Bucket List Destinations in South America

Photo, Robinson Recalde.


Bucket List Destinations in South America

It's a continent of contrasts where you can find pretty much all you can imagine; here's some top bucket list destinations in South America...

South America is a continent of contrasts. You’ll find everything from long-lost cities to incredible wildlife and spectacular scenery. It’s hard to know what to include when you’re putting together your bucket list. From Peru tours to experiencing the mysticism of Machu Picchu and trekking in Patagonia, here is a guide on what to include in your list.

Bucket List Destinations in South America

Photo, Amy Perez.

Galapagos Islands for Wildlife Spotting

There’s nowhere on earth that’s quite like the Galapagos Islands. Visit them and you’ll get to see giant tortoises surrounded by fog and mist, sea lions playing along white sandy beaches, and sharks swimming in deep blue waters.

One of the biggest draws for tourists is the iconic tortoises, but the islands have more to offer than just that. Dive off the coast of Floreana and you’ll get up close and personal with hordes of small fish.

While bird-watching enthusiasts should head to the island of Espanola. This oldest of the Galapagos Islands is home to the Espanola Mockingbird and the only Marine Iguana population that stays green and red all year long.

Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia

These salt flats span more than 10,000 square kilometres and stretch as far as the eye can see. They are formed from the drying up of vast prehistoric lakes and are breathtaking.

During the rainy season, from November to March, they become a reflective mirror. In the dry season, from April to October, the salt flats extend to the horizon and create a magical experience.

Another spectacular sight to behold is the flocks of Andean flamingos in their natural habitat of the vivid Red and Green Lagoons and the Dali desert.

Mystical Cloud Forests of Costa Rica and Ecuador

Ecuador’s cloud forests blanket tumbling hills and hide thousands of endemic species. There’s no shortage of things to do such as walking along nature trails, horse riding, unwinding by practicing yoga, or taking part in a canopy tour.

The central highlands of Costa Rica are filled with biodiverse cloud forests. Humidity levels are 100% and the area is broken up into six different cloud forest zones.

Bucket List Destinations in South America

Photo, Eddie Kiszka.

Machu Picchu – One of the Seven Wonders of the World

A visit to Machu Picchu is one thing you have to do when landing in South America. This lost Incan city is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The city sits on a mountain ridge that’s 2,400 meters above sea level. There are so many tales about this mystical location, but you’ve got to experience it first-hand to appreciate it fully.

Getting to this world wonder is now much easier as you can get there by train. Sit back and relax and soak up the stunning countryside as it passes by. Alternatively, you can take the Inca Trail, which is an arduous four-day walk.

Experience Patagonia

Patagonia spans Chile and Argentina and each side offers equally diverse landscapes, glacial blue lagoons, and breathtaking mountain peaks. Both regions are great for hiking and offer something different for the traveler.

In Chile, head to UNESCO World Heritage Site Torres del Paine and the Aisen Region.

Standout regions in Argentina include El Calafate and El Chalten. Also consider visiting the frontier city of Ushuaia, and the coastline of Bahia Bustamante.

Go Back in Time With a Visit to Easter Island

Easter Island is located off the coast of Chile and is one of the most remote locations in the world. Peppered across the island are mysterious giant Moai statues. These are what most people visit and after spending a few hours in the ethereal landscape you’ll understand why.

Other activities you can participate in include snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, mountain biking, and climbing.

Soak Up the Iguassu Falls

Iguassu Falls sit on the border of Argentina and Brazil and are one of the most spectacular sites in South America. In total, there are 275 waterfalls, cascading over almost three kilometres of the Parana River.

You can explore these waterfalls in a variety of ways. For example, you can wander across walkways through the cascading waters. Alternatively, there is the option of taking a boat trip right up close to the falls. For a totally different perspective of the site, you can take to the air with a helicopter ride.

Devil’s Throat is one of the most spectacular parts of the site as it sees the largest flow of water. However, to experience this hidden gem, you have to catch a train to the Devil’s Throat station. From there, you take a catwalk across several islands before reaching the very rewarding lookout point.

Final Thoughts

Of course, this is just a small selection of the wonders on offer for anyone who wants to visit South America. Whatever location you choose, you’re certain to receive a rapturous welcome and be made to feel at home right away.