Andy peaks, Amazon rainforest, Pampas glaciers, Aztec ruins, white-sand beaches, and wild nightlife—the marvels of South America set the backdrop for unforgettable adventures. You may spend the day experiencing a wildlife safari on one of the numerous igarapés in the Amazon, stroll past ancient Inca temples, and ponder the power of Iguazu Falls, these are the best places to visit in South America.
And when you think you’ve seen it all, head to Tierra del Fuego for stunning scenery, the Galápagos for up-close encounters with remarkable wildlife, and the Gran Sabana for a view that looks like it belongs in the Mesozoic age.
The diversity of South America goes beyond its natural surroundings. Former colonial villages can be found where cobblestone streets wind through churches and plazas that haven’t changed much since the 18th century.
At native marketplaces, you may bargain over vibrant tapestries, eat with tribals, and dance to the thumping beats of the Afro-Brazilian drum line.
It’s simple to get a firsthand experience of South America’s incredible range of both contemporary and historical cultures by simply traveling there.
South America is home to a stunning variety of natural beauties, from the snow-capped Andes to the Amazon’s rippling rivers.
This continent is home to lush rainforests, massive volcanoes, red-rock canyons, and glaciers that are ice-blue in color. You can travel to the coast for an exquisite escape among palm-fringed white sand beaches and picturesque tropical islands. There aren’t many other areas on earth that have as many different types of landscapes.
To aid in future travel, we have compiled a list of the best places to visit in South America.
- 1. Marvel at the Natural Wonder of Iguazu Falls
- 2. Experience Culture in Santiago, Chile
- 3. Visit one of the Best Cities in South America – Buenos Aires
- 4. The Great Blue Hole in Belize is the Most Visited atoll on the Planet
- 5. The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the Largest Salt Flat in the World
- 6. Gaze at the Milkyway over Lake Titicaca, Peru
- 7. Machu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the World
- 8. The Inca Trail in Peru is Something not to Miss!
- 9. Cartagena lets you Teleport to the 16th Century!
- 10. Christ the Redeemer in Brazil is Something not to Miss
- 11. Take a Boat Ride Into the Planet’s Unique Ecosystem – The Amazon Rainforests
- 12. Solve the Mystic Behind Chile’s Hidden Gem – The Moai Statue
- 13. The Galapagos in Ecuador is an Archipelago of Active Volcanoes
- 14. Swing at the Edge of the World in Banos, Ecuador
- 15. Marvel at the Tallest Waterfall in the World – the Angel Falls, Venezuela
- 16. Enjoy Trekking at Torres Del Paine, Chile
- 17. It is the Atacama Desert, Chile that Teleports You to the Moon’s surface
- 18. Peru’s Cusco is Famous for its Century-old Architectural Treasures
- 19. Lost in the Elegant Charm of the Largest city on This Continent – São Paulo, Brazil
- 20. Soak up the vibes of Eternal Springs at Medellin, Columbia
- 21. The Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
- 22. Vacay at the Southern tip of Baja Peninsula – The Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- 23. Explore the Vibrant and Rich Cultural Escape in Montevideo, Uruguay
- 24. The Resort Destination of Punta Cana is Strictly Meant for laid-back Travelers
- 25. It is the Wildlife Galore at Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
1. Marvel at the Natural Wonder of Iguazu Falls
Along Argentina’s border with Brazil, the breathtaking Iguazu Falls are located. These enormous waterfalls, which are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are unquestionably one of the best places to travel in South America.
Thanks to a network of easily accessible walkways and viewing platforms created to provide the greatest views, including some near the bottom of the falls. At the Devil’s Throat, visitors can get pretty close to these thundering falls.
The falls is nestled inside Iguazu national park, which is partially located on the Argentinian and Brazilian side. The entrance of the park collides with a train station with departures every 30 minutes to the Garganta del Diablo and the Cataratas train station.It is where the waterfall treks start.
2. Experience Culture in Santiago, Chile
Santiago serves as Chile’s cultural and entertainment hub despite being the nation’s commercial and financial hub. As a result, there are countless enjoyable things to do there, such as visiting the best museums and galleries, as well as top-notch places to shop, dine, and vacation. It is also one of the cheap places to visit in South America.
Most tourists start their Chilean vacations in Santiago, which is also the nation’s primary transit center, before moving on to the Andes or other regions that are known for their exceptional natural beauty. But the savviest tourists will make the most of Chile’s itinerary by discovering Santiago first.
