Diverse, lively and brimming with energy, South America is home to some incredible natural wonders. Spectacular and awe-inspiring, the list of sights runs the gamut from rainforests to glaciers – get the wanderlust going with this collection of some of the continent’s most unbelievable examples of nature. Who knows? You could be seeing these in person sooner than you may think.
The highest navigable body of water in the world, Lake Titicaca spreads over Bolivia and Peru by way of the Andes. Believed by Andean tribes to be the birthplace of the sun, the vast lake reflects the traditional cultures of many of the regions’ earliest civilisations.
Considered to be sacred by many, the Uru people – descendants of an older tribe – still inhabit the lake, living on floating islands made entirely of reeds.
Called the world’s greatest living laboratory and for good reason, the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, is famously inhabited by an incredible number of endemic species studied by the legendary Charles Darwin.
Still brimming with animals unique to the islands, the well-preserved islands are as spectacular as ever. Rugged and austere, with shimmering blue waters surrounding its terrain, the Galapagos remain a wondrous experience to see in person.
Bordering Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, the Iguazu Falls are quite simply unbelievable. Comprising 275 waterfall cascades, the power and noise the linking waterways create – almost two miles in length – is absolutely spectacular, a sensory overload that’s sure to stay with you for a long time.
World Heritage-listed, the cascading falls have long wowed tourists and locals alike, and their location amid a huge national park means a visit here affords you plenty of opportunity to view some amazing wildlife.
Almost unreal in its sharpened ice formations and crystal-like blues, the Perito Moreno glacier is unusual in that it’s advancing in size rather than retreating. The third largest reserve of fresh water in the world, and one of Argentinian Patagonia’s most popular and significant tourist attractions.
Nearly 20 miles long and 240 feet above water, the blinding beauty of Perito Moreno can be viewed from a safe distance, but close enough to feel its bracing cold against your face. If you’re lucky enough, massive chunks of ice fall into the water, causing ripples of noise to cast over the Patagonian backdrop.
One of Peru’s most popular attractions, the huge depths of Colca Canyon are said to be twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Constantly changing, the landscapes of Colca shift from quiet barren stretches to lush farmland along its 50-mile length.
Frequently visited by majestic condors that love to get close to the canyon’s visitors, you might even be lucky enough to see some viscachas burrowing amidst the arid land. An area of soaring beauty, the vast mountain landscapes and fertile greenery make it a must-see on a visit to Peru.
Although the tallest peak in the world outside of Asia, the ‘Roof of the Americas’ is actually quite easily scalable thanks to its easy-going paths. At 22,841 feet tall, it racks up some serious height, with peaks that poke through the clouds above, and vast swathes of jutting hills that are quite simply amazing to view.
For non-climbers, you can trek to refugios, rustic shelters that still allow you to take in the incredible breadth of this truly amazing example of natural beauty. No need to equip yourself with ice picks and other emergency supplies here.
The tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls is a staggering 2,648 feet tall, with a heritage that dates back to before the continent separated from Africa. Found in Venezuela’s World Heritage-listed Canaima National Park, it’s located deep in the heart of a jungle, making it a tad difficult to access, but for the adventurers out there, untold splendour awaits you.
Endlessly popular amongst visitors and Venezuelan locals, it takes 14 seconds for an unbroken cascade of water to fall from the top to the base, a testament to this natural wonder’s sheer magnitude.
Straddling Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil, the Amazon’s drainage basin alone accounts for 40% of South America’s land. The largest river on Earth, it weaves through a vast, dense rainforest, housing more wildlife than anywhere else in the world.
Visitors here can explore one its hundreds of tributaries by boat, sailing its vast, weaving waters in a serene experience that you’ll never forget. Channel your inner explorer as you traverse this near-mythical part of the world.
Can you picture yourself amongst these amazing landscapes? If we’ve piqued your taste travel, see the full selection of our South American itineraries here or call our friendly sales team on 0808 274 6777.