South America is abounding with fantastical beaches; the world’s most ancient societies and its surviving structures; some of the most widely-appreciated cuisines and flavors; plenty of adventure opportunities at the off-the-beaten path and the unrivaled splendor of nature and its wildlife.
South America is divided amongst 13 countries that spread over a total area of little over 6, 80,000 mi². The region is submerged in ancient traditions that date back to some of the most ancient civilizations known to man, such as the Mayans, raising the curiosity and imagination of tourists by transporting them back in time to a mysterious world.
South America takes pride in being home to over 99 UNESCO World heritage sites which are balanced by the fact that there are several 100 islands and great forests that remain undiscovered, consequently yielding this region its enigmatic magnetism.
Taxidio has put together a list of the top 10 places that must be visited in South America as they promise to gift you a holiday that surpasses your expectations.
1. Mexico City
Being one of the largest and the most populated cities in the world, Mexico City, positioned at 2000 feet above the sea level, is a megalopolis of exalted features. With the second-highest number of museums in the world and the oldest forest in the Americas, this frenzy of complexities unfolds a destination that can be overwhelming as well as enchanting to even the most seasoned tourists. From the canals of Xochimilco to the thrilling adventures at the Six Flags Mexico to the history-drenched National Anthropology Museum and the Zocalo, Mexico caters to a multitude of inclinations. Being one of the liveliest cities on earth, you can travel back in time as you reach the top of the pyramids, experience the cultural scene at one of its neighborhoods and savor the best cuisine in the continent at one of its luxurious dining houses, all in the same day. Enchanting the visitors with its bygone-era charm, preserved cultural roots and colonial era edifices topped with lip-smacking cuisine, this Mexican capital promises to offer an unforgettable trip.
Cancún is synonymous with alluring beaches attached to glittering hues of blue and green waters, together packed with people out to have a good time. It is considered as the spring break getaway for the American population that love to party; stay in some of exquisitely modeled luxurious resorts; indulge in the exquisite retail therapy options and adopt the beach bum lifestyle all at the same time.
This rapturous beach resort town is also home to an expansive aquatic life and coral reef that make up the mysterious world of the ocean. The aquatic life consists of a vast number of mesmerizing and rare underwater species, such as the shark whale and some endangered turtle species which can be observed through a range of tours or one of the many beach sports, such as snorkeling, recommended to the tourists that are looking to explore the ambiguities of the ocean.
Besides its modern luxurious resorts are the many archeological sites, monuments and ancient architecture styles that are known to be over one millennium old, of which some belong to the Mayan civilization. The town’s fascinating history adds an enchanting layer to the overall character of this marvelous holiday destination.
Mexican cuisine needs no introduction to reveal just how exquisite a palette of flavors it serves; many dainty shacks are strewn across this town which serve a fine range of the authentic Mexican cuisine which is an absolute must try. Tourists will also find a great breadth of international cuisine options such as Italian pizzas and pastas, Japanese sushi and much more. With year-long warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine, Cancún is the perfect beach holiday destination that is adorned with a fascinating history and multitude of features that will leave you with some of the most fun memories that you have had in a long time.
Rio is an exuberant city, so full of life that you will find it difficult to keep up with all its energy. The football fanaticism in this country is almost palpable with a game being played around every street corner. Adding to the city’s dynamism, is the fact that it hosts the world’s biggest carnival. From street parades and eccentric costumes to blaring music and a samba dances, the city sure knows how to celebrate life. An upbeat atmosphere bolstered with the surreal coastlines of Ipanema and Copacabana are a few of the charming examples that expose the multi-faceted layers of the city’s personality. Rio de Janeiro tops the charts of every travel enthusiast; after all Christ the Redeemer welcomes you to the city with His open arms.
4. São Paulo
Sao Paulo is one of the major metropolitans in Brazil, which not only offers a splendid nightlife but also guides you through its penetrating and diverse culture. Get lost in the mélange of its crowded streets, but do keep a close eye on your personal belongings.
One major attraction of the city has to be its excellent quality of restaurants which serve over 42 varieties of cuisines across the city. This city displays its variety of cultural activity through various exhibitions and art festivals. São Paulo has some of the finest museums which display the artwork of well-known painters and architects through the time. For someone who is brand conscious, Sao Paulo is the perfect place to be. The city offers various high-end shopping centers and malls that play are oriented around luxury brands.
The city introduces you to its innumerable art house cinema and experimental theaters which also pose as the tourist’s favorite hub. The cultural life is supported by Brazil’s most educated people and different ethnic groups who have found a home in this city.
São Paulo is a beautiful city and a fitting escape for those who love skyscrapers and prefer nights of partying and clubbing. It is fast-paced and there is a lot to do and definitely a lot to eat. The city just gives one the best cultural experiences, not to forget, the city is also home to the biggest LGBT community.
