South America is a vast continent with some of the world’s most diverse landscapes and vibrant culture. It’s a destination that has something to offer any kind of traveller, from exuberant rainforests to ancient ruins to charming beaches. Many travel companies, including Saga Travel, fly to South American hotspots throughout the year. With this in mind, here are five amazing places you must visit on a trip there.
Ancient Inca ruins in Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu, also known as the Lost City of the Incas, is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The Inca abandoned the scared citadel and the ruins were rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. At about 7,000 feet above sea level, this awe-inspiring city lies between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin. You can find palaces, temples, plazas, baths, storage room and houses craved from granite of the mountain top. The mysteries of Machu Picchu continue to lure historians, explorers and visitors. Some theorize the citadel as a retreat for Incan rulers while others believe it’s a secret ceremonial city.
Lively and mega diverse Colombia
Colombia is the second most populated country in South America. With a rich complexity of ecological, climatic, biological and ecosystem, Colombia hosts close to 10% of the world biodiversity. It offers a wide range of ecosystems and varied landscapes, from the Chocó biogeographical area to the Amazon rainforest and the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, is a cosmopolitan and lively city with a vibrant art scene and bustling nightlife and Providencia and Santa Catalina being the most romantic destinations for couples! Colombia’s rugged topography is also ideal for adventurers looking for extreme sports such as bungee jumping, paragliding and diving.
The Argentinean Pampas
Located near Buenos Aires, the Argentinean Pampas is home to the gaucho, the original South American cowboy. Here you can find the gaucho culture in the preserved towns of San Antonio de Areco and Chascomús. The architecture in the traditional gauchos’ town Chascomús dated back to the 1870s. The museum of the Pampas and gaucho is a good place to find out more about the culture’s history. The fertile open flat grasslands are rich in wildlife, being the home to the Chilean flamingos and herons, maguari storks, white-faced ibis and back-necked swans.
The Andes Mountains
This is one of the longest mountain ranges in the world and extends over 7 countries. The Andes Mountains start from the southern tips of South America to the northernmost coast of the Caribbean. At 22,841 feet, Mount Aconcagua is the highest peak and is located on the border of Argentina and Chile. The rich flora, fauna and wildlife of the Andes Mountains attract visitors from around the globe. The mountains are also home to the Andean Flicker, the Hillstar humming bird and Llamas!
Waves of the Pacific in Chile
Chile is located along the south western coast of South America and is squeezed between the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. With coastline extending 4,300 km, Chile offers the best location to watch the waves of the Pacific Ocean and enjoy water sports, especially surfing. Water sports lovers can choose between the short, tubular waves in the northern regions or the long, strong waves in the central and southern regions.
Don’t miss any of these 5 completely fascinating and beautiful places to be found in South America.
Image by Carlos Andres Reyes, used under the Creative Commons license.