The Highlights of South America
The Highlights of South America
South America sits below North and Central America and is the home to the Amazon rainforest, Machu Pichu, The Galapagos, Salsa Dancing and Empanada’s. A hugely vast continent, South America is mainly made up of Latin influenced countries. Below Panama, South America begins with Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Argentina, which are just some of the twelve countries that make up this incredible part of the world.
What can you expect from South America?
Well, there is plenty! Check out the awe-inspiring Andes Mountains or the tough terrains of Patagonia. You have both the Caribbean and Atlantic Coast teeming with beaches. There is vast exotic humid jungle in the heart that is none other than the Amazon. If you like City’s, stunning history, architecture and local life-filled communities are some of the features you can count on in South America’s capitals. The weather changes depending where you are, mainly hot but can get high altitudes with a bit of cold too. The cuisine is filled with love and local passion, whilst the rum and wine are some of the best out there today. If you like activities, there is no better continent to have such a variety and if you like wandering then you have a lot of South American ground to cover. South America is probably today’s most sought for destination for all these reasons and more.
Argentina: Classy architecture and great cuisine
This bustling and vibrant City may just turn out to be your favourite within South America. It has great steak, red wine, tango-obsessed locals, intriguing lanes, stunning architecture and cool suburbs.
The wine capital of Argentina that has a lot of free festivals taking place ensures that you’ll always have a social time here in Mendoza. If you like the outdoors or doing something active, Mendoza has a ski resort, offers horse riding, you can paraglide and trek the mountains or desert.
Sharing this spacious and Lord of the Rings like land with neighbours Chile, Argentina takes its fair share of miles here. Its huge, beautiful but often sometimes desolate. You can hike for hours, even days without seeing something. However, Patagonia is so vast, you can do many expeditions here and activities, including kayaking, hiking and rock climbing.
Brazil: Beaches, dancing and life
Rio De Janeiro
A City that you can either experience locally in Lapa, commercially in Copacabana or further afield to upmarket Ipanema. The Favela’s will bring curiosity, you’ll be in awe of Cristo the Reedemer statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain may just blow you out the water with its presence. Rio is also full of Caipirinha’s , salsa dancing and football. If you’re here for Carnival, it’ll be one of the most eccentric events you’ve visited.
Widely considered as the birthplace for traditional Brazilian culture with a vibrant music scene still sifts through the old town. It is charming, has great bars and cobbled stone paths that help you indulge in the local atmosphere.
Foz de Iguacu
These jaw-dropping falls can be reached from Argentina and partly from Paraguay too as these countries share a tri border. However, visiting the Iguacu Falls on the Brazilian side generally gives you an overland view. These falls are taller than Niagara Falls and are on everyone’s list!
Bolivia: Stunning scenery and high altitudes
This city will definitely get you high up, giving the fact it is officially the highest national capital in the world. Be prepared to take a deep a breath as it has over a 4,000m altitude. Back down in the City, La Paz is weird and wonderful with many museums, districts and market to check out including the Witches market.
Salar de Uyuni
Uyuni is mainly visited because of its fascinating and large salt flats. If you want something truly extraordinary, visiting this once prehistoric lake now star studded with a salty desert is certainly worth the visit.
Colombia: Colonial towns and deep jungle
A real popular city filled with colonial houses, cool streets and a great vibe of restaurants and bars. Cartagena is great for a few days and gets extremely busy at certain times of the year. Visit Naval Museums, wander around old forts and marvel in the first City that was colonised by the Spanish in Colombia – it still has its historical rustic appearance especially in the old town.
This fast becoming hedonistic town is a great spot if you’d like to do and see things in and around the area. The City itself doesn’t have much to offer, but close by you have Taganga where you can scuba dive, sit by the beach or have a few cocktails. Tayrona Park you can horse ride through the jungle reaching a small but popular beach and camping spot. Minca is a short distance away too and is a quiet village hill-town that is known for its regular yoga, giant hammocks and waterfalls.
Not only is it the capital of Colombia but also Bogota is a huge City not to underestimate. Think of NYC and Mexico City, as they are the only two Cities bigger in North America. You can enjoy cable car rides over the local communities, Fridays & Sundays are street theatre and music nights, visit the historic Old town, check out the ever growing graffiti art around the city and take a mountain bike to spots in and around the city.
Ecuador: Small and friendly with some world-class experiences
The Galapagos Islands are special in their own right. Once a cluster of active volcano’s, they are now teeming with free roaming wildlife and many unique to the islands. If you love wildlife and marine life there is no better place in the world to experience. You’ll feel you are on a true expedition that would rival David Attenborough.
A true adventure town this place will leave you with plenty to do. Fancy paragliding over a local town situated in a valley, with a volcano ahead in your sights? Banos is that place. If you like activities and outdoors sports, you’ll love it here.
Peru: Incredible culture and interesting sights
The postcode of South America, the greatest discovered representation of the great Inca period, Machu Pichu needs no more introduction. These famous up-in-the-heavens ruins are truly remarkable and despite it being on everyone’s ‘bucket list’, this place should be solely for the experience, as it’s quite that.
Once the capital of the Incan empire, Cuzco still bares its traditional ways. You’ll often see typical Inca clothing wore by locals and a City that is full of life. Cuzco now has an ever-growing tourist fuelled influence but still has the right balance of local culture.