Places in South America: a list of impressive destinations you need to know

Every tourist, as soon as he starts dreaming about traveling around the planet, turns to the most distant places, from Europe to Asia. Little do they know that there are locations as good as the most distant ones on the continent itself. South America has everything from cold places to spots for solo travel, from cheap destinations to ruins and archaeological curiosities.

hippie destinations, trekking, deserts, cheap cities, luxury trains: Our newsroom has already explored all these subjects in other articles that are worth re-reading for anyone who wants more information about the resources available on the continent. Here we will explore a little of the origins of each of the 30 selected destinations and check what made these locations so interesting to the point of being considered one of the most exciting itineraries without having to face long transatlantic journeys.

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Set aside your travel notebook or transfer this article to your preferred device for future reference. After reading what these locations have and seeing how attractive they can be, we doubt that you will look at South America in the same way.

Places to visit in South America

El Chalten

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Small mountain village in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina. It is located on the bank of the Rio de las Vueltas, within the Los Glaciares National Park, near the base of the spiers of Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy, both popular for rock climbing. It is 220 km north of El Calafate and is a popular base for hiking on numerous trails, such as those to the base of surrounding peaks and glacial lakes such as Laguna Torre and Laguna de los Tres (near the base of Fitz Roy).

El Chaltén has been named the Trekking Capital of Argentina or National Trekking Capital. Today the only reason for its existence is tourism. In 1985, Argentina and Chile had a border dispute to win and claim rights to El Chalten. There was no war in the end and El Chalten was awarded to Argentina. Houses, government buildings and Argentine flags were raised to mark the city's settlement.

The city is located on the edge of the 12,363 km2 Southern Patagonian Ice Field and around 350 inhabitants live there during all seasons. Snow and ice mostly surround the town, and the houses are low-rise, with roads made mostly of stone and dirt. In October 2014, it was ranked second in the ranking of “Best Cities in the World to Visit” by the Lonely Planet travel guide, published in 2015.

The village provides national park information for visitors, as well as commercial camping and a limited number of beds, catering primarily to backpackers. It has some restaurants, bars, supermarkets and shops, with a wide variety of outdoor equipment for sale. On walks outside the village free campsites are available. The city is almost deserted during the off-season (winter in the southern hemisphere).

Ushuaia

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Capital of the Province of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida and Islas del Atlántico Sur, Ushuaia, in addition to being the southernmost city in the country. It also claims the title of southernmost city in the world. It is located in a wide bay on the south coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded to the north by the Martial mountain range and to the south by the Beagle Channel.

Tourist attractions include Tierra del Fuego National Park and Lapataia Bay. The park can be reached by road or by the End of the World Train (Tren del Fin del Mundo). The city has a Yámana, English and Argentinean settlement museum, including its years as a prison colony. Wildlife attractions include local birds, penguins, seals and orcas, many of these species colonizing islands in the Beagle Channel.

There are daily bus and boat trips to Harberton, the Bridges family complex, Harberton Resort. Tours also visit Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. Les Eclaireurs is sometimes confused with the “Lighthouse at the End of the World” (Faro del fin del mundo) made famous by Jules Verne in the novel of the same name; but the last one is about 320 km east of Ushuaia on the Isla de los Estados (Island of the States).

Torres del Paine

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Torres del Paine National Park is a national park that encompasses mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers in southern Chilean Patagonia. The Cordillera del Paine is the centerpiece of the park. It lies in a transitional area between the subpolar Magellanic forests and the Patagonian steppes. The park is located 112 km north of Puerto Natales and 312 km north of Punta Arenas. It borders the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park to the west and the Los Glaciares National Park to the north in Argentine territory.

The park is part of the National System of Protected Wild Areas of the State of Chile (National System of Protected Forest Areas of the country). In 2013, it measured approximately 181,414 hectares. It is one of the largest and most visited parks in Chile. The park receives an average of around 252,000 visitors a year, of which 54% are foreign tourists, coming from various countries around the world.

The park is one of 11 protected areas in the Magellanic Region and Chilean Antarctica (along with four national parks, three national reserves and three national monuments). Together, the protected forest areas comprise around 51% of land in the region.

