Life is for traveling, and South America’s rich and versatile sites are calling. Plan a vacation using this must-see list, spanning the continent’s most breathtaking sights, cities, and tourist destinations. Whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran explorer, we’ve got you covered. Just pack your bags, and hop on board!
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
One of the most phenomenal vistas in the world is nestled between Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. The Salt Flats, located in in the geographically diverse country of Bolivia, are a spectacular natural wonder. Imagine a seemingly horizon-less plain in which the clouds are reflected on the ground during the rainy season of December to April. Visitors are usually dazzled by this seemingly skewed perspective. During the dry months (May to November), geometric lines impressively crack through the ground, creating polygons in salty surface. Planning ahead is key for this destination, because depending on the time of year you visit, your experience will be drastically different. Tour options include English or Spanish speaking guides, chefs, and excursions such as cave and volcano exploring. Whichever your choice, prepare for photo ops beyond your wildest dreams, including (perhaps!) a rare pink flamingo sighting.
Lake Titicaca, Peru
Mysterious and enchanting, Lake Titicaca draws adventure seekers from around the globe. It’s one of the world’s highest navigable bodies of water, providing soul-stirring views. Spend the day exploring the Uros Islands, also known as the floating islands or Islas Flotantes, and then treat yourself to an evening of bewilderment under the Milky Way. Imagine a paintbrush dipping into a bucket of glitter and then painting the entire sky (yes, there are that many stars visible)! The lack of light pollution provides uninterrupted views of the universe’s most beautiful star display, shooting stars included.
If history, stunning beaches, and exciting cuisines are your thing, then Cartagena is a must. The walled Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it’s speckled with charming, jewel-colored colonial buildings that offer shopping, sightseeing, and museums. Considered the safest city in the country, people from all over the globe flock to the world-class beaches, Chiva Tours, Colombian Art, and brilliant energy that will have you feeling festive long after returning home. For an added adventure, visit Rosario Islands, known for colorful tropical snorkeling and white sand beaches.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Experience first-hand the lush wildlife and geographic terrain that inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The archipelago of the Galápagos was formed three to five million years ago by a chain of volcanic eruptions. The area is still volcanically active, and the islands are in a constant state of flux—consisting of build-up and erosion. Practically untouched by man, it’s like stepping back in time—a time when wildlife covered the earth and man was just an observer. Spark your inner explorer and go snorkeling in the tropical waters, hiking along the lava rock trails, sea kayaking among the penguins and sea lions, or just relaxing by the beach. The choice is yours—if you can dream it, you can most likely do it in the Galapagos.
Atacama Desert, Chile
The Atacama Desert is beyond your wildest imagination. Considered to be the driest non-polar desert in the world, parts of the terrain lack life and even NASA has tested the Martian rover in anticipation of future Mars missions. Talk about otherworldly—from the dark grays of the active El Tatio Geysers, to the golden sands of Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley Dunes), the range of vistas you’ll witness are as diverse as the changing flora and fauna. Swim in Cejar Lagoon, or marvel at the unique spectacle of Los Flamencos National Reserve. Keep your eyes out for the doe-eyed faces of the Vicunas, that up until recently were endangered, and their larger counter-parts, Llamas.
We wear our travel experiences proudly like medals, adorning our lives and enhancing our cultural knowledge—add these medals to your collection. From the salt flats, to the high-altitude lakes, to the stunning picturesque beaches and historic walled-in cities, South America has it all, and now you can too!