South America has its own charms with its colonial attachment, old ruins, and an exotic nightlife associated with the snowy beaches. We are sure that you will love traveling the place. Especially, if you are from North America, you will surely enjoy different countries of the continent.
Here are the top places to go and see in South America.
Cartagena is a colonial city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. It is famous for its castles, culture, history and colorful buildings. Cartagena is a pretty beautiful and amazing place. In terms of “must visit cities”, I would say that Bogota and Cartagena should be at the top of your list. The Caribbean coast is generally a bit more expensive than the interior.
Known as the Land of Volcanoes, El Salvador has frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. It is the only country in Central America that does not have a coastline on the Caribbean Sea. With a population of almost 7 million people, El Salvador is the most densely populated country in the Americas.
• Los Glaciares National Park
The Los Glaciares National Park is an area of exceptional natural beauty, with rugged, towering mountains and numerous glacial lakes, including Lake Argentino, which is 160 km long. At its farthest end, three glaciers meet to dump their effluvia into the milky grey glacial water, launching massive igloo icebergs into the lake with thunderous splashes.
Pantanal is the largest tropical wetland and one of the most pristine in the world. The Pantanal is a tropical wet and dry region with an average annual temperate of 21.5 °C and rainfall at 1,320 mm a year. Floating aquatic plants, such as the water hyacinth and the water lettuce – besides fixed plants with submerges leaves, such as the dwarf sagitaria and submerged plants like fanworts and bladdenworts – can always be found on the wetlands. In the Pantanal, there is a type of forest called “paratudal”.
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world and the gateway to Tierra del Fuego National Park and Antarctica. If you want to see penguins in their natural habitat, then you’ll have to head to this island for one of the must-do activities in Ushuaia. The southernmost train in the world, it was originally built to transport timber to the prison in Ushuaia, but now tourists can ride the rails.
• Tayrona National Park
Tayrona National Park resembles a miniature Jurassic Park: visitors hike through a verdant jungle teeming with monkeys, birds, and insects, past giant round boulders – which look a bit like dino eggs – before arriving at the white-sand beaches and azure waters of the Caribbean. It’s an amazing contrast and truly unique experience.
Quito is the highest situated capital in the world. The city lies in the die Ecuadorian Andes Mountains at 2850 meters above sea level. As Quito is pretty close to the equator the climate in the city is a constant spring throughout the year, there are just some months with less and some months with more rain. And it can happen that the sun is shining at one end of the city while it’s raining and storming at the other end.
• Colca Canyon
The Colca offers a unique ecosystem. Its valley is home to many species of Andean animals such as llamas, alpacas, guanacos, vicuñas, pumas. The most magnificent bird to fly over the canyon is the Condor, which has become an endangered species, the Colca is one of its last refuges.
• San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama is a popular tourist destination. There are various activities for adventurers in the San Pedro de Atacama area: trekking, climbing, archaeological sightings, amateur astronomy, exploration tours in natural landscapes and even sandboarding in the desert.
• Angel Falls
Angel Falls is located in Venezuela and is famous for being one of the four most beautiful waterfalls in the world, and as the highest uninterrupted waterfalls in the world. The fauna of the region includes an incredible variety of mammals, such as the giant anteater, jaguar, Brazilian tapir, giant armadillo, pale-throated three-toed sloth, and capybara.
The former capital city of the Incas, Cusco is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas. Travelers flock to Cusco because it’s the jumping-off place to explore Machu Picchu, one of the world’s archeological wonders. There is also the chance to look up at the heavens through powerful telescopes on a visit to this great attraction in Cusco. Advance reservations are required.
• Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni is the biggest salt flat in the world. One of the most popular attractions in Salar de Uyuni is a cemetery for trains! Historically salt was mined from there and used for food. Natives and early settlers would have used the salt for food preservation. These days most of the salt mined on the Flats is mined for Magnesium, the salt by-product is used as road salt for winter driving.
• Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest lake navigable to large vessels, lying at 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) above sea level in the Andes Mountains of South America, astride the border between Peru to the west and Bolivia to the east.
• Easter Island
Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park. It is most famous for its nearly 1,000 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. About 5,000 people live on Easter Island today, and thousands of tourists come to see the anthropomorphic “moai” statues each year.
• Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon rainforest is a moist, broadleaf forest. Brazil has 60%, Peru has 13%, and Colombia has 10% while other countries have very small parts of the rainforest within their borders. Altogether there are nine nations that enjoy all that the Amazon rainforest has to offer. There are approximately 3000 fruits that grow in the rainforest that are edible. It’s home to about 390 billion trees and more than 16,000 plant species and millions of animal species.
• Torres del Paine National Park
The park is a photographer’s dream, you will have the opportunity to take photos of the naturally wondrous landscape, such as breathtaking sunsets, snow-covered mountains, and crystal blue icebergs. Visit the park between October and April and you will get to enjoy spring or summertime in the southern hemisphere
• Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires has long been famous for the quality of the steaks at its traditional “parrillas” (barbecue grill restaurants), but there are plenty of other dishes to catch a gourmand’s eye, from the tasty empanadas that are available on almost every street corner to the delicious ice cream that rivals Italian gelato, and the city’s amazing medialuna croissants, which are smaller and sweeter than the French classics. Buenos Aires is home to one of the world’s most hotly-contested football derbies
• Galapagos Island
The Galapagos Islands are the home of modern ecology, where noted ecologist Charles Darwin developed his theories on evolution and adaptation. Another major factor that makes the Galapagos Islands so unique is the area’s unusual climate. The islands straddle the equator, making the climate temperate.
• Rio de Janeiro
Rio is important for its art and culture scene. It is also important as a transport hub, with its international airport and docks which enable trade. At the national level Rio is important because many of Brazil’s largest companies have their headquarters located there.
• Machu Picchu
Nestled high in the slopes of the Andes, the ruins of Machu Picchu continues to reveal the mysteries of the Inca Empire. While the archaeological site draws scores of visitors to Peru annually, here are 10 lesser-known secrets hidden beneath its layers of history.
Before you travel to South America you must have an idea about the places you are about to go and see. Almost all of the places mentioned above will be new to you. Also, it is a huge continent and you should always keep that in mind.
Another important thing is your budget. Traveling here can be very cheap and can also be very costly. This mostly depends on where you are going and what sort of treatment are you looking forward to. Well, this can be easily said that 1000$ per month is enough if you are planning for a long term trip, and for your daily backpacking budget, you can finish the entire trip with a budget of 35-50 $ per day. So, this continent is relatively cheaper than most other ones.
Papers are also very important. You have to have the proper documents and permissions with you. Just remember that your passport is not only enough to get you through your destination. While you are in South America, you mostly need regular papers. Also, we would recommend you have travel insurance while you are here.
How much time you are going to spend during your stay here entirely depends on you. There are a lot of places to go and see. So, we leave this section up to you.
Transportation is a key factor while traveling. Bus traveling is most common here for traveling long distances. You can also catch flights if you want in between big cities. You can also utilize rental cars if you want more flexible freedom in your travel. If you can drive then you must get an international driving license.
The places you will be crashing in nights throughout your travel is not negligible. It will always be a tug of war between cost and comfort. Just like Asia, hotel rooms in South America come in a wide range and variety of price tags that range from 15$ – 1000$. So, this section is up to you as well. However, a 50$ room should be enough if you want to spend the night at peace.
One thing that we won’t be able to imagine our life without is food. There are just so many mouthwatering foods to try on different countries of this continent. We are not going to elaborately discuss them here in this article as the entire South American food culture.
While you are here you should be pretty comfortable with your own mobile network’s roaming facility. We know you are traveling so that you can get lost in our own minds. However, do not forget that ‘communication’ is as important as enjoyment.
Language is the medium through which we convey our messages to others. Most people here speak in Spanish. Learning some bits of Spanish can also help you a lot.
Shopping! We all love to shop. At least, we all have to buy things. For shopping, Sao Paolo in Brazil, Quito in Ecuador, Buenos Aires in Argentina, Iquique in Chile, and Santa Cruz in Bolivia are the most famous destinations in South America.
Most importantly, the last question that you should ask yourself is, “Why do you love to travel?” Be respectful to the laws, customs, and cultures of the place that you in.