Top South American Destinations
Antarctica has been inspiring explorers for centuries. You’ll encounter a world where nature creates the rules, her unpredictable temperament making each trip unique, exciting and personal. Imagine cruising in a Zodiac through crackling sea ice like shattered glass, witnessing penguins building their nests, or navigating through a maze of icebergs, each one uniquely shaped by its journey through the sea. You’ll enjoy iconic Antarctic highlights, exhilarating adventures and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.
Strung out along the shoreline of Lago Nahuel Huapi, in the middle of the national park of the same name, Bariloche has one of the most gorgeous settings imaginable. This, combined with a wealth of summer and winter activities in the surrounding countryside, has helped it become, the Lake District’s principal destination. The soaring peaks of Cerros Catedral, López, Nireco and Shaihuenque (to name just a few) – all well over 2000m high – ring the town, giving picture-postcard views in nearly every direction. These mountains aren’t just for gazing, though – excellent snow coverage (sometimes exceeding 2m at the end of the season) makes this a winter wonderland, and a magnet for skiers and snowboarders. In summertime the nature buffs take over, hitting the hills to climb, hike trails, fish for trout and ride mountain bikes and horses.
One of the world’s most captivating places, Brazil is South America’s giant, a dazzling country of powdery white-sand beaches, pristine rain forests and wild, rhythm-filled metropolises. Brazil’s attractions extend from enchanting, frozen-in-time colonial towns to dramatic landscapes of red-rock canyons, thundering waterfalls and idyllic tropical islands. Add to that, Brazil’s biodiversity: legendary in scope, its diverse ecosystems boast the greatest collection of plant and animal species found anywhere on earth.
One of Argentina’s top attractions is the leviathan metropolis of Buenos Aires, the most fascinating of all South American capitals. It’s a riveting place just to wander about, people-watching, shopping or simply soaking up the unique atmosphere. Its many barrios (neighborhoods) are startlingly different – some are decadently old-fashioned, others daringly modern – but all of them ooze character. Buenos Aires has got everything: night-life, tango, culture, football, excellent beef and the best local wines.
Chile stretches long and thin along the Pacific Ocean in South America, its land covering a vastly diverse array of terrain. Desolate moonscapes and pink flamingo-filled lagoons fill Chile's northern deserts, and fertile vineyards dominate the Central Valley. Walk through the untamed rainforests of the Lake District or head down south to the mighty glaciers and peaks of storied Patagonia. Here, you can feel like you're on the edge of the earth, the middle of nowhere, or a bustling city teeming with humanity - Chile is packed with mind-boggling possibilities.
Corrientes is a province in northeast Argentina, in the Mesopotamia region. It is surrounded by (from the north, clockwise): Paraguay, the province of Misiones, Brazil, Uruguay, and the provinces of Entre Rios, Santa Fe and Chaco. Before the arrival of the Spanish conquest, the Guaraní lived in a big area that also covered most of the current province of Corrientes. As part of the subtropical area of Mesopotamia, the province has heavy rains and high temperatures with little daily and seasonal variation specially in the north, and no dry season. This area is famous for its fauna, wildlife & golden dorado fishing.
In the heart of Patagonia, next to the Andes, is one of Argentina's most scenic areas, commonly referred to as Lago Argentino and the Perito Moreno Glacier, declared "Universal Heritage" by the UNESCO. The most renown of all the glaciers is the Perito Moreno Glacier. Situated 80 km (50 miles) from El Calafate, it is the most easily reached among them. This is an imposing ice river that descends from the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap down to the lake, at ‘Canal de los Témpanos’ (Icebergs’ Channel). It is the only glacier in the area which is considered to be in equilibrium, that is: not receding. It has always been the most important attraction of the region thanks to its spectacular beauty, but especially because of its unusual behavior. The glacier slowly advances down the mountain slope towards the lake, producing, as it spills down, thunderous noises and ruptures.
The Iberá Wetlands (Esteros del Iberá) are a mix of swamps, bogs, stagnant lakes, lagoons, natural slough and courses of water in the center and center-north of the province of Corrientes, Argentina. Iberá is one of the most important fresh water reservoirs in the continent and the second-largest wetland in the world after Pantanal in Brazil. It is of pluvial origin, with a total area of 15,000–20,000 km2 (5,800–7,700 sq mi). Since 1982, part of the wetland is included within a provincial protected area, the Iberá Provincial Reserve, which comprises about 13,000 km2 (5,000 sq mi), the largest of such areas in Argentina. There are ongoing plans to further up its protection status to national park.
