Ten Places To Travel To In South America Before You Die

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iguazu falls

South America is an incredibly beautiful and interesting place to travel to and any vacationer looking to have an unforgettable experience would be well served in going there. From Venezuela in the north to Chile and Argentina in the south, South America is filled with a wide variety of destinations that bring with them a vast amount of different types of experiences. There are places to go in South America that offer fun beach experiences, others offer vibrant urban experiences, and still others offer the kinds of experiences that can only be had in the great outdoors. Regardless of what a vacationer is seeking, they can find it in one of the many amazing destinations in South America.

Here are ten places to travel to in South America before you die.

The Amazon River

The Amazon River flows through the nation of Brazil and is one of the most amazing things that the entire world has to offer. The river is the largest river in the world when measured by total water flow. During the rainy times of the year, it is not uncommon for the Amazon River to expand in some areas to be up to 120 miles wide. Exploring the river can be done as part of a tour in the areas that are more easily accessible or it can be done in a very extreme way as part of an adventure trek into the upper reaches of the river, an area not seen by the average traveler. As one would expect in the tropical rain forest where the Amazon flows through, there is an amazing selection of wildlife that can be seen by the lucky traveler making his way up or down the river. Securing travel up the Amazon River is a vacation step that most travelers looking for an out of the ordinary travel experience will be glad they took.

Isla Margarita, Venezuela

Isla Margarita, or Margarita Island, sits of the northeastern coast of Venezuela in the beautiful Caribbean Sea. The primary industries of Isla Margarita are tourism and fishing. The island is important to those interested in history as it was one of the original New World islands discovered by Christopher Columbus on one of his many voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. Isla Margarita was also the location where famed South American statesman and rebel Simon Bolivar began his nine year fight to gain the freedom of several countries located in the northern region of South America including Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. The scenery on Isla Margarita is breathtaking and has become more and more popular in recent years. There are a number of activities that can be participated in on the island including diving, boating, sailing, swimming, snorkeling, windsurfing, and more. There are some amazing hotels on the island and it is a popular shopping destination for both tourists as well as Venezuelans coming from the mainland to take advantage of the duty free shopping available there. Whether looking for a long term destination or simply a short stay at the beach as part of a much larger South American vacation, there are few places that offer all of the things that Isla Margarita does.

Iguazu Falls

The Iguazu River flows through South America and forms a large portion of the border between Argentina and Brazil. At one point, the river forms the amazing and world famous Iguazu Falls which are one of the more popular attractions in the region. One visit there and it is easy to see why so many people claim that this is a definite must see sight in South America. Iguazu Falls is actually a series of waterfalls that include nearly 300 separate drops and stretch for more than one and a half miles. The tallest of the falls are in the 270 foot range and the impressive beauty comes from the fact that there are so many of them and they are very wide. Accessing the falls can be done in a number of ways. There are aerial tours that fly visitors out over the Iguazu Falls and the surrounding region. This is a great way to get a glimpse of the falls in a way that most people never experience. The falls can be reached from land from the two main communities on each side of the river. From Brazil, the falls are reached via a long walkway through a canyon that is covered in dense forest. From the Argentinian side there are a number of trails and walkways that lead to different viewing platforms and scenic vistas. The area is popular with rock climbers and those looking to participate in some of the more extreme varieties of water recreation. Traveling to Iguazu Falls is one easy step any traveler to South America can take to make their vacation something they will never forget.

Torres del Paine National Park

Located in Chile, Torres del Paine National Park is a truly beautiful protected natural area that includes mountains, glaciers, lakes, rivers, and plenty of wide open spaces. For anyone traveling through or to South America and who is interested in experiencing the great outdoors, a visit to Torres del Paine National Park is definitely the thing to do. The park was established in 1959 and has been treasured by scientists, naturalists, locals, and tourists ever since. The park is home to some of the most stunning rock formations and high cliffs that can be found anywhere. There are also tons of interesting wildlife in the park that can be viewed by travelers coming there including buzzard eagles, hawks, flamingos, swans, woodpeckers, condors, cougars, foxes, and guanacos. Torres del Paine National Park is very popular with hikers and backpackers as there are a number of great hiking trails that explore this huge natural area. One popular trail takes usually eight to nine days to complete and goes in a massive circle around and through the entire park. Because of its massive size and how accessible it is, not to mention all the great things that can be found and seen within its borders, Torres del Paine National Park offers many outdoor experiences that cannot be duplicated in other areas of South America or the world.

Lake Titicaca

The main thing that makes Lake Titicaca unusual is that it is one of the largest lakes in the world to sit at such a high altitude. Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and sits on the border between Peru and Bolivia. The lake has a number of small islands in it, many of which are inhabited and accessible by tourists visiting the area. Tours of the lake can be had and originate from a number of small communities along the shore. Most tours include a full exploration of the lake, but some also include time spent on the islands, there are no hotels on the islands but in some cases even overnight stays in homes are available. Tourists visiting the islands of Lake Titicaca can not only experience life as it is today for the locals there, but also through touring the ruins that can be found dating back to pre-Inca times, they can also experience what life was like in the region long ago. For those interested in the fascinating history of the area, there are some small museums in the area devoted to the area’s past. One of the more interesting sights to see on Lake Titicaca are known as the Uros which are artificially made floating islands that are constructed out of totora reeds. There are still people to this day that live on these floating islands, many of which have room for entire villages on them. Some of the best times for those interested in nature can be had by spending quality time in the Titicaca National Reservation. Like many places in South America, Lake Titicaca offers experiences that are one of a kind and will leave quite an impression on the vacationer who visits it.