Buenos Aires

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The capital and largest city of Argentina is located on the western bank of the Rio de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of South America. “Buenos Aires” can be translated as “good winds” or “good airs”, but the first was the meaning intended by the founders in the 16th century, using the original name “Real de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre”, in honor of the Madonna of Bonaria in Sardinia, Italy.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism has been growing in the Argentine capital since 2002. In a 2008 Travel + Leisure Magazine survey, visitors elected Buenos Aires as the second most desirable city to visit after Florence, in Italy. In 2008, around 2.5 million visitors visited the city, which is an international hub of highly active and diverse nightlife, with bars, clubs and clubs that stay open until midnight.

Visitors have many travel options, such as going to a tango show, a estancia in the Province of Buenos Aires or enjoying the traditional barbecue. Recently, new tourist circuits have emerged, dedicated to Argentines such as Carlos Gardel, Eva Perón or Jorge Luis Borges.

The most popular tourist sites are found in the historic center of the city, specifically in the neighborhoods of Montserrat and San Telmo. Buenos Aires was conceived around Plaza de Mayo, the administrative center of the colony. To the east of the square is Casa Rosada, the official seat of the executive branch of the government of Argentina. To the south is the Congreso de la Nación (National Congress), which currently houses the Academia Nacional de la Historia (National Academy of History). Finally, to the northwest, is the Town Hall.

cusco

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Often spelled Cuzco, it is a city in southeastern Peru near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes Mountains. It is the capital of the Cusco Region and the Province of Cusco. It is the seventh most populous in Peru and, in 2017, had a population of 428,450. Its elevation is about 3,400 m.

It was the capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th century until the Spanish conquest of the 16th century. In 1983, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO with the title of “Cuzco City”. It has become an important tourist destination, receiving around 2 million visitors a year. The Constitution of Peru (1993) designates it as the Historic Capital of Peru.

The Killke indigenous culture built the walled complex of Sacsayhuamán around 1100. The Killke built a large temple near Saksaywaman, as well as an aqueduct (Pukyus) and road connecting prehistoric structures. Sacsayhuamán was expanded by the Inca.

The Spanish explorer Pizarro sacked much of the Inca city in 1535. Remains of the palace of the Incas, Qurikancha (the Temple of the Sun) and the Temple of the Virgins of the Sun still stand. Inca buildings and foundations in some cases proved to be stronger during earthquakes than foundations built in present-day Peru. Among the most notable Spanish colonial buildings in the city is the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.

The main Inca sites nearby are Pachacuti's supposed winter home, Machu Picchu, which can be reached on foot along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or by train; and the “fortress” of Ollantaytambo.

Less visited ruins include: Incahuasi, the highest of all Inca sites at 3,980 m. Vilcabamba, the capital of the Inca after the Spanish capture of Cusco; the sculpture garden at Ñusta Hisp'ana (also known as Chuqip'allta, Yuraq Rumi); Tipon, with water channels running on wide terraces; as well as Willkaraqay, Patallaqta, Chuqik'iraw, Moray, Vitcos and many others.

Atacama Desert

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Desert plateau covering a 1,600 km strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes Mountains. It is the driest non-polar desert in the world, as well as the only true one to receive less precipitation than the polar ones and the world's largest haze. Both regions have been used as on-planet experimentation sites for Mars expedition simulations. The desert occupies 105,000 km2 or 128,000 km2 if the barren lower slopes of the Andes are included. Most of it is made up of stony terrain, salt lakes, sand and felsic lava that flows towards the Andes.

Most people who visit the desert sites stay in the city of San Pedro de Atacama. The desert is among the top three tourist attractions in Chile. The specially commissioned ESO hotel is reserved for astronomers and scientists.

Salar de Uyuni

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It is the largest salt flat in the world, or playa, covering over 10,000 square kilometers in area. It is located in the province of Daniel Campos, in Potosí, in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes, at an altitude of 3,656 m above sea level.

It serves as the main transport route through the Bolivian Altiplano and is an excellent breeding ground for several species of flamingos. It was used as the setting for the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi. which only confirms its reputation as a tourist attraction. Consequently, several hotels were built in the area. For lack of conventional building materials, many of them are almost entirely built with blocks of salt cut from the Salar. The first hotel of its kind, called Palacio de Sal, was built between 1993 and 1995 and soon became a popular tourist destination.

