Breathtaking places to visit in South America – A Bucket List

South America is a distant dream for me, far away from India, a land of remarkable alpines, dense forests, multihued cities, and of course Machu Picchu in Peru. Rann of Kutch in Gujarat reminds me of my dream trip to the salt flats of Bolivia. A diverse continent with numerous natural marvels, there are some amazing places to see in South America. So, here is my South America bucket list with all the breathtaking places to visit in South America.

Thanks to my peers in the blogging community around the world who contributed to my South America bucket list!

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Breathtaking places to visit in South America

See the Amazon Rainforest

Flying into Leticia, Colombia I watched in awe the sea of green trees below me seem to go on forever. We hired a local to take us by boat 2 hours up the Amazon river to an untouched portion of the rainforest far from town. I traveled during the rainy season which gave my Amazon experience the added bonus of canoeing through the rainforest canopy.

amazon rainforest

Photo by Geena Truman

Five hours of canoe-ing through dense vegetation. Macaws, howler monkeys, iguanas, squirrel monkeys, and an array of other wildlife just 10 feet above our heads. Our guide, Armando, hacking our path through the jungle with a long machete. The experience was surreal. Just the three of us completely immersed in the rainforest. The deafening sounds of insects and animal calls never stopped. We slept deep in the rainforest on a hammock constructed on a floating platform in the middle of a lake. Our nighttime search of Caiman, candlelight dinner on the floor of our floating platform and early morning canoe around the lake were highlights of our two days in the jungle. We got to know about the jungle. A bucket-list adventure that I didn’t even know I had. To sleep in the jungle and experience the serenity and peacefulness of nature around me. Visiting the Amazon Rainforest will forever be high in my list of travel adventures.

Check out Geena’s blog at Bartender Abroad

Don’t miss this awesome 10-day Itinerary for Peru!

Peru

Trek for Machu Picchu

So many other travelers warned me that Machu Picchu was “too touristy” and too busy with people. While all of these warnings may have lowered my expectations, upon arriving I was actually blown away by just how extraordinary Machu Picchu was. 

Machu Picchu is one of the best places to visit in South America!

ancient architecture city clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yes, there were many tourists there but that didn’t make the incredible feat of building a village on the side of a mountain out of stone any less incredible. The workmanship of the Incas is astounding and to this date, Machu Picchu is still one of the most magnificent things I’ve ever seen!

Check out Bailey’s blog at Destination Less Travel

Islas Ballestas

Islas Ballestas is also called the poor man’s Galapagos, but don’t think it is, therefore, less interesting. The group of islands before the coast of Peru just south of Lima has an incredibly rich biodiversity with a variety of birds and marine wildlife. It’s a biologists dream and a paradise for those that love nature and animals.

Islas Ballestas

Photo by Ellis Veen

Islas Ballestas is easy to reach with daily boat tours from Paracas, only 4 hours away from Lima. It’s almost sure you get to see the sea lions that like to spend their day sleeping at the rocky islands. Pelicans are another guaranteed sight and if you are lucky you may see penguins, dolphins or flamingos. From August to October, you might even see humpback whales.

The sea may be rough but it all adds up to the adventure that does not stop at the islands. Paracas is surrounded by stunning desert landscapes. The nearby Paracas Natural Reserve and the small town of Huacachina with its sand dunes offer much more beauty and adventure in Peru. 

Visiting the floating villages on Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is located at the border between Peru and Bolivia at an elevation of over 3,800 meters above sea level and is the highest navigable body of water in the world. Until today, around 5,000 people live on artificial islands that float on the surface of Lake Titicaca. The Uros People have built their own islands with totora reeds for centuries and still do so today.

Lake Titicaca (wecompress.com) (1)

Photo By Mike

The floating villages can be visited from both the Peruvian and the Bolivian side of the lake. Most visitors visit the islands on short day trips which include a short-stop on several of the islands and a few explanations of the fascinating everyday life of the Uros People. However, if you want to learn more about life on Lake Titicaca, you can also organize a homestay at one of the islands with one or more overnight stays. We spent two days at one of the islands in Bolivia, one of the safest countries in South America. On day one, we went on a boat trip where we learned how the islands are constructed and how to cut the totora. We also learned about the fishing and cooking techniques of the Uros People. Our trip to the Uros island was definitely one of our most amazing experiences in South America.