The Galapagos Islands

Located far off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean sits one of the most unique areas that anyone could ever travel to, the Galapagos Islands. The islands are part of Ecuador and are home to more than 20,000 people. These islands were first made famous as the location where much of Charles Darwin’s observations regarding different species of animals and how they came to be were recorded. Today it is still a destination where observers can see some of the most unique animals on the planet. Visitors can reach the islands by plane or by ship and once there can make use of a few small communities that cater to travelers by offering both accommodations and restaurants. There are a number of tour companies that offer tours of the islands. The Galapagos Islands are a fun place to explore both on land as well as from the sea. It is possible to explore many of the islands individually and somewhat freely, but there are restrictions in place as far as what can be done so as not to upset the unique ecosystem in place there. Many of even the smaller islands that make up the Galapagos are worth visiting based on what can be found there. Some of the unique species of animals that can be observed there include the Galapagos Hawk, Waved albatross, Galapagos Penguin, Galapagos Green Turtle, and Galapagos Land Iguanas. In terms of the amount of different wildlife that can be seen, there isn’t a place on Earth that matches up with the amazing Galapagos Islands.

Patagonia

Covering parts of both Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is the name given to the geographic most southern portion of the continent of South America. While the region is large and varied, it also holds many qualities that cannot be found elsewhere on the continent. The area has some incredibly diverse terrain as it includes the southern end of the Andes Mountains and then the lowlands that extend south to the sea. From high mountain peaks to rocky ocean shores, Patagonia is the kind of vacation destination that delivers something new and unique to each and every visitor who comes its way. One of the best way to come away from Patagonia with a better understanding of the area is to take one of the many tours that are offered there. Visitors can take an aerial tour that flies along the coastline before heading inland to view some of the high mountain peaks in the region. Visitors can also tour the area by boat and see the amazing coastline and the many rocky islands and formations that are found offshore. This is one of the few areas of the world outside of Antarctica that penguins can be found at and there are a number of tour companies that take their visitors straight to where these amazing birds nest, feed, and play. Other attractions in Patagonia include the Perito Moreno Glacier where travelers can get out and walk across the ice and if they’re lucky even view actual icebergs breaking away and being formed, the Punta Tombo wildlife park where many examples of local wildlife can be seen in one location, the Cerro Chapelco ski area where visitors can experience one of the most unique downhill skiing areas in the entire world, and the Road to El Chalten which is one of the most amazingly gorgeous scenic drives that can be found anywhere. A visit to Patagonia is a true rarity these days as it offers not just one or two unbelievable experiences, but a whole collection of them all in one central location.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu is one of the most famous attractions in all of South America. This high mountain peak is situated in Peru, approximately 50 miles northwest of the city of Cuzco. Machu Picchu is known by many as the “Lost City of the Incas” and sits high above most of the surrounding terrain. The site was known mainly to locals until the early 1900′s when an American historian and explorer found it and brought the attention of the world to this incredible attraction. Today, Machu Picchu is an important site to both scientists and tourists alike. The ruins of this ancient Incan city are somewhat hard to get to, but are a very rewarding thing to see for those lucky enough to make the trip. There are not too many times in life that a traveler gets the opportunity to walk through an actual deserted city that was built centuries ago. There are more than 140 structures available to view in machu Picchu and they include park areas, residences, temples, sanctuaries, and public meeting areas. There are several travel restrictions in place relating to Machu Picchu, including the fact that the area above it is a no-fly zone. Development is coming to some of the small communities in the vicinity as the popularity of the site as a vacation attraction increases yearly. It is still difficult to visit this amazingly interesting attraction, but it is getting easier every year.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Located in southwestern Bolivia, high in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of nearly 12,000 feet, is an incredibly interesting natural attraction known as Salar de Uyuni. Salar de Uyuni is a monstroush salt flat that covers more than four thousand square miles. This is a major attraction in Bolivia and one of the most stunningly huge and impressive natural attractions on the entire Earth. Salar de Uyuni can be visited as part of a side trip or tour from the more inhabited areas of Bolivia, or it can also be visited as a destination itself where the local lodging can be utilized. There are a few local hotels near the salt flats, interestingly some of them were built using large blocks of salt as the actual construction material for the floors, walls, and roofs. One of the main attractions in the area is known locally as the Train Cemetery and features a number o old trains that once ventured into and out of the region during the late 1800s and early 1900s. A visit to Salar de Uyuni can go a long way in making a South American vacation truly unforgettable.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The most famous tourist destination in all of South America, and one that should definitely not be missed, is the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Known around the world as simply Rio, this city has a reputation for providing one of the most exciting and wild vacation opportunities available anywhere on the Earth. The city is packed with wonderful shopping opportunities, beautiful natural areas, great restaurants, a wide variety of accommodations options, and a nice selection of tourist attractions. At the top of the list in Rio de Janeiro though is the opportunity to experience some of the most fun and outlandish nightlife possible. Often the exciting fun being had in the bars and dance clubs of Rio spills out onto the nearby beaches too. The beaches of Rio de Janeiro offer a ton of great ways to have too including people watching, sunbathing, beach games, picnicking, swimming, surfing, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and more. A stop in Rio de Janeiro makes any vacation immediately memorable.

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While there are many vacation destinations that may be more popular or more traveled to, few destinations can match all of the different types of experiences that can be had in South America. South America has an incredible selection of high mountain scenic areas, beautiful coastal regions, densely forested areas, vibrant cities, and quaint small communities. Each of these different types of places also offers a wide array of things to do. When it comes right down to it, South America offers something for nearly everyone that travels its way. There are just so many different places to see and activities to participate in when visiting South America that anyone heading there can’t help but be extremely pleased with their selection of it as their destination of choice. A South American vacation has the very real possibility of being the best vacation a traveler ever takes in their entire life.

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