5. Buenos Aires
Paris of the South- Buenos Aires is a vivacious cosmopolitan city where the old world merges with the contemporary. A feast for your senses, the phenomenal cocktail scene of the city ranges from the classic Collins to the modern swizzle making it a paradise for night-crawlers. A hotspot for tourism, you will feel the spirit of European influences in the architecture and food. Acquaint yourself with history and rich culture of the city through the cobblestoned streets, ancient cafes, traditional gaucho displays and folk dancing. The birthplace of one of the most romantic dance forms in the world, this metropolis is a mecca for tango dancers. Treat yourself with a hearty Andean fare while witnessing a spectacularly choreographed show and outstanding acoustics that hum everywhere from traditional art avenues to grand opera houses. Wearing history on its sleeve, Buenos Aires is a city that caters to every niche from traditional fairs and market to chic shopping malls. As the city lives and breathes soccer, you will learn of its sporting passion in the stadiums, sport bars and coffee houses. Explore the city of diverse passions that will stay deeply etched in your memories even when you are on the other side of the world.
History Buff? Visit the museum. Party Hunter? The city’s late-night crawling bars await. Foodie? Choose from hundreds of eateries spread across the city. Explorer? Discover the cobblestone streets. Montevideo is like a book of many depths and layers of different chapters giving you a reason to stay for as long as your can. Welcoming more than 3 million visitors every year, the city is emerging as one of the continent’s most sought-after vibrant capital and finding its way up the traveler’s radar. Montevideo can be described between three chief characteristics; a spruced-up old quarter: an excellent-to-gaze-at architecture and thriving culture scene sum up Montevideo.
A city with a total population of around 7 million people showcases its ethnicity through the traditional cultural practices. A growing urban city, Bogota has one of the best infrastructures in the country, with Colonial and modern architecture that will leave onlookers spellbound. Guarded by majestic mountains, the city is home to many recreational centers and parks; hence the color green will be spotted in every other street. While wandering around the city, you are likely to stagger upon streets adorned with graffiti that continues to captivate the attention of the art aficionados from around the globe. Bike along the widespread paths of the city and stumble upon the fine eateries, notable museums, classic pubs, cozy cafes and comfy inns. If you really wish to experience the rich culture of this city, do pay a visit in the month of August to visit one of the biggest Carnivals in the world. Bogotá is becoming more and more popular among the radar of the travelers, all thanks to its rapid development and architectural heritage. Being the capital of the country, this city is sure to give you unique experiences that you did not think of, when you first stepped in.
From the archaeological ruins and iconic architecture to creative sculptures that decorate the parks and Peruvian craft traditions, Lima is home to over 7 million people belonging to an eclectic mix of cultures. Boasting of colonial-era splendor, oceanfront setting, sophisticated dining and nonstop nightlife, this traffic-clogged city is rising up above an endless shoreline of crumbling cliffs. A visit to this sophisticated-yet-traditional city includes observing tidy streets, handsomely landscaped parks and sweeping ocean views that go well with rich pre-Colombian heritage, ethnic diversity, and emerging art and fashion scenes, as well as nightlife that will sway you away off your feet. Look for that camera hanging around on your neck to capture the best of the moments in this cosmopolitan region. Take out time ti indulge in its culinary scene that is known to offer an out-of-the-world gastronomic experience in the whole of continent. ‘Embrace the glorious mess that you are’ – Lima has stood true to this line with its aesthetic delights and rich history. A walk through the streets of the city is a walk through history filled with excellent adventures for oneself. Exploring the city and discovering its blooming features is an exciting and unforgettable experience.
Rising proudly as the ‘Southernmost city of the world’, Ushuaia is a young city which was discovered in the 1700s. A place that was once a dainty fishing village, now stands as one of the most beautiful destinations of South America. The city’s setting makes it a busy port where the Andean ranges loses itself into the southern ocean making the city look like a living paradise. It is an adventure hub for all the adrenaline seekers who are pepping themselves up for some winter sports like snowboarding, skiing and sailing among the top activities. Beyond the magnificent landscapes formed by the Andean ranges in the Terra de Fuego National Park, you will stumble upon steep streets, sled houses, jumbled buildings and the newer Swiss-chalet style homes that adds vibrancy to the architecture of the town. A city of many portraits, Ushuaia will confuse you with options whether to dive into the chaos of the bustling restaurants and bars or just relax by the nature’s many gifts while sipping on a hot cup of coffee with your favorite book!
Boasting of being the archaeological capital of the Americas, the former city of the Inca Empire is today recognized for finding its way into the Spanish colonies while displaying old traditional manners and how they magnificently blend with the 21st century. Not letting go of its Andean roots, Cusco, being one of the oldest cities of the continents, has mixed up with the Spanish colonies only to repackage themselves as Peru’s ultimate destination. Lost in the magnificent colonial architecture, countryside villages and historic Inca ruins, the city takes you into the history books of the region to learn a lesson or two through its museums, archaeological sites and monuments. A city for everyone, the adventure enthusiasts can hike to Inca trails, The Sacred valley and the world acclaimed Machu Picchu. The gastronomic scene, however, will definitely leave a foodie’s palette content and excited for more. With growing number of visitors every year, the city never fails to surprise its guests with its gorgeous views and appealing environment that goes with the historic Pre-Colombian ruins.