Wednesday, May 1, 2019

10 Super Things To Do In South America

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There are all kinds of adventures to be had in South America. Here are just ten incredible experiences worth seeking out in this mighty continent.

Trek the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is on many people’s bucket lists - and for good reason. The trail takes hikers through the Peruvian Andes leading them to South America’s most famous historical site - the 15th century citadel of Machu Picchu. It’s a physical challenge, a historical journey and a chance to see natural wonders all rolled into one single adventure.

There are variations of the trail including a popular one-day trek and a more challenging 4 day hike. Taking the trail without a guide is prohibited (mainly as a way of controlling tourism, not because it is extremely dangerous).

Explore the wildlife of The Galapagos Islands

Those with a keen interest in wildlife should definitely visit the Galapagos Islands. This Ecuadorian archipelago is home to some truly unique wildlife including marine iguanas and its own species of penguin (despite being located pretty much on the equator!). Sea lions and giant tortoises also roam the islands.

There are lots of ways to explore The Galapagos Islands. It’s possible to hire a yacht that will not break the bank, allowing you to see the islands in style. Alternatively, you can stay on one of the islands and hike your way around.

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See the carnival in Rio De Janeiro

The Rio De Janeiro carnival takes place annually every February and is considered the biggest carnival in the world. Performers dress in wild outfits and take part in impressive choreographed dances to music. Meanwhile the whole city takes the chance to party it up – it’s a great occasion for feasting and drinking.

Accommodation in Rio can be expensive around this time, but being such a big city there are a lot of options. Whilst in the city, it’s worth also seeing the sights such as Christ the Redeemer statue, not to mention hitting the world-famous beaches such as Copacabana.

Take a boat ride under Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls make up the largest waterfall system in the world. They sit on the border between Brazil and Argentina and cover 2.7 kilometres in total. You can view the falls from a platform – or you can see them up close and personal by taking a boat ride underneath them! This could make for a thrilling and unforgettable experience.

There are two airports within close proximity of the falls including IGU on the Brazilian side and IGR on the Argentinian side. There are lots of hotels in the area and lots of other attractions nearby including Parque das Aves and Itaipu Dam.

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Get up close to glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park

Those exploring Patagonia won’t want to miss Los Glaciares National Park. It’s home to several impressive glaciers including the huge and imposing Perito Moreno. This glacier is still growing and you can organise boat trips to see it/ You’ll also find Laguna Torre here – a crystal clear lake formed from glacial melt water.

You can get to the park by catching a bus from El Calafate. There are many trails in the park that could be worth hiking (but be careful of the conditions – especially in winter!).

Visit the Salt Flats in Bolivia

Salar De Uyuni in Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flats. It’s the result of a large dried up lake, which in turn has created a white desert. Some areas of the salt flats take on a mirror-like quality and have become famously photographed due to their otherworldly appearance.

When seeing these salt flats, you should organise a tour from Uyuni. There are overnight buses that can take you to the salt flats from Cusco.

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Catch a boat ride down the Amazon river

South America is also home to the mighty Amazon river. Surrounded by tropical rainforest and teeming with wildlife including manatees and pink dolphins, this river has to be experienced – and the best way to do that is via a boat tour.

There are various boat trips that you can take. Cruises lasting several days are popular and could be a lazy way of seeing the river whilst enjoying good food and drink and comfortable beds. Alternatively, you may want to simply take a ferry for a more authentic budget experience. Cruises can be more expensive, but may stop more regularly allowing you to spot wildlife more easily. There may even be excursions into the rainforest allowing you to see all manner of creatures from tapirs to howler monkeys.

Journey to the End of the World in Chile

Ushuaia in Chile is often nicknamed ‘the end of the world’ largely due to its southerly location. In fact, it’s commonly regarded as the most southerly city in the world. The town has a quirky feel about it and has a number of museums worth exploring. Tierra Del Fuego National Park is meanwhile on its doorstep allowing the option to do some mountain trekking.

There are daily flights to Ushuaia from Buenos Aires. The town has plenty of accommodation ranging from cheap hostels to luxury spa hotels.

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Watch the sun set over Moon Valley

Chile’s Atacama desert is known for being one of the driest places on Earth and has a landscape that is often compared to the moon. The most notable moon-like feature in this desert is Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) in Los Flamencos National Reserve made up of rugged mountains and strange rock formations. This valley is best visited during sunset when the glow gives everything a surreal red feel.

You can reach Moon Valley from the nearby town of San Pedro de Atacama. There are a number of hotels to choose from in the area catered to all budgets.

Relax on the beaches of Aruba

A beach break in Aruba could be a great way to end your adventures in South America. This island country off the coast of Venezuela is renowned for its miles of white sand beaches. Its crystal clear waters meanwhile are perfect for snorkelling in. It really is a paradise.

Most people fly to Aruba. There are plenty of hotels across the island where you can drink cocktails by the pool and relax. Some people may find the island a little too touristy.

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