The New World welcomes you to explore the 12 magnificent and two dependent countries in all their truest diversity. If you plan to visit the world’s fourth largest continent for the first time, then you cannot miss these mesmerizing and rarest sites to bless your soul. With multiple options to explore, curated here is a list of the best places to surely visit in South America. Worry not, as this inventory will guarantee you a memorable trip. The scintillating location offers well-conserved parks, lost cities of ancient civilizations, and tantalizing cuisine to treat your taste buds.
The Land of Andes Mountain: Venezuela
On the northern end, Venezuela offers endless attractions for the go-getters. It exhibits the stunning backdrop of 16,000 feet tall Andes and the fertile Orinoco Delta flaunting its wildlife.
While you witness these, Venezuela is surrounded by 2 more iconic things:
1. Angel Falls: Witness the Splendid Beauty
Famously known as the Salto Angel Falls and situated at the heart of Venezuela are these 3212 feet high falls, making them the highest waterfall in the world. It is accessible by flight or boat trip and this site will take your breath away.
For those who love to hike, this could be a fun way of beating the heat of this continent and enjoying the Canaima National Park to the base of the falls. This makes it the best place in South America to visit in September month, during the monsoon.
Tip: Check with your tour guide in advance to see if there is enough water in the falls in September to make your hike worthwhile.
2. National Parks, Deltas, Beaches, and Table Top Mountains, All in One Place
Los Roques National park is best for seaside fishing, coral reefs, and sun-drenched beaches. Isla de Margarita is identified for its soft sand. Speaking of Parque Nacional Morrocoy National Park, it is great to spend a day with parrots, scarlet ribs, and flamingos in white sand.
With all of the above, Venezuela will sweep you off your feet. Not just that, the Canaima National Park, renowned as the UNESCO world heritage location encompasses the La Gran Sabana, i.e., 100 tabletop mountains for a refreshing escape from the sun.
When night safari is your jam and staying close to the wildlife for a wild experience gets you going, you cannot miss out on Orinoco Delta. It offers not just scenic beauty but also an experience of a lifetime with your loved ones.
You can closely observe the piranhas, howler and spider monkeys, turtles, and even alligators with your kids in a safe environment. This makes Orinoco Delta the best place to visit in South America with your family.
The Caribbean Charmer: Colombia
Reputed to be one of the most hospitable countries in South America, Colombia will undoubtedly win your heart. Be it for the spectacular architecture, colonial villages, or buzz-filled cities, it has got it all.
3. Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena
The beating heart of Colombia, Bogota, will leave you in awe of its unique colonial charm and modern architecture. Also, the Museum of Gold, one of its kind, will make you appreciate man-made creations.
On the contrary, the smaller city of Medellin, its lush eco-parks, libraries running back centuries old, and boast-worthy cable cars amidst the humble setting will leave you in awe.
The crown jewel of Southern America, Cartagena, will feel like a walk down memory lane to a different era altogether. Indeed, one of the best places in South America to explore if architecture is the language that you speak.
4. Eje Cafetero: Best for Coffee
Known as the coffee axis or the Eje Cafetero, this is the region for a unique yet enticing holiday. After a tiring day at the Tayrona National park on the Caribbean coast, a cup of piquant organic coffee, growing in the third largest coffee beans producer’s plantations, would be the taste and treat for your tongue.
Post the coffee expedition, use your energy for the trek to The Lost City (Ciudad Perdida). It will be worth it.
Tip: Get yourself a tour operator for meals and guidance since independent treks are not allowed in The Lost City.
The Land of The Galapagos Islands: Ecuador
One should not underestimate Ecuador solely on its small size because it has an endless array of opportunities and adventures. Not just that, due to the lavish architecture of the colonial time, much of Quito, which is the capital city, is well renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Galapagos Islands and National Park
Every child is well aware of the intriguing island of the Galapagos. Why should they not be when, thanks to Darwin, so much has unfolded? With the best site to do snorkeling and bask in the glory of the underwater world, it offers exceptional ecosystem viewing opportunities.
Thus, making it the best place to visit in South America, especially in December. These islands are the site of one of the most active volcanoes, Galapagos penguins, giant tortoise, waved albatross, and the flightless cormorant. It is also the home to Charles Darwin Research Station.
Do not forget to pay a visit when the weather remains pleasant this month.
