7 of the best countries to visit in South America.

From the towering Andes mountains and the huge Amazon rainforest to the enchanting lakes of Patagonia, South America has earned a reputation as a fascinating tourist destination. Because of the continent’s abundance of natural locations, practically every country is endowed with landmarks that are not only spectacular but also unique.



It is a land of superlatives, with each country having something in the ‘world’s most’ category, ranging from Bolivia’s Uyuni salt flats to Chile’s Atacama desert. With breathtaking cities like Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Medellín, it’s easy to see why this continent attracts a diverse range of tourists. However, with so much to see and do, it’s difficult to decide which region to explore first. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of the finest countries for travel in 2024.



Argentina

7 of the best countries to visit in South America.

Argentina is the ninth largest country in the world. Argentina’s immensity may make it appear tough to explore at first, but it has a captivating assortment of towns, cities, and natural regions to discover.



Buenos Aires is an appropriate starting point. It is known as the ‘Paris of South America’ and is a bustling mix of gorgeous 19th-century architecture among tango-fuelled barrios and football. It also serves as a gateway to destinations like as the breathtaking Iguazu Falls and cities such as Cordoba and Rosario.



Mendoza, possibly the continent’s most famous wine-producing region, is located almost directly west of the capital, on the Chilean border. Surrounded by the Andes mountain range and a series of flat plains and vineyards, this region is delightfully picturesque and a must-see for Malbec enthusiasts.



The fact that Mendoza is not Argentina’s most scenic region reflects the natural beauty of Argentina’s Patagonia. Towns like San Martin de los Andes, Villa la Angostura, and Ushuaia nestle on glacial lakes surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes, and the opportunities for outdoor sports seem unlimited. One of South America’s bucket-list adventures is driving the Ruta 40, a 3,246-mile road that extends from Patagonia to the country’s northern border.



Bolivia

7 of the best countries to visit in South America.

Bolivia was named after Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan freedom warrior who helped liberate the territory. Bolivia’s combination of popular landmarks and slightly less tourism infrastructure creates a captivating experience that seems more off-the-beaten-path.



At 3,650 meters above sea level, La Paz is the world’s highest capital city. With its stunning mountain location, significant indigenous influence, and busy manner of life, it contrasts with Sucre, the country’s constitutional capital, which is a picturesque sea of white-washed, russet-roofed colonial houses that have become increasingly open to other influences. Visit both to get a true picture of Bolivian daily life.



The Andes meet the Amazon basin near the capital in the Yungas region, where settlements such as Coroico and Chulumani serve as jumping-off points for exploring the rest of the rainforest. Lake Titicaca, South America’s largest lake, is located near the Peruvian border and is a famous hiking and climbing destination. The Salar de Uyuni salt flats, the world’s largest, are equally spectacular but far more secluded.



Brazil 

7 of the best countries to visit in South America.

Brazil is home to over half of the total population of South America. Brazil, the continent’s largest country, has written itself into a travel legend with a combination of famous landmarks, breathtaking natural landscapes, and a varied mix of towns and cities.



Rio de Janeiro has established itself as the face of Brazilian tourism, thanks to the beauty of its beaches, the grandeur of its key attractions, and the popularity of its Carnival celebrations. São Paulo and Salvador are gaining popularity due to their rich history and unique attractions, while Ouro Preto and Florianopolis are gradually gaining recognition.



While the country’s cities are typically enthralling, many of Brazil’s most fascinating elements may be found in nature. A considerable portion of the Amazon River may be located here, and the city of Manaus serves as a base for river cruises and jungle explorations. These waters, and the surrounding rainforest, are one of the world’s most interesting ecosystems, home to over three million plant and animal species. And while a piece of the aforementioned Iguazu Falls sits in Argentina, the vast majority – and the ideal section for cruising among the 275 waterfalls – lies in Brazil, near the town of Foz do Iguaçu.



Colombia

7 of the best countries to visit in South America.

Colombia is among the top three most biodiverse countries in the world, alongside Brazil and Indonesia Although Colombia suffered tremendous damage to both its society and worldwide prestige during the era of Escobar, the country has rebounded back amazingly successfully. Today, it is a site that attracts a diversity of people, from traveling youngsters and intrepid adventurers to families looking for a beach break.



