When it comes to adventurous travel, there’s no denying the fact that South America has enough notable spots and hidden gems to last any traveler a lifetime.
In fact, some travelers spend their whole lives exploring the incredible continent and some take the time to learn more about a particular country or region. It’s clear that South America is a huge continent, with diverse geography, culture and plenty of adventure—but we’ll attempt to name some of the best reasons you need to explore for yourself.
From specific regions and adventures to facts that apply to the majority of the continent, avid travelers and those passionate about South America helped weigh in on the main reasons to visit. Some highlighted the history, geography and the fact that most countries are affordable for travelers, while others suggested seeing the Galapagos Islands, the Atacama Desert and Rio during Carnival.
Of all the amazing reasons to visit and explore the continent of South America, here are 11 of the very best.
“South America's typography ranges from mountains, to beaches, to rainforest, to deserts—sometimes all within one country,” said Karissa Jobman, avid traveler and founder of the travel company Bucket. “This summer, I had the opportunity to visit the Salt Flats of Bolivia, a place like nowhere else in the world. There you can take three day treks into the desert, hiking the mountains, relaxing in hot springs, or even finding places to sand board.”
“Although tours to South America generally show brilliant sunshine, the southernmost tip of South America looks more like Alaska, especially around Glacier Bay,” said Elizabeth Avery, a long-time
avid global solo traveler and founder of the travel website SoloTrekker4U.com.“Known as Antarctica Chile, it has remarkable wildlife with penguins while whales frolicked as the Atlantic blends southward towards Antarctica's land mass. Blended in with this remote and sometimes wind-swept terrain is a beguiling mix of uniquely Chilean culture.”
Avery writes of her trip there, “I traveled with a friend around Punta Arenas, Chile's southernmost large town…Our main goal was to explore the Torres del Paine National Park on a local winter's day. There were no other tourists that we saw there. Our best transportation was with a taxi driver who raced along the snow-covered roads as vaqueros/cowboys with weathered faces passed by on horseback.”