South America is a continent of superlatives:the highest lake, the driest desert, the largest waterfall… Well, you get the picture.
Environmentalistswill enjoy the amazing fauna in the Amazon, while shoppers can choose between upscaleboutiques in big cities like Rio de Janeiro or the colorful markets of Andean villages.
You can explore lost cities of ancient civilizations, feast your eyes on stunning scenery almosteverywhere you go or you can try out the local cuisine.
It’s your choice, and South Americagives you lots of them.
Here’s a look at the best places to visit in South America: Number 21.
Cartagena is a major city on Colombia’sCaribbean coast.
It was founded by the Spanish in 1533, who named it after Cartagena, Spain.
During Spain’s domination in South America, the city was the center of politics and theeconomy.
It is a quite modern city today, but you’ll find walled historic center andthe fortress, deemed the largest fortifications in South America, that defended it.
Cartagenahas a rich cultural scene, with festivals throughout the year; museums and art galleries.
With its beautiful Old Town that showcasessuch a delightful array of 17th and 18th-Century colonial architecture, Salvador is certainlya charming city to behold.
Its rich, Afro-Brazilian culture and vibrant arts scene shine through, and it´s an intoxicating and lively place to be, particularly during carnival.
Locatedon the huge All Saints Bay, the city´s setting only adds to its attractiveness.
While theOld Town with its cobbled streets, historic sites and interesting museums, is the highlightof Salvador, the feel about the place is infectious.
Los Glaciares National Park.
They don’t do things in a small way in LosGlaciares National Park.
Not only is the park the largest national park in Argentina, itis home to the largest ice cap outside of Greenland and Antarctica – an ice cap thatfeeds 47 large glaciers.
The most famous of these is the Perito Moreno glacier.
The parkalso is home to Lake Argentino, the largest in the country.
While the glaciers are locatedin the southern section of the park, the northern section features majestic mountains such asMount Fitz Roy, offering hiking and mountain climbing.
The Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland, lying mostly in Western Brazil but extendinginto Bolivia and Paraguay as well.
Famous for its wildlife, it is one of Brazil’smajor tourist attractions.
Unlike the Amazon rainforest, in the Pantanal you are virtuallyguaranteed to actually see the wildlife.
Capybara and Caiman are present in the millions.
ThePantanal is also home to one of the largest Jaguar populations in the Americas.
If you like to visit remote places, then putUshuaia on your bucket list.
The capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia isconsidered the southernmost city in the world.
Indeed, the train to the End of the Worldends here.
Nestled among the mountains along a bay, Ushuaia is very picturesque when it’snot cloudy or windy, which is much of the time.
The former penal colony has a prisonmuseum and it’s a good place to see penguins, orca whales and seals.
Tayrona National Park.
In the northernmost part of Colombia is theTayrona National Park, which borders the Caribbean Sea and offers remarkable beaches and sceneryfor visitors.
One of the top spots in the park is the lagoon called La Piscina, wherea natural reef turns the lagoon into a protected swimming area.
There are also plenty of sandyhiking trails leading to and from the coast, many of which provide spectacular views overthe Caribbean.
Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is unique amongworld capitals.
It is the highest capital in the world and also closest to the equator.
Founded by the Spanish in 1534, Quito’s colorful old town is one of the best-preserved, least changed and largest in all the Americas.
Located in Ecuador’s northern highlands, the city is surrounded by volcanoes that can be seen on a clear day.
Quito is the onlyworld capital that is threatened by active volcanoes.
Colca Canyon There’s a reason Colca Canyon is the thirdmost visited tourist destination in Peru: stunning views.
The canyon is one of the deepestin the world and more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
If you get tired of scenicviews, you can feast your eyes on the sky where you may see Andean condors and the biggesthummingbirds you’ve ever seen.
Villages are a good place to buy local handcrafts.
San Pedro de Atacama.
San Pedro de Atacama is a Chilean town onthe edge of one of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes.
Austere, endless flood and saltplains surrounded by coppery mountains are plentiful, and have to be seen to be believed.
The nightlife here is a little different- the big draw is star tours, as it is one ofthe darkest places in the world, and an opportunity to see the night sky undiluted.
Angel Falls is most definitely a scene stealerin Venezuela’s Guayana Highlands.
It is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in theworld – 15 times higher than Niagara Falls.
Water cascades more than 3, 200 feet down themountain into the river below, The waterfall is named for American Jimmy Angel who, in1937, became the first pilot to fly over the falls.
Getting there is an adventure involvingplane and river boat rides.
Formerly the capital of the Inca Empire, Cuscois mesmerising to wander around as decadent colonial churches jostle for supremacy withthe Inca temples and modern fast-food joints that line its ancient cobbled streets.
