South America, a continent of unparalleled natural wonders, vibrant cultures, and rich history, beckons adventurous souls from around the globe. From the awe-inspiring peaks of the Andes to the lush Amazon rainforest, South America offers a myriad of breathtaking destinations. In this guide, we will unveil 25 of the best places to visit in South America, each with its own unique charm and unforgettable experiences. Whether you seek mesmerizing landscapes, ancient ruins, or cultural immersion, this list will inspire your next South American adventure.
Must-Visit Places in South America
Machu Picchu, Peru
Hidden high in the Andes Mountains, Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca city shrouded in mist and mystery. Marvel at the intricate stone architecture, walk in the footsteps of the Incas along the Inca Trail, and be captivated by the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
What to Do in Machu Picchu
- Hike the Inca Trail: Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime trek through the Andes, following the ancient footsteps of the Incas to reach the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu.
- Explore the Lost City: Wander through the enigmatic ruins, marvel at the precision of the stone architecture, and feel the spiritual energy that permeates the air.
- Watch the Sunrise: Rise early and witness the sun casting its golden rays over the mist-shrouded mountains, illuminating Machu Picchu in a mystical glow.
- Climb Huayna Picchu: Challenge yourself with a steep ascent up the iconic peak for breathtaking panoramic views of the ruins and the surrounding landscape.
- Visit the Sun Gate: Take a rewarding hike to the Inti Punku, the Sun Gate, and catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu from this breathtaking vantage point.
How to Get to Machu Picchu
To reach Machu Picchu, follow these steps:
- Fly to Cusco: Book a flight to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco, Peru.
- Travel to Aguas Calientes: From Cusco, take a train or bus to the town of Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu.
- Shuttle Bus or Hike: From Aguas Calientes, you can either take a shuttle bus or embark on a scenic hike to Machu Picchu.
Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu
The best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. This period offers clear skies and lower chances of rain, providing better visibility for capturing the beauty of the ruins. However, keep in mind that these months are also the busiest, so it’s recommended to book in advance and expect larger crowds. The shoulder months of April, May, September, and October can also be great options as they offer a balance of good weather and fewer visitors.
Highlights of Machu Picchu
In the mystical embrace of the Andes, Machu Picchu reveals its ancient secrets. As the first rays of dawn kiss the towering ruins, the mist clears, and a city from another time awakens. The precision of the stone architecture, the intricate terraces cascading down the mountainside, and the sense of harmony with nature leave visitors in awe. Standing at the Sun Gate, gazing at the sanctuary below, one can almost hear the echoes of Inca rituals and feel the spiritual connection to the past. Machu Picchu is not just a destination; it’s an enchanting journey through history, nature, and the human spirit.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
Situated on the border of Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls is a natural wonder of awe-inspiring beauty. Feel the thunderous power of the cascading water as you navigate the trails and viewpoints, and witness the rainbow-infused mist that envelops this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site.
What to Do at Iguazu Falls
- Explore the Upper and Lower Circuits: Follow the well-marked trails that wind through the lush rainforest, offering breathtaking views of the falls from different angles and perspectives.
- Take the Devil’s Throat Walkway: Feel the thunderous roar of the falls as you walk along the catwalks, getting up close to the awe-inspiring Devil’s Throat, the largest waterfall in the Iguazu system.
- Ride the Ecological Jungle Train: Hop aboard the train that takes you through the rainforest to various lookout points, providing unique vantage points of the falls and surrounding natural beauty.
- Take a Boat Ride: Experience the sheer power of the falls on a thrilling boat ride that brings you close enough to feel the mist and hear the thundering water.
- Discover the Wildlife: Keep an eye out for diverse bird species, butterflies, and curious coatis as you explore the trails surrounding the falls.
How to Get to Iguazu Falls
To visit Iguazu Falls, follow these steps:
- Fly to Cataratas del Iguazu International Airport (Argentina) or Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (Brazil), depending on your preferred entry point.
- From the airports, shuttle buses or taxis are available to transport you to the respective national parks.
Best Time to Visit Iguazu Falls
The best time to visit Iguazu Falls is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During this time, the water levels are higher, resulting in more dramatic cascades. Additionally, the dry season offers pleasant temperatures and lower chances of rain. If you prefer to visit when there are fewer tourists, consider going during the shoulder months of spring (September to November) and fall (March to May).
Highlights of Iguazu Falls
As I approached the thundering cascade, the sheer power of Iguazu Falls filled the air with electrifying energy. The water rushed over the precipice, creating a symphony of roaring sounds that echoed through the surrounding rainforest. Mist kissed my face as I ventured along the trails, revealing breathtaking vistas at every turn. I felt the Earth’s raw power as I stood on the edge of the Devil’s Throat, witnessing the never-ending torrent of water plunging into the abyss. It was nature’s masterpiece, a living testament to the planet’s remarkable forces, and an experience that left me in awe of the world’s natural wonders.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
In the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Islands entice visitors with their unique wildlife and untouched landscapes. Encounter fearless wildlife like giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and playful sea lions as you explore the diverse ecosystems of this pristine archipelago.
What to Do in the Galapagos Islands
- Snorkel with Sea Turtles: Dive into the crystal-clear waters and swim alongside graceful sea turtles, marveling at their gentle presence and their synchronized dance with the currents.
- Encounter Giant Tortoises: Visit the giant tortoise reserves and come face to face with these ancient creatures, witnessing their slow and majestic movements in their natural habitats.
- Explore Marine Life: Embark on a scuba diving or snorkeling adventure to discover vibrant coral reefs, playful sea lions, penguins, and an array of colorful fish.
- Walk Among Blue-Footed Boobies: Witness the comical courtship dance of blue-footed boobies, where their vibrant blue feet become the centerpiece of their intricate mating rituals.
- Visit Darwin Research Stations: Learn about the ongoing conservation efforts on the islands and gain insight into the fragile ecosystems and endemic species that make the Galapagos Islands a living laboratory of evolution.
How to Get to the Galapagos Islands
To reach the Galapagos Islands, follow these steps:
- Fly to Seymour Airport (Baltra Island) or San Cristobal Airport in the Galapagos Islands, depending on your chosen entry point.
- From the airport, join a guided tour or take a local boat to explore the different islands.
Best Time to Visit the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands can be visited year-round, with two main seasons to consider. The warm and wet season, from December to May, offers pleasant temperatures, lush vegetation, and excellent underwater visibility for snorkeling and diving. The cool and dry season, from June to November, provides comfortable weather, calmer seas, and the chance to witness fascinating wildlife behaviors, such as mating rituals and hatching of young animals.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nestled between lush mountains and golden beaches, Rio de Janeiro captivates with its vibrant energy and breathtaking scenery. Soak up the sun on the iconic Copacabana Beach, ascend to the awe-inspiring Christ the Redeemer statue, and immerse yourself in the samba rhythms that echo through the city’s streets.
What to Do in Rio de Janeiro
- Relax on Copacabana Beach: Sink your toes into the soft sand, soak up the sun, and immerse yourself in the vibrant beach culture of one of the world’s most iconic stretches of coastline.
- Ride the Cable Car to Sugarloaf Mountain: Ascend to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain in a thrilling cable car ride, enjoying panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro’s stunning landscapes, including the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.
- Visit the Christ the Redeemer Statue: Marvel at the colossal statue perched atop Corcovado Mountain, an iconic symbol of Rio and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
- Explore the Lively Neighborhood of Santa Teresa: Wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, adorned with vibrant street art and charming colonial architecture. Discover eclectic art galleries, cozy cafes, and local artisan shops.
- Experience the Samba Spirit: Immerse yourself in the infectious rhythms of samba by visiting a traditional samba school or attending a vibrant street party during Carnival season.
How to Get to Rio de Janeiro
To reach Rio de Janeiro, follow these steps:
- Fly to either Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport or Santos Dumont Airport, both offering easy access to the city.
- From the airports, taxis, public buses, and the metro system are available for transportation within the city.