Taking the aerial tramway to San Cristóbal Hill for its breathtaking vistas is a primary highlight of any trip to Santiago. A 22-meter-tall monument of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an observatory, and an amphitheater are a few of the remarkable sights that are worth exploring.
Don’t forget to spend some time in the gigantic urban park known as Santiago Metropolitan Park.
3. Visit one of the Best Cities in South America – Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, one of the most beautiful and largest cities in South America, is frequently the first impression that most visitors will receive of Argentina before continuing on to well-known tourist locations like Patagonia.
The wise ones, however, will stay longer and explore the numerous lovely art museums situated in the magnificent old colonial structures dispersed across the city’s districts.
Visit La Boca, the most vibrant district in Buenos Aires, which is also home to the eccentric Caminito Street Museum. La Boca is known for its brilliantly colorful homes, quirky statues, cafés, nightlife, and street ballet dancers. As per Planetware, this is one of the top places to visit in South America.
4. The Great Blue Hole in Belize is the Most Visited atoll on the Planet
Lighthouse Reef Atoll, the most remote of Belize’s three atolls, is a diver and nature enthusiast’s paradise. With sparkling white sand beaches, coconut trees, and intriguing reef patterns, six cays encircle a blue lagoon.
The well-known Great Blue Hole, a Natural Monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best vacation spots in South America. When you dive into the turquoise crater, you will experience strange lime mossy rocks sticking out of the cliff sides and, if you’re lucky, you can spot reef sharks.
While divers enjoy the superb wall dives and a wealth of marine life nearby, you can also tour Half Moon Caye’s lighthouse and unwind on its lovely beaches.
5. The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the Largest Salt Flat in the World
With a height of 3653 meters, it is the largest salt flat in the world that covers an incredible 12,000 square kilometers. It was once a portion of Lago Minchin, a prehistoric salt lake that once spanned the majority of southwest Bolivia.
When it dried up, Salar de Uyuni and a few periodic ponds were among the salt pans it left behind. This huge salt desert’s wild beauty makes it one of South America’s most mesmerizing sights.
This is an unforgettable Bolivia scenery, from weird islands in a sea of glaringly brilliant salt to beautifully colored mineral lakes in the lap of Andean mountains. And, it is one of the top South America attractions.
6. Gaze at the Milkyway over Lake Titicaca, Peru
In the Andes Mountains, on the boundary between Bolivia and Peru, is Lake Titicaca. One of South America’s most spectacular locations to view the Milky Way is Lake Titicaca, which is thought to be the birthplace of the Aztecs. You will be under the lap of one of the darkest sky reserves in this isolated region of Peru.
So make sure to leave the city and capture the Milky Way in total darkness. A once-in-a-lifetime chance exists here and is a must-see places in South America!
7. Machu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the World
The main objective of many visitors to Peru is to see the lost Mayan city of Machu Picchu.
The spectacular Inca City of Machu Picchu is perched high on a ridge, 300 meters above the Urubamba River, and is one of the most spectacular backdrops for a deserted city anywhere in the world. The breathtaking backdrop of steep, luxuriant, and frequently covered mountains is almost as magnificent as the ruins themselves.
Trains depart for Aguas Calientes from Cusco, Ollantaytambo, or Urubamba.
It is a 20-minute ride through a treacherous twisty road. It is possible to walk up this road to the site, although it is not advised because of the distance and steep climb. Machu Picchu is one of the top tourist attractions in South America.
8. The Inca Trail in Peru is Something not to Miss!
Wondering where to go in South America for hiking? Many people consider the famous Inca Trail, a four-day hike that leads to Machu Picchu, as the high point of their trip to Peru. The difficulty of this picturesque trail is frequently higher than what most people anticipate, but the rewards are far greater.
The Inca Trail has several potential hiking paths but the standard four-day journey starts at mile 82 of the Cusco-Aguas Calientes rail line. From here, the walk continues through breathtaking scenery and more than 30 Inca structures.
The second day of the trip, which includes two high passes and an elevation rise of 1,200 meters, is the most challenging part of the trail.
There are campgrounds scattered throughout the trek, including one at Machu Picchu’s base.
