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How to plan your trip to South America

29.01.2016,

Thinking of going to South America? Great idea! But we have a good and a bad news for you. The good is that this country is amazing and you are definitely on to something. The bad news is that South America is enormous, so there is no way you could see everything.

So the secret to good South America itinerary is to keep focus, choose the sights and landscape you would really like to see or experience by yourself, and work around that.

You can do this in 3 ways:

  • Location-based: Find a destination you just have to see and than add nearby sights and locations. This concept of itinerary is ideal for those that try to have at least one profound experience during their vacation. If you value quality more than quantity, you just have to find the part of South America you wish to see.
  • Concept-based: Are you an active traveller or you prefer nice beaches and sunsets? Are you an introvert or you prefer loud music, meeting new people and taking risks? Maybe you travel mainly for taking great pictures, experience foreign food and doing weird stuff? Knowing why you travel is crucial, if you want to make a good itinerary.
  • Section-based: Such a big continent offers you a wide range of activities. Some sections of South America are ideal for hikers and explorers, some are for big cities lovers, and some are for those, that just can’t take a trip without visiting amazing beaches along the way.

Top destinations

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is full of atmospheric old neighborhood, romantic restaurants and amorous nightlife. The European heritage of Buenos Aires is evident in its architecture, boulevards and parks.

Buenos Aires street photography Buenos Aires Botanical Garden

If you’re there, visit Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA) - this museum welcomes over a million visitors annually, Palermo Soho – small areal to enjoy good fashion, design, restaurants, bars and street culture, and Museo de los Ninos – great museum for educating the younglings.

Buenos Aires graffiti Museo MALBA Buenos Aires

Great for: couples, dancers, foodies, music lovers

Book a car in Buenos Aires »

Peru

Peru is one of the destinations that to some extent changes you, and leaves a mark in your heart. It’s a home to a section of Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city set high in the Andes mountains.

Peru. Peru

If you’re there, don’t miss Sacsayhuaman - a citadel on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco, Machu Picchu - the most familiar icon of Inca civilization, and Cusco Cathedral - the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cusco from 1654.

Wide angle Machu Picchu Cusco Cathedral, detail.

Great for: nature lovers, friends, hikers, history enthusiasts, and spiritual travellers

 

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Rio De Janeiro is a huge seaside city in Brazil, famed for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, the largest Art Deco statue in the world, sprawling favelas, Carnival festival, featuring parade floats, flamboyant costumes and samba.

Rio de Janeiro RIO DE JANEIRO - MARACANÃ

If you’re there visit Corcovado - Cristo Redentor – 38m tall statue of Jesus Christ, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil – biggest cultural centre in Brazil, and Prainha Beach - a smaller isolated surfer beach a short drive southwest from Rio de Janeiro.

Cristo Redentor Summer time

Great for: sporty travellers, beach lovers, football fans, families, and big city admirers

Book a car in Rio De Janeiro »

 

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena is a modern port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. It has excellent beaches, a historic old town, and beautiful colonial architecture. 

Cartagena Cartagena

If you’re there, try to visit San Felipe de Barajas Castle - the greatest fortress ever built by the Spaniards in any of their colonies, Palacio de la Inquisición - a museum, displaying the Inquisitors' gnarly instruments of torture, Café Havana – the place for dancing salsa and enjoying some strong drinks.

Cartagena: Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas Palacio de La Aljafería VI

Great for: chilled people, couples, friends, families, and photographers

 

Santiago, Chile

Chile is a long, narrow country stretching along South America's western edge. Santiago, its capital, sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes and Chilean Coast Range mountains. It is the land of trendy cafes and dance clubs, Forest Park art collections, and amazing restaurants.

Santiago Santiago

If you’re going to go there, be sure to visit a striking cultural and performing arts centre – Centro Gabriela Mistral, Parque Bicentenario – one of the loveliest parks in Santiago, and Liguria Bar & Restaurant – super popular place among the locals, with extra tasty Chilean bistro-style food.

Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral Bar Liguria

Great for: foodies, architecture and arts lovers, couples and families, outdoor enthusiasts

Book a car in Santiago »

 

Bolivia

Bolivia is a beautiful, geographically diverse country that is also the most indigenous country in the Americas, with 60% of its population being of pure Native American ancestry. It shares with Peru control of Lake Titicaca the world's highest navigable lake.

bolivia Bolivia

If you’re ever there, be sure to visit Salar de Uyuni - the world’s largest salt flat, trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and visit Isla del Sol - a large island with a few amazing pre-Columbian ruins, incredible views, numerous hikes and lots of sun.

Bolivia Oruro, Bolivia

Great for: families, nature lowers, and sporty travellers

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