15 Best Places To Visit in South America According to Travelers

South America is a treasure trove of coffee plantations, tropical beaches, delicious food, and natural beauty. It’s no wonder travelers are constantly booking trips back to this continent to explore its many wonders.

1. Patagonia, Chile and Argentina

Lake Buenos Aires, Patagonia
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Patagonia is located between Chile and Argentina and is famous for its treks, reserves, forests, landscapes, native wildlife, and glaciers. It also offers some of the best whale-watching, is home to the largest Magellanic Penguin colony, and has one of the world’s last glaciers still growing.

2. The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
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The Galápagos Islands inspired Darwin’s evolution theory. They are one of the world’s most volcanically active regions and Ecuador’s first national park, with 97% of the landmass designated as a national park in 1959. These beautiful islands offer history, intrigue, wildlife, and panoramic views, which is why travelers love them.

3. Cuzco, Peru

Plaza de armas, Cusco, Peru
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Cuzco was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, as it used to be the capital of the Inca Empire and retains its ancient stone architecture. If this kind of ancient history appeals to you, you’ll be in your element visiting Cuzco.

4. Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile
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Step into a world of culture when you step into Santiago. The capital city of Chile houses gorgeous art galleries and museums, like the Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of Fine Arts. If it’s not the culture you’re after, Santiago’s cuisine scene will undoubtedly tickle your taste buds. Tuck into empanadas and asado at one of the many bars and restaurants in the city.

5. Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia

Titicaca Lake, Bolivia
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This World Heritage Site is South America’s largest freshwater lake and one of the world’s twenty ancient lakes. While you can swim in the lake, it’s not recommended as it’s so cold. The main attractions are the floating islands of totora reeds that grow in the lake. You can take a boat to the floating islands.

6. Ollantaytambo, Peru

Ollantaytambo, Peru
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Ollantaytambo was the Incan Emperor Patchacuti’s royal estate. Outside of Machi Picchu, this area has some of the most incredible Incan Ruins and is well worth a visit. If you plan to stay in Ollantaytambo, there are many day trips that you can take to nearby sites that history enthusiasts will love.

7. Bogotá, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia
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The country of Colombia is a firm favorite amongst travelers who’ve visited South America. It’s most well known for producing delicious Arabica coffee, throwing the most lively parties, and the passionate and friendly people who live there.

8. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
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Salar de Uyuni was another suggestion many travelers recommended visiting in South America. As the most extensive salt flat in the world at over 6,574 miles, it’s worth adding to the travel bucket list.

9. Quilotoa Loop, Ecuador

Quilotoa lagoon circle trek, near Latacunga town in Ecuador
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The Quilotoa Loop is Ecuador’s most famous trek for good reason. Hike across dusty paths, deep valleys, small settlements, and green hills. The trail begins or ends (depending on where you start) at the impressive Quilotoa Lake, a crater lake formed after an enormous eruption over 600 years ago.

10. Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca, Ecuador
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One traveler said that Cuenca was her biggest surprise when visiting Ecuador, as it was a beautiful yet underrated city. Cuenca has incredible scenery, distinct and delicious cuisine, and vibrant festivals, all contributing to a fantastic travel experience.

11. San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
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Bariloche is a mountain town located in northern Patagonia. Travelers love this spot because of the expansive amount of activities available, such as skiing at Catedral Alta Patagonia, taking the chairlift to see Lake Nahuel Huapi, and hiking the Cerro Llao Llao or Refugio Frey,

12. Banos, Ecuador

Banos, Ecuador
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Nature lovers will feel like they’ve arrived in paradise when they visit Banos. The town sits at the base of the active Tungurahua Volcano and has been termed the “Gateway to the Amazon.” From Banos, you can explore impressive volcanoes, abundant wildlife, and national parks.

13. Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Ecuador

Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
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Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is another item on the bucket list for nature enthusiasts. It abounds in incredible wildlife and has some of the most beautiful jungle scenery and views of the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

14. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Buenos Aires is known as the Paris of South America, and it has a Latin atmosphere, French architecture, museums, and art galleries. The city has a plethora of things to do, from eating your way through their steakhouses and watching a live Tango performance to walking the tree-lined streets of Palermo and enjoying Carlos Thays Botanic Garden.

15. Ciapata Diamantina National Park, Brazil

Chapada Diamantina National Park, Brazil
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Travelers love a trip to this national park in Brazi. The ecosystem varies from the dry Cerrado to the tropical Mata Atlantica, and everywhere, you’ll find beautiful orchids and bromelia, and you may even be lucky enough to spot a jaguatirica or puma. Trek through the park for the scenery and shower beneath Brazil’s highest waterfall while spending time in Ciapata Diamantina National Park.

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