Rainbow Mountain

Located just a few hours outside of Cusco, it’s hard to believe that Rainbow Mountain was only discovered to tourism a few years ago. But now the secret’s out, Peru’s colorful summit is fast becoming one of South America’s most popular attractions – and it’s easy to see why.

At first glance, you’d think the photos were photo-shopped but, believe it or not, those multi-colored peaks are for real. 

Guided hikes are the best way to experience Rainbow Mountain and the views along the ascent are just as breath-taking. You’ll pass through vast valleys dotted with friendly alpacas, snow-capped mountains, and even giant glaciers before you start to see the colors of the rocks transform before your eyes. Standing at the summit and seeing Rainbow Mountain in all its colorful glory is an absolute “bucket-list” essential and something you’ll never forget!

Check out Julianne’s blog at Part-Time Passport

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon should be on every South America bucket list. The canyon is the second deepest in the world and a unique place to spot the Andean Condor, one of the largest birds in the world. You could go on a day trip or do a two- or three-days hiking tour of Colca Canyon. All the options take you to Cruz del Condor viewpoint which is the place you are most likely to see condors hunting in the morning.

Descending Colca Canyon

Photo By Linn Haglund

The hiking tours take you down to the bottom of the canyon where vegetation is lush and green with an abundance of fruit trees. You will stay one or two nights at the bottom of the canyon before the final day of hiking takes you straight up to the top in only a few hours. Be prepared, it is a hard hike but totally worth the experience. 

Flying over the Nazca Lines

In the midst of arid Nazca Desert in Peru, a series of giant carvings have been puzzling scientists and archaeologists for decades. These geoglyphs are the Nazca Lines – figures of humans, animals, birds, trees, flowers and other objects with mysterious origins.

Nazca Lines

Photo By Alex Trembath

It is believed that the lines were sculpted in the desert by the Nazca people around two thousand years ago. But the big mystery is their purpose. Theories have been suggested, but nobody knows for certain why these breathtaking carvings were created in the first place.

From a small airport just outside Nazca city, you can take a short flight to see the most famous of the carved figures from above, such as the monkey, the hummingbird, and the astronaut. You need to arrive early and be prepared to wait for a while before taking to the air, but it’s worth the effort to see one of the world’s greatest creative mysteries.

Chile

Wine tasting

When it comes to wine tasting, Chile’s wine regions rank right up there with those of France, Italy, and California. Though it’s one of the youngest wine regions in the world (rising to popularity in just the past thirty years), it’s already one of the most sought after and is known the world over for its chardonnays, it’s Sauvignon Blancs, and its cabernet sauvignons. 

wine tasting chile

Photo By Ashley Smith

When in South America, sampling your fair share of Chile’s wines is a fun and eye-opening experience. You can go for full, formal tastings, tour the wineries, or book a guided tour on a “wine bus” to sample many of the area’s products.

The Atacama Desert

In my bio, it says “go to space one day” which I’m not sure I’ll manage unless I win the lottery. That’s why the Atacama Desert in Chile is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s so alien! Moon landscapes, mars landscapes, surreal lagoons with salt flats and blue skies with pinkish volcano’s lining up. The geysers and rainbow mountains make the landscape complete. All this at an altitude of 4000 meters and up reaching towards space.

ElTatioGeysers_018

Photo By Chris W.

One day I want to make another Atacama Desert trip and I recommend everyone to put it on their bucket list for South America.

Check out Chris’s blog at Chris Travel Blog (CTB Global)

Easter Island

It may be difficult and expensive to get to Easter Island: a five and a half hour flight from the Chilean Capital of Santiago, or four hours from Tahiti. Either way, Easter Island is a magical place that deserves a spot on your South America bucket list, even though it is in the middle of the Pacific.

thertwguys-easter-island-2

Easter Island is home to over 400 moai head statues that are mysteriously scattered throughout the island, earning Easter Island a spot as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss these important things to see on Easter Island: the Rano Raraku birthplace quarry, Ahu Tahai, and Ahu Tongariki statue platforms, Anakena Beach, and the dormant Rano Kau volcano.

thertwguys-easter-island

Photos by Halef & Michael

My favorite is the humble Anthropological Easter Island Museum, where you can learn more about the almost mythical Rapa Nui culture. It also houses many interesting objects, such as the only female moai on the island, a surviving moai eyeball, and several other important Rapa Nui artifacts.