Having recently been listed as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature, Iguazu Falls is one of the most breathtaking sites to behold. With countless waterfalls surrounded by the tropical jungle of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, ones breath will be taken away by your proximity to nature. The vast majority of the Iguazu Falls lie on the Argentine side of the border, within the National Park Iguazu. This side offers the most extensive experience of the Falls thanks to its extensive system of trails and walkways that enable you to go both below and under the falls – most notably the Devils Throat. The surrounding forest also offers excellent opportunities to discover the regions wildlife. To complete your trip to Iguazu, it is necessary to visit the Brazilian side. Though it offers a more passive experience, the view is more panoramic and provides unforgettable photography opportunities.
Mendoza is the epicenter of Argentina’s blossoming wine industry. At the foot of the Andes, Mendoza is a modern city set on historic foundations- the Great Liberator General San Martin crossed the Andes from here to help liberate Chile. Though rainfall is slight, irrigation turns the surrounding area into a green oasis covered with productive vineyards and fruit plantations. Famous for the rich Malbec and sublime Cabernet, Mendoza wine tours and tastings are the perfect way to discover this internationally recognized gourmet province. In the west of the province looms the world’s highest peak outside the Himalayas, culminating in the defiant Aconcagua, whose summit is only a shade under 7000 meters. There are many adventure activities to take part in from horseback riding, rock climbing, skiing, and white-water rafting.
Dubbed the “Land of the Incas” because it was once home to the expansive Inca Empire, Peru was conquered and colonized by Spain in the 16th century. As a result of its rich history, Peru today is packed with archaeological remains and colonial architecture. Add in the country’s spectacular natural beauty, and the product is an outstanding travel destination.
In 1865, Puerto Madryn was the site of the first Welsh landing in the area. Their legacy remains today: Welsh-speakers, tearooms and Eisteddfods add a distinctive cultural flavour to the region. Another attraction is the noisy colony of Magellanic penguins at Punta Tombo, where chicks appear from November and take to the water from January. This wild and treeless tag of land, loosely linked to the mainland and reaching out into the South Atlantic, is a UNESCO-registered nature reserve that is home to a large variety of wildlife. Whales, penguins and elephant seals make up part of the profusion of marine life, whilst guanacos, rheas and armadillos roam around on the land. Southern right whales can be spotted during their breeding season of June to December, killer whales can be spotted from November through to April, and August to October is the best time to observe the elephant seals.
The city of Salta exudes a colonial spirit that can be seen in its Hispanic architecture and monuments. The surrounding area is renowned for its amazing natural landscapes. Deep gorges, colorful valleys and high plains make hiking, biking and horse riding popular year-round activities. In nearby Cafayate, local wineries produce some delicious varieties, including the sweet and light Torrontes. Also nearby are Jujuy, home to the massive Salinas Grandes (Salt Flats), Humahuaca Gorge and the scenic Train to the Clouds. Local residents are descended from the Aymara people (pre-Incans) and proudly retain much of their traditional culture. Argentine folk music (penas) can be heard at many local restaurants and bars, where you can also taste the famous Saltean empanadas that are renowned to be the best empanadas in South America.
On the other side of the Rio del Plata, is located Colonia. You will take a fast ferry to pass a relaxing day is this small historic town that has been declared of Historical national interest by UNESCO. Founded by the Portuguese in 1680, a visit to this town will take you back in time to this colonial period.
Reluctantly shared by both Argentina and Chile, this ''land of fire'' really is the end of the world. Its faraway location has drawn explorers since the days of Magellan and Darwin, and this tradition continues with today’s travelers. A triangular archipelago surrounded by the stormy South Atlantic and the Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego offers plenty of natural beauty: scenic glaciers, lush forests, astounding mountains, clear waterways and a dramatic sea coast. The region’s largest city, Ushuaia, is also the ‘southernmost city in the world’ – a major draw for list-tickers – but has also become the main gateway to wondrous Antarctica. Tierra del Fuego is isolated and hard to reach, but for true adventure-seekers in Argentina it’s a must.