Best Time to Visit Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is enjoyable year-round, but the months from December to March offer warm temperatures and vibrant energy due to the Carnival season. During this time, the city comes alive with colorful parades, lively street parties, and an atmosphere of infectious celebration. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder months of April, May, September, or October, when the weather is still pleasant, and the tourist numbers are relatively lower.
Highlights of Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, a city of contrasts and passions, captured my heart from the moment I stepped onto its golden shores. Copacabana Beach welcomed me with its vibrant energy, as locals and visitors alike reveled in the beauty of the ocean. Ascending Sugarloaf Mountain, I marveled at the breathtaking panorama that stretched before me, from the emerald peaks to the glimmering coastline. And then, there it stood—Christ the Redeemer, an emblem of faith and a guardian watching over the city. In the lively neighborhood of Santa Teresa, I lost myself in the labyrinth of streets, discovering hidden gems at every turn. And as the pulsating rhythms of samba enveloped me during Carnival, I danced in harmony with the city’s spirit, knowing that Rio de Janeiro had forever imprinted itself upon my soul.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Located in Chilean Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Trek through the awe-inspiring landscapes of towering granite peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and glaciers. Encounter rare wildlife, including guanacos and condors, as you navigate the park’s well-marked trails.
What to Do in Torres del Paine National Park
- Trek the W Circuit: Embark on an unforgettable multi-day trek through the park’s famous W-shaped trail, passing by stunning glaciers, turquoise lakes, and soaring granite towers.
- Explore Grey Glacier: Witness the immense beauty of Grey Glacier up close by taking a boat ride or hiking to the viewpoint. Marvel at the shades of blue in the ancient ice formations.
- Discover the Mirador Las Torres: Hike to the base of the iconic Las Torres peaks, and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the glacial lake and the towering granite spires.
- Encounter Wildlife: Keep your eyes peeled for guanacos, foxes, and Andean condors as you explore the park’s diverse ecosystems. Spotting these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is a truly memorable experience.
- Take in the Serenity: Immerse yourself in the park’s pristine wilderness, breathing in the crisp mountain air and finding solace amidst the untouched landscapes. Let the sheer beauty of nature awaken a sense of peace within you.
How to Get to Torres del Paine National Park
To reach Torres del Paine National Park, follow these steps:
- Fly to Punta Arenas International Airport or Puerto Natales Airport in Chile.
- From there, take a bus or arrange private transportation to the park’s entrance, where you can begin your exploration.
Best Time to Visit Torres del Paine National Park
The best time to visit Torres del Paine National Park is during the summer months of December to February, when the weather is mild, and the days are longer. This allows for better trekking conditions and more time to explore the park’s remarkable beauty. However, remember that this is also the busiest time, so booking accommodations and campsites in advance is recommended. For fewer crowds and still pleasant weather, consider visiting in the shoulder months of November or March.
Highlights of Torres del Paine National Park
A sense of tranquility washed over me as I set foot into Torres del Paine National Park. The rugged mountains stood as silent sentinels, their snow-capped peaks piercing the endless sky. I embarked on the W Circuit, a journey that would take me through awe-inspiring landscapes of turquoise lakes, lush valleys, and towering glaciers. Standing before the mighty Grey Glacier, I marveled at the raw power of nature, humbled by its ancient presence. But it was the iconic Las Torres that stole my breath away. The arduous hike to their base rewarded me with a sight that words could not capture—the sun casting a golden hue upon the granite spires, as if igniting a spark within my soul. Torres del Paine National Park was a sanctuary of untouched beauty, an invitation to reconnect with the Earth and find solace in its vastness.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Step into an otherworldly dreamscape at Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Marvel at the vast expanse of shimmering salt crust, visit the unique Incahuasi Island dotted with giant cacti, and witness the surreal beauty of the sky reflecting on the mirror-like surface during the rainy season.
What to Do in Salar de Uyuni
- Marvel at the Mirror Effect: Visit during the rainy season (December to April) to witness the surreal mirror effect on the salt flats. The water creates a stunning sky reflection, making it appear like you’re walking on clouds.
- Explore Incahuasi Island: Take a journey to this unique island, known for its towering cacti and breathtaking panoramic views of the salt flats. Walk among the otherworldly landscape and capture stunning photographs.
- Visit the Train Cemetery: Discover the hauntingly beautiful Train Cemetery, where rusted trains are a testament to Bolivia’s mining past. Explore this unusual outdoor museum and learn about the region’s industrial history.
- Experience a Salt Hotel: Stay overnight in one of the salt hotels, which are constructed entirely from salt blocks. Immerse yourself in this unique accommodation and enjoy the otherworldly experience of living amidst the salt flats.
- Stargaze in the Salt Flats: With minimal light pollution, Salar de Uyuni offers a perfect opportunity for stargazing. Marvel at the sparkling night sky and be captivated by the Milky Way stretching across the horizon.
How to Get to Salar de Uyuni
To reach Salar de Uyuni, follow these steps:
- Fly to El Alto International Airport in La Paz, Bolivia.
- From La Paz, book a domestic flight to Uyuni or take an overnight bus journey.
- Once in Uyuni, join a guided tour to explore the salt flats and surrounding attractions.
Best Time to Visit Salar de Uyuni
The best time to visit Salar de Uyuni is during the dry season, from May to October. During this time, the salt flats are dry and accessible, allowing for easier exploration and photography opportunities. The mirror effect may not be present, but the clear blue skies provide stunning backdrops for capturing the vast expanse of the salt flats. It’s essential to note that temperatures can drop significantly, so be prepared with warm clothing and layers.
Highlights of Salar de Uyuni
As I stepped onto the vast expanse of the Salar de Uyuni, I was transported to a surreal and mesmerizing world. The blinding white salt stretched as far as the eye could see, merging seamlessly with the sky in an otherworldly display. Walking on the salt flats felt like gliding across a frozen lake, with the pure silence broken only by the crunching sound beneath my feet. As the sun began to set, hues of pink, orange, and purple painted the horizon, creating a canvas of enchantment. And when darkness fell, the starlit sky unfolded above me, revealing a symphony of celestial wonders. Salar de Uyuni was a journey into a dreamscape, a place where reality merged with fantasy, and the boundaries of imagination disappeared.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cartagena is a coastal gem on the Caribbean Sea. Lose yourself in the cobbled streets of the walled Old Town, admire the vibrant colonial architecture, and soak in the lively atmosphere as street vendors, musicians, and artists add to the city’s enchantment.
What to Do in Cartagena
- Explore the Walled City: Step back in time as you wander through the historic center of Cartagena, surrounded by well-preserved colonial walls. Admire the colorful buildings, stroll along charming cobblestone streets, and soak in the lively atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Visit Castillo San Felipe de Barajas: Discover the imposing fortress that once defended the city from pirate attacks. Climb to the top of the fortification for panoramic views of Cartagena and learn about its fascinating history.
- Take a Chiva Party Bus Tour: Jump aboard a traditional Colombian chiva bus and embark on a festive tour of the city. Enjoy live music, dance to traditional rhythms, and experience the vibrant culture of Cartagena.
- Relax on Playa Blanca: Escape the bustling city and unwind on the white sandy beaches of Playa Blanca. Bask in the Caribbean sun, swim in turquoise waters, and savor fresh seafood at the beachside restaurants.
- Experience the Nightlife in Getsemani: Immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife of the Getsemani neighborhood. Join the locals in lively salsa clubs, sip on refreshing cocktails in trendy bars, and dance the night away.
How to Get to Cartagena
To reach Cartagena, follow these steps:
- Fly to Rafael Núñez International Airport, which serves Cartagena, Colombia.
- From the airport, taxis or private transfers are available to take you to your accommodation in the city center.
Best Time to Visit Cartagena
The best time to visit Cartagena is during the dry season, from December to March. During these months, the weather is sunny and rainfall is minimal, allowing for more enjoyable sightseeing and outdoor activities. However, it’s worth noting that this is also the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds. For a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder months of April, May, or November.