9. Cartagena lets you Teleport to the 16th Century!
Cartagena, a former colonial capital, is one of South America’s most picturesque tourist destinations. Due to the city’s protection as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you may learn a lot about South American colonization. The old town was established in the 16th century and is situated on the Caribbean shore. You may still roam around the colonial structures, colorful houses, and cobblestone streets. This is the place to go if you want to experience time travel.
Getsemani, a more relaxed neighborhood is located beyond the historic downtown. You can take refuge at Bocagrande, a more recent area of the city where premium hotels and condos compete for prime coastal real estate.
Islands and beaches, which make for great day outings and retreats, are also only a half-hour by boat away and are one of the must-see places in South America.
10. Christ the Redeemer in Brazil is Something not to Miss
Christ the Redeemer, a massive Art Deco statue of Christ that stands 28 meters tall and has arms outstretched as if to embrace all of humanity. The marvelous side of this attraction is it looks over Rio de Janeiro and the bay from the peak of Corcovado.
The statue is surrounded by a large plaza at the summit of the 709-meter peak, which is a part of the Tijuca National Park. A rack train ascends to the peak over 3.5 kilometers.
Within the eight-meter base is a chapel that is frequently used for weddings. Despite being one of the top places to visit in South America, the statue is frequently confused with the older statue that marks the border between Chile and Argentina.
11. Take a Boat Ride Into the Planet’s Unique Ecosystem – The Amazon Rainforests
The dark waters of the Rio Negro and the light, muddy waters of the Rio Solimes intersect the southeast of Manaus. Both rivers flow side by side for about 6 kilometers before combining to form the Amazon.
This location, known as Encontro das Águas, or the meeting of the waters, is reachable by boat from Manaus.
Join the boat excursions that take you deep into the jungles. Experience the vast network of rivers, channels, and lakes that the three rivers have created.
The Anavilhanas Islands, an archipelago in the Rio Negro alongside lakes, streams, and flooded woods, provide such a complete representation of the Amazonian biodiversity.
The lake is completely covered in enormous water lilies that are unique to the Amazon region. Amazon is one of the best places to go in South America.
12. Solve the Mystic Behind Chile’s Hidden Gem – The Moai Statue
A Chilean island in the southern Pacific Ocean is well-known for its numerous enormous statues, or Moais. There are 1000s of monolithic statues located all across the island famously known as Easter Island. They were built by the Rapa Nui people, who are supposed to have lived there starting in the 12th century.
Some are on stone platforms, some are upright, some are partially overturned, and several are still in the cave where they were made. Each carving, which ranges in size from a meter to 20 meters, is distinct and is considered to represent an ancestor.
Along with this aspect of Polynesian culture, the island’s beaches provide visitors with fantastic chances for snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing.
Chile is also one of the cool places in South America when it comes to beaches and nightlife.
13. The Galapagos in Ecuador is an Archipelago of Active Volcanoes
The Galápagos Islands have drawn tourists from all over the world since their “discovery” in the 16th century.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is named for the giant turtles that inhabit the islands. It is home to a rare ecology that primarily developed without outside interference.
Therefore, a trip to this undeveloped area presents a rare chance to see wildlife. Here, you can see a variety of rare wildlife on land and in the nearby waters.
The development of the islands is still taking place, and the Galápagos Islands continue to be one of the world’s most active volcanic zones.
The majority of the 42 islets, 6 smaller islands, and 13 larger islands constitute the Galápagos. It was designated as a National Park and was designated as a component of the national park in 1952.
Unsurprisingly, only guided tours are allowed to view this delicate ecology. However, there are a few places where tourists can travel on their own, including several prominent scuba diving spots.
14. Swing at the Edge of the World in Banos, Ecuador
In central Ecuador, the small town of Banos de Agua Santa is a well-liked tourist destination because of its lovely surroundings and numerous hot springs.
Banos, which is tucked away in dense, jungle-like forests at the western edge of the Amazon basin, provides a variety of outdoor activities, such as trekking and mountain climbing.
However, its numerous waterfalls and mineral-rich hot springs are the main attractions. You can also have access to some of the beautiful waterfalls that offer incredible views and deep pools.
Whitewater rafting and kayaking are among popular adventure activities in this region. Visit historic sites like the Virgen de Agua Santa chapel with its renowned Mary statue for more peaceful activities.
Ecuador is also one of the best countries to visit in South America due to being the hub of some of the best vacation spots on the planet.
