South America presents a beautiful world with a wide range of unique landscapes. Choosing a place to visit is quite difficult with highlights like Machu Picchu, the Perito Moreno Glacier, regions like Patagonia, Pantanal and Amazon and cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. This article is written to serve as an introduction to some of the best places to visit in South America and how to combine the best highlights in one trip.
Each of the thirteen South American countries has its own unique culture, people, and natural highlights. Argentina has Buenos Aires, with its vibrant nightlife, tango, tree-lined avenues, and outdoor cafes. It also features the stunning Iguazu Falls, one of the most dramatic series of waterfalls in the world, and the rugged terrain of Patagonia. Brazil is also a popular destination, especially Rio de Janeiro, which is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Nestled between mountains and on the coast, Rio boasts one of the most lively beach cultures around, some of which have made the city famous. The gateway to the lost cities of the Incas can be found in Peru, in the heart of the Andes Mountains. Situated on the Pacific coast and on the edge of the Andean Mountains, Chile’s natural landscape is equally breathtaking. View snow-capped peaks from the pristine lakes of the Puerto Montt Lake District, and the stunning Torres del Paine mountain range in southern Patagonia. And last but certainly not least, is Ecuador, the smallest country in South America, but with an incredibly diverse landscape, including volcanic snow-capped peaks of the Andes, beautiful, palm-fringed beaches on the Pacific, and the subtropical rainforests of the Amazon Basin.
The rest of South America is less visited by tourists, but still offers amazing natural beauty and untouched terrain. Go off the beaten path in Venezuela and see Angel Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the world. You’ll also find long stretches of pristine coastline, the rainforests of the Amazon, and the majestic Andean peaks. Uruguay is also worth visiting, with its tranquil Atlantic coastline, quaint seaside villages, and the capital Montevideo. For even more remoteness, Paraguay is also interesting. Here you’ll find a large agricultural region of rolling hills, grasslands, and subtropical rainforests. Bolivia also offers a memorable experience for adventure-seekers. From glacial peaks to the high-altitude deserts of the Andes, to the steamy subtropical rainforests of the Amazon, this largely undiscovered country is also home to a large population of indigenous people. Although it is known more for its violence and drug trade, Colombia has no shortage of stunning landscapes either, with its untouched Caribbean and Pacific coastline and the Andes Mountains in the west. Ecotourism is also becoming increasingly popular in the Guianas, which offer visitors excellent wildlife spotting, trekking, and rustic camping near large areas of virgin rainforests.
The best way to combine a trip to Brazil and Argentina is via Igauzu Falls, since it borders both countries. The Falls provide a great base to cross over into Brazil or Argentina while giving you the chance to explore this natural wonder, a wonder considered one of the most breath-taking spots in the world. There are many daily flights from Buenos Aires to Iguazu that are quite easy to arrange. A good itinerary for this trip is to begin in Buenos Aires and after spending a few days getting acquainted with this lively city, taking a short flight to Iguazu Falls. After exploring both sides of the falls, travel to Rio de Janeiro and see the most beautiful city in Brazil.
It is also quite easy to combine a trip to Bolivia and Peru, the lands of the Incas, for an amazing tour of the ancient cities and cultures. Bolivia’s unofficial capital, La Paz, is a great starting point for a trip to see the ancient civilizations. From this interesting capital you can reach the Titicaca Region and the Isla del Sol, the beautiful Andean paradise and the birthplace of the Inca Empire. In close proximity is Cusco, Peru, with the nearby Inca Trail as well as the mysterious and majestic Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.
Combining a trip to Argentina and Chile is also very easy to arrange, since there are many ways to cross over between the two countries. A popular itinerary for nature lovers is to travel from Buenos Aires to southern Argentina’s El Calafate, the glacier capital of the country. Often called the White Patagonia, the nearby Los Glacier National Park features 47 majestic glaciers. Also close by is the Chilean border where you can cross over to explore the Torres del Paine National Park. Here you will be immersed in the typical Patagonia landscape of glaciers, alpine forests, and magnificent mountaintops.
With its wide variety of dramatic landscapes, untouched terrain, and ancient ruins, South America is an excellent vacation spot for all types of travelers. A combination of vibrant cities and natural wonders will make for a memorable, once in a lifetime vacation, and will keep you coming back to discover more for years to come.
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