Highlights of Cartagena
Cartagena welcomed me with open arms, inviting me to lose myself in its rich history and vibrant culture. As I wandered through the cobbled streets of the Walled City, the scent of bougainvillea filled the air, and the colors of colonial architecture transported me to another era. From the towering walls of Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, I marveled at the city’s fortitude and resilience. The rhythmic beats of salsa music echoed through the streets of Getsemani, beckoning me to dance with joy. And as the sun set, painting the sky with a vibrant palette of oranges and purples, I found solace on the sandy shores of Playa Blanca. Cartagena was a living testament to the fusion of old and new, where history danced with modernity, and every corner held a story waiting to be told.
Amazon Rainforest, Multiple Countries
Venture into the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, spanning across several South American countries, for an immersive encounter with the world’s most diverse ecosystem. Explore dense jungle trails, observe rare wildlife and colorful birds, and learn from indigenous communities about the forest’s incredible biodiversity.
What to Do in the Amazon Rainforest
- Take a Jungle Trek: Embark on a guided trek through the dense foliage of the Amazon Rainforest, immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, and scents of this incredible ecosystem. Learn about the diverse flora and fauna from knowledgeable local guides.
- Spot Wildlife on a River Cruise: Explore the intricate network of Amazonian waterways on a river cruise. Keep your eyes peeled for playful river dolphins, elusive jaguars, vibrant macaws, and other fascinating creatures that call the rainforest home.
- Visit Indigenous Communities: Gain insight into the rich cultural heritage of the Amazon by visiting indigenous communities. Learn about their traditional way of life, hear captivating stories, and discover their deep connection with the natural surroundings.
- Canopy Walkway Experience: Ascend to the treetops and walk along elevated canopy walkways for a unique perspective of the rainforest. Observe the diverse ecosystem from above, with a chance to spot exotic birds and monkeys.
- Nighttime Wildlife Excursions: Embark on guided night excursions to witness the nocturnal creatures of the rainforest come to life. Listen to the mesmerizing sounds of frogs, insects, and owls while searching for fascinating nocturnal wildlife.
How to Get to the Amazon Rainforest
Getting to the Amazon Rainforest varies depending on the specific country and region you plan to visit. Here are general steps:
- Fly to the nearest major city with access to the Amazon Rainforest, such as Manaus in Brazil or Iquitos in Peru.
- From the city, book a domestic flight or take a combination of land and river transportation to reach your desired rainforest lodge or reserve.
- It’s advisable to book a guided tour or arrange accommodation in the rainforest in advance to ensure a smooth and immersive experience.
Best Time to Visit the Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest can be visited year-round, but the weather and wildlife activity vary throughout the seasons. The dry season, generally from June to November, offers lower water levels, better access to certain areas, and increased wildlife sightings near rivers and lakes. The wet season, from December to May, brings lush vegetation, higher water levels, and a vibrant burst of life, including migratory birds and amphibians. Consider your preferences and desired activities when choosing the best time to visit.
Highlights of the Amazon Rainforest
As I ventured deep into the Amazon Rainforest, a sense of wonder enveloped me. Towering trees formed a dense canopy above, allowing only slivers of sunlight to filter through. The symphony of exotic birdsongs and the chorus of unseen creatures filled the air with an enchanting melody. Vibrant butterflies danced among the wildflowers, while monkeys swung effortlessly from branch to branch. In the company of indigenous guides, I learned the secrets of medicinal plants and the deep spiritual connection between the forest and its inhabitants. The Amazon Rainforest was a living, breathing entity, captivating me with its wild beauty and reminding me of the delicate balance between humanity and nature.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires, the “Paris of South America,” seduces visitors with its European charm and passionate spirit. Roam the elegant streets of the Recoleta neighborhood, witness the sultry moves of tango dancers, and indulge in mouthwatering Argentine steak and Malbec wine in this cosmopolitan capital.
What to Do in Buenos Aires
- Wander through La Boca: Explore the colorful neighborhood of La Boca, known for its vibrant street art, tango music, and bustling atmosphere. Visit Caminito, a street lined with brightly painted houses, and witness impromptu tango performances.
- Visit Recoleta Cemetery: Discover the grandeur of Recoleta Cemetery, a captivating maze of ornate mausoleums and monuments. Pay homage to the resting place of Eva Perón and other notable Argentinian figures.
- Tango Show and Milonga: Immerse yourself in the passion of tango by attending a traditional tango show or visiting a milonga, where locals gather to dance this iconic Argentine dance.
- Explore Palermo: Stroll through the trendy neighborhood of Palermo, filled with leafy parks, stylish boutiques, and trendy cafes. Visit the Japanese Garden, browse the unique shops, and savor delicious Argentine cuisine.
- Experience a Soccer Match: Attend a soccer match at one of Buenos Aires’ legendary stadiums, such as La Bombonera or El Monumental, and witness the electric atmosphere as passionate fans cheer on their favorite teams.
How to Get to Buenos Aires
To reach Buenos Aires, follow these steps:
- Fly to Ministro Pistarini International Airport (also known as Ezeiza International Airport) or Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, both located in Buenos Aires.
- From the airport, taxis, airport shuttles, and public transportation options are available to take you to your accommodation in the city.
Best Time to Visit Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit depends on personal preferences and desired activities. The months of spring (September to November) and fall (March to May) offer pleasant weather, with milder temperatures and fewer crowds. Summers (December to February) can be hot and humid, but they also bring lively street festivals and outdoor events. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life and want to witness passionate soccer matches, consider visiting during the soccer season, which runs from August to May.
Highlights of Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, the “Paris of South America,” captured my heart with its captivating blend of European elegance and Latin American
flair. In the vibrant streets of La Boca, I found myself immersed in a whirlwind of color, as tango dancers moved with passion and locals shared stories of resilience. Recoleta Cemetery was a solemn sanctuary, where art and history intersected among marble statues and hidden tales of the past. Palermo’s leafy parks and trendy shops offered a delightful escape, where the aromas of freshly brewed coffee mingled with the laughter of locals. And as the rhythmic beats of tango swept me away, I understood that Buenos Aires was more than a city—it was a soulful journey through time, culture, and the essence of Argentina itself.
Easter Island, Chile
Isolated in the Pacific Ocean, Easter Island is home to the enigmatic Moai statues. Explore the ancient archaeological sites, ponder the mysteries surrounding these colossal stone figures, and immerse yourself in the island’s Polynesian culture and breathtaking landscapes.
What to Do on Easter Island
- Marvel at the Moai Statues: Witness the enigmatic Moai statues, iconic symbols of Easter Island’s ancient civilization. Visit the Rano Raraku quarry, where the statues were carved, and explore the various sites scattered across the island.
- Visit Ahu Tongariki: Behold the stunning sight of 15 Moai statues standing in a row at Ahu Tongariki. This impressive display is one of the largest and most famous on the island, offering a remarkable photographic opportunity.
- Explore Orongo Ceremonial Village: Discover the archaeological site of Orongo, located on the rim of a volcanic crater. Learn about the intriguing Birdman cult and the ancient rituals that took place in this sacred place.
- Relax on Anakena Beach: Unwind on the picturesque shores of Anakena Beach, where pristine white sand meets crystal-clear turquoise waters. Take a dip in the ocean, visit the nearby Ahu Nau Nau, or simply bask in the tranquil surroundings.
- Discover Rapa Nui National Park: Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Rapa Nui National Park, encompassing a significant portion of Easter Island. Hike through volcanic landscapes, witness petroglyphs, and delve into the island’s rich cultural heritage.
How to Get to Easter Island
To reach Easter Island, follow these steps:
- Fly to Mataveri International Airport on Easter Island. Note that flights to the island are limited and mainly operate from Santiago, Chile.
- From the airport, taxis and shuttle services are available to transport you to your accommodation on the island.
Best Time to Visit Easter Island
Easter Island can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit depends on personal preferences. The months of December to February bring warmer temperatures and vibrant festivities, including the Tapati Rapa Nui festival, which showcases the island’s culture. Consider visiting during the shoulder months of spring (September to November) and fall (March to May) for milder weather and fewer tourists.
