Collated Stories of Life Changing and Best Places To Visit In South America as Told by Well-Travelled Travel Bloggers From Around The World.
Article Updated September 2018
South America is both enchanting and alluring, constantly capturing the hearts of travellers from afar. What is it about this vast continent that continues to lure people from all walks of life? These travel bloggers tell their tales of life changing and the best places to visit in South America.
USEFUL TRAVEL TIPS
- #01 – VISITING MACHU PICCHU, PERU
- #02 – ATTENDING RIO CARNIVAL, BRAZIL
- #03 – SALT FLATS IN SALAR DE UYUNI, BOLIVIA
- #04 – EXPERIENCING CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
- #05 – HIKING IN USHUAIA, ARGENTINA
- #06 – TREKKING THE REMOTE JUNGLES IN IQUITOS, PERU
- #07 – DESERT EXPERIENCE IN HUACACHINA, PERU
- #08 – FLAMINGOS AND GEYSERS IN SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, CHILE
#01 – VISITING MACHU PICCHU, PERU
by Vanessa Patel @ TravellingNessy
Peru is one of my favourite countries whilst travelling through South America, from the ‘hustle and bustle’ of Lima to the tranquillity within the cosmic realms of ancient Cuzco. There is just so much to explore within its hidden depths: discovering the Amazonian jungle, learning about intriguing Peruvian village life, admiring the peaks of the Andes and not forgetting the remarkable coastline that this ‘land of abundance’ has to offer.
Enjoy a Pisco Sour cocktail, relax with the locals, haggle for local handicrafts in the markets and taste some of Peru’s culinary delights, such as Papas Huancaina. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the roaming Llamas and Alpacas too! I loved the vibe in Southern Arequipa for experiencing everyday life.
My main reason for travelling to Peru was of course so that I could visit one of the ancient Seven Wonders – Machu Picchu. This remains as one of the best places to visit in South America. Having fought the altitude sickness, weighing up the huge costs involved, and the tiresome trek to get there, I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing experiences of my travels. For what stands before you are simply quite an ‘awe and wonder’ moment. There are not many things that leave footprints upon one’s heart, but Machu Picchu for me was for sure one of them. Try to look past the hordes of tourists when you’re watching the sun rise or set. Just be sure to take in every last bit of this lost city of the Incas.
#02 – ATTENDING RIO CARNIVAL, BRAZIL
by Tracey Best @ Ask Tee Travel
Brazil was an electrifying country that kept me jumping for joy, quite literally. I was lucky enough to experience the big grand Rio Carnival. This was a once in a lifetime experience that I’ve wanted to go for years. It did not disappoint. The colours, the costumes, makeup, decorated trailers, dancers, crowd and music were all unbelievable. The Sambodromo is a 1800ft long venue that showcases dance schools from approximately 9pm to 6am for a few nights each year. One night was enough at the parade as there were also plenty of street/moving parties known as Blocs where one can dance the day or night away.
During my stay in Rio I was also able to get to the top of Corcovado to see the iconic statue, Christ the Redeemer. My amazing trip also included Sugar Loaf Mountain, visiting Rocinha (biggest favela in Rio), and the beautiful beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. With delicious Brazilian food and daily Caprioskas, I didn’t want to leave Rio!
#03 – SALT FLATS IN SALAR DE UYUNI, BOLIVIA
by Shrawanti Saha @ Dusty Roads Beckon
For my first visit to this continent, I chose to go to Peru and Bolivia. It was an amazing trip, a memorable one for many reasons but what is still etched in my mind is that small village of Uyuni, in Bolivia, which suddenly opened a whole new world in front of me. Uyuni happens to be a small village housing approximately 10 thousand people. Owing to scarce and saline water supply the area has hardly any agriculture.
My trip started with a quick visit to an antique train cemetery outside the village, where a bunch of rusted and abandoned railway engines and carriages are put to display. I also went to Salar De Uyuni, the largest salt flats on the face of the earth which stretches across 11000sq.kms. Look around and all you can see is miles and miles of hexagonal sheets of slat blocks until the horizon. The clear blue sky on top provides the right contrast of colour, as if suspended in a universe of white and blue.