Providence Island

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The island was the site of an English Puritan colony established in 1629 by the Providence Island Company, and was taken over by Spain in 1641. Pirate Henry Morgan used it as a base to invade the Spanish empire, and rumors suggest that much of its treasure remains hidden. on the island. Many parts of the island are named after Morgan. Forts and cannons dating back hundreds of years can be found scattered throughout Santa Catalina Island.

Although the island is part of Colombia, the 5,000 to 6,000 inhabitants feel more Caribbean than Colombian, with many Rastafarians. Inhabitants primarily speak English or San Andrés-Providencia Creole, an English-based Creole similar to Belizean Kriol and Jamaican Patwa, rather than Colombian Spanish, as well as Provisle, an indigenous sign language.

As of 2015 the island has not been seriously affected by drug trafficking from Colombia, but many islanders have been recruited to work for the traffickers due to their maritime skills and knowledge of the region's waters and the dearth of other employment opportunities on the island.

Santiago

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Also called Santiago de Chile, it is the capital and largest city in the country, as well as one of the largest cities in the Americas. It is the center of Chile's most densely populated region, the Santiago Metropolitan Region, whose total population is 8 million, of which more than 6 million live in the city's continuous urban area. The city lies entirely in the central valley of the country. Most of the city is between 500-650 m above mean sea level.

Founded in 1541 by the Spanish conqueror Pedro de Valdivia, Santiago has been the capital of Chile since colonial times. Its urban landscape is shaped by several isolated hills and the fast-flowing Mapocho River, flanked by parks such as Parque Forestal and Parque Balmaceda. The Andes Mountains can be seen from most points in the city. These mountains contribute to a considerable problem of air pollution, especially during winter, due to the lack of rain.

It is the cultural, political and financial center of the country and is home to the regional headquarters of many multinational corporations. The Chilean executive and judiciary are located in Santiago, but Congress mainly meets near Valparaíso. Santiago is named after the biblical figure St. James. The city will host the 2023 Pan American Games.

In the metropolitan area of Santiago, there are 174 heritage sites under the custody of the National Monuments Council, among which archaeological, architectural and historical monuments, neighborhoods and typical areas stand out. Of these, 93 are located within the commune of Santiago, considered the historic center of the city. Although no Santiago monument has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, three have already been proposed by the Chilean government: the Inca sanctuary of El Plomo, the church and convent of San Francisco and the palace of La Moneda.

In the center of Santiago there are several buildings built during the Spanish domination and most of them correspond, such as the Metropolitan Cathedral and the aforementioned Church of San Francisco Catholic churches. Period buildings are those located on the sides of the Plaza de Armas, such as the headquarters of the Real Audiencia, the Post Office or the Casa Colorada.

bariloche

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The full name of the city is San Carlos de Bariloche. It is a city in the province of Río Negro, Argentina, located at the foot of the Andes, on the southern shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi. It is located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park. After the development of extensive public works and alpine-style architecture, the city emerged in the 1930s and 1940s as a major tourist center with ski, trekking and mountaineering facilities. In addition, it has several restaurants, cafes and chocolate shops. The city has a permanent population of 108,205 as per the 2010 census. As per the latest statistics for 2015, the population is around 122,700, and a projection for 2020 is 135,704.

Tourism, both national and international, is Bariloche's main economic activity throughout the year. The city is very popular among Brazilians, Europeans and Israelis. One of the most popular activities is skiing, and most tourists visit Bariloche in winter (June to September). Regular flights from Buenos Aires via LAN Airlines and Aerolíneas Argentinas serve the city throughout the year. The main ski slopes are at Cerro Catedral, the largest ski resort in South America and the southern hemisphere.

During the summer, beautiful beaches like Playa Bonita and Villa Tacul welcome bathers; brave swimmers of the lake venture into its cold waters (refreshed by melting snow). Lake Nahuel Huapi averages 14°C in summer. Bariloche is the largest city in a huge District of Lagos and is the base for many excursions in the region. Activities such as fishing, rafting and bird watching are popular with tourists. Trail trekking in the nearby mountain region is supported by some high mountain huts operated by Club Andino Bariloche. The city is also known for its chocolates and Swiss-style architecture. Many high school students in Argentina make a final year trip to Bariloche, and the city is well-prepared for these types of groups. In November 2012, Bariloche was named “national capital of adventure tourism” by Law 26,802 enacted by the Argentine National Congress.

