South America is home to many beautiful and breathtaking destinations including ancient ruins, rainforests, waterfalls, snow-clad landscapes and white sand beaches. It is a place not only rich in natural beauty, but in culture as well. Each country on the continent has its own unique traditions, characteristics, wildlife, landscape, history and attractions. Enrich your understanding and appreciation of the treasures held in South America, with these 5 places you must see!
Machu Picchu Peru
Machu Picchu, meaning “old peak”, is commonly known as the lost city of the Incas. The site is located on a mountain ridge 7,970 feet above sea level and features ancient ruins said to have been built by the Incas around 1450A.D.. These structures were not found by Spanish conquistadors, so remain mostly intact. There are many theories about the origins and history that should be read before visiting this site, so one can have a frame of reference for what they are seeing.
Machu Picchu is just the tip of the iceberg when speaking about Inca foot prints left in South America. There are about 40,000 kilometers of trails that connected the Inca’s empire. One particular 43 kilometer trail is recommended for tourists, on which 4 day guided hikes are given. This trail offers a beautiful view of the surrounding areas, with the final destination reaching the Machu Picchu ruins.
Patagonia is a region situated in South America which has two coasts; the Pacific Ocean on the Western side and the Atlantic Ocean on the Eastern side. It is home to beautiful mountain ranges, historical sites, beaches, forests, wildlife and glaciers. This portion of South America is shared between Argentina and Chile, so you can mark two countries off your “been there” list!
When visiting Patagonia, the diversity in activities range from whale to penguin watching; from hiking and rock climbing, to ice trekking. This area is also home to skeletons of the largest dinosaurs ever found, which can be observed on a pre-historic walk. If that’s not enough to quench your curiosity, how about a tour of caves at “Cueva de las Manos” where you can see cave paintings theorized to date back to 7370 BC! This is a true treasure of the world, full of interesting sites to see.
Wouldn’t you like to see the largest known waterfalls in the world? You can find them in Venezuela at the Guayana highlands. The total falling distance of the largest permanent waterfall totals 979 meters, which is 15 times the 52 meter fall distance of Niagra Falls. The fall is named after Jimmy Angel (James Crawford Angel) who discovered the fall while on a quest to find the Golden City in 1933. The true largest waterfall, falls next to Angel falls and is known as La Catira. However, it is not considered permanent. The waterfalls aren’t the only thing to see. Angel Falls lies in the Canaima National Park which is home to lagoons, lakes, rivers, savannahs and forests. Within this area you will also encounter animals and plants that are not found anywhere else in the world!
Rio De Janeiro
Rio De Janeiro is indeed one of the most sought after travel destinations for tourists looking for beautiful white sand beaches, tropical forests, culture and history. It is the second largest city in Brazil and renowned for its Cristo Redentors statue that sits high above the city. The list of must-visit destinations in Rio is long and a lengthy including Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach, Maracana Stadium, Sugarloaf Mountain and Tijuca National Park. If you are going to visit Rio, you must plan a trip when a carnival is scheduled. You will see this city in all of its glory as the celebrations fill the streets.
Igazu Falls, igazu meaning great waters, is an area of 270 waterfalls located where the borders of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina meet. It is known as one of the greatest wonders of the world and it is easy to see why. This breathtaking phenomenon is created as a result of a crack in the layers of sandstone and basalt caused by a fault line. The Igazu river flows for about 1200 kilometers along a plateau before reaching this area and taking the plunge. As a visitor, you can explore two basic paths to see the falls from different perspectives. One path has a footbridge for an unforgettable experience. The power and beauty of this place is one that will stay with you long after the mist dries.
Reading about such rich and interesting destinations is exciting, but it is not enough. These places must be experienced! Travelling may seem like an expensive luxury for the rich, but can be affordable by looking for deals online and starting a travel savings fund. These 5 destinations are just a few of the many reasons to explore South America and experience the diverse and beautiful treasures it holds.
- Machu Picchu, PeruCC BY-SA 2.0katso käyttöehdot
- Pedro Szekely at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrosz/ -http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrosz/2115782565/ This image was originally posted to Flickr by jbgeronimi at http://flickr.com/photos/23529346@N03/5275162030. It was reviewed on19 December 2012 by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.
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- Rio de Janeiro Helicoptero 49 Feb 2006 zoomCC BY 3.0view terms
- Igazu Falls, Date: 16 March 2012, Source:Own work, Author:Charlesjsharp, CC license 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iguassu_falls_rainbow.jpg#filelinks