South America holds some of the world’s greatest treasures: tropical rainforests, pre- Colombian sites, Andean peaks and thick glaciers. From Chile to Colombia, South America offers amazing adventures that you need to experience for yourself.
Here is the top ten list of most popular destinations that are worth checking out:
1) Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru
Machu Picchu is a fascinating destination and by far one of the most popular not only in South America but also worldwide. Its positioned high up in the Andes Mountains in Peru above the Sacred Valley. This 15th century Incan site was built during the height of the empire as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been deemed one of the most important archaeological sites in South America. Machu Picchu is first on my list when I visit South America!
2) Iguazu Falls bordering Argentina and Brazil
Iguazu Falls, composed of 275 individual drops, stands at the height of 80m high and 2700m in diameter based on the border between Brazil and Argentina. Iguazu is known as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world as it is surrounded by lush subtropical rainforests home to thousands of species. The two national parks in both countries surrounding the falls have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites for providing a pristine environment to “future generations.”
3) Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and the most visited tourist attraction in Brazil, Christ the Redeemer is definitely at the top of the list when visiting South America. The world famous statue depicting Jesus Christ is located at the peak of a mountain overlooking a panorama of Guanabara Bay. It is seen as a symbol of the city and the hospitality of the Brazilian people, who welcome visitors with open arms.
4) Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, was formed as a result of transformations between surrounding prehistoric lakes. This must-see in Bolivia is breathtaking, unlike any other place in the world. The landscape is completely flat as it glistens white salt for 2086 sq miles. If you’re lucky enough to travel in March or April the landscape becomes a reflective surface- one of the coolest things I’ve seen.
5) Patagonia shared by Argentina and Chile
These famous mountains, ancient forests, and daring glaciers border Argentina and Chile, in a region named Patagonia. Visit Torres del Paine National Park where you can hike the trails, kayak around the icebergs or watch a sunset. There’s plenty of adventurous things to do and see around this area that is worth checking out.
6) Angel Falls, Venezuela
Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall stands at an impressive 979 metres. Named after Jimmie Angel, a US aviator, who was the first person to fly over the falls. Located in Canaima National Park, the falls became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. This spectacle is not one to miss. For a bucket list item fly over Angel Falls!
7) Death Road, Bolivia
Yungas Road is considered the “world’s most dangerous road” and its not hard to see why. It’s the perfect spot for extreme adventure- mountain bike enthusiasts and cyclists flock here due to the 64-kilometre stretch of downhill riding. Death Road is a little too daunting for me but I’d love to check it out and enjoy the mountain scenery.
8) Easter Island (Rapi Nui), Chile
Easter Island is famous for its 887 monumental “head” statues which were created by the Rapa Nui inhabitants for reasons unknown. They are known as Moai statues believed to be built approximately 1400-1650 A.D. Easter Island radiates an enchanting but mysterious vibe that it truly unique to the island. There are tons of interesting things to do and see on this island such as diving, snorkelling, horseback riding, biking, and surfing. Easter Island is on the rise in the travel world as it is developing an economy largely based on tourism.
9) Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
This archipelago of volcanic islands is famous for their vast number of endemic species that were studied by the naturalist, Charles Darwin. These isolated islands are home to creatures found nowhere else in the world- attracting thousands of visitors each year. Unlike other islands they aren’t full of typical sandy beaches but instead are devoid of vegetation and very rocky. Nonetheless, this is a must- see destination in South America.
10) Amazon, Brazil
Almost every traveler has imagined visiting the Amazon to explore the tropical rainforests, sail down the river or maybe even spot a few crocodiles. The Amazon is popular due to its incredible beauty and vast size. The Amazon will not fail to impress because no matter what you will encounter it will be amazing. The jungle covers 1.7 billion acres providing us with 20 percent of the world’s oxygen. These reasons alone are enough to make me want to visit!