Travelling in South America
Top 5 things to see in South America
South America’s huge area means that there is so much to see here. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down, here are our suggestions for the top five incredible things to see in South America.
- Bolivia is home to the bizarre and surreal Salar de Uyuni. A vast expanse of flat salt plain, this bizarre landscape has been used by many directors to portray alien worlds. You may recognise the salt flats from films such as Star Wars and you will feel as though you’ve entered a totally different world yourself.
- Ever since Darwin’s arrival on the islands, The Galapagos in Ecuador have become synonymous with biodiversity and scientists as well as visitors, flock from all corners of the earth to see the incredible range of animals that live here. Explore the islands’ many coves, caves, forests, beaches and reefs as you discover the creatures of The Galapagos. Its sure to be an experience you will never forget.
- Standing at 3,211 feet in the Canaima National Park of Venezuela, you will find Angel Falls; the longest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. This Unesco World Heritage Site is a place of incredible beauty and is an unforgettable insight into the stunning nature of Venezuela and South America as a whole.
- Eje Cafetero in Colombia is a coffee lovers dream. See the area that produces some of the world’s best coffee. See how the coffee is harvested, dried and prepared and then sample the various coffee beans in their final stage.The towns here are also fascinating and seem to be frozen in time, since their livelihood and traditions have hardly changed for hundreds of years.
- Its no wonder that Machu Picchu in Peru is one of South America’s most incredible sites. Make the challenging climb and be rewarded along the way with incredibly well preserved Inca sites that made up the centre of the Inca civilisation. See the citadel at the very top and be blown away as you learn about the daily lives of this ancient civilisation.
Things to know before travelling to South America
Travelling in South America is generally very easy, with very little trouble. Travellers are welcomed and people are friendly. However, here are a few things to bear in mind during your trip to make sure everything runs smoothly.
- Whilst travelling here is generally safe, as with any country, common sense is sometimes necessary. Some cities should be avoided and others may require care when walking at night and or precautions such as not walking alone.
- Since the area is so vast and with so many countries within its boundaries, travellers to South America will need to take care when packing since the climate can vary so much within the continent. Pack a good range of items to make sure you have your bases covered.
- Visa requirements will also vary from country to country and so you will need to check these, especially if you plan on visiting several different countries.
- Learning a few phrases in the local language is advisable, especially when travelling to more rural areas, where many locals may not speak English.
South American food
South American food is celebrated for its flavours, its fresh ingredients and its heritage. Many of the traditional recipes here are ones which have been perfected over the ages and have changed very little during that time.
- Try Ceviche in Peru, a delicious, fresh seafood dish, that can be made with any fish, typically raw, and cured with citrus juices and chilli. This is then mixed with chopped vegetables, such as onion, avocado, tomato and fresh herbs.
- A trip to Argentina would be incomplete without a taste of the country’s famous Empanadas. Small,pasty-like parcels filled with meat, fish, vegetables, cheese or anything you fancy. These make a fantastic snack or meal and can be found in so many different varieties; they’re bound to please everyone.
- Try Coxinhas in Brazil for the ultimate comfort food. Shredded chicken is covered in batter and moulded into the shape of a chicken leg before being deep fried. These come in any size, making them the perfect option for any meal, from a light snack to a feast.
- Colombia’s answer to the sandwich, this delicious flatbread made from maize flour can be eaten with anything. Arepas are popular throughout the country and come in so many different forms. These small breads are cooked on clay slabs, remains of which have been found in even the oldest archaeological sites here.
- Fancy a drink to go with all that food? Yerba Mate is found all over Argentina and is a traditional tea that is brought out at any time of day as an antidote to the heat and your new favourite caffeinated drink.
Major Cities in South America
For such a large area, South America has relatively few cities compared to its Northern counterpart. The cities here are usually based in the same areas as ancient Inca citadels and so are full of history and culture.
- Visit Santiago in Chile, which is the country’s capital and one of the largest cities in the Americas. As the cultural, political and financial centre of the country, this city has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions. See La Moneda Palace, San Cristobal Hill, Plaza de Armas and so much more.
- Stop off in Lima, Peru to see the incredible architecture that goes right up to the coast. Stroll the the Plaza Mayor or visit the fascinating Larco Museum and see the Pre-Columbian artefacts here.
- Bogota in Colombia is another incredible city, with so much to see. Wander the streets before relaxing for a drink in a traditional bar. Visit the museum of Pre-Columbian gold, unlike any other museum and see the ancient treasures that are on display here.
- Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina is a surreal mix of ancient and modern. See the presidential palace, La Casa Rosada or the city’s iconic central square. It is affectionately known as ‘the Paris of South America’ due to its beautiful architecture and vibrant city life.
- As the most populated city in the Southern Hemisphere, Sao Paulo in Brazil is a hub of city life and culture in this vast country. Flit between modern art museums and Cathedrals that have stood here for centuries. Enjoy a traditional meal in one of the city’s many squares and take in the atmosphere of this city that attracts so many visitors each year.