It’s arguably the hottest destination in the world right now, amongst adventurous backpacker types and discerning luxury travellers alike. Labelled the ‘new Europe’, South America has it all – ancient civilisations full of history just waiting to be discovered, bustling cities full of cultural delights, relaxing and remote beach getaways, and everything else in between. Here are just some of the highlights of South America – see your personal travel manager for further suggestions and expert guidance in planning your itinerary.
Argentina – From the frenzy of football to the remote ends of the earth, Argentina is a land of contrasts
Argentina is a country so diverse, that it’s possible to spend weeks, even months, exploring all that it has to offer. There’s the southern Patagonia region, with dramatic landscapes, punctuated by snow-capped mountain peaks and vast, deep blue lakes. If you’re after a truly end-of-the-earth experience, venture down to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and a popular departure point for Antarctic voyages. A little further north, the charming Bariloche is a great place to escape during the summer months, surrounded by national parks.
Venturing further north into the country, spend a few days in Buenos Aires, and if it’s football/soccer season, make sure you catch the famous Boca Junior club in action. Football is like religion in Argentina, and there’s no better place to experience the atmosphere than in Buenos Aires, with a deafening roar reverberating around the stadium for the duration of the match. Other Argentinian highlights include the charming colonial town of Salta, with its Train to the Clouds ascending more than 4 kilometres, and for those who fancy a drop, stop by Mendoza, one of the world’s premium wine making regions.
Bolivia – Vastness is the order of the day, with the world’s largest salt plains and high-altitude lake
A land full of natural wonder, Bolivia is truly coming into its own as a tourist destination, with many travellers labelling the country their favourite in all of South America. There’s the vast Lake Titicaca, with its deep blue waters stretching for more than 8400 square kilometres, surrounded by mountains and snow-capped peaks in the distance. Bolivia is also famous for the Uyuni salt plains, which are visible from space, and lie in the middle of a desert. A glaring white expanse as far as the eye can see, a trip to Uyuni is a unique experience, with an ever-changing landscape depending on the time of the day.
Chile – Explore San Pedro de Atacama, for a dramatic desert experience
Another South American country with spectacular natural scenery, Chile offers a bit of everything. There’s the thumping nightlife of the largest city, Santiago, and the nearby port town of Valparaiso, dotted with picturesque coloured houses. The Atacama desert, located near the town of San Pedro de Atacama, is the driest desert in the world, and is another must-do. The Atacama and San Pedro is an almost ‘otherworld’ experience, characterised by dramatic sunsets, contrasted with the deep brown colours of the desert landscape.
Brazil – From the Rio Carnivale to the dense Amazon jungle, Brazil is better than ever
Brazil has long been a perennial favourite, attracting visitors from all over the world, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s Rio di Janeiro, one of the most dynamic cities in the world, home to the instantly recognisable Christ the Redeemer statue, the distinctive Sugarloaf Mountain rising from the sea, and the hectic, iconic beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. There’s also the world’s biggest street party held every year just before Easter, the Rio Carnivale, a dazzling parade of colour, dancing and music.
Away from the city, Brazil is also home to some of the world’s most stunning natural landmarks, with none more stunning than the dramatic Iguazu Falls, which also border Argentina. Watch in wonder as a never-ending cascade of pure white water crashes around the deep green colours of the rainforest. Speaking of rainforest, a visit to the Amazon is also a must on any trip to Brazil. The Amazon rainforest covers more than half of the entire country, and it is believed, though not certain, that the rainforest canopy may also house as many as half of the world’s living species.
Peru – Mysterious cultures and a fascinating insight into ancient civilisations, with the Nasca Lines and Machu Picchu
Peru’s main attraction is of course, the iconic ancient city of Machu Picchu, and it’s not hard to see why it’s on the ultimate bucket list of travellers the world over. Machu Picchu is akin to a city in the clouds, with the incredible ruins sitting up amongst the mountains, with breathtaking panoramic views below. Elsewhere in Peru, the Nazca Lines offer yet another fascinating insight into ancient civilisations. The Nazca Lines are somewhat of a mystery, as it’s not known exactly what they are, and how they came to be etched into the desert. The Lines are best appreciated from the air, such is their vast scale, and small plane flight tours are readily available.
Colombia – Caribbean coastal cities and fantastic hiking, Colombia has shaken off its troubled past and is throwing open the doors to visitors
Colombia is shaking off the shackles of its troubled history, and apart from a few parts of the jungle, is a safe and welcoming destination for tourists. It’s hard to know where to begin, and visitors are often astonished at the diversity in Colombia. The beautiful city of Cartagena is a highlight, situated along the flawless white and yellow sandy shores of the Caribbean. Colombia is also an excellent destination for hiking enthusiasts, with the three day trek through the jungles of Ciudad Perdida one of the most popular choices amongst tourists. You’ll discover the fascinating history behind this ancient city, and the trek is made all the more enjoyable by the stunning scenery, with the endless green of the mountains, palm trees, and the occasional river – perfect for taking a refreshing dip from a hard day’s hiking.
Start planning your trip today with your local, personal travel manager. Visit http://www.travelmanagers.com.au/ptm-search/