they found gold in that area. As a result, there are many colonial buildings still standing today.
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In terms of tourism, one popular attraction here are the pre-Columbian ruins found just outside the city center. The most important ones here are Sacsayhuaman and Qenko where there are also many shops and restaurants nearby serving traditional food
23. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is a bustling Argentinian city that is known for its culinary scene, great nightlife, and good shopping. The city’s renowned as the “Paris of South America” due to its historic buildings and art nouveau architecture. Buenos Aires also has a large concentration of theaters, concert halls, and art galleries.
There are many fun activities you can do in Buenos Aires. You can go to an art gallery in the Recoleta district or visit La Boca for some tango lessons before heading to Palermo for dinner at one of their trendy restaurants.
24. Chile, Santiago
The Chilean capital is often overlooked or given only one day to explore as a stopover city. There are so many things to see in Chile that it’s not hard to understand why you’re skipping Santiago. If you have the time, it’s the perfect place to experience the atmosphere of South America before stepping into the more adventurous parts of the continent.
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25. Voyage to Antarctica
A special finale concludes the list of places to visit in South America. If you feel very adventurous or want to check out the last continent on your travel list, a cruise through the Antarctic is one of the most popular bucket list experiences in the world.