Columbus was perhaps just the first in a long line of European explorers to savour the delights of South America. Whether it’s a bike ride down the vertiginous Death Road, a trip to local markets or an afternoon with the dead in Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, South America is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates.
The mighty Iguazú Falls must be one of the natural wonders of the world. Wrapped in mist and illuminated by rainbows, the falls mark the boundary between Brazil and Argentina and each country offers a unique experience of the spectacle. The Argentinian side will bring you up close and personal while a trip over to the higher ground in Brazil will provide dramatic panoramas. Away from the tropical rainforest of Iguazú, the high plateau in Bolivia has its own charms and is home to the world’s highest capital as well as its highest lake.
Buenos Aires (Argentina) is often referred to as the ‘Paris of South America’ and its grandiose centre might justify the moniker. However, this is to understate its buzzing atmosphere and the sheer variety of its ‘barrios’ or districts. La Paz (Bolivia), the world’s highest capital, may not have the beauty of Rome, but it is filled to the brim with culture. Quaint museums and dazzling markets await the traveller who journeys to the roof of the world. Yet South America is more than a collection of capital cities. Cusco (Peru), the ancient centre of the Inca Empire, holds many travellers in its thrall for longer than they initially plan and Sucre (Bolivia) is another place that invites you to linger.
Unique Experiences in South America
South America is about opening up to new experiences and living an adventure.
Shop till you drop in traditional markets, stay with locals and learn about their lives before you take your own life in your hands on a trip down Death Road in Bolivia. Want to really do something different? Spend a week on with a family on an organic coffee farm near Machu Picchu.
If Europe is the ‘Old Continent’, then this truly is the ‘New World’.
Buenos Aires and La Paz are the distinctive capitals of two very different South American nations- Argentina and Bolivia. The former is European with an Italian twist, while the latter is the most indigenous nation on the continent. Nature is on a grand scale here with tropical forests, immense waterfalls and the mountainous terrain of the Andes. Don’t forget that South America is also home to the Amazon…Looking for manmade wonders? Then, Peru and its Inca remains are probably the best bet. Watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu is a travel experience that will remain with you long after you leave South America.
Make Sure to Visit
- Buenos Aires– a city of faded grandeur and tango dancers
- La Paz– traditional markets and a setting that must be unique (the world’s highest capital city)
- The Amazon– sleep in a hammock under the stars in the Bolivian Amazon
- Sucre– the ‘White City of the Americas’ may call itself the capital, but its sleepy charms seduce travellers and hold them under its spell for weeks
- Iguazú Falls– get the panoramic views in Brazil before seeing them up close and personal in Argentina
- Lake Titicaca– the birthplace of the Incas and home to the ‘hippie’ village of Copacabana
- Machu Picchu– join the hordes and experience an icon of international travel