6. Cotopaxi and Cajas National Park to Engage in Nature
The national parks of Ecuador are sites to behold. The volcanoes of these regions not just dominate Cotopaxi with their massive beauty but also offer an educational insight into the trip.
For those planning a delightful day at water sports, such as kayaking and canoeing, the glacier-fed lakes and lagoons at Cajas would quench their thirst. The budding botanists can also visit the Podocarpus National Park, i.e., the Botanical Garden of America to learn about the myriad fauna and flora.
7. Quito, the Highest Capital in the World
Being the best-preserved capital of America, Quito offers the most favorable environment to appreciate the colorful culture of Southern America. Additionally, it is the only capital city in the world that has been under threat by active volcanoes.
Home to Iconic Ruins of Inca Citadel: Peru
Laying amidst the Andes mountain, the land of the Incan empire, Peru is famously known for its archeological ruins. They can be observed in places such as the Inca complex, Sacsayhuaman, Cusco, and Coricancha. Keep your cameras handy for some colonial charisma.
8. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
The ideal weather and fewer clouds make Machu Picchu the best place in South America to visit in June, July, and August.
Not only this but being the home of the spectacular remains of the Inca citadel, Machu Picchu is the best location for a hike as well as to amaze yourself in the lush and cloud-shrouded Andes. Established in the 15th century, these abandoned remains overlook the valley of the Urubamba river at the height of 300 meters.
9. The Largest South American Lake, Titicaca
With small traditional villages and rolling hills on the periphery, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the entire world. The balanced mix of culture and sparking blue water set it higher than the other lakes of its kind.
The fountain of youth at Titicaca awaits your arrival. The Uros Floating Islands, constructed of reeds, are reachable by a boat trip. They flaunt the rich traditional way of the Uros Indians of the region.
Land of Terrains and Salar De Uyuni: Bolivia
Situated in a breathtaking location, enveloped by the Andes, the Atacama Desert, and the green Amazon, Bolivia is a country of magnificence. It is well established as the land of Salar De Uyuni because of the largest and highest salt flats. Get ready for an authentic and eye-opening Bolivian experience at these sites.
10. Witness a Unique Phenomenon at Salar De Uyuni
Offering one of the most surreal experiences in Southern America, this is among the finest locations to see the famous mirror phenomenon where heaven meets the earth.
This phenomenon is well observed during the rainy season when a thin layer of water floats above the salt flats. These water salts exhibit continuous spasms of whites left behind due to the disappearance of the inland ocean. These envelop the hot springs, colorful lakes, and geysers, thus, becoming a sight for the eye.
11. La Paz – The Valley of the Moon
The city of La Paz needs no introduction as it speaks for itself. Famously known for the valley of the moon, it is a geological formation about 10 km away from urban La Paz. It is renowned for the mismatched and haphazardly arranged rocks offering an exotic experience of the moon on earth.
Far away from the commotion of the city, it is indeed the best place in South America to visit for contemplation. La Paz would suffice for people who wish to get some time for reflection.
The Water Reserve Station of South America: Paraguay
The land of bilinguals and the largest water reserve in Southern America, Paraguay, give tough competition to the neighboring countries.
12. The Capital City of Asuncion and Cathedral
The capital of the Republic of Paraguay offers a mix of culture and heritage infused with the modern hustle and bustle of life at every turn/intersection. Paraguay stands out because of the rich and diverse colonial mansions as well as gardens on every avenue.
It also has one of the oldest buildings in South America, Asuncion Cathedral, which displays both style and a picturesque aura.
13. Gateway to Iguazu Falls: Ciudad del Este
Interestingly, the Monday Falls(Saltos del Monday) in the Ciudad del Este are heavenly. They double up as a tourist attraction in Paraguay. In their true enormity, these are 130 feet tall and spectacular to see.
Additionally, being the largest free-trade zone in the world, you can find food, electronics, cosmetics, souvenirs, and everything in between, all in one place.
The Atacama Desert and Eastern Island Supremacy – Chile
Over time, Chile has observed an enormous influx of tourists and environment enthusiasts. This is because of the varying terrain it has to offer. With the lush greens, high volcanoes, the driest desert, and fascinating islands, it has everything to grasp your attention.
