Best South American Countries To Visit - A Journey Of Diversity And Wonder
South America is a continent filled with awe-inspiring landscapes, vibrant cultures, and rich history. From ancient ruins to stunning natural wonders, best South American countries to visitoffers a unique and captivating experience for travelers.
Whether you're seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or breathtaking scenery, the best South American countries have something to offer everyone. Let's embark on a journey through this diverse continent and discover the top destinations worth exploring.
The Most Beautiful Countries in South America
Argentina, known for its tango, wine, gauchos, and soccer, is intense and beautiful. The metropolis, Buenos Aires, is known for its sensuous tango shows, delicious steaks, substantial Malbecs, glitzy polo scene, football at La Bombonera, and colorful La Boca.
That's before you visit the museums, Calle Florida's stores, or Eva "Evita" Peron's Casa Rosada on Plaza de Mayo.
With its light-filled lanes, marble mausoleums, dusty crypts, and magnificent family graves, Recoleta Cemetery is a pilgrimage for many. Peron's tomb lies there. Fans visiting Eva Peron's burial, the Duarte family mausoleum, make it simple to discover.
If time allows, see the thunderous Iguazú Falls in the jungle on Brazil's border from Buenos Aires' intriguing districts. Iguazú, the world's biggest waterfall, with over 275 cascades.
Waterpower, loudness, and spectacle are memorable. Wildlife viewing is excellent here. Toucans, monkeys, caiman, and even jaguars may be seen.
Puerto Madryn is Argentina's whale-watching hub. Summer tourists come to see hundreds of southern right whales.
EcoCentro, a great interactive exhibit on Patagonia's marine life, has whale information. Visit Punta Loma at low tide to see seabirds and a big sea lion colony.
It's thrilling to visit windy Ushuaia, the world's most southerly city, hunkered proudly at the foot of the snowy Martial Mountains, staring out at the Beagle Strait. Tierra del Fuego's enormous wildness spreads north, east, and west, and Antarctica is next.
The narrow-gauge End of the World Train transported inmates to labor camps while Ushuaia was a penal colony. Tierra del Fuego's woods and waterfalls are now an hour-long train excursion.
On a day boat, travelpast the red-and-white Les Eclaireurs lighthouse to see sea lions and South American penguins on rocky islets in the Beagle Channel. Pubs and steakhouses abound throughout town.
Rio de Janeiro's splendor is synonymous with Brazil. Sugarloaf spires, golden beaches, and verdant forests surround the urban sprawl here. From Ipanema to Copacabana, golden-limbed cariocas play football, volleyball, surf, and sunbathe.
Samba, bossa nova, funk, and tango are omnipresent. It's no surprise that February's Carnaval is the biggest carnival on Earth. Rio is one of South America's most vibrant destinations.
Climb the 2,329-foot Corcovado, one of Brazil's natural wonders. Cristo Redentor, Christ the Redeemer, overlooks the city and beach from a narrow-gauge railroad. The two Sugarloaf Mountain cable cars give stunning views of the monument rather than from it.
Rio outshines São Paulo, Brazil's financial hub. The Portuguese colonizers left a large cluster of buildings with a historic heart.
The Pinacoteca, Museu de Arte de São Paulo, and Museu do Futebol show how soccer shapes Brazilian culture.
Salvador, capital of Bahia state, is another huge city with music, dancing, and good food. Visit the 17th-century center's cobblestone walkways and pastel-colored buildings, then continue to Porto da Barra Beach.
Coastal Brazilians love the beach, and there are plenty of options. Ilhabela, meaning "beautiful island," has over 40 beaches, waterfalls, and thick jungle. Scuba diving is great here because to 16th and 17th-century pirate wrecks.
Chile's 2,600-mile length includes Santiago's urban sprawl, the Lake District's volcanic drama and brilliant blue waters, and Patagonia's huge sky and rolling plains.
Valparaiso is a dizzying mix of decaying houses, creaky funiculars, hippie stores, and South America's best street art. Valparaiso has always drawn poets, authors, and painters to its chaotic hills and dockyards.
Pablo Neruda's red-and-white hilltop residence, La Sebastiana, offers panoramic views of the city and harbor.
Walking is the greatest way to see Valparaiso's numerous surprises, apart from Neruda's home and museum. Learn about street art, rainbow-colored dwellings with faces, figures, animals, and political messages, from a local guide.
Chile's Lake District has dazzling lakes, towering peaks, and ancient forest. Puerto Montt offers volcanic treks, waterfalls, lakeside cafes, and bike routes.
Puerto Varas, a former German colony on the southern bank of cobalt Lake Llanquihue, is framed by two gigantic, snow-capped volcanoes: the 8,700-foot, perfectly conical Osorno and Calbuco.
Cafes, pubs, and craft brewers line the shoreline, and the Iglesia del Sagradao Corazón is a duplicate of the Marienkirche in Germany's Black Forest.
A day excursion to Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park, where the greenish-blue Petrohué River thunders through a tiny lava canyon surrounded by pristine forest, is another great Chilean activity. Feel the shower as you watch from wooden pathways.
As you approach the tip of South America, the scenery and plants get harsher. From wind-blown Punta Arenas, trek through lichen-draped lenga woods in the Magellanes National Reserve.
On a day excursion to Magdalena Island, you'll be surrounded by hundreds of Magellanic penguins constructing nests, fighting, and raising their young. Tie your shoelaces tight—birds may nibble them for nesting material.
Cartagena dominates Colombia's Caribbean coast. This magnificent harbor is a well-preserved Spanish colonial town surrounded by stone walls.