Highlights of Easter Island
As I set foot on the mystical land of Easter Island, a sense of awe and wonder enveloped me. The ancient guardians, the Moai statues, stood tall and proud, their enigmatic gazes hinting at long-lost secrets. Exploring the island’s archaeological sites, I uncovered the mysteries of the Birdman cult, immersing myself in the stories of a bygone era. The golden sands of Anakena Beach offered solace and serenity, a place to witness the union of land and sea. And amidst the rugged volcanic landscapes, the Rapa Nui people shared their vibrant culture, a testament to their resilience and connection with the land. Easter Island was a voyage to the edge of the world, where time stood still, and the echoes of an ancient civilization whispered in the wind.
Known as the “End of the World,” Ushuaia is the gateway to Antarctica and a paradise for nature lovers. Embark on expeditions to spot penguins, seals, and whales, traverse the stunning Tierra del Fuego National Park, and feel the awe-inspiring power of the icy landscapes at the southernmost city on Earth.
What to Do in Ushuaia
- Explore Tierra del Fuego National Park: Immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of Tierra del Fuego National Park. Hike through pristine forests, follow scenic trails, and marvel at the breathtaking views of mountains, lakes, and fjords.
- Navigate the Beagle Channel: Embark on a boat tour along the Beagle Channel, where you can spot diverse wildlife such as sea lions, penguins, and seabirds. Take in the dramatic coastal scenery and learn about the region’s rich maritime history.
- Visit the End of the World Museum: Discover the fascinating history and culture of Ushuaia at the End of the World Museum. Learn about the indigenous Yamana people, the area’s maritime heritage, and the adventures of early explorers.
- Ride the End of the World Train: Take a nostalgic journey aboard the historic End of the World Train, which follows the original route of the prisoners’ train to the Ushuaia Penitentiary. Enjoy panoramic views of the Tierra del Fuego landscapes.
- Trek to Martial Glacier: Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a trek to Martial Glacier. Admire the stunning vistas of Ushuaia, the Beagle Channel, and the surrounding mountains as you hike through rugged terrain.
How to Get to Ushuaia
To reach Ushuaia, follow these steps:
- Fly to Malvinas Argentinas International Airport, the main airport serving Ushuaia.
- From the airport, taxis or shuttle services are available to take you to your accommodation in Ushuaia.
Best Time to Visit Ushuaia
The best time to visit Ushuaia is during the summer months of December to February when the temperatures are milder, ranging from 5°C to 15°C (41°F to 59°F). This is also the peak tourist season, with longer daylight hours and more activities available. If you prefer fewer crowds and are interested in winter activities like skiing, consider visiting from June to August when the city transforms into a snowy wonderland.
Highlights of Ushuaia
Nestled at the southernmost tip of South America, Ushuaia embraced me with its wild beauty and rugged charm. As I ventured into Tierra del Fuego National Park, the vibrant colors of the landscape came alive, painting a picture of untamed wilderness. The Beagle Channel beckoned me, its shimmering waters calling me to discover its hidden treasures. At the End of the World Museum, I delved into the history of explorers who braved these inhospitable lands, their stories etched in every display. Riding the End of the World Train, I traveled back in time, reliving the echoes of a bygone era. And as I stood before the majestic Martial Glacier, I felt a sense of awe and wonder, realizing that in this remote corner of the world, nature reigns supreme. Ushuaia was a gateway to the extraordinary, an invitation to explore the edge of the Earth.
Patagonia, Argentina and Chile
A land of staggering beauty, Patagonia boasts majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and immense glaciers. Trek through the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Fitz Roy Massif, cruise along the icy blue waters of Perito Moreno Glacier, and immerse yourself in the untamed wilderness of this remote region.
What to Do in Patagonia
- Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina: Witness the awe-inspiring Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. Marvel at the towering ice formations, listen to the thunderous sounds of calving ice, and take a boat ride to get up close to the glacier.
- Torres del Paine National Park, Chile: Explore the breathtaking landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park. Hike through rugged trails, spot wildlife such as guanacos and condors, and admire the iconic granite peaks known as the Torres.
- Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina: Discover the stunning landscapes of Tierra del Fuego National Park, located at the southernmost tip of South America. Take scenic hikes, kayak through serene lakes and rivers, and immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of this remote wilderness.
- Fitz Roy, Argentina: Embark on a challenging trek to witness the majestic beauty of Mount Fitz Roy in Los Glaciares National Park. Hike through forests, cross crystal-clear rivers, and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the iconic granite spires.
- Cape Horn, Chile: Sail to the legendary Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America. Experience the fierce winds and turbulent waters that have challenged sailors for centuries and pay homage to the brave souls who ventured into these treacherous seas.
How to Get to Patagonia
To explore Patagonia, follow these general steps:
- Fly to the nearest major airport, such as Buenos Aires in Argentina or Santiago in Chile.
- From there, take a domestic flight to regional airports serving Patagonia, such as El Calafate or Ushuaia in Argentina, or Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales in Chile.
- Once in Patagonia, you can arrange guided tours, rent a car, or use public transportation to explore the different national parks and attractions.
Best Time to Visit Patagonia
The best time to visit Patagonia is during the summer season, which spans from December to February. During these months, the weather is milder, and the days are longer, allowing for more outdoor activities and exploration. However, it’s essential to note that Patagonia’s weather can be unpredictable, and temperatures can still be chilly, so be prepared with appropriate clothing layers. Spring (September to November) and fall (March to May) are also good seasons to visit, offering beautiful autumn colors or the blooming of wildflowers, with fewer tourists compared to the peak summer season.
Highlights of Patagonia
Patagonia, a land of staggering beauty, beckoned me with its untamed landscapes and raw wilderness. Standing in front of the majestic Perito Moreno Glacier, I witnessed nature’s power as massive chunks of ice crashed into the turquoise waters below. The wind-swept plains of Torres del Paine National Park mesmerized me, their dramatic peaks and pristine lakes creating a symphony of natural wonders. In Tierra del Fuego National Park, I wandered through ancient forests, surrounded by the echoes of the indigenous Yamana people who once called this place home. The challenging trek to Fitz Roy rewarded me with panoramic vistas, where the rugged mountains pierced the sky, leaving me in awe of their grandeur. And as I sailed to Cape Horn, the swirling currents and gusting winds reminded me of the explorers who braved these treacherous waters. Patagonia was a place where nature reigned supreme, where the spirit of adventure thrived, and where the wild called me to uncover its secrets.
La Paz, Bolivia
Nestled in the Andes Mountains, La Paz enchants with its dramatic setting and vibrant cultural scene. Explore the bustling markets of Witches’ Market, ride the thrilling cable cars overlooking the city, and discover the rich indigenous heritage and folklore that permeates the streets of this high-altitude capital.
What to Do in La Paz
- Explore the Witches’ Market: Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and mystical atmosphere of La Paz’s Witches’ Market. Discover traditional herbal remedies, unique handicrafts, and traditional Andean textiles.
- Ride the Teleférico: Take a breathtaking ride on the Teleférico, the cable car system that offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. Glide above the bustling streets, capturing the city’s vibrant energy from above.
- Visit the Moon Valley: Journey to the Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna), a surreal landscape of eroded clay formations resembling a lunar surface. Walk through the maze-like canyons, marvel at the unique rock formations, and enjoy the tranquility of this natural wonder.
- Explore the Historic Center: Wander through the historic center of La Paz, admiring the colonial architecture and grand plazas. Visit the impressive San Francisco Church and explore the vibrant street markets that offer a variety of local products.
- Sample Local Cuisine: Indulge in traditional Bolivian cuisine by trying local delicacies such as salteñas (baked savory pastries), anticuchos (grilled skewers), and the famous llama meat dishes. Savor the flavors of Bolivia’s rich culinary heritage.
How to Get to La Paz
To reach La Paz, follow these steps:
- Fly to El Alto International Airport, located just outside of La Paz.
- From the airport, taxis or airport shuttles are available to transport you to your accommodation in La Paz.
Best Time to Visit La Paz
The best time to visit La Paz is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. During these months, the weather is generally mild, with clear skies and pleasant temperatures during the day. This is also the peak tourist season, so expect more crowds. If you don’t mind cooler temperatures, the shoulder months of April and November can be a good alternative, offering fewer tourists and potential cost savings.
