South America is a vast continent spanning 17,840,000 square kilometres and is home to more than 372 million people. Although you could spend a lifetime exploring all of the destinations and sites, we’ve put together a list of the top ten you should definitely see and visit one soon!
Machu Picchu – Peru
Machu Picchu was built as an Incan fortress in the 15th century. It is located high up in the Andes Mountains in Peru and overlooks the Urubamba valley. Machu Picchu has become an iconic destination to visit in South America due to its astronomic alignments, breath-taking views and historical significance to the ancient cultures of the area.
Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Rio de Janeiro has to be one of the most popular destinations on the continent, and why not? It has exquisite beaches, typical Brazilian flare, breath-taking mountains, and people who love to have a great time. Besides a visit to a samba bar and sipping cocktails on the beach, when you visit Rio you should definitely pay a visit to Sugarloaf Mountain, take a trip to the Christ the Redeemer statue and if you are lucky enough, attend the annual Carnival, which is one of the biggest in the world.
Angel Falls – Venezuela
If you’ve ever wondered about the world’s highest waterfall, you can find it in Venezuela. Angel Falls or Kerepakupai Meru is approximately 900m high and flows over the Auyantepui Mountain in the Canaima National Park. It can be a little tricky to reach the falls, as they are situated in the heart of a dense jungle, but once you are there you will be glad you made the effort.
Las Lajas Sanctuary – Colombia
The Las Lajas Sanctuary is a basilica church and a magnificent structure with a massive stone bridge crossing a ravine, and leading to the church itself on the side of a steep hill. The structure was built in Gothic style between 1916 and 1949 as an extension of an existing shrine and pilgrimage site in honour of Our Lady of Las Lajas Ipiales.
Mount Fitzroy – Argentina
Mount Fitzroy in Patagonia on the borders of Argentina and Chile was first climbed in 1952. Since then it has become renowned as one of the most technically challenging mountains to climb in the world. You’ll be humbled by its majestic beauty, and will stand in awe at its sheer size and distinguished shape.
Galapagos Islands – Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are the birth place of the theory of evolution. When Charles Darwin visited this volcanic archipelago in the early 1800’s, he was astounded by the variety of wildlife, flora and fauna, and this encouraged him to devise his theory of evolution. Many of these species are not found anywhere else on the planet and the islands natural beauty will truly astound any visitor. Although situated 1000km off the coast of Ecuador, a journey to this natural haven is well worth the effort.
The Amazon rainforest is the largest in the world and covers much of Brazil, Colombia, Peru and other South American nations. Arguably one of the best ways to experience the vastness and biodiversity of the Amazon is by taking a stroll along one of the world’s longest canopy walk ways which can be found in Iquitos, Peru.
Buenos Aires – Argentina
Buenos Aires is a melting pot of cultures, many of which have embraced an Argentinian way of life. In Buenos Aires there is an unmistakeable European influence in the architecture society, however this is combined beautifully with a sense of South American revelry and vibrance. You’ll love the 16th century Plaza de Mayo in the centre of the city as well as the side-walk cafés, Florida Street and the Plaza San Martin.
Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia – Chile
With its ginormous jagged glaciers, majestic mountain tops, and unique wildlife, the Torres del Paine National Park at the southern tip of the Andes is a destination you will never forget. Its forests are ancient, its Fjords are incredible and its rivers and lakes are breath-taking. The park is so uniquely wild and scenic and is the location of many of the world’s best trekking opportunities.
Lake Titicaca – Peru
One of the highlights of visiting Lake Titicaca is Islas Uros, a community of floating villages which have been constructed largely with totora reeds. The Andeans believe that Titicaca was the birthplace of the sun and adding to its attraction is the fact that this is the largest lake in the southern hemisphere. The area is home to many cultures that still live in the ancient ways of the Andean people, making it not only a scenic place to visit, but a fascinating cultural experience as well.
The cultures are diverse, the landscape is fascinating and varies from place to place, bringing with it incredible natural, cultural and historical attractions that make this part of the world so unique. South America is a vast landscape with so much to experience and explore, so let your adventurous spirit loose and embark on a journey of a lifetime to this fascinating continent.
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