Thearchaeological capital of the continent is simply breathtaking for its fantastic wealthof historical sites and rich cultural heritage.
The surrounding area is full of amazing sightsjust waiting to be explored and, as the gateway to Machu Picchu; Cusco is a must-see cityin Peru.
Salar de Uyuni.
Located in the Andes Mountains, Salar de Uyuniis the largest salt flat in the world.
The expanse of salt creates an unending whitelandscape during the dry season, but the area is most breathtaking in the rainy season whenit is covered in water.
The reflection of the blue sky creates a spectacular and surreallandscape, though some tourists insist on seeing the salt.
One of the most unusual placesto visit in South America, it’s also a major breeding ground for flamingoes.
Lake Titicaca, South America’s largest lake, straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru.
At an elevation of just over 12, 500 feet, it is considered the highest navigable lake in the world.
Many of its 41 islands are inhabited, including the floating islands the natives make with heavy reeds.
About 500 species ofaquatic life live in the lake, which has a large population of water birds.
Local beliefsays the sun was born at Lake Titicaca.
Getting to Easter Island can be time-consuming, since it is the most remote inhabited island in the world.
The nearest inhabitants arealmost 1, 300 miles away.
But it’s not its remoteness this Chilean territory is notedfor.
It’s what you’ll see when you get there: almost 900 primitive statues carvedby early Polynesian inhabitants.
These awesome statues, called moai, may have been carvedabout 1, 000 years ago.
Most statues were carved from solidified volcanic ash, with obsidianbeing used for the black eyes.
If you lived long enough to count that high, you could count 390 billion trees in the Amazon rainforest.
This statistic is mind-boggling, to be sure, but then the Amazon rainforest is one awesome piece of rnature, coveringabout ¾ of the Amazon River basin.
It is the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
Sixty percent of the rainforest is located in Brazil with sizeable chunks in Peru andColumbia; bordering countries have small shares.
For sure, the rainforest is loaded with uniqueflora and fauna.
Torres del Paine National Park.
It may be located in remote Chilean Patagonia, but Torres del Paine National Park is one of Chile’s largest and most visited parks.
Why? Well, the scenery is pretty spectacular.
The Torres del Paine is just one awesome sightyou’ll see.
The three peaks dominate the landscape in the Paine Mountains.
Besidesmountains, the park is dotted with glaciers, rivers, forests and steppe, making it a hitwith outdoors enthusiasts.
With 17 million people, Buenos Aires has thefourth largest population in the Americas.
Located on the Rio de la Plata on the Argentiniancoast, the city is noted for its cosmopolitan flair.
Because of its architecture and richcultural life, Buenos Aires is the most visited city in South America.
A must-see here isthe Recoleta, a residential neighborhood known for its history.
The Recoleta Cemetery whereEva Peron is buried is the district’s most famous attraction.
If you want to get a glimpse of what prehistoricanimals may have looked like, head to the Galapagos Islands.
The animals are like noother place on earth, and include giant tortoises and scary-looking iguanas.
They were the impetusfor Charles Darwin’s controversial 19th century book, On the Origin of Species.
Thisarchipelago of 18 major islands, about 550 miles off the coast of Ecuador, was formed– and are still being formed – by volcanic action.
One of the most spectacular places to visitin South America, Iguazu Falls have to be seen to be appreciated as mere words cannotdo them justice.
They truly live up to their name, which translates as “big water:”They’re the world’s largest waterfalls system, with 275 waterfalls of various sizes.
For much of its journey to the ocean, the Iguazu River flows through Brazil, but, seeminglyin a spirit of international cooperation, most of the falls are in Argentina.
Rio de Janeiro.
One of the most beautiful cities on Earth, Rio de Janeiro is simply incredible to behold.
With the famous Copacabana beach curving gentlyalong the shores of Guanabara Bay, and Christ the Redeemer stretching towards the heavens, it really is a picture-perfect place.
Complementing this majestic scenery is the sun-soaked beachof Ipanema, as well as the tropical forest-covered mountains and brightly-colored favelas thatdot Brazil´s second largest city.
A happening city, the best time of the year to visit isduring its famous carnival, when Rio is transformed into the party capital of the world.
Machu Picchu is a magnificent representationof the Inca civilization before the Spanish came.
Nestled in the Peruvian Andes, MachuPicchu served as a palace for the emperor, a fortress and as a site for religious ceremonieswhere human sacrifices were made to appease the gods.
Untouched by the Spanish, the sitewas abandoned after the conquest, only to be “discovered” by an American professorin the early 1900s.
Built from polished stones, the city is a fascinating example of classicalInca architecture.
With its spectacular views, Machu Picchu is Peru’s most visited touristattraction.