Andean peaks, Amazonian rainforest, Patagonian glaciers, Incan ruins, colonial towns, white-sand beaches and vertiginous nightlife: the wonders of South America are the ideal landscapes for incredible adventure travels.
South America is the wilder of the Americas, and a continent of superlatives.
The world's biggest rainforest and the largest river (Amazon), the highest mountain range outside Asia (the Andes), remote islands (Galapagos Islands, Easter Island and Fernando de Noronha), heavenly beaches (such as in Brazil's Northeastern region), wide deserts (Atacama), icy landscapes (Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego), the world's tallest waterfall (the 979 m Angel Falls, in Venezuela) and one of the largest (Iguaçu Falls, Argentina and Brazil), as well as several other breathtaking natural attractions.
Besides, the work of man has also left rare gems on the continent: ruins of ancient civilizations (Machu Picchu and other Inca cities; the Moais in Easter Island) share the continent with world-class metropolises (São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Caracas, Santiago, Lima and Rio de Janeiro), outstanding modern architecture (Brasilia), European architecture (Buenos Aires), the oldest rock paintings in the Americas (at the Serra da Capivara), strong African heritage (in Salvador, Rio and Montevideo), genuine indigenous (Belém, Manaus, Cuzco, Lima, La Paz), charming cities built in the Andes (Caracas, Medellín, Quito, Santiago de Chile) and Eastern culture (São Paulo's enormous Japanese community), mingled with the fingerprints of Iberian colonizers. Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city and some of its biggest festivities, such as Rio's Carnival and Belem's Cirio de Nazaré, the Tango World Championship, and the Vendimia festival in Argentina, are also part of this incredibly diverse and attractive continent.
Setting for Big Adventures
There're many activities for Adventure travelers:
- Hiking past ancient temples first laid down by the Incas,
- Contemplating the awe-inspiring power of Iguazú Falls,
- Spending the day watching wildlife from a dugout canoe on one of the Amazon's countless igarapés (narrow waterways),
- Barreling down Andean roads by mountain bike,
- Going white-water rafting on Class V rivers,
- Surfing amazing breaks off both coasts,
- Heading to the dramatic landscapes in Tierra del Fuego,
- Going eye-to-eye with extraordinary creatures in the Galápagos,
- Scrambling up tableland mountains in the Gran Sabana for a panorama that seems straight out of the Mesozoic era.
South America's diversity doesn't end with landscapes. Adventure travelers'll find colonial towns where cobblestone streets lead past gilded churches and stately plazas little changed since the 18th century. South America is home to an astounding variety of living and ancient cultures, and experiencing it first-hand is as easy as showing up.
La Vida Musical
This is one of the world's great music destinations. Nothing compares to hearing the rhythms of Colombian salsa, Brazilian samba, Argentine tango and Andean folk music in the place where they were born. Buenos Aires' sultry milongas (tango clubs), Rio's simmering garrafeiras (dance halls), Quito's salsotecas (salsa clubs) – all great places to chase the heart of Saturday night. Yet this is only the beginning of a great musical odyssey that encompasses Peruvian trovas, soulful Ecuadorian passillos, fast-stepping Brazilian forró, whirling Venezuelan merengue, steel-pan Guyanese drumming, Paraguayan harp music and more.
From the snow-capped peaks of the Andes to the undulating waterways of the Amazon, South America spreads a dazzling array of natural wonders. This is a continent of lush rainforests, towering volcanoes, misty cloud forests, bone-dry deserts, red-rock canyons and ice-blue glaciers. After taking in some of the incredible natural wonders found in every country in South America, you can head to the coast for an idyllic retreat among palm-fringed, white-sand beaches and photogenic tropical islands. As landscapes go, there aren't many other places on earth that offer so much variety.