Lush Amazon verdant jungle, breathtaking desert landscapes, culturally rich cities and snow-capped mountains – these are just some of the many reasons why South America has become a booming tourist destination in the past few years. Whether it’s an adventure you’re after, or just cruising your worries away during the holiday season, South America creates the perfect blend of scenery and distinct Latin culture that’s begging to be discovered.
The continent consists of a number of beautiful countries, each with their own unique adventure spots, it would be a bit overwhelming to visit the whole continent. So, we’ve listed the 8 most essential places you can make the most of any holiday while cruising the coastlines or travelling further afield.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Considered by many as a life-changing experience, the Incan city of Machu Picchu is an essential place to visit. The archaeological site is an historic manifestation of the ingenuity of the Incas, who built the city without the aid of wheels or iron tools. Because of this, it is World Heritage Listed and named as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Its name literally means Old Mountain, and you’ll be greeted by picture-perfect scenes of stunning mountain ranges and sweeping vistas of the Peruvian countryside.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
Being in South America also means you are in the presence of the tallest uninterrupted waterfall on the planet. Venezuela’s Angel Falls has a recorded 979-metre uninterrupted drop. Apart from standing in awe of the river, the trek going to the falls is a great adventure in itself – you’ll uncover lush jungles, grasslands, rivers, mountains, lagoons, and even other waterfalls. Keep an eye out for bright and colourful flora and fauna, as monkeys, frogs, and exotic plants dot your journey to the iconic falls. Love waterfalls? Make sure you check out Iguassu Falls later in this blog!
Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia
This place looks like it’s almost too good to be true. Bolivia’s Salar De Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, blanketing a wide expanse of 10,582 square kilometres. At certain times of the year, the lakes from nearby vicinities overflow and water spreads across the flats, transforming the landscape into a spectacular mirror image of the sky. Occurring during the rainy season from December through to April, this sight is simply spectacular, and you’ll feel like you’re actually walking from cloud to cloud.
The Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest is the green heart of South America and the largest rainforest in the world. Dubbed as “the lungs of the planet”, the Amazon rainforest breathes in CO2, then, breathes out fresh clean oxygen to the world… think about that for a moment to appreciate how truly massive and very precious this area is! Spanning over 9 countries, it’s rich, biodiverse ecosystems are home to thousands of unique plant and animal species. Explore the Amazon in all its natural glory alongside the comfort of a cruise or escorted tour… make sure to ask about activities such as kayaking, piranha fishing, and hiking to get up close and personal.
Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador
Home to the third tallest active volcano in the world, the Cotopaxi National Park near Quito, is another essential hot spot to visit in South America. The tall, almost perfect cone of the Cotopaxi Volcano gives a stunning and stark contrast from the flat terrain all around to give you picturesque views from any direction. Apart from sightseeing and exploration, there is a bevy of activities you can do here: from horseback riding and cycling, to camping and climbing to the Cotopaxi summit.
Forming a boundary between Argentina and Brazil, you’ll be in two places at once as you marvel in the beauty of the Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfalls system in the world. Part of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, this massive spectacle delivers an unexpected jolt of awe and wonder. Magnificent curtains of flowing water overwhelm with raw, thundering noise and power as they crash to the rivers below. Experience the mighty falls via the viewing decks, on a river safari, or an aerial helicopter tour. Adventures also await around the base of the falls, with the lush vegetation and abundant jungles being home to a rich flora and fauna, waiting to be explored.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Known to the world as a “living museum and showcase of evolution”, this small archipelago of 19 islands lies 1,000 kilometres from the Ecuadorian coast and is home to the most unique animal life on Earth. Alongside the unique “Garden of Eden” vegetation and completely placid Galapagos tortoise, we suggest you take time to also to witness an underwater wildlife spectacle that will truly amaze. No other diving and snorkelling site in the world affords an experience quite like the Galapagos, making it an essential place to visit, as well as a scuba “bucket list” for many. The diversity of marine life is simply out of this world! Colourful corals, sea turtles, sunbaking marine iguanas, sea lions, whale sharks and even penguins will make your trip to the Galapagos Islands absolutely unforgettable!
Perito Moreno, Argentina
Located in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park and at over 30 kilometres in length and 5 kilometres wide, the Perito Moreno glacier is a powerful, sprawling sight to behold, allowing you to take countless photos from the beautiful vantage points along its boardwalk hike. Making the view even more spectacular is the turquoise lake, complemented by the snowy mountain peaks. If you’re lucky, you may be able to witness a slice of ice toppling off the glacier, breaking the serene silence as they crash into the water. Feeling adventurous? Climb into a zodiac or canoe to get up close and personal with the ice as you cruise Lake Argentino or take a guided hike on the glacier itself – yes please!
If you’re ready to explore the rich culture and stunning scenery of South America today, we have a wide selection of cruise, tour and package deals with APT, Intrepid, Peregine, GAdventures, Holland America, Celebrity Cruises, and many more. Let’s set you up with an unforgettable journey on the Latin continent – start by speaking with a Cruise Solutions Specialist at Cruise Megastore on 1300 657 948.
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