- AP/David J. Phillip
South America is a vast continent with a wide array of unforgettable experiences for travelers to enjoy.
Its countries are filled with stunning natural parks, bustling streets, and, of course, incredible food.
We’ve put together a collection of 21 sights to see and experiences to have in South America. From gazing at monumental statues to marveling at the world’s highest waterfall, there are plenty of adventures to be had.
Take a four-wheel drive across Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world.
- Shutterstock/Vadim Petrakov
Hike the Inca Trail, which will lead you from Peru’s Sacred Valley to the ancient city of Machu Picchu. Along the way are beautiful mountain scenes, subtropical jungles, and Incan ruins ready to be explored.
Party at the world’s biggest Carnival celebration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Take a ride on the Swing at the End of the World at the Casa de Arbol in Ecuador, and catch stunning views of the Tungurahua Volcano.
- Flickr/Rinaldo Wurglitsch
Boat across the Amazon River, which is home to more than one-third of the world’s animal species.
Visit the Galapagos Islands, located off the coast of Ecuador, where you’ll get up-close views of sea turtles and plenty of other animals. Each island boasts a unique landscape, ranging from volcanic rocks to white-sand beaches.
- Shutterstock / Longjourneys
On Argentina’s Fitz Roy Massif, the peaks of Aguja Poincenot, Aguja Saint Exupery, and the high-rising Fitz Roy loom above Patagonia to form a spectacular scene. You can witness three views of Fitz Roy at sunrise and weave through Los Glaciers National Park’s forests, open plains, glaciers, and roaring waterfalls.
- Flickr/McKay Savage
Try asado, delectable grilled meats from Argentina. The meats make for an unforgettable meal.
Marvel at Colombia’s Caño Cristales, found in Serrania de la Macarenia National Park. Composed of an aquatic plant that takes on hues of red, blue, yellow, orange, and green under specific weather conditions, it is said to look like a breathtaking river of rainbows from June to December.
- Flickr/Eric Pheterson
Gaze at the Christ the Redeemer statue, which rises more than 2,000 feet above Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The statue’s awe-inspiring scale and design led to its being recognized as one of the seven new wonders of the world.
Wander through Cartagena de Indias in Colombia, where you’ll see colonial architecture dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The music, winding streets, and brightly painted houses once inspired Gabriel García Márquez’s classic works of magical realism.
- Shutterstock/Jess Kraft
Take a helicopter ride over Iguazu Falls, which borders Argentina and Brazil and is home to more than 200 waterfalls.
Go shopping in Otavalo, Ecuador, where rainbows of textiles, scarves, wall displays, hand bags, and sweaters can be bought.
See Angel Falls — also known as Salto Ángel — in Venezuela’s Canaima National Park. As the world’s highest waterfall, it has a height of 3,212 feet.
- Flickr/Tim Snell
Relax at Punta del Diablo in Uruguay, where you’ll find crystal-clear waters, plenty of young people, and a laid-back atmosphere.
Admire the stunning neo-Gothic architecture of Las Lajas Sanctuary, which crosses a gorge on the border between Colombia and Ecuador. Marvel at its stunning landscape, set 150 feet above the river in between lush cliffs and waterfalls, before seeing its stunning interiors.
- Shutterstock/Rafal Cichawa
For an adventurous experience, catch the turtles nesting at Shell Beach in Guyana. It’s an incredible sight — from the moment the turtles sweep away the sand to lay eggs to when the hatchlings dig their way out of the sand to the sea.
Stroll through the vineyards of Mendoza in Argentina, known for its incredibly diverse wine production. Here, you can sample award-winning malbecs in a breathtaking setting.
See soaring mountains, stunning icebergs, and rare wildlife at Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Its giant granite shapes, created by the force of glacial ice, make for a stunning sight.
- Flickr/Marc Veraart
Head to Chile’s Atacama desert, where you’ll get breathtaking sunset views over the Andes before enjoying incredible stargazing in the evening.