Introduction to South America travel
Nothing says adventure quite like South America. Raw, rugged and full of wonder, the subcontinent spans 13 countries and countless adventure opportunities. It's home to the world's biggest rainforest, largest river and highest mountain outside of Asia. Wonders of the world also fall within its borders; Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls, Christ the Redeemer, Galapagos Islands and the list goes on. Further to the specifics, the continent is also a case of natural extremes with iconic beaches on one side and icy ski fields on the other. Needless to say, South America is an explorer's paradise and one that rewards those willing to trek, climb and ski the distance.
For those not to so keen on roughing it, there are always the big cities. Buzzing metropolises where roof-top bars are a dime a dozen and fine dining restaurants take their steak seriously. Enjoy the the thriving nightlife of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, the sleek beach-side culture of Rio de Janeiro, the boutique shopping of Santiago and the fascinating traditions of Bogota. And then there are the special South American moments that you'll find in between; a plate of ceviche, a tango dance, a street festival. Whatever path you take, adventure can't help but find you in South America.
The list of ‘must-dos' in South America runs long. But considering its ample amount of natural wonders this is to be expected. The biggest challenge is editing the list down to an achievable itinerary. For most, Machu Picchu is the country's biggest 'must-do'. Located high in the Andes of Peru, travellers come from all over to hike the famous Inca Trail and reach the spectacular 15-century Inca city, commonly revered as one of the most famous ruins in the world. The hike is not for the faint hearted and travel to the city is subject to limited tickets, but for those who do put in the hard yards, the visual rewards are truly worth it.
South America's other natural drawcard is the Amazon Rainforest. Spanning across 9 countries, the Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. While the sheer size of it is truly remarkable, a glimpse of its diverse wildlife and eco-system is what travellers really come for. Away from the jungle, other must-dos to put on your list include Carnival in Rio, wildlife watching in the Galapagos, sand boarding in Peru, a night out on the town in Buenos Aires' we told you the list was long.
For more must-dos in South America, check out our things to do page and start planning your South American holiday.