Beautiful 16th and 17th-century houses flank cobblestone alleyways and shaded squares. Old facades painted ochre, terracotta, and brilliant blue and balconies with purple, scarlet, and white bougainvillea provide color.
Wandering through the Old Town, soaking in the sights and sounds, and visiting the church after admiring its cream and yellow façade and magnificent terracotta dome is the ideal way to explore.
Plaza de Bolivar, a small plaza with fountains and a monument of South American liberator Simon de Bolivar, lies in the town center. The gruesome Palacio de la Inquisicion, a witchcraft and torture museum, stands on this plaza.
Cartagena has great cuisine, from fresh seafood and ceviche to tapas and ice-cold beer. Street food, including buñuelos and empanadas, is another option.
Before leaving, explore San Felipe de Barajas' battlements and subterranean passageways.
Peru's natural and architectural wonders make it a top South American destination. Lima, a sprawling city with Pacific beaches, will likely start your tour.
Lima is known for its innovative South American cuisine, with Michelin-starred restaurants and daring chefs reinventing Peruvian dishes. The zesty national drink, pisco sour, and fresh seafood ceviche are must-tries.
The colorful, bohemian Barranco neighborhood, world-class archaeological museums, and the pre-Incan pyramid Huaca Pucllana, now encompassed by the city, are all worth seeing.
Many go to Cuzco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and Machu Picchu from Lima. Cuzco's 11,100-foot altitude requires a multi-day vacation to adapt. Enjoy its cobblestone squares, churches, and Inca ruins.
The highlight for most tourists is Machu Picchu, flanked by sheer-sided mountains and frequently covered in mist.
Ecuador, over the equator, mixes undulating plains, snow-capped volcanoes, towering mountains, and Amazonian rainforest into a shockingly small region. The 600-mile-off-shore Galapagos Islands are its most famous feature. Wildlife enthusiasts should visit the islands.
Quito, the high-altitude city, lies 9,350 feet up in the foothills of the Andes, with Cotopaxi Volcano visible on clear days.
Cobblestone plazas, colonial houses, and 17th-century churches fill Quito's historic core. The Galapagos Islands, with their marine caves, tumbling rocks, and jagged lava fields, are a short flight away.
Galapagos birds and animals are remarkable because they have no fear of people. Blue-footed boobies, prehistoric-looking iguanas, sea lions, sea turtles, and gigantic tortoises are all there. Snorkeling tours take you past sharks, yellow and purple angelfish, and inquisitive Galapagos penguins.
Uruguay is overshadowed by Brazil to the north and Argentina to the south, a two-hour boat ride across the Rio de la Plata. This nation has stunning beaches, undulating interiors, and smart cities.
Montevideo, the capital, is a relaxed, small city with Spanish and Portuguese architecture. Enjoy mate, a native herbal tea served in a gourd, on the Rambla, a 10-mile promenade.
Montevideo has great marketplaces, from vintage and flea markets to the famous Mercado del Puerto, where street food carts serve sizzling meat. Attend a tango show—Argentina claims the tango, but Uruguayans dispute.
Punta del Este, Uruguay's Miami Beach, has high-rise residences, stylish restaurants, trendy boutiques, and hipster pubs. Punta del Este is like The Hamptons to well-heeled Porteños from Buenos Aires, so they cross the Rio de la Plata for summer holidays.
Visit Uruguay's nicest beach, Brava Beach's La Mano. Since 1982, this massive sculpture of a hand rising from the sand by Chilean artist Mario Irrazabál has symbolized the city.
Never before has it been so risk-free! As a result of widespread efforts, much of South America is now a safe area to visit with one's family. Even while pickpocketing, auto break-ins, and muggings are still a possibility, most problems may be prevented by just using common sense.
You should check with your government's travel advisory office, but we can declare with certainty that South America is a safe and welcoming place to visit.
Larger cities, including capitals, tend to have more crime, so tourists should be wary about strolling around at night. After nightfall, you should use a cab or an Uber to get where you're going. If you want to avoid being a target, you should not stroll about with plenty of money, flashy jewelry, or your phone out.
When comparing the relative safety of the nations in South America, Uruguay comes out on top, followed by Chile, Argentina, and Guyana. In these nations, violent crime is quite rare.
If you stay out of the worst neighborhoods of the major cities, traveling in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Colombia is also quite risk-free. While the crime rate in Brazil is the highest of the nations we've looked at, visitors who don't parade their expensive possessions about town should have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Read our breakdown of the safest nations in South America to learn more about the region's current security situation.
The answer to this question would be Ecuador, with its incredible biodiversity and the famous Galapagos Islands, known for their unique and diverse wildlife.
Argentina is renowned for its tango culture, especially in the vibrant capital city of Buenos Aires, where you can immerse yourself in the passionate and rhythmic dance.
Bolivia is where you'll find the stunning Uyuni Salt Flats, a surreal and mesmerizing natural wonder that stretches as far as the eye can see.
Chile offers exceptional opportunities for hiking and outdoor adventures, with its diverse landscapes that include the Atacama Desert, Patagonia's fjords and mountains, and Torres del Paine National Park.
Colombia is renowned for its coffee production, and the lush landscapes of the Coffee Triangle offer a perfect opportunity to explore coffee plantations and indulge in the country's rich coffee culture.
From the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru to the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and from the breathtaking glaciers of Patagonia in Argentina to the enchanting Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, South America never fails to leave a lasting impression on visitors.
The best South American countries to visit offer a blend of history, natural beauty, vibrant cultures, and warm hospitality. Whether you're a nature lover, history enthusiast, or adventure seeker, South America will captivate your senses and create lifelong memories.
So, pack your bags and embark on a journey to discover the wonders of this magnificent continent.