Los Roques

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Federal dependency of Venezuela comprising approximately 350 islands, islets and islets in a total area of 40.61 square kilometers. The archipelago is located 128 kilometers directly north of the port of La Guaira on the Caribbean Sea. The islands' pristine coral reef attracts many wealthy visitors, especially from Europe, some of whom come on their own yachts and anchor in the sheltered inland shallow waters. Because of the wide variety of seabirds and rich aquatic life, the Venezuelan government declared Los Roques a National Park in 1972.

Tourism in Los Roques has grown significantly in recent decades, as before 1990 this territory was not explored as a tourist destination. Originally outsiders, wealthy Venezuelans from Caracas and foreigners, who could buy houses inside the park, managed the few huts that existed. Access was restricted to light aircraft or private boats. Aerotuy was the only commercial airline operating in Los Roques at the time.

There are currently more than 60 inns, 50 travel agencies and six airlines, all concentrated on the island of Gran Roque, which is part of the recreational sector where this type of construction is authorized. At the beginning of the tourist boom, 60% of visitors were from other nationalities, most from the United States, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, but many Venezuelans also visit the park, above all those with higher purchasing power. .

Of all the tourists visiting Los Roques, 95% of them arrive by plane, while the rest travel by boat. Staying on a sailboat is another option, but it is expensive. The cheapest option is to camp in designated areas. Although Los Roques has a variety of accommodation options, 96% of tourists stay in lodges, 3% on sailboats and less than 1% in campgrounds.

For divers, the Los Roques barrier reef is one of the best preserved in the Caribbean. The warm and clear water offers excellent visibility allowing divers of all levels the opportunity to see the great diversity of species of fish and colorful aquatic plants, both during the day and during the night dives. Los Roques also offers several islands suitable for windsurfing and kitesurfing as the wind blows constantly throughout the year. In Gran Roque you can rent equipment and find guides and instructors for all activities.

Foz do Iguaçu

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The famous Falls are located on the border of Argentina and Brazil and are made up of approximately 257 individual waterfalls with more than 2.7 km. They were chosen as one of the “New Seven Natural Wonders of the World”.

The city is characterized by tourism and cultural diversity. There are about 80 nationalities, the most representative of which are Italy, Portugal, Lebanon, China, Paraguay and Argentina. Foz do Iguaçu is part of a trinational region, bordering the Argentine city of Puerto Iguazú and the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este. The city's economy is based on tourism, with an emphasis on trade and services.

The city is home to the Itaipu dam, the second largest hydroelectric dam in the world in terms of energy generation, after the Three Gorges dam in China. With 20 generating units and 14,000 MW of installed capacity, it supplies approximately 15% of the energy consumed in Brazil and 86% of the energy consumed in Paraguay. The city has a low crime rate by Brazilian standards.

Huaraz

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Disclosure

Founded as San Sebastián de Huaraz, it is a city in Peru, capital of the region of Ancash (State of Ancash) and the seat of government of the province of Huaraz.

The city has an altitude of approximately 3050 meters above sea level, making it the second largest city in the Peruvian central Andes after the city of Huancayo. It is the 22nd largest city in Peru. Huaraz is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of the province and the site of the cathedral.

Huaraz is the main destination for winter sports and adventure in the country. Many visitors from all over the world come to the city to practice sports such as climbing, hiking, mountain biking and snowboarding, and also to visit the glaciers and mountains of the Cordillera Blanca, especially Mount Huascarán, considered the highest mountain in the tropics, all of them located in the Huascarán National Park, which UNESCO declared a world heritage site in 1985.

In the city, prairies, forests and snowy peaks can be seen from the urban center. But within Huaraz, there are some tourist spots to visit. In La Soledad, you will find the Chapel of the Lord of Soledad, which contains the crucified Christ, which was founded at the time of the colony. There are also pre-Hispanic ruins, 3 miles from the city in Wilcahuain, where there are stone palaces of the Wari culture. Other ruins are located 1 mile from Huaraz in Waullac, surrounded by large grasslands overlooking snowy peaks and mountains.

In the center of the city in front of the Plaza de Armas (Main Square) is located the Ancash Museum, which contains many valuable pieces of the Recuay culture, and in this museum is the Monolithic Park, which is considered one of the largest in America. 13 km north of Huaraz are located the Termas de Monterrey, which contain hot springs with medicinal properties, and it is also an ecological place surrounded by forests, where there are inns and some luxury hotels. Lux.