15. Marvel at the Tallest Waterfall in the World – the Angel Falls, Venezuela
Angel Falls is located in the middle of the nation, where massive monolithic tabletop mountains rise from the surrounding countryside. It is the tallest waterfall in the world, falling 979 meters, and one of the best tourist places in South America.
The rainy season, which lasts from May to November, is the finest time to visit the falls since water is abundant. It is that time of the year when the falls don’t fade into a mist before they reach the bottom like they do in the dry season.
You can access the falls via an observatory aircraft or a three-day boat excursion that starts in the town of Canaima. The boat ride is, by all means, an adventurous excursion; it also involves a hike through the jungle to the base of the falls and only moderate lodging along the way.
16. Enjoy Trekking at Torres Del Paine, Chile
Put on your bulky pack and travel through roaring plains and twisty woodlands to see these holiest of holies granite mountain peaks.
This breathtakingly gorgeous region is located in southern Patagonia, more than 100 kilometers north of the city of Puerto Natales. It includes mountains, glaciers, and numerous lakes and rivers.
The Cordillera del Paine, which symbolizes the change from the plains of Patagonia to the subpolar forests in the north, is the most significant portion of the park.
The three 2,850-metre-tall granite peaks of the Paine Massif, are perhaps the most prominent of its many wonderful features.
Although Las Torres may be the main draw of the park bearing its name, there is much more to discover in this immense wilderness.
Explore the serene backside of the ice trek which is the carved surface of the Glacier Grey. You can also kayak along the serene Rio Serrano, or climb Paso John Gardner for breathtaking views of the southern ice field. It is definitely one of the best vacation spots in South America.
17. It is the Atacama Desert, Chile that Teleports You to the Moon’s surface
This arid, unaccommodating terrain in the Atacama Desert draws many tourists because of its uncanny similarity to the moon’s surface. It is the result of sand and stone erosion that features over multiple centuries.
Despite its isolation, this unexpectedly gorgeous landscape has supported human life as well as that of various animal and plant species for many years.
Being one of the driest places on earth, one of its most distinctive features is its dry lake beds. They are brilliantly white from salt deposits and frequently produce amazing natural saline boulders. And, is recognized as one of the top tourist attractions in South America.
The Atacama Desert is also known for its numerous catacombs, some of which show evidence of cave paintings made by early humans. It is also where some of the oldest mummies in the world are preserved due to the area’s drought conditions. The Chinchorro mummies, the most well-known of these, are currently on display in the San Miguel de Azapa archaeological museum.
18. Peru’s Cusco is Famous for its Century-old Architectural Treasures
Since Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is like roaming through a museum because history is layered on top of history. Many of the wonderful old colonial architecture bordering the narrow streets were built atop Inca ruins, highlighting the city’s rich heritage.
The Cathedral and La Compania, two equally spectacular buildings, are located on the city’s central square, Plaza de Armas. In the daytime, the square is an excellent area to grab lunch and take a heritage walk.
Even though Cusco is home to a huge number of interesting structures and museums. One of the city’s top sights is the Cathedral of Santo Domingo which is built atop the remains of the Inca city of Coricancha. It must be on your bucket list as this is one of the best place in South America to visit for its heritage and ancient architecture.
19. Lost in the Elegant Charm of the Largest city on This Continent – São Paulo, Brazil
São Paulo, the biggest city in South America, is bordered by rivers that branch out into the interior and is positioned on the Piratininga plateau. Sao Paulo became the entry point to Brazil’s wilderness. It was the principal route of the bandit explorers who took trips into this area from the city.
So Paulo has always been home to immigrants from all over the world, and you can still witness the legacy of Portuguese, Spanish, German, African, Jewish, Arab, and Japanese citizens in the city’s life and culture today. For instance, there are entire museums devoted to the contributions of Africans in Brazil and Japanese immigration.
The city’s vastness is arguably the hardest aspect to fathom. From the 46-story observation deck on Avenida Ipiranga, you may get a sense of how far it extends. Since many of So Paulo’s tourist attractions are dispersed, using the Metro will be a convenient way to get from one to the other. Undoubtedly, Sao Paulo is worth your time and the best place to visit in South America.
20. Soak up the vibes of Eternal Springs at Medellin, Columbia
Despite the fact that Bogotá is the country’s capital, tourists prefer the smaller, more accessible city of Medellin. Early in the 1990s, Medellin was named the most dangerous city in the world. A decade later, it is now known for something quite different: entrepreneurship and innovation. Planetware recognized this as one of the safest places to visit in South America.