Highlights of La Paz
La Paz, a city perched on the edge of the Andes, welcomed me with a blend of ancient traditions and modern vibrancy. The Witches’ Market beckoned me into a world
of mysticism, where traditional remedies mingled with colorful textiles. From the heights of the Teleférico, the city unfolded before my eyes, its jagged peaks and sprawling markets revealing the pulse of daily life. In the Moon Valley, I wandered through an otherworldly landscape, where the whims of erosion had sculpted nature’s artwork. The historic center told tales of conquest and resilience, as colonial architecture stood as a testament to the city’s heritage. And as the aroma of sizzling anticuchos filled the air, I savored the flavors of La Paz, knowing that each bite carried a piece of Bolivia’s rich culinary tapestry. La Paz was a sensory journey, where tradition intertwined with innovation, and where the soul of Bolivia was laid bare.
Amazon River, Multiple Countries
Embark on a mesmerizing journey along the mighty Amazon River, winding its way through dense rainforests and remote villages. Witness the astonishing array of flora and fauna, encounter pink river dolphins, and immerse yourself in the rhythms of the Amazon as you traverse this iconic waterway.
What to Do on the Amazon River
- Wildlife Spotting: Embark on a thrilling wildlife spotting adventure on the Amazon River. Look out for pink dolphins, caimans, giant river otters, and a myriad of colorful bird species. Take guided boat tours or venture into smaller tributaries for a more intimate experience.
- Jungle Trekking: Immerse yourself in the lush rainforest by taking guided jungle treks. Discover unique flora and fauna, learn about medicinal plants, and listen to the captivating sounds of the jungle as you explore its hidden trails.
- Visit Indigenous Communities: Engage with indigenous communities living along the Amazon River. Gain insights into their traditional way of life, learn about their customs, and hear fascinating stories passed down through generations.
- Canoe Excursions: Paddle through tranquil waterways on a traditional canoe excursion. Glide silently through narrow channels and flooded forests, allowing you to get up close to the astonishing biodiversity and intricate ecosystems of the Amazon.
- Sunrise and Sunset Cruises: Witness the magic of the Amazon at sunrise and sunset by taking serene boat cruises. Watch as the jungle comes alive with vibrant colors and listen to the symphony of sounds while the sun paints the sky in breathtaking hues.
How to Explore the Amazon River
Exploring the Amazon River requires careful planning and choosing the right starting point. Here are some general steps to consider:
- Fly to major cities with access to the Amazon, such as Manaus in Brazil, Iquitos in Peru, or Leticia in Colombia.
- From the city, join organized tours or hire local guides who will take you to remote river locations. These tours typically include accommodation, transportation, and guided activities.
- Research reputable tour operators and choose ones that prioritize sustainability and responsible tourism practices.
- Be prepared for the region’s unique challenges, such as high humidity, mosquitoes, and basic accommodations. Pack appropriate clothing, insect repellent, and necessary medications.
- Crossing the Amazon River by Boat is one of the best experiences in life that become unforgettable greatest adventures.
Best Time to Visit the Amazon River
The Amazon River can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit depends on personal preferences. The wet season, from December to May, brings higher water levels and more opportunities for wildlife spotting and exploring smaller tributaries. However, this period also means more rain and increased humidity. The dry season, from June to November, offers lower water levels, making it easier to navigate certain areas. It also brings fewer mosquitoes and more accessible trails. Consider your preferred activities and weather conditions when planning your visit.
Highlights of the Amazon River
As I sailed along the vast waters of the Amazon River, a sense of wonder engulfed me. The dense rainforest enveloped me in its emerald embrace, teeming with life and secrets waiting to be discovered. Spotting a playful pink dolphin breaking the surface, I realized I was entering a world untouched by time. Guided jungle treks led me through a labyrinth of towering trees, revealing hidden wonders at every turn. The vibrant colors of exotic birds painted the sky, their songs harmonizing with the rhythm of the river. Visiting indigenous communities, I witnessed the wisdom of ancient cultures, their connection to the land, and their profound respect for nature. In the tranquil moments of sunrise and sunset, the Amazon River revealed its mystical allure, painting the horizon in hues of gold and crimson. The Amazon River was a journey into the heart of Mother Nature, where every breath carried the promise of adventure, and the echoes of the rainforest whispered tales of resilience and harmony.
Colca Canyon, Peru
Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon is a breathtaking natural wonder in Peru. Trek along its precipitous trails, spot majestic Andean condors soaring overhead, and marvel at the terraced agricultural fields and traditional villages that dot the canyon’s steep slopes.
What to Do in Colca Canyon
- Admire the Condors: Witness the awe-inspiring flight of the Andean condors as they soar above Colca Canyon. Visit the Cruz del Cóndor viewpoint, where you can observe these magnificent birds up close as they glide through the deep canyon.
- Hike the Colca Canyon Trails: Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a trek through the stunning trails of Colca Canyon. Marvel at the dramatic landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and terraced fields as you explore one of the world’s deepest canyons.
- Relax in the Hot Springs: Unwind and rejuvenate your body in the natural hot springs located in the vicinity of Colca Canyon. Immerse yourself in the warm, therapeutic waters and enjoy the surrounding picturesque views.
- Visit Chivay and Yanque: Explore the charming towns of Chivay and Yanque, situated in the Colca Valley. Experience the local culture, visit traditional markets, and discover colonial churches adorned with intricate artwork.
- Experience Traditional Culture: Engage with the local communities in Colca Canyon and learn about their traditional way of life. Participate in cultural activities, witness traditional dances, and try local cuisine.
How to Get to Colca Canyon
To reach Colca Canyon, follow these steps:
- Fly to Arequipa, Peru’s second-largest city and the gateway to Colca Canyon.
- From Arequipa, take a bus or arrange a guided tour to travel to the town of Chivay, which serves as the main base for exploring Colca Canyon.
Best Time to Visit Colca Canyon
The best time to visit Colca Canyon is during the dry season, which is from May to September. During these months, the weather is generally dry and sunny, making it easier to hike and explore the canyon. The condors are also more active during this period. However, be prepared for cooler temperatures, especially in the early morning and evening. If you don’t mind slightly wetter conditions, the shoulder months of April and October can also be good options, offering fewer tourists and a greener landscape.
Highlights of Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon, a breathtaking natural wonder, invited me to embrace its grandeur and discover the hidden treasures within its depths. As the mighty Andean condors glided above the canyon, I felt a sense of awe and reverence for these majestic creatures. Hiking along the winding trails, I marveled at the sheer magnitude of the canyon walls, their rugged beauty reminding me of the Earth’s raw power. The hot springs offered a moment of respite, where the warm waters soothed my weary muscles, and the tranquil surroundings enveloped me in serenity. In Chivay and Yanque, I immersed myself in the vibrant culture of the Colca Valley, witnessing traditional dances and savoring the flavors of Peruvian cuisine. Colca Canyon was a testament to the extraordinary forces of nature, a place where time stood still and the spirit of the Andes resonated in every gust of wind.
Salvador, the vibrant capital of Bahia, pulsates with Afro-Brazilian culture, colonial heritage, and beautiful beaches. Immerse yourself in the lively rhythms of samba, explore the historic Pelourinho district with its colorful buildings, and savor the tantalizing flavors of Bahian cuisine.
What to Do in Salvador
- Explore Pelourinho: Wander through the colorful streets of Pelourinho, Salvador’s historic center and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the colonial architecture, visit the vibrant churches, and immerse yourself in the rich Afro-Brazilian culture.
- Visit Mercado Modelo: Explore Mercado Modelo, a bustling market where you can find local handicrafts, artwork, and traditional souvenirs. Experience the lively atmosphere, taste regional cuisine, and interact with local vendors.
- Enjoy the Beaches: Relax and soak up the sun on the beautiful beaches of Salvador. From Porto da Barra, known for its crystal-clear waters, to Flamengo Beach, offering tranquil stretches of sand, there’s a beach for every preference.
- Attend a Capoeira Performance: Immerse yourself in the Afro-Brazilian martial art of Capoeira. Watch captivating performances that combine acrobatics, music, and dance, showcasing the cultural heritage of Salvador.
