South America is a continent that lies mostly to the south of the equator. It still feels like a frontier territory – a new land where people could escape the oppression of the European regimes of old and start a new life for themselves. Today, Latin America is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, offering both natural wonders, cultural delights, and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.
When I was a young girl my family lived in Panama and during the four years we were there, we explored every country in Central and South America. And while I’ve had the opportunity to revisit some of the countries in Central America (Panama, Guatemala, and Nicaragua) I have not returned to any of the countries in South America.
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Here are just a few of the reasons why South America should have pride of place in your (and my) travel plans.
Magical Mountain Kingdoms To Rival The Far East
South America is home to the Andes, the second-highest mountain range in the world, just shy of the Himalayas. Throughout the ages, many civilizations and tribes have occupied these mountains, but none made a more significant mark on the landscape than the Inca at Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu was first believed to be a religious site. But it’s now clear from archaeological excavations that it’s much more than this. Researchers now think that it was more of a fully-functioning city, placed high in the Andes not only for religious purposes but also as a form of natural defense too.
The strategy worked. Machu Picchu was only discovered by Western explorers in 1900 and was previously unknown until then. Will you visit it?
Lots of my travel blogging cohorts have and the reviews are mixed! Here are some of my favorites posts from them:
- What to Expect on The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu from The Blonde Abroad
- 25 Things to Know Before Visiting Machu Picchu from The World Pursuit
- What I wish I knew before hiking to Machu Picchu from Intrepid Travel Blog
The Passion That Goes Into The Food
One of the reasons Passion Roamer recommends Latin America (besides, well the passion) is the food. And nowhere is this more on display than in Lima, the capital of Peru. Lima is currently off the radar for most western tourists to South America. It’s the capital of a small Latin American country that doesn’t make a song and dance about its attractions.
It’s predominantly Spanish in origin, with baroque-style buildings adorning practically every street. But the most interesting thing about the city is the authentic food scene. The locals have not modified the food they offer to suit tourists: you can still find authentic restaurants which cater to local needs, and grab a meal for a fraction of the price you’d pay in Europe.
The other spot I would like to visit from a food perspective is Argentina, Buenos Aires specifically. Any place that is known as the Paris of South America is definitely on my radar. One thing they have is amazing food. My friend Cacinda od Points & Travel was recently there and while her list of things to do in Buenos Aires is mainly about the gorgeous architecture and spots to visit, her Instagram feed while on the trip certainly was a big tease!
The Rainforest Wilderness
Despite stories on the news of rainforest devastation in South America, pristine wilderness still carpets the majority of the continent. It stretches for over a thousand miles and covers 75 percent of the Amazon basin.
The South American rainforest is one of the last true tropical wildernesses, taking you hundreds of miles from the nearest civilization and giving you an up-close and personal view of what life was like for human ancestors. This post from Surfing the Planet should also convince you this is a worthy trip! And if you are not sure what to expect, Where is Tara has you covered.
The Statues On Easter Island
I first learned about Easter Island from reading the adventures of my blogging gal pal Andi of My Beautiful Adventures. Easter Island is more than 1,500 miles off the west coast of South America and one of the most isolated places in the world. Here you can admire the stunning stone statues built by the ancient Maoi. I don’t know much about this area of the world, but those statues are intriguing!
The dream spots: Galápagos Islands and Patagonia
These two spots, the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador and Patagonia in Chile/Argentina are on Mr. Misadventures’ bucket list so it is safe to say that we will be getting there in the next few years! Either location is a photographer’s dream and that is precisely why we want to go!
How about you? Is South America on your radar? Have you been? Where are your favorite spots or where do you want to go? Do share!
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