The Isla Incahuasi, a hilly and rocky outcrop in the middle of Salar De Uyuni, lets you witness acres of land thronged with giant cacti all over! The show stopper was a special spot on the Salar, where you catch the sunset on a relatively wet surface and can capture the perfect reflections of yourself and surroundings. The ideal season to catch the bright reflections is during the rainy season I was there in the dry month of October and I still found myself in a surreal world when dusk crept in and the sun disappeared beyond the horizons, making it a perfect end of South American trip.
#04 – EXPERIENCING CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
by Theresa Ho @ Happy Free Lifestyle
My favourite holiday in South America is Cartagena, Colombia. It reminds of Miami, a beachy metropolis with an artsy neighbourhood in Getsemani and a colourful and historic centre that makes you feel like you have been transported to Spain. In the evening you can find yourself enjoying a sunset at Café del Mar, partying it up on the Chiva bus and salsa dancing the night away. It is easy to travel around and extremely friendly on your wallet. I also felt incredibly safe in Cartagena, as the locals have an interest in wanting to make the tourists feel welcome and continue to grow their tourism economy.
Upon arriving in Cartagena you will feel the humidity and extreme heat. The best thing to do is take cover between 11:00am to 2:00pm. Enjoy some gelato and some fresh squeezed juices. My favourite is the Limonada de Coco (Coconut Lemonade) which hydrates and quenches your thirst. Seafood in Cartagena is also super fresh! Besides the food, you can’t help but go crazy for the colourful doors and door knockers. And if you are up for an uncanny adventure, book a half-day trip to Totumo Volcano to soak in the natural properties of the mud with a dozen or so strangers. You will definitely leave Cartagena with a good story to tell.From deserts, to sacred sites to pink flamingoes, no continent is more diverse than South America. Here are tales of the most memorable experiences as told by travel bloggers! Click To Tweet
#05 – HIKING IN USHUAIA, ARGENTINA
by Sarka Pechova @ Sarka’s Blog
Destination: Ushuaia. The most southern city in the world. Imagine: Argentina. Tango. Steaks. Wine. Graffiti. Winter. Mountains.
After hiking to the famous glaziers Perito Moreno and Torres del Paine, I was expecting Ushuaia to be freezing cold. But Ushuaia is different. Hidden behind a mountain range, the climate is milder and it reminded me of alpine skiing villages but with a bit of South American charm.
What is there to do here? Unless you are planning to go on a cruise to Antarctica (which really is an option, as most of the cruises do leave from Ushuaia), you can go for picturesque hikes in the nearby national park. Take a train ride in the beautiful lush green valley, ride a horse and feel like a proper cowboy or just take a stroll amongst the lakes. Camping is possible, but there are no equipped campsites so you will have to bring your own gear. But trust me, a fresh fish and a glass of wine has never tasted so good as it did when we came back to Ushuaia after days of hiking in the park.
Ushuaia is covered in snow for most part of the year. If you are not a snow bunny, head there in December to February as you can experience the short southern summer.
#06 – TREKKING THE REMOTE JUNGLES IN IQUITOS, PERU
by Una Wirkebau @ According to Una
Long before smart phones were invented, or wifi or even Facebook….travel still existed. I have travelled near, I have travelled far…..but the one trip which truly changed my heart and soul, involved getting lost in the Jungles of Peru.
Step one: Fly or boat… into Iquitos. This city itself, is absolutely amazing. The largest metropolis in the world not accessible by road. With a little more than half a million inhabitants, it is easy to negotiate and affords the incredible water markets of Bélen as well as easy access to the Amazon and its vast jungles. Pink Dolphins, Three Toed Sloths, Howler Monkeys…a treat for the senses.
