A fascinating Continent, South America is always a popular destination for the most different types of travellers. Are you a backpacker travelling on a shoestring? You will find plenty of things to do in Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay as well as the rest of South American countries. Are you a luxury holidaymaker? You will love the high-end resorts of Rio de Janeiro and the luxury restaurants in Buenos Aires among the other things.
The countries to visit in South America:
Things to know before planning a trip to South America
Many places in South America have the reputation of being dangerous. Unfortunately, for some it’s true, but luckily, things are changing.
Colombia, for example, used to hold a terrible reputation but it seems the safety situation has been improving, especially as long as kidnapping is concerned.
In Brazil, I found Rio de Janeiro has improved compared to years ago, while Fortaleza has certainly become worse.
Like for most places you visit out of your comfort zone, use some caution. Namely, don’t show off expensive jewellery, don’t display a large amount of cash when in the street, wear some safety clothes to hide cash, credit card or your ID, be careful to pickpockets on public transport or in crowded areas and at the same time try to avoid isolated districts especially at night.
In general when travelling abroad but especially when hitting sensitive countries, it’s recommended to purchase a travel insurance. World Nomads is one of the most popular for the wide range of activities included, the possibility to buy it when still at home or if you are already travelling and claim online from wherever you are.
South American cuisines are heavily meat-centric, but their lush greenery and vegetation is a great source for vegetarians, who will find plenty of veggies and fruits to revel in.
Argentina is famous for their steak and huge cattle farms, and Brazil for their churrasco (barbecued meat) popular all over the country. While meat is by far the favourite ingredient, there are many other foods you can try in South America.
Some of these are the empanadas and yerba mate tea in Argentina, pasties filled with meat or veggies, fish-based ceviche in Peru, feijoada in Brazil, arepas sandwiches in Venezuela, dulce de leche sweet a bit everywhere, and many others.
Most popular South American destinations
From Peru’s Machu Picchu to Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Pantanal to Argentina, South America is a never-ending source of fascinating travel destinations. These are some of the most popular:
- Machu Picchu and Cusco in Peru
- Iguazu Falls between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay
- Rio de Janeiro in Brazil
- Buenos Aires in Argentina
- Lima in Peru
- Amazon rainforest in Brazil, Peru and Colombia and with minor parts in other neighbouring states
- Pantanal in Brazil
- Patagonia between Chile and Argentina
Explore South America with us
Some of our articles and guides will help you plan your trip to South America and decide what to see.
- Iguazu Falls, a natural wonder
- Things to do in Peru besides Machu Picchu
- Exploring Fortaleza and the natural beauty of northeastern Brazil
- Beberibe, a maze of cliffs, water springs and white beaches
- Madness, bras and the best tribute to José Alencar
- Jericoacoara, white dunes and sandy beaches in northeastern Brazil
- Rio de Janeiro’s vibrant and colourful Sunday Hippie market
- Refeitório Orgânico, vegan restaurant in Rio de Janeiro
Find the best tour packages to South America
- In search of Iguassu – Buenos Aires to Rio – With G Adventures, 17 days
- Wonders of Brazil – With G Adventures, 15 days
- Inca discovery – Lima to Cusco – With G Adventures, 8 days
- Amazon to the Andes – Lima to Lima – With G Adventures, 12 days
- Galapagos Adventures – Ecuador – With G Adventures, 9 days
- Patagonia Hiking – With G Adventures, 9 days
- Caribbean Colombia Express – With G Adventures, 8 days
- Cycle Peru (Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley) – With Intrepid Travel, 8 days
- Falkland Islands Expedition: Past & Present – With Intrepid Travel, 8 days