From the breathtaking views of Rio to the unique nature of the Galapagos Islands the many contrasting elements of South America create a memorable and exhilarating vacation experience. See modern cities and ancient ruins; the majestic Andes and the plains of the Pampas; Amazon rainforests and Patagonia’s ice fields; all a part of South America’s amazing diversity.
So many unique places are found in South America, no wonder it’s a favourite with all types of travellers. Here you’ll find some of the most intriguing and amazing sights in the world. From Caracas to Cape Horn, imagine being at these remarkable places:
Angel Falls, in Canaima National Park, Venezuela – The world’s tallest uninterrupted water fall at 979m (3,230 ft), the view from the air is unforgettable.
Cartagena, Colombia – The colonial walled city and fortress are a UNESCO World Heritage site well worth wandering for the history and striking architecture.
The Amazon River – The longest river and largest river basin in the world, the Amazon runs 6,400 km (4,000 miles) through seven countries; Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. With a diverse eco system and many unique species, it is a major destination for adventure and eco-travellers.
Ecuador & the Galapagos Archipelago – The smallest country in the Andes has much to offer visitors. The colonial centre of Quito, Pacific beaches, volcanoes both active and extinct, white water rafting, mountain cabins and Amazonia jungle lodges. The Galapagos Archipelago with its unique habitat and marine reserve is a province of Ecuador situated 970 km (600 miles) west of the mainland.
Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, Peru – This area is the centre of Incan civilization where ruins are still being discovered and visitors marvel at stories of ancient life. Machu Picchu, the ruined city high in the mountains is nothing short of breathtaking and the most visited site in Peru. Museums in Cusco and Lima bring Incan history, art and culture to life. Active travellers will want to take the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, a four-day hike ranked one of the best in the world.
Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia – At 3,812m (12,500 ft) in the Andes, this is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. The vistas of coastline and mountains are beautiful and there are some unusual islands to explore- like the Uros floating reed islands, some of which welcome visitors.
Patagonia, Chile and Argentina – This expansive and remote region of ice fields, fjords, glaciers and mountains contains such romantic places as the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas, Cape Horn, the Beagle Channel, Torres del Paines National Park. Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia; the world’s southernmost city. Visit Magellanic Penguin colonies and enjoy the rugged outdoors in one of the most beautiful areas on the continent.
Buenos Aires, Argentina – The favourite city of many world travellers is known for its magnificent architecture (including the home of the President, the famous Pink Palace), wide avenues, street side cafes, manicured parks and colourful barrios or neighbourhoods. Seeing Tango dancers perform spontaneously in the street at historic La Boca gets you in the mood of this exciting city.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil – Spanning the border of Argentina and Brazil is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world and the top attraction in South America. Walkways allow for good viewing of the 275 falls which stretch along a 2.7 km (1.67-mile) stretch of the Iguazu River. Entry is through the Visitors Centre where you buy tickets to the Iguazu Falls National Park. Tour on your own or hire a bilingual guide. Nearly 2 million people visit the falls each year.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – With magnificent beaches and mountains right in town, this is one of the world’s most spectacular cities. Enjoy the long, sandy- and legendary- Ipanema, Copacabana and Leblon beaches while the famous statue of Christ watches over you from atop Corcovado Mountain. Take a cog railway ride to the top to see this amazing statue and panoramic views of the city and coastline. Rio’s annual Carnival is the most lavish in the world and the most colourful time to visit.