- Try Bahian Cuisine: Indulge in the flavors of Bahian cuisine, known for its vibrant and spicy dishes. Savor traditional delicacies like acarajé (deep-fried black-eyed pea balls filled with shrimp), moqueca (a fish stew with coconut milk), and cocada (coconut candy).
How to Get to Salvador
To reach Salvador, follow these steps:
- Fly to Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport, the main airport serving Salvador.
- From the airport, taxis or airport shuttles are available to transport you to your accommodation in Salvador.
Best Time to Visit Salvador
The best time to visit Salvador is during the dry season, which extends from December to March. During this time, you can enjoy sunny days and warm temperatures perfect for beach visits and outdoor activities. The city also comes alive with vibrant festivals and street parties, such as Carnival. If you prefer to avoid crowds and are more interested in cultural events, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April to June or September to November.
Highlights of Salvador
As I walked the colorful streets of Salvador, the vibrant heartbeat of Afro-Brazilian culture pulsated through every corner. Pelourinho’s ornate facades transported me back to a time of colonial grandeur, while the rhythmic beats of Capoeira echoed in the squares. The bustling Mercado Modelo enticed me with its sensory delights, from the scents of spices to the intricate craftsmanship of local artisans. Basking in the golden sun on Porto da Barra Beach, I felt the spirit of Salvador, a city where the joys of life intertwine with the rhythms of the sea. And as I indulged in the fiery flavors of Bahian cuisine, I discovered a gastronomic tapestry that celebrated the fusion of African, Indigenous, and Portuguese influences. Salvador was a city of vibrant colors, joyful melodies, and warm embraces—a place where the past and present danced together in perfect harmony.
Valparaiso is a bohemian paradise with its maze-like streets, colorful houses, and vibrant street art. Ride the funiculars up the hills to discover hidden viewpoints, explore the eclectic boutiques and art galleries, and soak in the city’s rich maritime history and cultural heritage.
The Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland, lures nature lovers with its unparalleled biodiversity. Embark on wildlife safaris to spot jaguars, caimans, and capybaras, navigate the meandering rivers to observe rare bird species, and witness the dramatic seasonal transformations of this enchanting ecosystem.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
Plunging dramatically from the Auyán-tepui plateau, Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall. Journey deep into Venezuela’s Canaima National Park, hike through lush rainforests, and marvel at the awe-inspiring sight of the cascading waters as they plummet into the picturesque Devil’s Canyon.
Sacred Valley, Peru
Nestled in the heart of the Andes, the Sacred Valley offers a glimpse into the ancient Inca civilization. Explore the impressive ruins
of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, visit vibrant traditional markets, and soak in the spiritual energy of this picturesque valley surrounded by towering peaks.
What to Do in Sacred Valley
- Visit Machu Picchu: Explore the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Marvel at the magnificent stone structures, intricate terraces, and breathtaking mountain views.
- Explore Ollantaytambo: Discover the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo, a well-preserved Inca fortress and town. Climb the terraces, explore the temples, and learn about the fascinating Inca history and engineering.
- Pisac Market: Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and flavors of the Pisac Market. Browse through local handicrafts, textiles, and fresh produce. Engage with local artisans and savor traditional Peruvian cuisine.
- Maras Salt Mines: Visit the unique salt mines of Maras, where salt has been harvested for centuries. Witness the striking panorama of thousands of salt pools cascading down the mountainside, creating a stunning visual spectacle.
- Moray Archaeological Site: Explore the Moray archaeological site, known for its remarkable circular terraces. Learn about the Inca agricultural experiments and appreciate the ingenuity behind these ancient structures.
How to Get to Sacred Valley
To reach Sacred Valley, follow these steps:
- Fly to Cusco, the nearest major city and the gateway to Sacred Valley.
- From Cusco, you can hire a private car, join a guided tour, or take a public bus to explore the various sites within the Sacred Valley.
Best Time to Visit Sacred Valley
The best time to visit Sacred Valley is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During these months, the weather is generally clear and dry, making it easier to explore the archaeological sites and enjoy outdoor activities. It’s important to note that the area can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season. If you prefer fewer crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April or October when the weather is still favorable, and there are fewer visitors.
Highlights of Sacred Valley
Sacred Valley, nestled in the Andean highlands of Peru, bewitched me with its timeless beauty and rich cultural heritage. The mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu transported me to a bygone era, where the ancient Inca civilization thrived amidst awe-inspiring mountain peaks. In Ollantaytambo, the imposing fortress revealed the Inca’s mastery of architecture and strategic planning. The vibrant Pisac Market dazzled me with its kaleidoscope of colors and textures, a testament to the region’s artistic craftsmanship. At the Maras Salt Mines, I witnessed the ingenious salt extraction methods passed down through generations. And in Moray, the enigmatic circular terraces captivated my imagination, inviting me to contemplate the Inca’s advanced agricultural practices. Sacred Valley was a tapestry of ancient wonders, where the whispers of history mingled with the vibrant spirit of the Andes.
Galeria de Arte Nacional, Venezuela
Immerse yourself in Venezuela’s artistic heritage at the Galeria de Arte Nacional. Admire a diverse collection of local and international art, ranging from traditional to contemporary, as you explore the halls of this cultural institution dedicated to showcasing the country’s rich artistic expression.
What to Do at Galeria de Arte Nacional
- Discover Venezuelan Art: Explore the diverse collection of Venezuelan art at the Galeria de Arte Nacional. Admire works by renowned Venezuelan artists, spanning various periods and artistic movements, including colonial, modern, and contemporary art.
- Experience Cultural Exhibitions: Attend temporary exhibitions that showcase the richness and diversity of Venezuelan culture. From traditional crafts to contemporary installations, these exhibits provide insights into the country’s artistic expressions.
- Learn about Venezuelan History: Delve into the historical context of Venezuela through the artwork displayed at the gallery. Gain a deeper understanding of the country’s past, its people, and their struggles and triumphs through visual storytelling.
- Attend Workshops and Events: Participate in workshops, lectures, and events organized by the Galeria de Arte Nacional. Engage with local artists, learn about different artistic techniques, and broaden your knowledge of Venezuelan art and culture.
- Appreciate the Architecture: Marvel at the architectural beauty of the gallery building itself, which showcases elements of neoclassical and colonial styles. Take in the grandeur of the space as you navigate its halls and galleries.
How to Get to Galeria de Arte Nacional
To reach the Galeria de Arte Nacional, follow these steps:
- Fly to Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela.
- From Caracas, you can take a taxi or public transportation to reach the Galeria de Arte Nacional, located within the city.
Best Time to Visit Galeria de Arte Nacional
The Galeria de Arte Nacional can be visited year-round. It’s recommended to check the gallery’s operating hours and any special exhibitions or events taking place during your visit. Weekdays tend to be less crowded compared to weekends. Please note that it’s essential to stay informed about the current political and security situation in Venezuela before planning your trip.
Highlights of Galeria de Arte Nacional
The Galeria de Arte Nacional in Caracas offered me a gateway into the vibrant world of Venezuelan art. As I wandered through its halls, I discovered the diverse expressions of Venezuelan artists, from the delicate strokes of colonial-era painters to the bold and thought-provoking works of modern and contemporary artists. The gallery became a cultural time capsule, unveiling the stories and identities of the Venezuelan people. I immersed myself in the rich tapestry of their history, struggles, and triumphs, as portrayed through the medium of art. Attending workshops and events allowed me to engage with local artists, learning about their inspirations and creative processes. The gallery’s architecture itself was a work of art, its neoclassical and colonial influences creating a grand and awe-inspiring backdrop for the artwork. The Galeria de Arte Nacional was a sanctuary of artistic expression, a place where Venezuelan culture and heritage converged, inviting me to explore and appreciate the profound beauty of this nation’s artistic soul.
Bariloche, nestled in the Argentine Andes, captivates with its stunning alpine landscapes and enchanting charm. Indulge in world-class chocolate, hit the slopes in the winter ski resorts, and embark on picturesque hikes that reveal crystal-clear lakes, snow-capped peaks, and lush forests.