Colonia del Sacramento

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Colonia del Sacramento is a city in southwestern Uruguay, on the banks of the Rio de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay and the capital of the Department of Colonia.

Its historic district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Modern Colonia del Sacramento produces textiles and has a free trade zone, as well as a polytechnic center and several government buildings.

The Barrio Histórico section of the city has some cobblestone streets built by the Portuguese in the 17th century and is a short walk from the city's ferry terminal. Among the tourist attractions around the tree-lined Plaza Mayor (main square) are items such as the Portón de Campo, the Porta da Cidade and the wooden drawbridge; Ruins of the lighthouse and the convent of the Convento de São Francisco from the 17th century; Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament, built in stone by the Portuguese in 1808; Portuguese Museum, built in the 18th century, which displays Portuguese furniture, jewelry, uniforms and old maps from Portuguese naval expeditions; Municipal Museum. rebuilt by the Spanish in 1835 as the Casa del Almirante Brown, it displays artifacts and documents from different periods and cultures in the city; and the Plaza de toros Real de San Carlos, a bullring included in an old tourist complex, now abandoned.

Tayrona National Park

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Disclosure

The park has a biodiversity endemic to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta area, presenting a variety of climates (mountain climate) and geographies ranging from arid sea level to 900 meters above sea level.

There is archaeological evidence of ancient human settlements in the park area as far back as the 16th century. The site now has facilities for ecotourism, with its own hiking trails. The Archaeological Museum of Chairama is located in Sítio Cañaveral, near the mouth of the Piedras River. Other places that attract visitors are the Caminho de Los Naranjos, Playa de Castilletes, La Piscina, Rio Piedras and San Juan Out. The El Pueblito site was a popular hike but is currently closed in 2019 due to the wishes of indigenous residents.

Fernando de Noronha

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Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, part of the State of Pernambuco, in Brazil, and located 354 km off the Brazilian coast. It consists of 21 islands and islets, covering an area of 26 km2. Only the main island of the same name is inhabited; has an area of 18.4 km2 and an estimated population of 3,101 in 2020.

The beaches are geared towards tourism and recreational diving. The most popular include Baía do Sancho, Baía dos Porcos, Baía dos Golfinhos, Baía do Sueste and Praia do Leão.

The part of the island facing the mainland has the beaches in the following order: Baía do Sancho, Baía dos Porcos, Praia da Cacimba do Padre, Praia do Bode, Praia dos Americanos, Praia do Boldró, Praia da Conceição, Praia do Meio and Praia Dog Beach. The part of the island facing the Atlantic Ocean has only three beaches: Praia do Leão, Praia do Sueste and Praia do Atalaia. A great way to get to know the island is to walk from Praia dos Americanos, pass by Praia do Boldró, Praia da Conceição, Praia do Meio and finish the walk at Praia do Cachorro.

baths

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Cantón Baños is a municipality in the province of Tungurahua, Ecuador. It is a tourist destination with undeniable natural beauty, with many tourists preferring its proximity to the east of the country. Holidays in the country are opportunities to discover this wonderful land in the province of Tungurahua.

The place is a reference for practices related to nature. It is recognized for its ecotourism – an example of excellence for the country and for the world. All sectors of the canton exploit tourism resources and the communities involved in managing and receiving benefits. The offer is diversified and articulates cultural, environmental and religious tourism.

Mendoza

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Nicolas Perez / Unsplash

Capital of the province of Mendoza, Argentina. It is located in the north-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and plateaus, on the eastern side of the Andes Mountains.

Ruta Nacional 7, the main road between Buenos Aires and Santiago, runs through the city. It is a frequent stop for climbers on their way to Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemispheres) and for adventure travelers interested in mountaineering, hiking, horseback riding, rafting and other sports.

Two of the main industries in the Mendoza region are the production of olive oil and Argentine wine. The region around Greater Mendoza is the largest wine-growing area in South America. As such, Mendoza is one of the eleven Great Wine Capitals, and the city is an emerging wine tourism destination and base from which to explore the hundreds of wineries in the region located along the Argentine Wine Route.

