South America

Natural Beauty and Intrepid Destinations

South America is a destination that beguiles visitors. From the vast rainforests in the Amazon basin, to Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and Machu Picchu in Peru, South American enchants all who visit. The combination of natural beauty and ancient history are attractive on their own, however many people choose to visit South America for the people and culture. The people are passionate, enigmatic and colourful, while the festivals are a sight to behold. Whether it’s Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Inti Raymi in Peru or San Antonio de Areco in Argentina, you’re sure to experience something unique and amazing.  


South America is home to twelve countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela plus French Guiana, an overseas region of France. The continent is dominated by Brazil, both in terms of population and landmass. Over 200 million of the continents 425 million people live in Brazil.

Geographically South America is divided into three main regions. The first of these is the mountains and the highlands, which are dominated by the Andes Mountains. Running from Venezuela and Colombia in the north to Chile and Argentina in the far south, they stretch along the western flank of the continent. The second region is the river basins with the Amazon basin being far and away the best know. The final region is the coastal plains. These are found along the western coast in Chile and Peru and in the north east of Brazil on the eastern coast.

Aerial view of Christ the Redeemer Statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro
Statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro

Best Time to Visit South America

The best time to visit South America is dictated by where you’re planning to visit. Given the size of the continent, there’s a wide range of climates. Throughout the year, there’s always a good time to be visiting somewhere.

The north of South America is situated on the equator making the area warm all year round. It’s best to try and avoid the months with the highest rainfall , which is typically November through to May. While there’s some regional variations within these wet seasons, if you visit in June to September you can’t go wrong.

The period of June to September is also the best time to visit central South America. However the weather is noticeably cooler during these winter months, particularly at night and at altitude. The warmest months of the year are December through to March, however this is also the wettest time of the year. 

In the southern section of South America,  it’s generally recommended to visit during the summer months of December through to March. Even during this time temperatures can be cooler, especially at altitude. The winter months can be chillingly cold and many of the parks and hotels will close during the peak of winter. It’s also only possible to extend your trip onto Antarctica during the warmer summer months. You can find out more about reaching Antarctica in our blog post.  

Andes Mountains Bolivia

Best Places to Visit in South America

There’s enough to see in South America to keep you travelling for years. There’s the countless treks, hikes and walks through the Andes that could last you a lifetime. Then there’s the outstanding natural world in South America, dominated by the vast Amazon basin. There’s plenty of history and archaeological sites to immerse yourself in and some of the finest cities anywhere on the planet. We’ve broken down the best places to visit in South America for archaeological sites, natural wonders and cities below.

Archaeological Sites in South America

While Machu Picchu steals the headlines, there’s a wealth of archaeological sites in South America. Peru is home to many of these sites, but Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile all boast UNESCO world heritage archaeological sites.

Our top 5 archaeological sites in South America are:

  1. Machu Picchu, Peru
  2. Ciudad Perdida, Colombia
  3. Chan Chan, Peru
  4. Easter Island, Chile
  5. Nazca Lines, Peru

Natural Wonders in South America

This really is a category where South America excels. There is an abundance of natural wonders in South America and some of the finest landscapes in the world. 

Our top 5 natural wonders in South America are:

  1. Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina
  2. Amazon River/Rainforest, Brazil
  3. Vinicunca / Rainbow Mountain, Peru
  4. Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
  5. Torres del Paine, Chile

Best Cities to Visit in South America

South America is home to some of the worlds greatest cities. Many of these cities combine all of the ingredients necessary; great location, historical sites, great bars and restaurants and unique culture. 

Our top 5 best cities to visit in South America are:

  1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  2. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  3. Cartagena, Colombia
  4. Cusco, Peru
  5. Quito, Ecuador

South America Travel Routes and Blog Posts

South America Overland

South America Guide and Blog Archive

South America Country Guides

Colombia Guide

Peru Guide

Ecuador Guide

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