South America is one of the world’s best destinations. The vast continent is a paradise for tourists, no matter what experiences they’re looking for. That’s because South America is the perfect blend of fun and cultural activities. You can spend your time relaxing on the beach or going through shops, but there’s also a large number of historical landmarks you can visit. This is the main reason you’ll never become bored visiting any of the countries in South America. The main challenge may actually consist of deciding on only a few places to visit. However, if you’re not constrained by time, this is your chance to become acquainted with some of the most outstanding places in the world.
Translated as “Lost City”, this archaeological site is any hiker’s dream. Located in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, this is the perfect destination if you are looking for remote landmarks to visit. If you’ve been to South America before, you’ve probably become accustomed to the famous sights and would like to try something different.
Archaeologists believe the former city to be much older than the much better-known Machu Picchu, predating it by roughly 650 years. The ruins preserve well over one hundred terraces that have been carved directly into the mountainside, tiled roads and a few plazas. The road to Ciudad Perdida is fantastic in itself. You must climb over one thousand steps through the jungle to reach your destination. The hike requires a good fitness level as it is about twenty-seven miles of walking and includes several river crossings, descents and climbs. After this workout journey, however, reaching the summit and seeing the remains of the ancient settlement will feel all the more rewarding and impressive.
This protected area, located in Peru’s northernmost region, Loreto, spans an area of eight thousand sq mi. Although Loreto covers nearly a third of the country’s territory, the department is also one of the most sparsely populated, owing to its location deep into the Amazon Rainforest. The best window to visit is between May and January, and you can expect temperatures ranging between 68 and 86 °F.
The reserve is known for the abundance and diversity of flora and fauna it contains. If you’re a lover of nature, this is the perfect place to see a wide variety of flowers, shrubs and trees. Many species are native to the Pacaya-Samiria, so having a closer look at them can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’re into bird-watching, the area offers a selection of many types you can admire, including black-throated mangos, horned screamers, cobalt-winged parakeets, swallow-tailed hummingbirds, king vultures and black-bellied whistling ducks.
When you want to take a break from the wildlife, consider visiting the city of Iquitos. The largest metropolis in the Peruvian Amazon, it numbers fewer than four hundred million people. It is accessible by boat or plane. Much like the jungle that surrounds it, the city is bustling with life. However, if you want to have a good trip, you should consider brushing up on your Spanish before you leave. Use a Spanish language learning app to build a basic level of knowledge that’ll help you navigate your destinations more easily. The remote areas are often the best to visit, as you can get a real feeling of what the culture and customs are, but you are also more unlikely to meet people who are fluent English speakers. Make a small effort to learn the language yourself, and you’ll make a more positive impression on the local people.
Spanish is widely spoken around the world, so it’s a good idea to learn it for future travels as well. Some of the key phrases you should add to your vocabulary are “Por favor” (never underestimate the impact of politeness), “Con permiso/perdón”, “¿Cuánto cuesta?”, “Quisiera”, “Estoy buscando”, “¿Qué hora es?” and “¿Dónde está…”. Add the greetings you probably already know, and you’ve already built the foundation for learning the language.
Divided between Chile and Argentina, the “Land of the Fire” archipelago lies across the Strait of Magellan. The region blends different types of terrain, creating the remote scenery that is unlike anything else in the world. With mountains, steppes and glaciers, this is a place that’ll help you create memories to last a lifetime. The earliest known human habitation dates back to 8000 BC, but unfortunately, the indigenous groups have been severely affected by the arrival of the Europeans. One group, the Selk’nam, are considered extinct as a tribe following the genocide, which spanned roughly fifteen years in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. The current name of the archipelago is derived from the bonfires European colonizers saw the natives build.
If you want to visit this stirring place and learn more about its natural beauty and complex and often distressing history, you shouldn’t hesitate to visit it. However, be sure you’re well-equipped for the weather. Despite the name, the climate in Tierra del Fuego is more similar to that of the Faroe Islands, Iceland and the Alaskan Peninsula rather than the Caribbean. It is a subpolar oceanic region, and the summers are short and relatively cool. The low temperatures preserve the numerous ancient glaciers present in the area.
This destination requires no formal introduction if you’re familiar with historical sights. The island is located in Chile and is home to the monumental statues known as mo’ai. These monolithic structures were carved by the Rapa Nui people and represent human figures. Built with disproportionate heads compared to the body size, the sculptures have strong spiritual meanings in Polynesian culture. The Rapa Nui National Park is where you must visit if you reach Easter Island. The area is roughly seventeen thousand acres and is the best place to get a glimpse of the stone houses of the natives in Orongo and the wonders of the natural world, such as the Rano Kau crater. Don’t think there’s no wildlife to observe. There are three species of rare marine turtles swimming in the waters around Easter Island, and with some luck, you might see one.
South America is a multifaceted continent with many things to see. If you don’t manage to visit everything you wanted in just one trip, add it to your bucket list. You’re sure to return and see it the following year.