Best Places in South America: Ultimate Bucket List

If you’re planning a trip to South America, or just looking for some amazing places to add to your bucket list.. You should check out this list for the best places in South America that you should visit!

I visited all the countries in this beautiful continent in 2018, and it was such an amazing trip! I didn’t manage to go everywhere as that’s quite a mission. But I would love to go back and explore some more! Here’s just a few of the best ones. Check out this blog post to see my route around South America.


Angel Falls

The highest waterfall on earth, situated in a wild national park in Venezuela. It’s not an easy journey there, read more about it here from my trip!


Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rainforest makes up 2.7 million square miles which is almost half of the whole South American continent, spreading over 10 of the counties. It’s the largest rainforest in the world; you have to visit it at some point in your life! (Before it gets burnt down again) There’s lots of amazing and sustainable places to can visit to see nature and wildlife!



El Chalten

This is the place to hike in Argentina! among Icey landscapes and amazing mountain peaks. There’s lots of hikes you can do, one to the famous Fitz Roy peak and Laguna Torre. If you’re lucky you can even hear Pumas. The main town is so cute too and is mostly filled with tourists who spend their days hiking.



Perito Moreno Glacier

Get up and close with this stunning glacier in Argentina. You can even go on an ice hike on the actual glacier. Crazy right! Simply admire its pure vastness and watch ice cracking off the side.



Torres del Paine

This stunning national park is in Chile. Complete one of the insane multi day treks the O or W. If not ideal for you simply visit for the day and hike to the base of the Towers. You can also do a day trip which drives around various locations around the park. Both day trips run from the nearby town of Puerto Natales.


Iguazu Falls

The mighty Iguazu falls sits between the Brazilian and Argentinean boarder. You can explore both sides. Hope for a sunny day to catch beautiful rainbows in the falls. But watch out for the sneaky but cute Coati who will steal your snacks or your phone!


Machu Pichu

You can’t come to Peru without visiting this Wonder of the Modern World. Do one of the multi day treks, The classic Inca trail, Salkantay trek or the less intense jungle trek. You can also simply jump on the train/bus from Cusco and visit for the day.



Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca) 

Another of the best places in South America is Rainbow mountain! You can do a day trip from Cusco – Peru. Visit early to avoid the crowds! The red valley sits behind Rainbow Mountain so make sure to check that out too.


Cusco

A beautiful city itself. Visit the gorgeous town square and grab a picture with an cute Alpaca. Cusco is a hub to reach some of the other Bucket list places in South America.


Salento & Cocora Valley

Salento is situated right in the coffee zone of Colombia. You can visit coffee farms and do a day trek of the nearby Cocora valley surrounded by the world’s tallest palm trees!



Medellin

A city in Colombia that regenerated itself from crime, previously one of the most dangerous cities on earth, it’s now full of cool coffee shops, bars and some super friendly locals. Spend some time drinking coffee, join some free walking tours and enjoy the great nightlife!



Rio de Janeiro

One of the best places in South America has to be Rio! Watch the sunset over the hills of Rio from Pao de Acucar. Spend a day doing one of the many hikes over the city, chilling at Copacabana beach or check out the famous Christ redeemer. There’s so much to do here. With a great nightlife too, you’ll be lucky to visit during carnival for a crazy party!



Península Valdés

The best place to spot Patagonian wildlife in Argentina. Make sure to go in the right season and you’ll see Southern right whales, Magellanic penguins, Elephant seals, Orcas, Sea lions and lots of other animals. Check out this blog post which will explain the best time to visit.

best places in South America


Buenos Aires

Buenos Aries has so many unique districts, you could spend days exploring them all. Another great party city in South America, with club nights every day of the week! Argentinians go hard! The clubs don’t open until 2am and finish at 8am, ouch! Check out the amazing food on offer, La Boca district, do a Tango dance lesson or watch the famous La Bomba de Tiempo Drum show!



La Paz

A city built between the mountains. Ride the different cable car lines around the city to get views over this compact city with the mountains behind. Then check out some of the great cafes, with global cuisine. If you’re brave enough book a tour and bike the Death Road!



