A Millennial’s Travel Guide To South America
There is nothing like the excitement of travelling, but there’s always that moment when you feel stuck in the touristy confusion of not knowing what to do when you get to the end of your itinerary. Expand your vacation and scope of the world as MiLLENNiAL provides you with a travel guide of the top “must-do” global experiences by continent.
Our fourth stop on our global bucket list is South America. Because of its geographic diversity, this southern continent offers its visitors a variety of activities. Continue below to discover how you can experience all that South America has to offer in every way possible.
Visit Machu Picchu
The actual site of Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan city which offers breathtaking views once visitors reach its peaks at the top of the ruins. While the Incan sites are a must see, the regions of Machu Picchu is just as enchanting. The city is the former Incan capital, still bustling with lively people and a colorful culture. The region is also known for its Spanish colonial churches, weaving villages and idealistic conditions for backpacking.
Cruise the Galapagos
If you desire to be up close and personal with South American marine life, this is the tour for you. The voyage is three days long, giving you all the opportunity you need to explore the Galapagos, a set of islands just east of South America. The cruise’s itinerary includes checking in in the city of Quinto, along the Eastern coast of South America, where you’ll have the day to ecplore. On day 2, a flight from Quinto to Baltra is followed by lunch aboard the ship before afternoon activities. Day 3 includes visiting islands, hiking, snorkeling and more.
See Christ the Redeemer
A trip to South America is incomplete without visiting Christ the Redeemer. One of the Seven Wonders of the World which calls Rio Di Janeiro home. The statue stands 98 feet tall with a 91 foot wing span. It sits 2,329 feet above sea level on Corcovado Hill. Originally constructed in France and transported piece by piece to Rio, the statue has been the inspiration for tons of music and poetry.
These beautiful falls lay in the Iguazu River on the border of Argentine, acting as a natural geographic border between Argentina and Brazil. Like some of the other gems on our global bucket list, Iguazu National Park, where the falls are located has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The waterfalls and surrounding area are home to tons of wildlife, including anteaters, howler monkeys and jaguars. Standing around 262 feet high, this waterfall offers some of the most stunning views in South America.
Visit Salar de Uyuni
Located in southwest Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is the world largest salt flat. The site is nestled at the crest of the Andes Mountains and boasts 4,086 square miles. This site is located far from the surrounding cities, but for travelers who want to stay the night, hotels have been built for tourism. As mentioned before, South America is very geographically diverse, so this is an escape from the warm weather and a venture into cooler temps. However, braving the weather will be worth your time. The ground is almost a mirror image of the sky, making for breathtaking, optical-illusion like views for miles and miles.
See Your Weight in Gold
A little history in a trip is always good. It’s even better when that history is golden. The Gold Museum, in Bogota, Colombia, is home to the largest pre-Hispanic gold work collection in the world. The museum’s collection includes around 55,00 pieces, including one that represents the El Dorado ceremony and also Musica’s golden raft. The complete exhibit features work from various pre-Hispanic Colombian cultures.
White Water Rafting on the Amazon
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, white water rafting the second largest river in the world should be on your bucket list. The great part about this activity is that it’s has options for every experience level and budget. The river runs horizontally through South America, so there are a couple countries you can catch it in. Each site has its perks, but some are also harder than others. Choose accordingly based on your level of expertise.
Cruise down the Amazon River
If being in a raft in the middle of the second largest river in the world with wildlife surrounding you isn’t your idea of fun, there is an alternative. Cruising down the amazon offers a more relaxed hands off way to experience the wildlife and beauty of the Amazon Rainforest. Tourists have the options of setting up day tours or touring the complete length of the Amazon. Depending on the type of tour you choose, your boat can vary from a smaller every day boats, to extravagant air conditioned boats built for comfort.
Sleep in the Amazon Rainforest
Escape the hustle and bustle of the busy touristy streets of downtown and allow the sounds of nature to lull you to sleep. The Ariau Amazon Towers is the largest treetop hotels in the world, giving you the best way to get up close and personal with South American nature and wildlife, aside from sleeping in a tent. The hotel offers tons of packages that include all types of activities from swimming with dolphins and guided rainforest tours, to cultural life and the Amazon Operas Festival.
The geographic diversity in South America makes it an easy home to many animals. There are a plethora of things that threaten the lives and habitats on the animals that call South America home every day. So, take a little time from the sightseeing, river rafting and backpacking to give back to the community you’re visiting. Tourists can volunteer at many different wildlife rescue shelters. A couple popular ones are El Puma Ecological Park: Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centerin Argentina, Black Howler Monkeys Volunteer Center in Argentina and Merazonia Animal Rescue Center in Ecuador.
With the variety of things to in South America, there’s no getting tired of relaxing on a beach or hiking trails. There, you can do it all and still not get around to everything. Whether it’s enjoying the country by land or sea, the culture, wildlife and geography of South America offers its visitors a travel guide of life changing experience.
Naja Rayne is an ambitious journalism major with a concentration in news-editorial.