There are so many interesting places to visit in South America. Planning can be a bit hard when you don’t want to miss out on the hidden gems of the continent. Let Resrutt guide you to the 14 most interesting places you should add to your South America itinerary!
- South America Itinerary
- Pelourinho District (Salvador, Brazil)
- Fortaleza (Brazil)
- Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
- Backpacking in Colombia (Colombia)
- Cartagena (Colombia)
- San Andres (Colombia)
- El Chalten (Argentine Patagonia)
- Arequipa (Peru)
- Apurimac River (Peru)
- Torres del Paine (Chile)
- Quito (Ecuador)
- Sacha Lodge (Ecuador)
- Rurrenabaque (Bolivia)
- The Amazon Jungle (Bolivia)
- Read more on places to add to your South America itinerary
- Your opinions please!
South America Itinerary
South America has always been on my bucket list. With so many possible destinations, it can hard to find the right places to visit. What is better then to ask the travel blogging community for their best tips? Here is an ever growing list of the absolute best destinations in South America that you should add to your South America itinerary.
1. Pelourinho District (Salvador, Brazil)
By Daniel at Layer Culture
Brazil is full of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and after travelling to Latin America numerous times there was one site that kept calling my attention.
Welcome to the Pelourinho district. It’s the official historic centre of Salvador Brazil. For me just walking around the site gave me a sense of the happiness as I was only greeted by warm smiles. Pelourinho has now become one of the best places to learn about African heritage in Brazil.
2. Fortaleza (Brazil)
By Mary at A Mary Road
When you are thinking about South America, specifically Brazil, you will definitely head to Rio De Janeiro and not Fortaleza. Fortaleza is on the Northeast of Brazil and is a beach city. But what’s most interesting about this city is that it’s the fourth most dangerous city in the world. Now, before you move along, Fortaleza is charismatic, very affordable, and the locals are the one of the kindest. The tourist area is full of police patrols and kept safe. During the day, tourists and the locals are refreshing down the beach while in the evening, there are dancing and food stalls everywhere, from here, you can also explore the safe area of the Amazon Forest and Jericoacoara which is a beach town next to a sand dune nature park – a total hidden gem.
So, if you are up for an adventure, I dare you to explore one of the world’s most dangerous cities.
3. Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
By Claire at Claire Imaginarium
I went to Brazil a few years ago not really knowing what to expect. The truth is: it had never been on my list and a family wedding was the main reason why we were going there. So, I didn’t imagine to fall madly in love with the country! We spent a lot of time in Rio de Janeiro and what you see on pictures is only half as pretty as how it is in real life. The city spread in-between steep jungle hills. The people are warm and lovely, the food is delicious and the city has the charm of some European Mediterranean metropols.
Of course, Rio has also the reputation to be dangerous and it can be, but as long as you use some common sense you will be just fine. The main sights like the Sugar Loaf and the Christ the Redeemer are breathtakingly beautiful and the city is buzzing with music, street art, football matches and an overall festive atmosphere.
4. Backpacking in Colombia (Colombia)
By Patrick at German Backpacker Travel Blog
My favorite destination in South America is Colombia and I can highly recommend visiting. What I liked most about backpacking Colombia is its diversity – you’ll find everything here! From the northern coast with its beaches, colorful cities and its Caribbean flair to the unique landscape and nature of the Cocora Valley, where you can marvel at the highest palm trees in the world. If you’re interested in the history of the country, make sure to visit Bogotá and Medellin – you’ll be surprised to learn the rapid change Colombia went through in the last years. The country turned from one of the most violent and dangerous destinations in the world to a safe, fun and exciting place for tourists!
5. Cartagena (Colombia)
By John at Tulsatrot – Globetrotting Around the Globe
Cartagena, situated along the northern coast of Colombia, was a vital Spanish port and a foundation to Cartagena’s burgeoning tourist industry and livelihood. The decades long conflict with the FARChad given way to enticing travelers to the flavor that is Cartagena. The UNESCO site Castillo San Felipe de Barajas and the convent looming over Old Town, Convento de la Popa provide ample opportunities for panoramic views and learning. When you’re ready to relax, the Rosario Islands dot the Caribbean waters where outrigger boats happily leave Isla Barú whisking you away to Isla Grande, Playa Blanca, and Playa Cholón.
6. San Andres (Colombia)
By Sam at Something of Freedom
The small Colombian island of San Andres is an ideal destination for first time travelers in South America. Flights there are relatively inexpensive from within Colombia, and offer the chance to enjoy some of the South America’s best beaches. From San Andres you can visit small paradise islands nearby and spend the day sunbathing or cooling off in the crystal clear waters. With such reasonable flight prices, San Andres should definitely be on your list for South America!