What to Do in Bariloche
- Explore Nahuel Huapi Lake: Discover the stunning Nah
uel Huapi Lake, one of the largest and most picturesque lakes in Argentina. Take a boat tour, go kayaking, or simply relax on the lakeshore, surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery.
- Visit Cerro Catedral: Embark on an adventure to Cerro Catedral, one of South America’s premier ski resorts. Enjoy thrilling winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding or explore the area during the summer months through hiking and mountain biking.
- Take the Circuito Chico: Drive or cycle the Circuito Chico, a scenic route that offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and forests. Stop at viewpoints, visit charming Swiss-style chalets, and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
- Indulge in Chocolate Delights: Bariloche is famous for its delectable chocolates. Visit local chocolate shops, indulge in handmade treats, and learn about the chocolate-making process through factory tours and tastings.
- Hike in Nahuel Huapi National Park: Lace up your hiking boots and explore the trails of Nahuel Huapi National Park. Immerse yourself in the stunning alpine landscapes, discover hidden waterfalls, and encounter diverse flora and fauna.
How to Get to Bariloche
To reach Bariloche, follow these steps:
- Fly to Teniente Luis Candelaria International Airport, located near San Carlos de Bariloche.
- From the airport, you can take a taxi or a shuttle bus to reach your accommodation in Bariloche.
Best Time to Visit Bariloche
The best time to visit Bariloche depends on your interests and the activities you plan to undertake.
- Winter (June to September): If you’re interested in skiing and snow sports, visit during the winter months when the slopes of Cerro Catedral are covered in snow.
- Summer (December to February): For outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and lake exploration, the summer months offer pleasant weather and longer daylight hours.
- Shoulder Seasons: Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) can be great times to visit, with fewer crowds and mild weather. However, note that weather conditions can vary, and some attractions or activities may have limited availability during these periods.
Highlights of Bariloche
Bariloche, nestled in the heart of Argentina’s Lake District, beckoned me with its alpine charm and natural beauty. The turquoise waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake reflected the snow-capped peaks, creating a picturesque scene that enchanted me from the first moment. As I explored Cerro Catedral, adrenaline coursed through my veins as I glided down the slopes, immersing myself in the thrill of winter sports. Driving along the Circuito Chico, I felt the serenity of the landscape wash over me, as each bend in the road revealed a new vista of majestic mountains and shimmering lakes. The scent of chocolate filled the air, leading me to indulgent chocolate shops, where I savored artisanal treats made with love and expertise. And within Nahuel Huapi National Park, I hiked amidst ancient forests, stumbled upon hidden waterfalls, and marveled at the diverse flora and fauna that call this wilderness home. Bariloche was a sanctuary of natural wonders, a place where breathtaking landscapes and sweet indulgence coexisted in perfect harmony.
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is a UNESCO World Heritage site brimming with history and natural beauty. Marvel at the well-preserved colonial architecture, stroll through picturesque plazas, and take in the breathtaking views from the surrounding volcanic peaks that dot the city’s skyline.
What to Do in Quito
- Explore the Historic Center: Wander through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Historic Center of Quito, known for its well-preserved colonial architecture. Visit the impressive La Compañía de Jesús Church, stroll along the cobblestone streets, and admire the Plaza de la Independencia.
- Take a Cable Car to Pichincha Volcano: Ride the TelefériQo cable car to the slopes of Pichincha Volcano. Enjoy panoramic views of Quito and the surrounding valleys, and go for a hike along the trails to appreciate the natural beauty of the area.
- Visit the Middle of the World Monument: Discover the Mitad del Mundo, a monument marking the equator line. Stand with one foot in each hemisphere and learn about the scientific and cultural significance of this unique location.
- Explore the Museums: Immerse yourself in Ecuadorian culture and history by visiting the numerous museums in Quito. From the Museo Nacional del Ecuador to the Museo de la Ciudad, there are fascinating exhibits that offer insights into the country’s past and present.
- Taste Local Cuisine: Indulge in the flavors of Ecuadorian cuisine. Sample traditional dishes such as ceviche, locro de papa (potato soup), and empanadas. Don’t forget to try the famous Ecuadorian chocolate and sip on a cup of aromatic Andean coffee.
How to Get to Quito
To reach Quito, follow these steps:
- Fly to Mariscal Sucre International Airport, located near Quito, the capital city of Ecuador.
- From the airport, taxis, airport shuttles, or public transportation are available to take you to your accommodation in Quito.
Best Time to Visit Quito
Quito enjoys a mild climate year-round due to its location near the equator, but the weather can vary depending on the altitude. The best time to visit Quito is during the dry season, which runs from June to September. During these months, the weather is generally sunny and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the city and its surroundings. It’s recommended to dress in layers as temperatures can change throughout the day, especially in the evenings. The wet season, from October to May, brings more rainfall, but it’s still possible to visit during this time and experience the vibrant cultural events and festivals that take place in Quito.
Highlights of Quito
Quito, with its rich history and stunning landscapes, captivated me from the moment I arrived. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Historic Center welcomed me with its colonial charm, where ornate churches and grand plazas whispered tales of the past. Ascending Pichincha Volcano in the cable car, I stood in awe of the city spread out beneath me, a patchwork of red-tiled roofs and vibrant markets. The Middle of the World Monument transported me to the very center of the Earth, an exhilarating experience that reminded me of humanity’s connection to the planet. Museums beckoned me to delve deeper into Ecuadorian culture, showcasing art, history, and the incredible diversity of the country. And through my taste buds, I discovered the flavors of Ecuador, from the tangy ceviche to the rich aromas of Andean coffee. Quito was a city where past and present intertwined, where natural wonders and cultural heritage coexisted in perfect harmony, leaving an indelible mark on my journey through Ecuador.
Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire, is a treasure trove of ancient wonders and cultural heritage. Wander through the cobblestone streets of the historic center, visit the awe-inspiring ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Qorikancha, and embrace the fusion of Inca and Spanish colonial influences that define this enchanting city.
What to Do in Cusco
- Explore the Historic Center: Immerse yourself in the historic center of Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll through the narrow streets, visit the magnificent Plaza de Armas, and marvel at the impressive architecture of the Cusco Cathedral and Qoricancha.
- Visit Sacsayhuaman: Explore the ancient Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, located on the outskirts of Cusco. Admire the massive stone walls and marvel at the engineering prowess of the Inca civilization.
- Discover the Sacred Valley: Embark on a day trip to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a region dotted with ancient ruins, picturesque villages, and terraced agricultural sites. Visit Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero to immerse yourself in the rich Inca history and enjoy breathtaking mountain scenery.
- Take a Train to Machu Picchu: Journey to the iconic Machu Picchu by taking a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. Marvel at the awe-inspiring Inca citadel, explore its ruins, and soak in the mystical atmosphere of this world-renowned site.
- Experience Local Markets and Cuisine: Visit the vibrant San Pedro Market in Cusco, where you can find an array of local produce, handicrafts, and traditional Peruvian dishes. Try the famous Andean delicacy of cuy (guinea pig) or savor the flavors of Peruvian ceviche and quinoa-based dishes.
How to Get to Cusco
To reach Cusco, follow these steps:
- Fly to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, located near Cusco, Peru.
- From the airport, taxis or airport shuttles are available to take you to your accommodation in Cusco.
Best Time to Visit Cusco
The best time to visit Cusco is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. These months offer pleasant weather with warm days and cool nights, making it ideal for exploring the city and undertaking outdoor activities. The dry season also aligns with the peak tourist season, so it’s important to book accommodations and tours in advance. If you prefer fewer crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April or October when the weather is still favorable, and there are fewer visitors. It’s worth noting that Cusco’s elevation may affect some visitors, so it’s important to take time to acclimate to the altitude.