Torres del Paine Aka W Trek

In the southernmost part of Chile, in South America’s famed Patagonia region, lies one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world – Torres del Paine National Park. Filled with some of the most stunning turquoise lakes, jagged peaks, and sweeping landscapes, Torres del Paine is easily worth the long journey to get there.

Torres del Paine (W Trek), Chile

Photo By Kay

After visiting Torres del Paine on two separate occasions, I’d highly recommend doing a multi-day trek to explore the various mountains, glaciers, and rock formations in the park. The most famous of these multi-day hikes is the 5-day W Trek in Torres del Paine. Taking adventurous hikers to some of the most iconic spots in the park, like the Mirador Base de las Torres and Glacier Grey, the W Trek in Torres del Paine is achievable even for hikers who have never done a multi-day trek before.

Grey Glacier

Grey Glacier is one of the most spectacular sights in the Torres del Paine national park, located in Southern Chile’s Patagonia. It is one of the smallest glaciers in the Southern Patagonian impressive ice field. But with its unique grey-blue color and breathtaking mountain backdrop, there is no doubt that Grey Glacier belongs on your South America bucket list. The blue color is so intense it can be seen from space. 

Grey Glacier

Photo By Julie

There are a few different ways you can experience the beauty of the glacier. You can access it as part of the famous W and O treks, by taking a boat or a kayak across Lago Grey, and finally by ice trekking the glacier! The boat tour will treat you to the most gorgeous vistas of the sparkling blue glacier, with towering snow-capped mountains in the background. If you get lucky enough to visit the park on a bright sunny day and catch a reflection of the glacier in the lake, you will experience one of the most beautiful panoramas in South America.

Check out Julie’s blog at Wandering Sunsets

Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands

A trip to the Galapagos Islands is one of those rare dream trips that transports you into a natural universe, a world where wildlife rules and the scenery is awe-inspiring. From strange moon-like islands to the lushness of the highlands of Santa Cruz, the Galapagos offers a vast range of terrain and is one of the few remaining unspoiled regions of the world. This breathtaking volcanic archipelago is so remote it harbors animal and plant species found nowhere else in the world.

Sitting approximately 1,000 km off the Ecuadorian coast, the islands were visited by Charles Darwin in 1835, and have developed an almost mythical fascination for adventurous travelers. While the easiest way to explore is with a Galapagos cruise, island hopping is also possible – and can be more budget-friendly – though independent travelers are more limited in where they can go. Activities include hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, and snorkeling, and you may be accompanied by curious animals both in the water and on the ground.

Cycling down the Andes

One of the highlights of South America for me was cycling down the Andes along the Route of the Waterfalls from Banos to Puyo in Ecuador.  The route starts in Banos, a small town dramatically perched on the edge of a deep ravine in the shadow of a towering active volcano.  There are several places in town to rent a bicycle.  The nice thing about this day trip is that most of the cycling is downhill! 

Along the route, you will pass waterfalls gushing down the cliffs beside you and even trickling over the road in front of you.  Stop off at the Devil’s Cauldron – dramatic waterfalls plunging down a steep cliff that you can reach via a series of wooden steps and walkways.  With millions of droplets of water glistening in the sunshine, this is a delightful stop. 

Banos Gorge-Andes-Ecuador

Photo By James

You can end your trip here and flag a passing truck to take you and your bike back up to Banos, or continue further downhill.  The scenery gradually changes and the cool alpine air becomes thick and steamy as you reach the Amazon rainforest.  In Puyo, there are trucks or buses to take you back to Banos, where you can soak in the hot springs that give it its name – a perfect end to the day. 