Machu Picchu

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos / Unsplash

Inca citadel from the 15th century located in the Cordillera Oriental of southern Peru on a mountain range of 2,430 meters. It is located in the district of Machu Picchu, in the province of Urubamba, above the Sacred Valley,

More recent archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca Emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often erroneously referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas”, it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the property around 1450, but abandoned it a century later, at the time of the Spanish conquest. According to the new AMS radiocarbon dating, it was occupied from about 1420 to 1532.

Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed to give visitors a better idea of how they originally appeared. By 1976, 30% from Machu Picchu had been restored and restoration continues.

Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007 it was elected one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide internet survey.

Galapagos Islands

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Rod Long / Unsplash

The first recorded visit to the islands happened by chance in 1535, when Friar Tomás de Berlanga, bishop of Panama, was surprised by this unknown land during a trip to Peru to arbitrate a dispute between Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro.

The first rough map of the islands was made in 1684 by the buccaneer Ambrose Cowley, who named the individual islands after some of his fellow pirates or British royalty and nobles. These names were used on authorized navigation charts of the islands prepared during the Beagle survey under Captain Robert FitzRoy and in Darwin's popular book The Voyage of the Beagle. The newly independent Republic of Ecuador took the islands from Spanish ownership in 1832 and later gave them official Spanish names.

Valparaiso

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Loïc Mermilliod / Unsplash

Large city, sea port, naval base and educational center in the commune of Valparaíso, Chile. The “Grande Valparaíso” is the second largest metropolitan area in the country. It is located about 120 kilometers northwest of Santiago by road and is one of the most important seaports in the South Pacific. It is the capital of the second most populous administrative region in the country and has been the headquarters of the Chilean Navy since 1817 and the Chilean National Congress since 1990.

It played an important geopolitical role in the second half of the 19th century, when it served as an important stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, crossing the Strait of Magellan. It experienced rapid growth during its golden age, as a magnet for European immigrants, when the city was known to international sailors as “Little San Francisco” and “The Jewel of the Pacific”.

Over the first 15 years of the 21st century, the city achieved a recovery, attracting artists and cultural entrepreneurs who settled in the historic neighborhoods on the city's slopes. Today, many thousands of tourists from all over the world visit Valparaíso to enjoy the city's labyrinth of cobblestone streets and colorful buildings. The port of Valparaíso remains an important distribution center for container traffic, copper and fruit exports. It is an example of Chilean culture, with festivals every year, with the participation of street artists and musicians.

Maranhão sheets

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Luiza Carvalho / Unsplash

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is located in the state of Maranhão, in northeastern Brazil, east of São José Bay.

During the rainy season, the valleys between the dunes fill with freshwater lagoons, which are prevented from draining due to the impermeability of the rock below. The park is home to a variety of species, including four listed as endangered, and has become a popular destination for ecotourists. The park receives up to 60,000 visitors a year. Common activities within the park include surfing, canoeing and horseback riding.

Easter Island

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Chile's special territory in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania. It is most famous for its nearly 1,000 extant monumental statues, called moai, which were created by the early Rapa Nui peoples. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park.

Experts disagree on when the island's Polynesian inhabitants first arrived on the island. While many in the research community have cited evidence that they arrived around the year 800, compelling data presented in a 2007 study suggests that their arrival was closer to 1200. At the time of the arrival of Europeans in 1722, the island's population was estimated at 2,000 to 3,000. European diseases, Peruvian slave raiding expeditions in the 1860s, and emigration to other islands such as Tahiti further depleted the population, reducing it to a low of 111 native inhabitants in 1877.

Chile annexed Easter Island in 1888. In 1966, the Rapa Nui received Chilean citizenship. In 2007, the island gained the constitutional status of “special territory”. Administratively, it belongs to the Region of Valparaíso, constituting a single commune (Isla de Pascua) of the Province of Isla de Pascua.

It is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. The nearest inhabited land (about 50 residents in 2013) is Pitcairn Island, 2,075 kilometers away. The nearest town with a population of over 500 is Rikitea on the island of Mangareva, 2,606 km away, and the nearest mainland point is in central Chile, 3,512 km away.

Puerto Varas

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Trevor Vannoy / Unsplash

Also known as “the city of roses”, it is a city and commune located in the province of Llanquihue, in southern Chile, in the region of Los Lagos. It is famous for its German traditions, its natural environment and its popularity as a tourist destination. It enjoys a scenic location close to mountains, lakes, forests and national parks.

