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Visit South America’s Top 10 Tourist Attractions

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machu picchu Inca site peru

South America has many tourist attractions being a large and diverse continent. It covers an area greater than that of Europe. The west of the continent is dominated by the Andes mountain range and bordered by the Pacific Ocean whilst the east is flanked by the Atlantic.

The North of the continent edges into the  Northern Hemisphere whilst the Southern tip is the notorious Cape Horn.

 

The continent has a vast number of places worth visiting. Here at Andean Trails we have chosen our top 10 attractions of South America detailed below in no particular order.

 

Machu Picchu, Peru

The “Lost City of the Incas” is one of the best known attractions in South America  and photographs of the citadel are instantly recognisable. It is a “must see” on any itinerary that includes Peru and  for this reason is a very busy attraction. It can be visited on a day trip from Cusco, or you can walk in on the Inca Trail. It is also an attraction included after a trek such as the Lares or Salkantay.

Inca Bridge machu Picchu Peru

Inca bridge at Machu Picchu

 

Cartagena, Colombia

Tourism to Colombia has seen a large increase over recent years and one of the main attractions is the walled city of Cartagena on its Caribbean coast.  History, charm, sun, gastronomy and the ocean combine into a “must experience” destination. This can be combined with Tayrona as in the Colombia’s beaches: Cartagena and Tayrona Tour.

Balconies in Cartagena

 

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

Only an hour’s drive from the Patagonian city of El Calafate is the Perito Moreno Glacier.  You can get up close to the 5km / 3.1 mile wide and 74 m/240 ft high wall of ice and witness chunks of ice breaking off from one of the few glaciers that is still advancing. Visits can be included in any tailor-made itinerary and are included in the small group Patagonia Highlights tour as well as a self-guided Patagonia trekking itinerary.

small group at perito-moreno-argentina

Balcony at Perito Moreno

 

Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador

The Cotopaxi Volcano is located 50 Km/30 miles south of the Ecuadorean capital, Quito. On a clear day, its conical shape can be seen from parts of the city. Visitors can visit the national park for the day as part of a tour of the Avenue of Volcanoes or the more active can visit on a lodge to lodge trekking itinerary, a horse riding program or even climb Cotopaxi.

Cotopaxi above Clouds Ecuador

Cotopaxi above the clouds

 

Torres Del Paine, Chile

The spectacular beauty of the granite spires of the Torres del Paine in the National Park of the same name crown this popular destination. A UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the lakes, mountains and valleys of the park attract visitors from all over the world. The more active can trek the Paine W trail or the Paine Circuit and those looking for a little more comfort may choose a hotel based all inclusive programme.

Torres-del-Paine-towers-up-close-Chile

The Towers of Paine

 

Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia

In Bolivia’s high altiplano is the World’s largest salt flat, the Salar de Uyuni. This vast expanse of bright white salt interspersed with amazing rock formations and islands dotted with cacti offers the visitor an incredible experience. A 3 or 4 day tour to the Uyuni salt flats is a must to any holiday that includes Bolivia.

Uyuni-salt-flat-illuision-Bolivia

An Uyuni illusion

 

Cordillera Blanca, Peru

In Northern Peru  is the Cordillera Blanca, a magnificent mountain range that has several peaks over 6,000 metres / 19,500 feet including Peru’s highest mountain Huascaran at 6,768 metres / 22,205 ft.

Trekkers can enjoy relatively off the beaten path trekking programmes ranging from itineraries that last  11 days, 15 days, or even 18 days.

cordillera blanca peaks Peru

Cordillera Blanca Peaks

 

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

This collection of Islands in the Pacific and a two hour flight from mainland Ecuador is a must for the nature enthusiast. Unique fauna on land and amazing experiences in the ocean are guaranteed.

Visitors explore the islands either with a land based itinerary or on a cruise, many in small boats ranging from first class boats to superior tourist class.

red footed booby in tree Galapagos

Red footed Boobie

 

Amazon, Peru and Ecuador

The Amazon Rainforest covers much of Northern South America and spans 9 countries. Accounting for half of the World’s remaining rainforests it is a dwindling resource suffering greatly from deforestation. Responsible tourism helps create awareness and there are several  community lodges that can be visited on inclusive packages (local transportation, meals, excursions and accommodation) in Ecuador and Peru.

Macaw-clay-lick-Tambopata-Amazon-Peru

Macaw clay lick

 

Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil

The Iguazu falls on the Parana River straddle the border between Brazil and Argentina. They comprise the largest waterfall system in the world. Visitors to the Brazilian side benefit from panoramic views of the range of falls across the river in  Argentina and whilst those going to the Argentine side can get up close and over the spectacular “Devil’s Throat” Cascade. The falls can be visited on a 3 day package or part of an itinerary combining Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.

Iguazu from air Argentina

Iguazu Falls

 

Planning to visit

If you are planning to visit any of the above attractions, or any others in South America, do get in touch with us at Andean Trails to make that plan a reality.

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