Quilotoa Lake

Up in the mountains of the Ecuadorian Andes is a hidden gem called the Quilotoa Lake, or Laguna Quilotoa in Spanish. You might be wondering what a lake is doing at over 3900m (~12800ft) above sea level. A long long time ago, this was a volcano and an immense eruption (VE I-6) occurred, causing this 3km (2-mile) wide caldera to form. Nowadays, it is a crater lake. The colors are beautiful due to the minerals that are dissolved in the water. The whole lake takes about 6-hours to circle and there are many insane viewpoints along the way.

Quilotoa-Lake-Ecuador

Photo By Sean Lau

If you enjoy the beautiful scenery along with a great hike, this is a place you have to visit. Keep in mind that weather is a little erratic when you are in this altitude, so just pack accordingly!! 

Check out Sean’s blog at LivingOutLau

Argentina

Fitz Roy

The Fitz Roy in Argentinian Patagonia is easily the most famous mountain on the Argentina side of the region. It’s is so iconic, it’s featured on the Patagonia clothing label. Though the particularly adventurous can rock climb it, one can reach the base as a day hike from the town of El Chaltén.

Fitz Roy

Photo By Kristin Addis

The hike will take most of the day and is moderate until the final hour, which is a steep and narrow climb up rocks. Once you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with the amazing view and the greenish blue glacial lake. There are often condors up top as well, circling the peaks. It’s a must-do in Patagonia

El Chalten

The small town of El Chalten is a three-hour drive north of El Calafate in Patagonia, Argentina. The friendly town is nestled in a valley within the majestic Los Glaciares National Park by the Las Vueltas River. It is surrounded by towering rocky peaks including the iconic Cerro Torre and the Fitzroy Massif.

There are numerous walks to suit all ages and abilities which are easily accessible on foot from the town center. Each walk provides diverse flora and fauna and breathtaking views plus the paths are well maintained with good signage.  Don’t miss the opportunity to hike to beautiful Laguna Capri or the stunning Laguna Torre. We hiked every day during our stay in El Chalten and I would recommend it for anyone’s South America bucket list.

Check out Sinead’s blog at Map Made Memories

Perito Moreno

Perito Moreno glacier is a South America bucket list item if you are into nature. Located in Los Glaciares National Park near El Calafate in Argentina, Perito Moreno is an advancing glacier and one of the 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. 

Perito Moreno, Argentina.jpg

Photo By Serena

There are many ways to visit Perito Moreno Glacier regardless of the type of traveler you are. If you are adventurous and physically fit, you can trek on the glacier with activities such as Big Ice or mini trekking. You can also join a kayaking tour to see the glacier. If you prefer more leisurely activities, then consider either taking a boat tour to see the glacier or visit the viewing platform. Perito Moreno is truly a natural wonder and something not to be missed when you visit South America.

Learn to Tango

Many things may represent the country of Argentina, from gauchos to Malbec, but nothing represents the city of Buenos Aires more than Tango. So naturally, one of the top things to do in Buenos Aires to experience this passionate dance. One of the most popular ways is to visit one of the best Tango shows in Buenos Aires, and there are many.

Buenos Aires 161

Photo By Erin Mushaway

They often include dinner and wine to enjoy while you watch the performance. If you want a less produced and more authentic, local experience, then visit a milonga. In the milonga dance halls, you’ll see locals dance and may even get asked to dance yourself. Whether you go to an elaborately produced show and dance the night away in a milonga, you’ll fall in love with Tango in Buenos Aires.   

The end of the World in “Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego is known in Argentina as “Fin del Mundo” – the end of the world. The reference to the end of the world is literal: Tierra del Fuego is truly located at one end of the world, close to Antartica. But upon visiting, one realizes that there’s more than just geography in this expression. Tierra del Fuego is a unique place, in fact out of this world and not just at the end of it. 

Part of the greater Patagonia, with its capital Ushuaia Tierra del Fuego is a magic land – one of the oceans, forests, mountains, and glaciers. There are many things to do in Ushuaia. Most people visit to navigate the Beagle Channel, a perfect place to admire wildlife such as whales, sea lions and two species of penguins. Another highlight is Tierra del Fuego National Park with its many hiking trails. 