Atacama Desert

The world’s driest desert, another natural beauty in Chile. Go star gazing, drink Pisco sours at sunset, hike around sand dunes, check out geysers and salt lakes or party in the desert. There is so much to do around the town!



Colca Canyon

The world’s deepest canyon in is Peru. Watch the condors fly over the canyon on a day trip or take the 2 day trek to hike inside and up the canyon.

best places in South America
Huacachina

Hit the dunes and go sand boarding in Peru. Ride around in a dune buggy and watch the sunset turn this desert a beautiful golden colour with a few beers in hand.

best places in South America



Uyuni Salt Flats

Visit the famous Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia. Have fun taking some cool perspective photos with friends. If you visit in the wet season you will get to see the mirror effect.



Southern Bolivia

This part of Bolivia is filled with unreal nature. Geysers at 4000 feet, the red lake of Laguna Colorada, mountains, volcanos, deserts and lots of flamingos. You’ll think you’re on another planet! You can see all these stunning places on a 4×4 tour to the Salt Flats.



Bonito

A place most people won’t go to. There’s so many amazing spots to see around Bonito. The name says it all and it really is beautiful. Crystal clear water, where you can snorkel and see loads of wildlife, Float down rivers in the jungle. Though its expensive its due too well maintained eco-tourism. Limiting number of tourists to not overcrowd this stunning place. Just driving to Bonito I saw about 4 toucans, 2 anteaters and 2 tapirs just from the bus.

best places in South America



The Pantanal

Home to the highest density of species anywhere in the world. Spend some time spotting wildlife in Brazil. You can easily see many different birds, Anteaters, Caiman, Capybara and if you’re lucky a Jaguar. Stay at a Posada in the jungle where you can do different activities everyday. From night time spotting, horse riding, boat rides. I even got to drive a boat myself while spotting for jaguar.



Baños de Agua Santa

Ecuador’s place for adventure! The adrenaline activity of your choice is for sure available here! From white water rafting, cannoning, rock climbing, bridge swing and much more. Don’t forget to check out the swing at the end of the world!

best places in South America



Kaieteur Falls

The highest single drop waterfall in the world is in the wild jungles of Guyana. You can only visit by a small plane. You should have the whole place to yourself if you’re looking for untouched nature this is the place to go.



Tayrona National Park

Situated on the Colombian coast, you will have to spend a few hours hiking to these beautiful beaches. Spend the night there in a hammock on the beach.

best places in South America



Upper Suriname River

A raw part of the Amazon jungle, as not many people visit from Suriname. The inhabitants who live here are descendants of escaped slaves, who have now built a community in the jungle.



Mount Roraima

Situated between 3 countries, Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. The trek to the top and back takes 6 days. You can only visit on a tour. Visit hike Venezuela for tour information.


Galapagos Islands

Part of Ecuador, this natural wonder is full of amazing creatures. Look for sharks, turtles, sting ray, seals and iguanas. Admire the famous Darwin giant tortoise. I’m sure you’ll be amazed! You can do an overland tour yourself or visit via a small cruise which will run all your activities. best places in South America best places in South America


Cotopaxi

An active stratovolcano in the Andes in Ecuador. Spend a day hiking to the thing??? or even the summit! Or just enjoy looking at this beauty from afar. 

best places in South America


Guatapé

A man made reservoir built by Colombians. Walk up the 740 steps to the top of Piedra del Peñol. To get the best views over the reservoir. Wonder around the cute colourful town of Guatapé.


Mendoza

Argentina’s wine district. Hire a bike and spend the day riding around different wineries sampling the goods.


Minca

Minca is a peaceful village close to Santa Marta in Colombia. Spend some time chilling, watching the sunset and exploring the surrounding nature. 


I hope this post on the best places in South America was helpful! Get that bucket list started! South America is a continent that will not disappoint! 

Related Posts:

South America route: every country in 6 months

Canaima Lagoon and Waterfalls Tour, Venezuela

Angel Falls Tour Adventure, Venezuela

Vegetarian food in South America

About Hayley Crone

Hayley is a Digital Nomad who has spent the past few years turning her love for travel into a full time income & lifestyle. Head for Horizons is designed to give you the BEST tips to help you travel better and work online. CLICK HERE to read more about me and how I could help you!