It is 20 km from the city of Puerto Montt on the shore of Lake Llanquihue, the second largest in Chile. The conical Osorno volcano and the snow-capped peaks of Monte Calbuco and Monte Tronador are clearly visible from the lake's edge. It is the southernmost of a series of towns on the western shore of Lake Llanquihue, which includes Frutillar, Llanquihue and Puerto Octay.

It is a popular tourist destination with its distinctive German-inspired architecture, wide range of hotels and inns, a casino, a beach and stunning views across the lake to Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. Visitors can participate in a variety of outdoor sports, including kayaking, fishing and trekking, and there is a winter ski center on the slopes of Osorno Volcano. It's a good base for excursions to nearby natural landmarks, including the emerald Todos los Santos Lake, the picturesque Petrohué Falls, Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park and Puyehue National Park, as well as Osorno Volcano. Trips to other towns around Lake Llanquihue are also possible, including Frutillar, Puerto Octay and Llanquihue.

Death road

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Disclosure

Estrada de Yungas is a bike path with about 60 km long that connects the city of La Paz, in Bolivia, and the Yungas region in Bolivia. It attracts around 25,000 tourists a year and is a major tourist attraction in the region.

Many tour operators cater to downhill mountain biking, providing information, guides, transport and equipment. At least 18 cyclists have died on the road since 1998. The tourist route is a 64 km long road with 3500 meters of descent. The route includes the Cotapata-Santa Bárbara section. It replaced the old road, built in 1930. It was considered dangerous because of its steep slopes, narrow road, rain and fog, and for that reason it was nicknamed “Death Road”. However, it was not the most dangerous road in the region. Unlike the rest of the country, traffic was on the left, to allow the driver to judge the distance of his outer wheel from the side of the road.

A new alternate route, now part of Route 3, was built over a 20-year period ending in 2006. Modernization included widening the carriageway from one to two lanes, asphalt paving, bridges, drainage and the construction of a new section between Chusquipata and Yolosa, bypassing the most dangerous sections of the original road.

Rio de Janeiro

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Raphael Nogueira / Unsplash

Second most populous city in Brazil and the sixth most populous in the Americas. It is also the third most populous state in Brazil, after São Paulo and Minas Gerais. Part of the city was declared a World Heritage Site, with the name “Rio de Janeiro: Cariocas Landscapes between the Mountains and the Sea”, on July 1, 2012 as Cultural Landscape.

It has the second largest municipal GDP in the country and the 30th largest in the world in 2008. This is estimated at around R$ 343 billion. It is home to Brazilian oil, mining and telecommunications companies, including two of the country's largest corporations – Petrobras and Vale – and Grupo Globo. Home to many universities and institutes, it is the second largest research and development center in Brazil, accounting for 17% of national scientific production according to 2005 data.

It is one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere and known for its natural scenery and beaches in resorts such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. In addition to the beaches, some of the most famous landmarks include the giant Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf Mountain with its cable car; and the Maracanã Stadium, one of the largest football stadiums in the world.

Mount Roraima

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Publicity

The highest in the Pakaraima chain of tepuis or plateaus in South America. The name came from the native Pemon people. Roroi in the Pemon language means "blue-green", and ma means "big". Serves as the triple of Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil; 5% of its mountain plateau area is in Brazil, 10% in Guyana, and the remainder around 85% is located in Venezuela. The 10% area actually located in Guyana is claimed by Venezuela.

It lies in the Guiana Shield in the southeastern corner of Venezuela's 30,000 square kilometer Canaima National Park, forming the highest peak in the Guyana Highlands Cordillera. Another big tepui in the national park, Kukenán-tepui, is right next to Mount Roraima. The Brazilian part of the mountain forms the Monte Roraima National Park of Brazil.

First described to Europeans by the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh during his 1595 expedition, Mount Roraima is famous for its table-like shape, with its flat plateau – bounded on all sides by huge cliffs over 400 meters high, which many sometimes remains high above the mists and clouds.

It is also home to some waterfalls, usually called Roraima Falls, which jump from the tepui in four layered jumps; the height of the waterfall is estimated at approximately 610 meters.

