If you could spend the rest of your life exploring one continent, you could do worse than choose South America. This part of the world is not only huge; it also contains just about everything you could want from life. Love bustling cities? South America has them. Love wildlife, rainforests, and beyond? It has them too. Love beaches? Come on…you know they’ve got them! Alas, most of us can’t travel all our lives. So if you have a limited amount of time to explore the continent, where do you go? Here are four options worth considering.
Argentina is one of the biggest countries on the planet, so you can’t see everything, but there’s one place every visitor to Argentina – no, every visitor to South America – must see: Buenos Aires. This might just be the continent’s greatest city, a city full of life, love, and magic. Find yourself here, and you’ll soon be dancing, drinking, and eating in the streets with all the locals. When you’ve had your fill of city life, you’ll be able to retreat to Argentina’s other-worldly natural scenery. Like many other South American countries, there are many hikes and day trips that’ll have you clamoring for the outdoors – and none more so than the incomparable Iguazu Falls.
Like Argentina, Brazil is another heavyweight of the world. Cities, beaches, and the world’s largest rainforest all call Brazil home, and it’s not surprise that it’s routinely voted as one of the world’s best destinations to visit. In Rio, you can sample the carnival-like atmosphere and see the highlights of Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer Statue. In the south, you can take an Amazon river cruise and get up close and personal with one of the world’s most enchanting waterways, all the while having the chance to spot the Amazon’s extensive wildlife. When you want a break from exploring, park yourself at Porto de Galinhas and do nothing but watch the world go by.
There’s nowhere quite like Colombia. This lush land has a little bit of everything, with mountains, beaches, cities, a coastline on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides. You can enjoy the madness and passion of Bogota before heading over to Medellin, a calmer, cooler version of the capital, which is fast becoming one of the best cities on the continent. If you do only one other thing, make it a visit to Tayrona National Natural Park. The popular park is the place to be if you love beaches, mountains, and rainforest all rolled up into one beautiful destination.
Ecuador packs a lot of punch into its (relatively) small size, with cities, culture, and plenty of outdoor adventures awaiting those who make the trip to the country. The two national parks of Cotopaxi and Cajas are highlights, offering views of volcanoes and hiking trips. If you the chance, make sure you take a trip to the Galápagos Islands, which is home to nearly thirty species of bird that can’t be found anywhere but here.