7. El Chalten (Argentine Patagonia)
By Melissa at The Family Voyage
Our favorite spot in South America is El Chaltén in Argentine Patagonia. It’s a tiny outpost with a magical vibe – everyone there shares a common passion for exploring the outdoors. Despite the town’s small size, it offers waking access to some of the most incredible hiking trails in the region for visitors of all levels. We spent four days disconnecting from technology and soaking up incredible views as we climbed mountains and breathed some of the world’s freshest air. One thing’s for sure: we’ll be back.
8. Arequipa (Peru)
By Sarah at Moment Mom
Arequipa is a hidden gem in Southern Peru. It was the first city we visited in South America, and we were blown away by the beauty of the three surrounding volcanoes and the white volcanic stone used in the buildings of the historic centre. A tour of the city will take you through Spanish Colonial architecture, Baroque religious monuments, and the Santa Catalina monastery built in the 16th century. The historic centre is also very walk able and makes for an excellent introduction to the amazing country of Peru!
9. Apurimac River (Peru)
By James at Travel Collecting
One of the top ten white water rafting trips in the world is the three-day rafting trip on the Apurimac River near Cusco. The trip through the black canyon starts with easy but by Day 2, you are braving Class IV and Class V Rapids. These are the toughest rapids an amateur can run and they are not for the faint hearted; but for the thrill seeker, this is a total blast!
10. Torres del Paine (Chile)
By Alya at Stingy Nomads
Torres del Paine National park in Chile was one of the highlights of our year long trip through South America. It’s definitely a bucket list experience on the continent – an incredible place to visit for all outdoor, hiking and nature lovers. Torres del Paine offers a fantastic scenery; massive Grey glacier, famous Las Torres (towers) at sunrise, turquoise color lakes, bizarre-shaped mountain peaks and much more. Wildlife in Torres del Paine is quite impressive as well – here you can spot; guanacos, huemules (local deer), armadillos, foxes, condors, many other birds and, if you’re lucky, even a puma. All these you can see hiking, horse riding or cruising on a ferry.
There are several hiking routes in the park from a week long O circuit and a 5-day W trek to many shorter day hikes (read more about Torres del Paine day trips here). There are several accommodation options in the park from camping on a budget to a luxury stay in an all-inclusive hotel.
11. Quito (Ecuador)
By Ruben at Gamin Traveler
If you’re traveling to South America, make sure to make your way to Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. This city is almost 3,000 meters above sea level and has dramatic mountain views, beautiful churches and other iconic buildings. Tradition and modernity meet in Ecuador’s capital with many local market stands during the day and a bustling nightlife. You’re sure to take a lot of photos and make a lot of memories in this South American metropolis.
12. Sacha Lodge (Ecuador)
By Hamish at My Travel Fix
Since the late 1970’s, hidden deep within the Ecuadorian rainforest, lies a truly special and unique hotel called Sacha Lodge. I had the immense pleasure of staying here and I can safely say I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. The Lodge blends so seamlessly into its surroundings that to the resident wildlife it’s just another part of the forest. You are at liberty to marvel in the beauty of the rainforest through a series of activities such as canopy walks, exotic bird watching, forest walks, creek paddling and night fishing. For nature lovers, there is nowhere better in Ecuador.
13. Rurrenabaque (Bolivia)
By Ashley at Wanderdolls
I would like to recommend travelling to Bolivia. I went there as part of a longer backpacking trip, it wasn’t recommended to me so I had no idea what to expect but it ended up being my favorite country of the whole trip. The place is so diverse, the people are friendly, and it is one of the cheapest countries in South America so you can stay there longer without breaking the bank. My favorite place was Rurrenabaque; at the Amazon basin where I could swim with ‘pink’ (ish) dolphins and see other cool animals like caimans and capybaras. My favorite city was La Paz; though the altitude and constant hills within the city may tire you out! And the best experience is easily death road!
14. The Amazon Jungle (Bolivia)
By Bistra at The Magic of Traveling
If you’re lucky to have the chance to go to South America, you should explore a big part of it – the Amazon basin. It is so huge and you can explore that vast jungle from Brasil, Peru, Bolivia. We chose to explore Bolivian jungle as we found it most affordable. So we headed to Madidi on a quest to find out if there was an order in the jungle…
Read more on places to add to your South America itinerary
- Budget Your Trip: Hiking and Traveling in Patagonia – The Ultimate Guide
Your opinions please!
Now, we would really like to hear your opinion please:
- Did you miss any important destinations among the 14?
- Maybe you have some additional expeditions to tell us about?
- Maybe you agree with my fellow travel buddies and just want to confirm that?
Anyway. We need more tips of fantastic, amazing and totally stunning places to add to the perfect South America itinerary.
Give us your best tips in the comments below!
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