Cartagena de Indias

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Publicity

Cartagena, known since colonial times as Cartagena de Indias, is a city and an important port on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region, bordering the Caribbean Sea. Its past role as a link on the route to the West Indies gives it an important historical value for the world's exploration and preservation of the heritage of the great commercial sea routes. As a former Spanish colony, it was a key port for the export of Peruvian silver to Spain and for the importation of Africans enslaved under the asiento system. It was defensible against pirate attacks in the Caribbean.

Modern Cartagena is the capital of the Bolívar department and had a population of 1,028,736, according to the 2018 census, making it the second largest city in the region after Barranquilla and the fifth largest city in Colombia. The current city, named after its namesake in Spain, was founded on June 1, 1533. It played a key role in the administration and expansion of the Spanish empire, as it was a center of political, ecclesiastical and economic activity.

In 1984, the city and its colonial fortress were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of the twenty fortresses that make up the walls of the district of Getsemaní, today 16 are still standing, preserved in good condition. In 1586, the most famous military engineer of the Crown of Spain at the time, the Italian Battista Antonelli, was commissioned to fortify the city. The works on the project finally ended in the 17th century. Cartagena became an impregnable bulwark, which successfully resisted the attacks of Baron Pontis until 1697. In the 18th century, further additions gave the fortified complex its current amplitude by the Spanish engineer Antonio de Arévalo.

quito

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Mauricio Muñoz / Unsplash

The capital of Ecuador is itself the capital closest to the equator and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m above sea level, making it the second highest official capital in the world. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.

Quito's historic center is one of the largest, least altered and best preserved in the Americas. The city, along with Krakow, Poland, were the first Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978. Quito's central square is located about 25 km south of the equator and the city itself extends to approx. 1 km from zero latitude. A monument and museum mark the general location of the equator, known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world).

Chapada Diamantina

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Places to visit in South America. Photo: Disclosure

Region of the state of Bahia, in the Northeast of Brazil. This mountain range is known as “Serra do Espinhaço”, in Minas Gerais, southern Bahia. Chapada Diamantina is in the center of the State of Bahia and forms the northern part of Serra do Espinhaço. It has approximately 38,000 km2 and covers 58 municipalities. Technically this region is considered part of the caatinga biome, and contains some of its highest elevations, most of which are above 500 meters.

The territory of Chapada Diamantina extends approximately between the cities of Mucugê in the south, Andaraí in the southeast, Lençóis in the northeast and Palmeiras in the northwest. This region is called Serra do Sincorá. However, the city of Ibicoara, close to the southern limit of Chapada Diamantina, also gains importance. Serra do Sincorá has a north-south orientation and is 160 km long and 20 to 30 km wide.

It has huge canyons with rivers of brownish water and several waterfalls. The altitude fields are known locally as Gerais. The trails were once used by miners in their search for diamonds. From Lençóis, one of the most important cities in the region, you can find some ecotourism agencies and independent guides.

Among the main attractions are Morro do Pai Inácio, Cachoeira da Fumaça, Cachoeira do Mixila, Cachoeira do Sossego and Vale do Pati, which is considered the best trekking destination in the country. Climbing is a relatively new activity, but it is developing rapidly, as some local and foreign climbers are opening more and more routes, mainly in the city of Lençóis and in Vale do Capão, district of Palmeiras and in Igatu, district of Andaraí.

Dica extra para reservar hotéis

Para encontrar inúmeras opções de acomodação e reservar hotéis e pousadas com os melhores preços, utilizamos o Booking.com - disponível em milhares de destinos.

Passagens aéreas mais baratas

Para economizar com voos, consultamos primeiro as passagens aéreas na MaxMilhas, - quase sempre encontramos os melhores preços tanto no Brasil quanto no exterior. As passagens podem ser emitidas mesmo para quem não tem milhas aéreas.

Outras dicas úteis

Encontre informações úteis sobre os best destinations do mundo, com guias de viagens especializados sobre diferentes places to visit in Brazil e no exterior. São milhares de travel tips com sugestões de onde ir na sua viagem, recomendação de hotels, notícias atualizadas e muito mais.

Precisa de um carro na sua viagem? Encontre aluguel de carro na Rentcars e cote modelos diferentes podendo ser parcelado em até 10x. Já para passeios e ingressos antecipados, fechamos tudo sempre pela Get Your Guide.

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