South America Wonders

Iguazu Falls

One of the great natural wonders of the world, the Iguazu Falls is at the triple border of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.  The Falls is easily reached from the Argentine side from a small and pretty town called Puerto Iguazu.  From the Brazilian side, the city to access the Falls is Foz do Iguacu.  It is also possible from Paraguay side but generally not as popular for foreign tourists.  Besides the jaw-dropping waterfalls, the beautiful national park setting, much of it rain forest with unique flora and fauna, makes a visit here a top wonder for this continent.

A boat cruise took us right next to the falls and we got totally drenched!

We visited Iguazu Falls in 2008 as part of our 8-day G Adventures South America trip.

Christ Redeemer & the harbour of Rio de Janeiro

Though majestic, Christ the Redeemer is not the main attraction.  It is actually the breathtaking panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro harbour.  You have a total 360 degree view covering this dynamic city. From the summit, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Guanabara Bay, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, and the Atlantic Ocean are just some of the major points that stand out from the landscape.

The Rio harbour view from Christ Redeemer, and view of Christ Redeemer from Copacabana beach

We visited Christ the Redeemer and  Rio de Janeiro in 2008 as part of our 8-day G Adventures South America trip.

Salar of Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, at 10,582 square kilometers.  It is a place of harsh beauty and desolateness and getting there requires organized logistics and plenty of patience.  Located in southwestern Bolivia, the remarkable and otherworldly vistas is totally worth the temporary discomfort. Vast expanses of glistening salt, the landscape is entirely flat except for a few “islands”, which accentuates its surreal beauty.

The salt flats seem to stretch endlessly into the horizon.

We visited Salar de Uyuni as part of our 2018 month-long South America trip.

Lunar scenery of Altiplano & the colourful Lagoons

The Bolivian Altiplano is the area of the Andes above  3,500 m in Bolivia. The altiplano stretches into neighbouring Peru and Argentina. It is in the area where the Andes are the widest. It is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside of Tibet.  The lagoons at 4,000 meters, with volcanoes backdrop, are mesmerizing.

Altiplano landscapes and Laguna Verde

We visited Bolivian Altiplano as part of our 2018 month-long South America trip.

Perito Moreno glacier

Travel to view the magnificent icy highways of the Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most visited destinations in the Patagonia region of Argentina.  Standing before it’s 70 meter high electric blue face and watching 100-tonne blocks of ice crumble and crash into the waters below is truly humbling.  You can even choose to sail right up to the icy wall, or don crampons, grab an ice axe and trek across the surface.

The walkways to see Perito Moreno glacier

We visited Perito Moreno glacier in 2011 as part of our 20-day G Adventures Patagonia and Antarctica trip.

Torres del Paine National Park

With more than 181,414 hectares of ancient forests, towering granite peaks, glaciers, lakes, rivers, and pampas, Torres del Paine NP is the gem in Chilean Patagonia’s crown. The park is mainly popular for its hiking trails, but there are plenty of other activities to be enjoyed like nature walks, wildlife viewing like puma tracking, kayaking, boating, cycling, and more.

French Valley Hike

We visited Torres del Paine NP in 2011 as part of our 20-day G Adventures Patagonia and Antarctica trip.

Los Glaciares National Park

Los Glaciares National Park is located in the area known as Austral Andes in Argentina, in the south west of Santa Cruz on the border with Chile. By the magnificent natural beauty, it constitutes a wonder in the world, and was declared “World Heritage” by UNESCO in 1981. The jagged mountains of Paine are surreal — but we feel Fitz Roy is even more stunning.

The hike to Fitz Roy, with clouds partially covering its 3,375 m peak

We visited Los Glaciares NP in 2011 as part of our 20-day G Adventures Patagonia and Antarctica trip.

The Amazon rain forest

The Amazon rain forest is located in 9 different countries but the majority of it (around 60%) is located in Brazil. The rest of it can be found in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana (which is technically an overseas territory). The more popular countries to access the rain forest are Brazil, Peru, Bolivia or Ecuador. These countries have an excellent infrastructure for visitors to the Amazon, so you won’t need to worry about trying to navigate through on your own. In fact, in many places travelers are not allowed into the rain forest unless they are accompanied by a guide as the chances of getting lost are pretty high and the risk of encountering danger is a possibility.

Putting mud (sunscreen/bug repellent) on our faces before paddling the canoes downstream one of Amazon’s tributaries

We visited the Amazon rain forest as part of our 2014 Ecuador & Galapagos trip.

Kaieteur Falls

Kaieteur Falls is the world’s largest single drop waterfall by the volume of water flowing over it. Located in the Kaieteur National Park, in the Potaro-Siparuni region of Guyana. It is 226 metres high when measured from its plunge over a sandstone and conglomerate cliff to the first break. It then flows over a series of steep cascades that, when included in the measurements, bring the total height to 251 metres. While many falls have greater height, few have the combination of height and water volume, and Kaieteur is among the most powerful waterfalls in the world with an average flow rate of 663 cubic metres per second.

Kaieteur Falls is one of the most scenic waterfalls in the world

We visited Kaieteur Falls after the Roraima & Angel Falls trek in 2014.

The inca city of Machu Picchu

Often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu is located in the Cusco region of Peru.  One of the most impressive ancient sites in the world, Machu Picchu is an icon of the Inca civilization.

Machu Picchu was built around 1450 AD, at the height of the Inca Empire.  It is believed that the area was constructed as an estate for Pachacuti, an emperor who ruled from 1438-1472.  The site was abandoned just over 100 years later at the time of the Spanish conquest in 1572.

The iconic inca city of Machu Picchu

We visited Machu Picchu in 2008 with a local tour operator prior to joining the 8-day G Adventures South America trip.

The carnivals of Latin America

Carnival season in Latin America stretches from late January to early March during the time leading up to Lent. The festival tradition, which has its roots in Roman Catholic traditions, was exported to Latin America by the Spanish colonists. Carnival is meant as a final chance to celebrate and have a good time before the solemn rituals and deprivations of Lent.

Dozens of carnival dancing & drumming groups practicing on the streets of Punta del Este

We saw the carnival dancers and drummers in Uruguay while visiting Punta del Este in our 2018 month-long South America trip.

Angel Falls

Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall.  Located in Canaima National Park, the second largest national park in Venezuela, the waterfall tumbles from a cleft near the summit of table top mountain Auyan-tepu into Devil’s Canyon, 979 meters below.  It is considered one of the world’s most dazzling natural wonders.

The Angel Falls, from a distance and up close

We visited Angel Falls after the Roraima trek in 2014.

The Galapagos archipelago

The Galápagos Islands, part of the Ecuador, are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the equator in the Pacific Ocean surrounding the centre of the Western Hemisphere, 906 km west of continental Ecuador.  The islands are known for their large number of endemic species and were studied by Charles Darwin during the second voyage of HMS Beagle.

We were able to get closer to these tortoises than the reserve in Santa Cruz

We visited the Galapagos Islands in 2014.

See next: Antarctica Wonders

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