The vastly under-explored continent of South America was once home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations. Steeped in history, South American cities have charm, beauty, and elegance unparalleled, and are simply begging to be explored. For the more adventurous who like to wander off the beaten path, countless exciting adventures and excursions await. It’s not hard to be mesmerized by all that South America has to offer – majestic waterfalls, dense Amazonian jungles, unparalleled cuisine, wildlife both fascinating and mysterious -- and with more flights to the region than ever before, it’s becoming easier to plan an unforgettable experience to this continent.
If all that hasn’t convinced you yet, here are even more reasons to visit South America:
The climate in South America can vary quite greatly from region to region, but tropical temperatures can be found all over the continent – with the exception of Patagonia, the southernmost area of land shared between Argentina and Chile, where you can expect to find glaciers. So whether you’re looking for sun and tropical birds, or glacier hiking – South America has it all and everything in between!
If you’re looking for an adventure that’s fit for all members of the family, South America offers plenty of options. Hotels and restaurants are more than accommodating, and will often cater exclusively to your family’s needs to ensure the utmost comfort. Outside of the hotel, there are activities for all ages and activity levels: hiking, rafting, zip-lining, learning to surf, cook or speak Spanish, cruises and walking tours – just to name a few.
Learning to surf in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
South America is rich in diverse and deep-rooted cultures stemming from hundreds of years of history and tradition. Colonial and native history have intermingled and produced some of the most vibrant cultural landscapes in the world. From the Argentine Gaucho to the Andean Shaman, you’re sure to experience full cultural immersion anywhere you visit in South America.
A visit to the Pisac market in Peru is a perfect opportunity to experience Quechua culture and purchase local textiles
You can visit several unique countries and stay in some of the most luxurious accommodations for a fraction of the price of a vacation to other parts of the world. An 8 night visit to Peru that covers some of the most famous historical sites in the world – Machu Picchu – can cost as little as $2380 per person. This price includes accommodations, transfers, guided tours, and excursions.
There’s nothing quite like South American cuisine. With influences from indigenous populations, nations in Africa, Spain, Germany, and Italy, you will find yourself feasting on rich, flavorful dishes, and luscious tropical fruit. You’ll be accompanying your meals with wines from some of the top vineyards in the world and other beverages unique to the region, and finishing with mouthwatering desserts and pastries.
South America boasts over 100 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South America like the Iguacu National Park in Brazil, the Galapagos Islands, Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina, and Machu Picchu in Peru –but there is still so much yet to be discovered. With millions of miles of Amazonian rainforest, hundreds of islands – many of these places have yet to be troubled by human influence, which is part of what makes South America such a mysterious, yet fascinating continent.
The exotic blue footed booby, found in Galapagos Islands
7) Easy access from North America
U.S. carriers have been noticing the up swinging trend of people choosing to visit South America, so non-stop flights to South American cities are becoming more commonplace. Flights to Lima, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and many more leave daily from major cities in the US like New York, Atlanta, Houston and LA – so you can spend less time in the airport and more time in the Amazon.
8) Leader in design
If the wonders of modern architecture is your passion, Brazil’s Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum designed by world renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer, is one of South America’s jewels. But that’s not all modernism has touched in the continent. Bicycle infrastructure has developed rapidly in many cities including Colombia, which shuts down streets in Bogota on Sundays to motorized traffic and Buenos Aires that has designed over 87 miles of protected bike lanes.
Recent LWA bike trip to Colombia
9) Well-developed tourism infrastructure
South America is no stranger to tourism, so it’s definitely done well. All-inclusive hotel and lodge experiences are some of South America’s specialties. Vira Vira in Pucon, Chile, for example, promises an unforgettable stay with unique lodging, meals, and excursions all planned for you – so you don’t have to do anything but enjoy!
Ever had an espresso on a glacier? Vira Vira is happy to oblige.
You just don’t often hear of South America in the headlines when it comes to terrorism-related safety concerns. Uruguay is considered one of the safest countries in South America, and Argentina, Chile and Ecuador follow close behind. It’s important when travelling anywhere, however, to practice vigilance and to not be apparent with valuables like jewelry and tech gadgets.