When thinking of traveling in South America, many people immediately consider the usual tourist destinations such as Machu Picchu, Cristo Redentor, and others. With 14 countries, South America is home to all different types of climates, landscapes, and history. While the typical destinations offer incredible experiences, we recommend that you check out all that the continent has to offer. Here are 10 sights and experiences that will definitely not disappoint.
Salt Flats in Bolivia (Salar de Uyuni)
Many people overlook Bolivia as a vacation destination, but it has so much to offer to any type of traveler. One must-see destination in Bolivia is the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. The salt flat is a photographer’s dream come true. With miles of reflective grounds, the marvelous landscape is sure to take your breath away. Salt flats form from the transformation of prehistoric lakes that throughout time have dried up to create a flat, salt-covered surface.
Most Dangerous Road in La Paz, Bolivia
Another must-do destination while in Bolivia is the North Yungas Road, also known as Camino de la Muerte or the most dangerous road in La Paz. Any adrenaline seeker will love the unique experience that this road offers. Running 40 miles at 15,400 feet with incredible views of the Amazon rainforest, this winding road provides an experience full of beauty and thrill.
The Iguazu Falls are located at the vertex of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. These falls are comprised of more than 200 individual falls, which are separated into the upper and lower regions. Former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed “Poor Niagara” upon seeing Iguazu Falls, since Niagara Falls are one-third shorter than Iguazu. There are excursions available that bring tourists on rafts and safari jeeps to see every part of the waterfalls. There also are walking trails that allow visitors to access both the upper and lower regions, as well as the famous “Devil’s throat,” or the top of the falls.
Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake the world. Sitting at 15,000 feet, this lake offers an environment unlike any other. In the middle of the lake is a small island, Isla del Sol or “Island of the Sun.” The name stems from the ancient Incan belief that the sun god was born on the island. It is home to more than 80 different Incan ruins, as well as small towns. The island offers views of the stars and water that will take your breath away. Make sure to head to the highest point for the best view of the Bolivian side of the lake.
A beautiful desert oasis in Peru, Huacachina is a little known destination for many South American travelers. The village itself, which is home to a lagoon, is completely surrounded by sand dunes. Many tourists travel to the oasis to sandboard around the town and drive dune buggies along the sand dunes. The town is home to about 100 residents, and there are hotels and shops for any visitors to enjoy.
Glacier Perito Moreno
In the heart of Patagonia rests a beautiful glacier that is available to hike and explore. Tour companies offer visits that bring travelers through a walking circuit on and around the glacier. They provide spiked trekking shoes so that visitors may easily walk along the ice. You will never forget this incredibly unique experience.
Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park is a park in Chilean Patagonia that is comprised of mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers. The park’s mountain range is its focal point, and it is infamous among hikers and adventurers worldwide. The views of this spectacular Patagonian destination make it a must-do for anyone traveling in South America.
While traveling in Argentina, Mendoza is a necessary stop for any wine connoisseur. Home to the famous Argentinian Malbec wine, Mendoza also is known for incredible views of the Andes Mountains. Wineries are situated in all regions of the country and provide experiences for wine aficionados. Mendoza also is the perfect place for adventure-seeking travelers to whitewater raft, zip line, and hike.
Famous for its historic value, Galapagos National Park is also a great place to explore and sightsee. The wildlife on these islands is unlike any other in the world, and kids love hanging out with the tortoises and other marine life. There also are great spots to snorkel and scuba dive along the shores of the islands.
El Fin Del Mundo, Ushuaia
Located at the tip of Argentina, Ushuaia is the southernmost point in the world before Antarctica. Fin del mundo means “end of the world” in Spanish, which is how the city markets itself. It is a great destination for cold-loving travelers who want to experience snowy mountain tops and icy lakes. You also can travel by boat through Beagle Channel, where you can see penguins and seals.
Want to hear more about what South America has to offer? Listen in as our South America specialist Natalie interviews Ashley Vaughan with Trafalgar Tours.
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Tags: Antarctica, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, falls, Galapagos, Patagonia, peru, South America, waterfalls