It may come as a delightful surprise to many avid readers and travel enthusiasts that one of the most sought-after and highly regarded blog posts on the renowned platform, Luxury Destination, happens to be a meticulously curated and thoughtfully compiled list of the absolute crème de la crème of destinations awaiting exploration in the captivating continent of South America.
Most visited country in South America
Argentina, the enchanting land of tango and passion, reigns supreme as the most sought-after destination in all of South America. Its magnetic allure drew a staggering 7 million globetrotters in 2021, an impressive feat that highlights its irresistible charm. Surpassing its neighbor Brazil in popularity is no small feat, but Argentina effortlessly captivates the hearts of travelers from around the world.
Embark on an unforgettable journey by starting your escapade in the dazzling city of Buenos Aires, the beating heart and soul of Argentina. Immerse yourself in its vibrant streets, where the echoes of tango music intertwine with the tantalizing aromas wafting from its countless cafes and restaurants. A few nights spent in this cosmopolitan haven will grant you an intimate glimpse into the multifaceted character of the city, an experience unlike any other.
But Argentina’s allure extends far beyond its bustling capital. Nature lovers and adventure seekers are spoilt for choice as they traverse the country’s awe-inspiring landscapes. Prepare to be awestruck by the mighty Iguazu Falls, a mesmerizing spectacle that effortlessly commands attention with its thunderous roar and misty aura. As you stand before this natural wonder, you’ll witness nature’s raw power and beauty in all its glory.
And let us not forget about Patagonia, a region that beckons explorers with its untamed wilderness and breathtaking vistas. Brace yourself for a journey into a land where jagged peaks pierce the sky, vast glaciers glisten under the sun’s gentle caress, and pristine lakes mirror the surrounding mountain ranges. Here, amidst this sublime backdrop, adventurers can indulge in hiking, mountaineering, and even marvel at the magnificent whale watching opportunities along the coastline.
Argentina, with its rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural wonders, stands as a testament to the country’s ability to enthral every traveler who sets foot on its soil. From Buenos Aires’ pulsating streets to the raw magnificence of Iguazu Falls and Patagonia’s untamed splendor, Argentina embraces visitors with open arms, promising an unforgettable adventure that will leave an indelible mark on their hearts.
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!).
All of these South American countries are really beautiful and if you liked them, we think you might want to check the Top 25 destinations to visit in South America.