Tierra del Fuego-2

Photos by Claudia Tavani

But there is more: Laguna Esmeralda and Laguna Turquesa are two beautiful glacier lakes that can be reached on fairly easy hikes. The trails start at around 17 km from Ushuaia. Lago Escondido is another fantastic place for an easy hike and – provided the weather allows it – kayaking. 

When in Tierra del Fuego, make sure to get a taste of the local specialties: centollas (king crab) abound in the region and several restaurants serve it; asado fuengino is a mixed grill but it guests all have to eat from the same cutting board, and it thus becomes a real social experience. 

Ushuaia

The town of Ushuaia in southern Argentina is the southernmost town on earth. The town really exploits that moniker. There are many places in Ushuaia that use that name; southernmost hotel, restaurant, museum, train and more. Although its geographic location is the draw, there are lots of things to do and see in Ushuaia.

Tierra del Fuego National Park in Ushuaia, Patagonia

Photo by Talek Nantes

The Tierra del Fuego National Park with its little train is stunning. There is an old prison turned into a museum and art exhibit and interesting architecture incongruously reminiscent of a Swiss village. As a major port on the cruise route, Ushuaia gets a lot of visitors from all over the world. 

Check out Talek’s blog at Travel with Talek

Serranía de Hornocal, Jujuy

Serranía de Hornocal, or just El Hornocal, is a beautiful mountain range located in Argentinas northern corner, in the province of Jujuy. It’s also known as the mountain of 14 colors. Just by looking at a photo of the mountain range, it’s easy to understand why. The mountain is covered with lines of colors in all kinds of shades, the most dominant being shades of red, green, yellow and orange. While El Hornocals top is at 4761 meters altitude, the best view of the mountain range is at 4600 meters altitude across the gorge from El Hornocal. From the viewpoints parking lot, you can hike down to see El Hornocal from different angles.

jujuyelhornocal

Photo By Julie Sande

The province of Jujuy is still not too frequented by tourists, it lies a bit out of the way for most travelers. Still, it has a lot of beautiful and interesting sceneries and history, El Hornocal being just one of the highlights.

Buenos Aires

After having traveled the length of Latin America on a long road trip, I can state without a doubt that Buenos Aires is the most amazing city in Latin America… From the old cobblestone streets of San Telmo to the hip district of Palermo, there’s a little something for everyone in Buenos Aires. It is a place of incredible architecture, endless art, and an amazing food scene with an almost endless amount of things to do in Buenos Aires.

I love just walking the streets, taking in the ambiance of an open-air milonga where people dance the tango, perusing the stalls in the weekly San Telmo street market, or just sitting down at a local cafe for some delectable media lunas (like little sweet croissants), a coffee, and maybe a delicious alfajor to cap it off. Don’t forget about a bife de chorizo steak washed down with an Argentinean Malbec, or even just a slice of street pizza (try the fugazzeta!), there is so much to love about Buenos Aires and my month there only left me wanting to return.

– Find Ryan Shauers on Instagram

Iguazu Falls, Brazil & Argentina

The waterfalls at Iguazu will completely blow you away. They are the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, easily beating out Victoria and Niagara. Even Eleanor Roosevelt herself famously uttered the words “poor Niagara” when she saw Iguazu.

Iguazu Falls

Photo by Wendy Werneth

It’s really worth taking two days to visit both the Brazilian side and the Argentine side if you can, as they each offer different experiences. Most of the falls are on the Argentine side of the border. This means that, from the Brazil side, you have spectacular panoramic views of the falls from across the river.

On the Argentine side, you really have the chance to get up close and personal with the falls and experience all their might and power. The Garganta del Diablo is the deepest and highest of the falls and is a highlight for many visitors.

Brazil

Carnival in Rio

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Carnaval do Rio de Janeiro in Portuguese) is definitely one of those bucket list experiences and it was certainly on mine. It is without a doubt one of the biggest carnivals in the world with a crazy amount of people out on the street every day of the carnival. Think more than 1 million people out on the streets each and every day for the 5-day festival.

Carnival, Rio - Sambadrome - Luxury Travel Hacks By #ljojlo

Photo by Lauren

Occurring before Lent each year the carnival has amazing organized parades in the Sambadrone, which was one of the most ostentatious displays my husband and I have ever seen. Street parties, known as Blocos are also crazy in their own right and definitely worth a look. Even, as a couple traveling Brazil, we enjoyed Carnival but as a young 20 something single, I am sure Carnival would be a whole different experience.  

