South America is a land of promise. Imagine roaming Peru’s verdant hillsides, hiking further until you reach the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, or taking a boat trip through the mystical Amazon rainforest. It’s a continent as diverse as the people who call it home, offering dense jungles and temperate plains alongside tropical Brazilian beaches. Here’s a few must-visits…
This South American gem is renowned for soccer, heavenly beaches, samba and coffee. It takes up a staggering 8.5 million square kilometres, making it the biggest country on the continent by far. There are more than 2,000 beaches across the country’s shoreline, and although many are bustling with tourists, there’s a good proportion of which encompass idyllic gems sheltered from the outside world.
In terms of natural wonders, Brazil is perhaps most famous for the Amazon River and rainforest. While the forest spans more country’s than just Brazil, the nation still lays claim to around 60% of its luscious canopies. Immerse yourself within this celestial mix of species and tackle it head on.
Hop on a plane across the continent to get to Chile – a slim country straddling the coast of much of western South America. It’s home to the driest place on earth (the Atacama Desert), an untold amount of fine wines, the Andes Mountains and even penguins! The arid landscapes couldn’t be more contrasting from the tropical surroundings of Brazil, while the nomadic ground-bound birds here are a far-cry from the sloths and big cats elsewhere in South America.
It’s not all rural hotspots, though. Santiago, Chile’s capital, packs more than its fair share of attractions. The city’s Metropolitan Cathedral is any budding photographer’s dream, complete with colonial-esque statues which look just as good in the heat of the day as they do in the dead of night.
Lima lies on the Peruvian Pacific coast. Popular things to do here include a trip to the Santo Domingo, an ancient basilica dating back to the 16th century. The building’s interior boasts an intricate network of sculptures and pillars stretching high into the ceiling, while the church also has ties to the famed Spanish conqueror, Francisco Pizarro.
Elsewhere in the country, Colca Canyon draws in thousands of boomers each year for awesome (in the original sense of the word) alpine views which push out as far as the eye can see. If you’re lucky, you might even see an eagle or a swooping hawk honing in on its prey. The canyon also counts the giant Andean condor, a fearsome predator which can weigh up to 33 pounds, amongst its wildlife offerings. Peru isn’t short of historical landmarks. The city of Cusco was formerly the capital of the Inca Empire and comprises a mixture of dusty turrets and timeless temples. Cusco is a good starting point for anyone wanting to walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, too.
No matter where in the country you visit, South America’s charms know few boundaries. The scene’s been set – are you ready to embark on your very own southern continental odyssey?
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