14. Rapa Nui National Park and the Eastern Island
The eerie-looking yet fascinating statues, called Moai, which have been our desktop pictures for eternity are none other than that of the Eastern Island. It protects the Rapa Nui National Park.
Significantly, this park ranks as one of the best places to visit in South America with your family. This uninhabited island, 3500 km away from mainland Chile, has left a remarkable impression on the mind of everyone due to its uniqueness and UNESCO tag. With your kin, miss no chance to come here once.
15. An Enticing Experience at Cultural Capital Santiago
Being the financial, business, entertainment, and cultural capital of Chile gives Santiago the boost it did not ask for but always deserved. Santiago offers the best and most wholesome rejuvenating experiences due to the excellent one-of-a-kind museums, galleries, as well as cultural centers.
When you are looking for a fun-filled trip with lots of shopping, good delectable food, and the finest hotels, Chilean traveling should be a must on your list. The green urban space, gardens, Zoos, and funicular railway are just the cherry on the top in South America.
The Tango Tale – Argentina
Amidst the hustle and bustle, the color and energy, Argentina is a feast for the heart. The streets are paved with European-style designs. Its cafes ooze with creativity. The delightful diversity of Argentinian land makes it a must-travel destination when in South America.
16. Iguazu Falls and Splendid Beauty
You should know that the easy and quick accessibility makes Iguazu Falls one of the best places to go in South America. Due to this, the spectacular beauty is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It lies along the border of Argentina and Brazil.
This magnanimous fall changes in nature and height depending on the season, from 60-82 meters. It is a cluster of 300 individual falls, with some at the bottom region of the Devil’s Throat.
17. The Tango Capital, Buenos Aires: For Colorful Surprises
The vibrance of Buenos Aires will give you a feeling of being on cloud nine. The tango dancers with the fun beats, the sculptures on the walls, the aesthetic cafes, and colorfully painted houses in La Boca will make your trip as bright as a rainbow.
Plaza de Mayo, Recoleta, Palermo, and Belgrano are a few other must-visit places in Aires for some unexplored surprises.
18. Ushuaia, the World’s Southernmost City
On the edge of the Tierra del Fuego National Park and a jumping-off point for trips to Antarctica, Ushuaia is a town on Beagle Channel. The train to the end of the world ends here. It is the place to observe penguins, seals, and orca whales while enjoying the pleasant weather of South America.
The Maritime Museum of Ushuaia is the best go-to destination for some notorious maritime artifacts and Darwin’s Beagle.
19. A Refreshing Experience at Los Glaciares National Park
This UNESCO World Heritage site offers the most refreshing yet solace-filled lifetime experience. The notably remarkable Perito Moreno Glacier, a 30-km long ice structure will be a beauty to capture on your devices. For those who want to live extra, an ice trekking tour is a must in Los Glaciares.
The Haven – Uruguay
You cannot forget to keep your sunny side up in Uruguay. Renowned as the best and safest place to visit in South America, Uruguay offers a mix of sophistication, as well as culture, to the plate. You will be yearning to return as soon as you have left this laidback country.
20. Terms and Cultural Integration
In case you want to witness something unique while exploring South America, then the Termas or the hot springs of Arapey and Dayman will offer a therapeutic experience to refresh you. You can locate these natural hot springs with temperatures ranging from 39-46 degree Celsius next to river Dayman.
Additionally, the carnival season of Uruguay is the ideal family holiday you can plan. This South American country will offer drums, dancers, colors, and costumes infused with rich Gaucho culture to sway you off your feet.
Exotic Rainforest Home: Brazil
With golden-sand beaches and strong culture, Brazil is the largest South American country and a tropical paradise. The musical beats of the Rio carnival and the exotic delicacies are enough to give a justifiable ending to your American holidays.
21. Witnessing Rio de Janeiro, Cristo Redentor
The statue of Christ the Redeemer welcomes you to the land of Rio with open arms. It appears to encompass all of humanity. Standing enormously in the Tijuca National Park, the base of this 709-meter-tall statue is the ideal location for a destination wedding.
With these, here comes the end of exploring one of the most diverse, magnificent, and mind-boggling journeys one can have. The above-mentioned were the best places to visit in South America to gather knowledge, learn about new cultures, and have the best time in life. From trekking, snorkeling, and sunbathing to dancing to the beats of Tango, South America is yours to explore.