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South America is an incredible place and we share this South America Bucket List, so you can visit the best places on the continent.

Best places to visit in South America

South America Bucket List

Punta Del Este, Uruguay

No trip to South America would be complete without a visit to one of the smallest and most progressive nations within the continent, Uruguay!

From the gorgeous countryside, colonial towns, beautiful beaches, and bustling cities, Uruguay has something desirable for all sorts of travelers. Shoppers will rejoice in ethically produced leather and wool goods. Foodies will rave about chivitos, noquis, and clericot!

If you only have a few days in the country don’t miss the beautiful resort area of Punta Del Este, my forever second home. No matter the time of year you’ll find something wonderful to do here from roaming through the fish market at the marina, whale watching, surfing, or just sunbathing on the beach and enjoying the Candombe drum while sharing mate with your new Uruguayan friends.

If you’ve got time be sure to check out my top 10 beaches in Uruguay!

Lola from Miss Filatelista

South America Bucket List

Salkantay Trek

My husband and I did the Salkantay Trek from Cusco to reach Machu Picchu town – definitely a bucket list item for us. The famous Salkantay Trek is named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. Rightfully so!

We crossed several bio-zones, stunning scenery, glacier lakes, many mountain passes, and valleys through this 6-day trek to reach Machu Picchu town. This is a moderate difficulty level trek. We carried only a small backpack with us – water, some snacks, and personal care stuff. But it does require more than a moderate level of fitness.

We had flown to Cusco a day before the trek was to start to get acclimatized and couldn’t wait to start the trek.

Of the 6 days of trekking, the third day was the most strenuous, when we crossed the Salkantay pass at about a height of 15,000 feet. Thereafter, the trek became easy passing through verdant hills, gushing waterfalls, fruit orchards, and coffee plantations.

Shweta from Zest in a Tote

South America Bucket List

Hiking the Quilotoa Loop, Ecuador

The Quilotoa Loop is one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever been on. The Trek takes 3-4 days and it’s well marked so you can go at your own pace without a guide. 

Each day you hike through gorgeous, green mountainous valleys, past babbling brooks, and beautiful waterfalls. Most of the time, you will have the mountains all to yourself, but every so often the trail goes through a tiny village which gives you an insight into Ecuadorian country life. Your reward on the final day as you climb over the rim of the Quilotoa crater is seeing the glistening blue waters of Lake Quilotoa itself in all its glory. On a clear day, you can even see the snowy peaks of Cotopaxi or Chimborazo from there.

Alongside the magnificent views, the other thing that makes this Trek special is the hostels. After a long day hiking, you are welcomed into these cozy hostels, where you can huddle up by a fire, share stories with other hikers and refuel with a hearty 3-course meal. Whilst in Ecuador, make sure to explore the jungle on an Amazon jungle tour from Ecuador.

Nicola from Kic Travels

South America Bucket List

Watching the Sunrise at Mt Fitz Roy, Argentina

Part of the Andes mountain range, located deep within Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park, Mount Fitz Roy is one of the most beautiful peaks in the world. And one of the most challenging, too. Rising from the ground to a staggering height of 3,359m, Mount Fitz Roy is one of the most challenging peaks in the world. The final 1200 meters ascent is for only the most experienced rock climbers. 

But luckily even without having any specialized equipment or skills, it’s possible to hike close enough to enjoy the sight of the giant towers. There is a hike that leads from El Chaltén right to the base of the mountain.

Many people choose to sleep in the Campamento Poincenot, at the bottom of Fitz Roy, to hike up early in the morning to Laguna Los Tres to see the towers illuminated by the first rays of the morning sun, which turns the granite red for a few minutes. It is unforgettable! 

Radka from Real Camp Life

South America Bucket List


When I started planning my trip to Peru, of course, my first instinct was Machu Picchu!  I started doing more research and found out that not only is there a desert with massive sand dunes in Peru, but also a giant oasis! I had no idea!  It’s called Huacachina!

I immediately added it to my itinerary, and it ended up being the highlight of the trip!  I suggest doing the 4 pm dune buggy and sandboarding tour because it ends up being 2 hours, it’s not as hot, and you can see the sunset!

The dune buggy is a high adrenaline ride up and down massive mountains of sand!  It takes you to the top of a truly gnarly one, where you get a quick lesson on sandboarding! You can try and be a boss and go down standing up… or you can give in to your childlike delight and go tearing down the dune on your stomach on a waxy board.  It’s way fun! They even pick you up at the bottom so you don’t have to walk up the mound again! 

Whist in Peru, make sure to visit the cities and try the amazing Lima food!

Carly from Flight of the Educator

South America Bucket List

Iguazu Falls in Argentina

“Poor Niagara.” That’s what Eleanor Roosevelt famously said when she saw Iguazu. Having been to both, I have to agree with her. Iguazu Falls are breathtaking and overwhelmingly massive. They straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil, with both countries offering unique experiences. From the Brazilian side, you’re offered a stunning panoramic view of the falls. But the real magic happens in Argentina, which is home to 80% of the 275 falls. Catwalks take you right over the powerful water.

Right at the edge of the precipice, you really feel like you’re in the waterfalls! Pack a poncho, you’re sure to get wet, especially if you go on the speedboat ride underneath one of the falls! The park is also full of wildlife, from colorful birds to playful monkeys and hungry (read: will steal your food) coatis, which are cousins to the raccoon.  Flights from Buenos Aires are affordable and make it a must-visit destination on any trip to Argentina!

Erin from Sol Salute

These are some of the best South America attractions shared by other travelers and travel bloggers.

Where is your favorite place to visit in South America?! Let us know in the comments below!

Helpful Resources

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Tuesday 18th of May 2021


A LISTA DE BALDE DA AMÉRICA DO SUL • Creative Travel Guide - Curtindo Viajar

Wednesday 10th of June 2020

[…] VEJA MAIS […]

Charles Simpson

Sunday 27th of January 2019

The sacred city of Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century and later abandoned. Probably the most famous archaeological places in South America, this Incan citadel is famous worldwide for its huge stone walls and mysterious history.


Monday 30th of July 2018

It's ñoquis from italian gnocchi


Saturday 16th of June 2018

I have not made it to any South American country yet, but I do have a list that I’m hoping to check off! Argentina and equador are on my list! Thanks for compiling this

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