Christ the Redeemer

There are few places in the world more beautiful than Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and to add to its many charms, Rio is also home to one of the new Seven Wonders of the World – the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.

Standing tall, at nearly 100 feet high, the statue of Christ keeps a watch over the city of Rio de Janeiro from the summit of Corcovado Mountain. The easiest way to travel up to the statue is by funicular but there are also hiking trails up the mountain, for those seeking a bit more adventure.

Be prepared for some serious crowds at the top but the 360-degree views more than make up for it. You can see the whole city from here, including Rio’s iconic beaches, Sugar Loaf Mountain, and the colorful mountainside favelas. 

Check out Julianne’s blog at Part-Time Passport

Colombia

Cartagena Old Town

Cartagena, Colombia is one of the most popular cities to visit in South America, and with good reason. With its colorful buildings, lively atmosphere and unique blend of cultures, the colonial city is a memorable experience. The central part of Cartagena is referred to as Old Town or the walled city. Surrounded by a wall built hundreds of years ago as a way to protect Cartagena from invaders, Old Town Cartagena is the most vibrant, albeit most touristy, part of the city.

Cartagena Old Town Parenthood and Passports (1)

Photo by Melissa

Roaming the streets of Old Town is an experience for the senses. The intoxicating smell of street food and the clamor of vendors selling their goods fills the hot, humid air. It’s easy to spend hours simply strolling through the streets admiring the rainbow of buildings with their brightly painted doors. Grab a gelato or ice cream and relax under the trees in one of the plazas in Old Town or splurge and stay the night in one of the Casas inside the walled city. These charming, boutique hotels are housed in buildings that are 200 years old. With only a handful of rooms and a small rooftop pool to hp guests escape the heat, they are perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway or even families visiting Cartagena with kids.

Medellin

Medellin Colombia should be on your South America bucket list.  Known as the City of Eternal Spring due to the pleasant climate, with temperatures averaging around 25 C year round. Medellin is a popular location for digital nomads. I visited for a week during December and loved this beautiful city surrounded by the Andes Mountains.

medellin-colombia

Photo By Susan Moore

Traveling to Medellin alone I found the city easy to get around via the excellent metro system along with the metro cable (urban cable cars) which are included in the price of the metro ticket. Colombians are friendly, and you can get by with a minimum of Spanish language skills. Two of the big events that draw visitors to Medellin are the Festival of Flowers in August and Alumbrados – the incredible Christmas light display on the Medellin River. Be sure to put Medellin Colombia on your bucket list!

San Cipriano (Natural Reserve)

One place that should be on your bucket list for South America is San Cipriano. A natural jungle experience just a few hours from Cali, Colombia. How does the sight of the world’s most crystalline waters sound? Or, if that’s not enough for you, what about bathing under a waterfall in a secluded location with next to nobody around.

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Photo By Daniel James

The waterfall, named, La Ventiadora, is hidden within the San Cipriano Natural Reserve. Once inside the reserve, you can hire a local guide inside to take you to this hidden spot. This waterfall is one of the attractions outside of the usual Colombia guide books that many tourists have not yet had the chance to visit.

Cocora Valley

Vast greenery, rolling hills, and wax palm trees so tall, that they seem to reach the edge of the sky. This is Cocora Valley, a hidden gem in the mountains of Colombia.

Cocora Valley is an adventurer’s treasure and a traveler’s paradise. Its simple beauty and natural scenery are some of the reasons as to why it is on top of my recommended South America destinations. It sits in Salento, a prominent coffee region in Colombia. There are many hiking paths that take you onto routes not visited by others. Here, you can truly escape from urban pollution and the hectic chatters of city life. 

cocora-valley-beautiful-trees

Photo By Daisy

Cocora is definitely one of my favorites destinations, and I’d suggest anyone to wander among this natural escape! 

Bolivia

Uyuni Salt Flats

No South America bucket list is complete without a tour through the stunning salt flats outside Uyuni, Bolivia. This classic road trip takes you through surreal landscapes that look like they are from another planet.

Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Photo By Nate Hake

The star attraction here is the expansive Uyuni salt flats, a giant flat sea of salt that stretches as far as the eye can see, creating an optical illusion that lets photographers play with perspective. In fact, taking creative photos of yourself getting “eaten” by a toy dinosaur or popping out of Pringles can is undeniably part of the appeal. 

But, aside from the photo opportunities, a tour of the Uyuni salt flats is a not-to-be-missed adventure that will bring you face to face with some of the most incredible landscapes on this planet. 

Salt Flats by Bailey

Photo By Bailey

Oh, and here’s a pro tip for you: book your multi-day salt flats excursion one-way instead of round-trip, and plan it so that you end your adventure in Chile’s Atacama desert, another great entry for your South America bucket list! 

Angel Falls, Venezuela

Angel Falls in Venezuela is one of those bucket list places that sadly, most people will never get to visit.  Venezuela is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and it is not recommended to travel there at the moment.  I was lucky to visit in 2016 and was wowed by the incredible nature in Canaima National Park, where you will find Angel Falls, the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world.  

Getting to Angel Falls is only possible with an organized tour, as it involves a flight to Canaima National Park, then a journey in a motorized canoe along the river.  We finally caught our first glimpse of Angel Falls, tumbling down one of the tepuy flat-topped mountains, as we made our way along the river to our camp.  Across the river, Angel Falls towered over us, still mesmerizing even in the dry season. We spent the night here, then hiked the last hour to Angel Falls the following morning, where we bathed in a pool close to the base of the falls.  Swimming in Angel Falls is certainly a bucket list moment I will never forget! 

Cruising on the Amazon river

Taking a cruise down the Amazon River is one of the best things to do in South America for those interested in wildlife and nature. As the world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon is famous for its biodiversity of plants and wildlife. Spreading across 9 countries in South America, there are many options for experiencing the Amazon. Ecuador is a great choice given its eco-friendly lodges and affordable cruises down the Amazon river.

Amazon Cruise (1)

Photo By Lora

As one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet, taking a river cruise through the Ecuador Amazon is a great way to see the incredible flora, fauna, and wildlife. During my cruise down the river, we spotted 6 species of monkeys, anacondas, crocodiles, river dolphins, macaws, toucans, and sloths! Cruising down the Amazon river is an experience I’ll never forget and should be on everyone’s South America Bucket List.

So, here is the end to my South America bucket list. I hope to see these amazing places to visit in South America some day, what about you?

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED TAKING A TRIP TO SOUTH AMERICA? WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PLACE FROM MY SOUTH AMERICA BUCKET LIST? OR BETTER, HAVE YOU VISITED SOUTH AMERICA? WHAT DID YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT IT? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

Also,  make sure to follow along on my Instagram account for the latest updates and adventures.

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South America Bucket List | Places to visit in South America | Best Places to visit in South America | Places to see in South America | #southamerica #southamericatravel

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13 thoughts on “Breathtaking places to visit in South America – A Bucket List

  1. Federica says:

    I have so many places in my south America bucket list that I enjoyed reading thhis post. I saved for my future references as I would love to visit the Galapagos or Uyuni Salt flats.

  2. Emily says:

    What an amazing list! I’ve not been to South America before as it’s so far and expensive to get to from the UK. It’s a dream to spend a year road tripping the whole thing!

  3. Natasha L says:

    What a great list! Having just gotten back from Peru I’m glad to see I covered almost everything you mentioned. Will need to do the Amazon another time! This is such a helpful list for anyone who wants to backpack in South America. So many great things to see, I’m keeping it on hand for when I visit Argentina.

  4. James @ travelcollecting.com says:

    This is an epic list. I’m glad I got to talk about cycling down the Andes in Ecuador – one of my all time favorite experiences. But there are plenty of things here still on my bucket list, especially cruising down the Amazon River!

  5. Nate says:

    What a great list of places! I definitely need to get back and go to Angel Falls, among several other places on this list! -Nate

  6. thenomadicvegan says:

    South America is such an incredible continent! I have made three long trips there and have visited most South American countries, but even so there are several places on this list that are new to me. Maybe I’ll get there on the next trip!

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