A fantastic day of exploring Medellin might begin at Botero Plaza in the Old Quarter, where you’ll find a collection of 23 stunning sculptures offered by the well-known Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The impressive Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture and the Antioquia Museum are both close to the square. Then, take Comuna 13’s modern escalator system into the hills above the city to discover this area’s vibrant residences and spectacular street murals.
21. The Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
The little hamlet of El Calafate serves as the primary entry point for travelers traveling to the Los Glaciares National Park, which is located in Patagonia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The majority of visitors embark on excursions from this location to view the park’s well-known glaciers, most notably the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier. A vast 30-kilometer-long ice formation and the third-largest freshwater reserve in the world, and is one of the #1 tourist attractions in South America.
Another significant aspect of the is a significant aspect of Los Glaciares National Park is the 3,359-metre-tall Monte Fitz Roy. A breathtakingly gorgeous mountain that spans the border with Chile is reputedly more difficult to climb than Everest.
22. Vacay at the Southern tip of Baja Peninsula – The Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
One of Mexico’s most popular beach destinations is Los Cabos a 30-kilometer stretch of pristine beaches, also known as the Los Cabos Corridor. It stretches from the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo and is famous for its clear waters, diving, snorkeling, and fishing. It is also one of the best places to vacation in South America.
There are now many resorts from opulent spas to golf-focused resorts with some of the top courses in North America. However, Los Cabos tends to draw tourists with large vacation budgets.
El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, a huge archway carved out of the coastline where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific, is one of the most well-preferred destinations for its coral reefs and pristine beaches.
Read more here about the top things to do in Cabo San Lucas.
23. Explore the Vibrant and Rich Cultural Escape in Montevideo, Uruguay
The Neoclassical and Colonial styles of architecture, as well as African and Modern European influences, are all mixed together in Uruguay’s capital city.
A wonderful example of the style and ambiance you’ll encounter when exploring the city streets is the Legislative Palace, Palacio Salvo, and the Tango Museum.
The Citadel Gate and the lush Plaza Independencia square are two of Ciudad Vieja’s many notable attractions. Ciudad Vieja is the city’s oldest district and is now a lovely neighborhood.
The greatest place to sample world-class cuisine in Montevideo is at the Port Market which is one of the top South America attractions for its culinary scene.
The sizable National Museum of Visual Arts and the Museo Torres Garcia, honors the famed Uruguayan avant-garde sculptor, painter, and writer, are excellent examples of the city’s rich cultural past.
24. The Resort Destination of Punta Cana is Strictly Meant for laid-back Travelers
Punta Cana is located where an unending length of gorgeous white sand beach meets the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. This is the finest area to visit in the Dominican Republic if you’re searching for lavish all-inclusive resorts, a romantic getaway, or family-friendly lodging with an endless variety of beach adventures.
The most impressive beach in Punta Cana is Bavaro Beach, where you may wade into the water or spend all day strolling along the sand. The beach is lined with resorts that provide quick access to all the activities.
Boats, parasailers, and tour boats are everyday life in this part of the world. Swimming is safe in areas that have been fenced off. A few restaurants and shops are located inland from the beach, most of which are chic and eclectic—especially by Dominican Republic standards. And, is one of the great vacation spots in South America.
25. It is the Wildlife Galore at Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
One of Costa Rica’s best places to see wildlife in Manuel Antonio National Park, which has the added benefit of having lovely beaches with smooth white sand.
Howler monkeys, orangutans, lemurs, white-nosed coatimundis, and squirrel monkeys are a few of the frequently seen animals in the park. In addition, look out for sparkling butterflies and a variety of colorful birds flying around. Although you can explore the trails on your own, you can opt for a guided tour for a richer experience.
Stroll at the picturesque beachfront beach, where canopies and recliners line the sand. It is where the surfers from the globe take advantage of the often calm waves. It is one of the best places in South America for surfers and divers.
The continent of South America is full of lavish sights to behold. It’s not exactly like Europe or Southeast Asia, where you have the option of traveling from one western-style city to another. It’s a region made up of mostly undeveloped wilderness, which can be unpredictable and hard to navigate. But it’s precisely that which makes this continent so appealing to so many visitors—especially those on a budget. Plus, no visa is required. If you’re looking for an exotic but affordable vacation experience, South America is the place for you!