Step two: Narrow down your search for the perfect Jungle retreat. In my case, it was a rustic cabin setting, located off the Momon River, a tributary of the Amazon. Picked up in a Tut-Tut, the small local boats used to navigate the many waterways surrounding Iquitos and the jungle, we spent close to 2 hours meandering along the forest to arrive at the lodge. Simple wooden cabins along an elevated walkway above the jungle floor. The resident Toucan’s greeted you along the way. A small hut with mosquito netting, giant fan and private bath, awaited me. Meals were included as well as an interaction with the local Shaman, including Ayahuasca, if I was keen.
Step three: Tell your local providers you want a “real” jungle experience. At this point, I was told to meet at the dock the next morning at 6 am, where a young man met me to take me on the adventure of a lifetime. Off up the Momon we went, the goal was to arrive at his village about 40 kilometres up the river. I caught a piranha! I saw giant otters, various monkeys by the dozens, as well as any number of caimans, tarantulas, and snakes.
It was incredible! Before we could arrive to my guides home, the river had dried up and we could no longer proceed. Instead of his village, we found ourselves in a neighbouring community of 20 or so families. By far the poorest people I had ever encountered, with only one pot and one fire to use amongst everyone. I offered my piranha, which they quickly boiled with local root vegetables for a meal shared on banana leaves for everyone. The first blonde, blue eyed, individual, anyone had ever seen. Truly a novelty I was.
The children were eager to learn English and asked me to teach them using charcoal from the fire and the walls of their huts to draw on. We spent 3 days with these amazing people. They created a bed for me with netting, as they were very worried about me getting malaria, they took me into the jungle and taught me how to track and to use a blow dart. Meals were shared, games were common, everyone smiled and laughed. Inquisitive, open, thoughtful, giving. The most humbling experience of my life. They had nothing, but gave everything. An experience I will cherish forever.
#07 – DESERT EXPERIENCE IN HUACACHINA, PERU
by Nikoleta Míchalová @ The Bonfire Dream
There are many beautiful, romantic and adventurous places in South America, but one that stands out is Huacachina. Huacachina is an oasis in the Peruvian desert known mostly for sand buggying and boarding. Regardless of the time of the year, it is packed with adventurers ready to try something new, to get an adrenaline rush. But what most people don’t know is that it isn’t only for the sportsmen but also for couples in love, history lovers and night life animals. And the best of all is that it’s relatively cheap and only few hours of drive from Lima.
For me, it was a miraculous change coming from cold and foggy Lima to the warm Huacachina desert where I could make a good use of my summer dress, eat slush on a boat and admire the contrast between the trees and the sand. The tasty food that I enjoyed with a view over the area left an impression of indescribable character on me. And the music, the laugher and the overall atmosphere erased all worries as I was getting ready for the adrenaline rush. It was fast and it was slow. We went to the right and to the left, up and down and to the side.
#08 – FLAMINGOS AND GEYSERS IN SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, CHILE
by Sarah Puckett @ Our 21st Century Odyssey
Imagine a place where you can see a sky full of stars, a moon-like landscape, aqua lagoons, and a geothermal geyser field, and you may think you’re on another planet. There’s no need to go to outer space, however, as I’m describing the amazing natural wonders of Chile’s high-altitude Atacama Desert. I’ve travelled extensively through several South American countries, and the desert’s small backpacker town of San Pedro de Atacama remains my favourite destination.
The otherworldly nature experiences are unparalleled elsewhere. One day you’re observing hundreds of pink flamingos in a shallow salt lake, and the next you’re standing on the third most active geyser region on earth. Day trips will take you to strange rock formations in the appropriately named Valle de la Luna and to expansive salt flats (the same salt desert as Bolivia’s famous Salar de Uyuni). As if it couldn’t get better, local tour operators can set you up with four days of tours for about $25 USD/day. The affordability and beauty of this wild place makes it my all-time favourite South American adventure.
These collective tales of life changing places to visit in South America no doubt only scratches the surface of what one can do in this colourful continent. This is a wonderful reminder of how much earth there is to explore. What is your best place to visit in South America? Did it make it on this list?
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