The majority of the population resides on the western side of the Andes (which itself provides trekking options and the possibility to witness the ‘Liquid Rainbow’ in the Serrania de La Macarena park). Parts of the Amazon are accessible, while sections like the Tayrona National Park offer palm tree-lined Caribbean beaches bordered by deep rainforests.



A significant part of Colombia’s appeal rests in its cities. A highly biodiverse destination, Colombia is a place where enormous towns sit in jungle-covered valleys, among towering hills, and near the beautiful coastlines of both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.



Bogota is the capital, regarded as a destination for arts and culture with a gorgeous colonial-era old town, La Candelaria. The other three main cities are all popular locations for tourists, with Cartagena inviting those who want to take a stroll around the Old Town with the gorgeous beaches of the Pacific coast.



Medellín and Cali, both once home to the country’s most infamous cartels, are the most remarkable examples of regeneration and development, with their temperate tropical climates attracting visitors wanting to experience Colombia’s vibrant culture, from the lively, salsa-heavy nightlife to gastronomy enhanced by its biodiversity.



Chile 

7 of the best countries to visit in South America.

Chile is almost 2,500 miles from north to south yet merely 217 miles broad at its widest point
Chile is a land of significant contrasts, from the dryness of the Atacama to the glacial lakes of Patagonia, or the bustling bustle of Santiago to the distinct sense of tranquility in communities like Pucon.



In the north, the Atacama desert is the driest location on Earth, dominated by towering mountains and red sands, with the odd salt flat and communities like Antofagasta strewn throughout. Near the middle is Santiago, the captivating capital, where the only thing higher than the skyscrapers are the surrounding mountains. There is a strong vibrancy in the center and a relaxing, friendly attitude in neighborhoods like Lastarria and Bellavista.



The south has what many feel to be the most spectacular area in the country, and probably even the entire continent. Chilean Patagonia is as close to perfection as you’re going to get, with snowcapped summits rising above glaciers, vast fjords heading into the Andes, and Alpine-style towns surrounded by forest. For those endowed with more time, a five-hour flight from Santiago will take you to Easter Island, home to the iconic moai statues.



Peru

7 of the best countries to visit in South America.

Peru is known as the center of the ancient Inca civilization

Peru has long been on the tourism radar because of Machu Picchu, a destination that to this day emanates a mystical, almost supernatural atmosphere. Some will come expressly to view this Inca citadel, with the city of Cusco a popular site to base themselves on. For those who don’t want to undertake the four-day Inca Trail, shorter hikes are accessible from Aguas Calientes, as well as a two-hour train from the town of Ollantaytambo.



Just an hour away by plane is Puerto Maldonado, the southern entry to the Peruvian Amazon; add a trip here to view the Tambopata National Reserve and overnight in a jungle lodge, and you’ll have witnessed two of the world’s most beautiful sites.



Despite Cusco’s vital role in exploring the south, Lima remains the country’s cultural heart. The capital is a city where an increasingly known culinary scene is only another positive to add to an intriguing historic center, a blend of Inca and European architecture, and a series of vibrant plazas and relaxing open areas.



Further south sits possibly the most attractive of Peru’s cities, Arequipa, situated around the majestic Plaza De Armas and replete with colonial-era architecture, pretty markets, and neighborhoods that date back to the 16th century. The neighboring Colca Canyon is the deepest in the world, and a famous hiking, trekking, and rafting location.



Uruguay

7 of the best countries to visit in South America.

Uruguay routinely ranks as the most democratic and peaceful country on the continent One of the continent’s smallest countries Uruguay is situated between Argentina and Brazil on the Atlantic coast. Long disregarded in favor of its more glitzy neighbors, it has been allowed to evolve into one of the safest, most stable countries in the region.



Uruguay’s lack of ‘big-name’ attractions is pleasant, as you’re not instantly seeking out a Machu Picchu or a Patagonia. It is easily accessible from Buenos Aires, via the historic town of Colonia del Sacramento, and its coastlines remain popular with Argentines wishing to escape the noise and bustle of their metropolis — spots like Punta del Este and Cabo Polonio are most popular.



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