Highlights of Cusco
Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire, embraced me with its ancient mystique and vibrant culture. The city’s historic center welcomed me with its colonial charm and Inca remnants, where I wandered through cobblestone streets, discovering hidden plazas and ornate churches. Sacsayhuaman stood as a testament to the Inca’s engineering brilliance, its colossal stone walls leaving me in awe of the civilization that once thrived here. Exploring the Sacred Valley, I marveled at the agricultural terraces that clung to the mountainsides and encountered the warm hospitality of the local communities. A train journey to Machu Picchu transported me to a realm of wonder, where ancient ruins perched atop misty mountains whispered tales of a bygone era. And as I indulged in the flavors of Cusco, from the vibrant San Pedro Market to the traditional dishes that delighted my taste buds, I felt the vibrant pulse of Peruvian cuisine. Cusco was a city that captivated my heart, weaving together the threads of history, culture, and natural beauty, leaving an indelible mark on my journey through Peru.
Titicaca Lake, Bolivia
Titicaca Lake, straddling the border of Bolivia and Peru, is one of the most remarkable natural wonders in South America. As the largest lake in South America by volume and one of the highest navigable lakes in the world, it holds great cultural and historical significance. Titicaca Lake is known for its stunning beauty, with crystal-clear blue waters stretching as far as the eye can see, framed by towering mountains and picturesque islands. Exploring the lake, visitors can discover the enchanting Isla del Sol, the largest island on the lake, where ancient Inca ruins, terraced hillsides, and agricultural sites offer a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage.
What to Do at Titicaca Lake
- Explore Isla del Sol: Visit Isla del Sol, the largest island on Lake Titicaca, and discover its Inca ruins, terraced hillsides, and ancient agricultural sites. Enjoy breathtaking views of the lake and immerse yourself in the mystical atmosphere of this sacred place.
- Visit Taquile Island: Experience the traditional way of life on Taquile Island, known for its vibrant textiles and handicrafts. Explore the island, interact with the local community, and learn about their customs and traditions.
- Uros Floating Islands: Take a boat tour to the Uros Floating Islands, a unique community built on floating reed islands. Learn about the lifestyle and customs of the Uros people, and even have the opportunity to ride in a traditional reed boat.
- Puno City: Explore the city of Puno, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Visit the colonial-era Cathedral Basilica of St. Charles Borromeo, stroll along the pedestrian-only Jiron Lima street, and experience the vibrant local culture.
- Enjoy Lake Activities: Take advantage of the natural beauty of Lake Titicaca by going kayaking, paddleboarding, or taking a boat ride to explore the lake’s pristine waters and captivating landscapes.
How to Get to Titicaca Lake
To reach Lake Titicaca, follow these steps:
- Fly to Juliaca International Airport, located near Puno, Peru.
- From Juliaca, take a taxi or arrange transportation to Puno, a city on Lake Titicaca’s shores.
- From Puno, you can join organized tours or hire a boat to explore different islands and attractions on Lake Titicaca.
Best Time to Visit Titicaca Lake
The best time to visit Lake Titicaca is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. During these months, the weather is generally sunny and dry, allowing for clear views and comfortable exploration of the islands. However, it can get chilly, especially at night, so bringing warm layers is advisable. The wet season, from November to April, brings more rainfall, but it’s still possible to visit during this time. The landscapes are lush, and the lake’s water levels are higher, providing a different perspective and unique photography opportunities.
Highlights of Titicaca Lake
With its serene waters and mystical islands, Titicaca Lake cast a spell on me from the moment I arrived. Exploring Isla del Sol, I walked in the footsteps of the Incas, tracing their ancient paths and uncovering the remnants of their civilization. Taquile Island revealed a vibrant tapestry of culture and craftsmanship, where traditional textiles whispered stories of centuries-old traditions. Floating on the Uros Islands, I marveled at the ingenuity of the people who built their homes atop floating reed platforms, maintaining a unique way of life in harmony with nature. Puno, a city on the shores of the lake, welcomed me with its colonial charm and lively streets, offering glimpses into local Andean culture. As I ventured onto the pristine waters of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, I marveled at the expansive views and tranquility that enveloped me. Titicaca Lake was a realm of ancient mysticism and natural beauty, where time seemed to stand still, allowing me to connect with the rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes that define this unique region.
Santarém, located in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, is a captivating destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. This vibrant city sits at the confluence of the Amazon and Tapajós rivers, creating a picturesque setting that captivates visitors. Santarém is known for its stunning white sandy beaches, particularly Alter do Chão Beach, often referred to as the “Caribbean of the Amazon.” Here, visitors can relax on the pristine shores, swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Tapajós River, and soak up the sun in a tranquil tropical paradise. The region is also renowned for its fascinating floating communities on Maica Lake, where visitors can immerse themselves in the traditional way of life, witness sustainable fishing practices, and learn about the customs and traditions of the local inhabitants.
What to Do in Santarém
- Explore Alter do Chão Beach: Visit Alter do Chão Beach, often called the “Caribbean of the Amazon.” Relax on the white sandy beaches, swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Tapajós River, and enjoy the stunning natural surroundings.
- Witness the Meeting of the Waters: Take a boat tour to witness the unique phenomenon known as the Meeting of the Waters. Watch as the Amazon River’s dark waters merge with the Tapajós River’s clear waters, creating a striking contrast.
- Visit the Maica Lake: Explore the Maica Lake and its floating communities, known as “várzea.” Experience the traditional way of life of the local inhabitants, learn about their customs and traditions, and witness their sustainable fishing practices.
- Discover the Tapajós National Forest: Venture into the Tapajós National Forest and immerse yourself in the Amazon rainforest. Take guided hikes to observe the diverse flora and fauna, and learn about the importance of preserving this unique ecosystem.
- Indulge in Amazonian Cuisine: Sample the flavors of Amazonian cuisine in Santarém. Try local dishes such as tucunaré (Amazonian fish), tacacá (a traditional soup), and açaí bowls made with fresh fruits from the region.
How to Get to Santarém
To reach Santarém, follow these steps:
- Fly to Santarém-Maestro Wilson Fonseca Airport, located near Santarém, Brazil.
- From the airport, taxis or local transportation options are available to take you to your accommodation in Santarém.
Best Time to Visit Santarém
The best time to visit Santarém is during the dry season, which runs from June to November. During these months, the weather is generally sunny with lower chances of rainfall, allowing for more outdoor activities and exploration of the region. From December to May, the wet season brings more frequent rain showers and higher water levels, which can affect access to certain areas. However, the wet season also showcases the lushness of the Amazon rainforest and provides a unique opportunity to witness the region’s biodiversity.
Highlights of Santarém
Santarém, nestled in the heart of the Amazon, fascinated me with its blend of natural wonders and cultural richness. Alter do Chão Beach beckoned me with its pristine beauty, inviting me to unwind on its sandy shores and immerse myself in the turquoise waters of the Tapajós River. Witnessing the Meeting of the Waters, where the Amazon and Tapajós rivers harmoniously converged, was a sight that left me in awe of the power and beauty of nature. The Maica Lake revealed a world where floating communities coexisted with the river’s rhythms, offering insights into the traditions and sustainable practices of the local inhabitants. Venturing into the Tapajós National Forest, I marveled at the sheer diversity of the Amazon rainforest, surrounded by towering trees, vibrant wildlife, and the symphony of nature. And as I indulged in the flavors of Amazonian cuisine, I discovered the tantalizing combination of exotic ingredients and local traditions. Santarém was a gateway to the enchanting Amazon, where the spirit of the rainforest embraced me, and the natural wonders captivated my senses, leaving an indelible mark on my journey through Brazil.
The best places to visit in South America
South America, a continent of breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cultures, and rich history, offers adventurous travelers a tapestry of unforgettable experiences. From the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru to the pristine wilderness of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, South America beckons with its diversity and beauty. On this page, you will surely not see references to the least visited countries in the world, but we will delve into 25 must-visit places in South America.
Immerse yourself in the mysteries of the Galapagos Islands, where unique wildlife roams freely, or venture deep into the heart of the Amazon Rainforest to discover the wonders of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystem. Explore the colonial charm of Cartagena in Colombia, or soak in the lively rhythms of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Marvel at the natural wonders of Iguazu Falls, Angel Falls, and Salar de Uyuni, where nature showcases its awe-inspiring power and beauty.