You can find beauty in any part of the world as long as you’re willing to look for it and South America is no exception to that, especially when it comes to natural beauty. You’ve got glaciers and mountains in Patagonia, colorful salt lakes in Bolivia and incredible waterfalls in Guyana, all waiting for someone to explore.
Beyond the natural wonders, there’s also plenty of other must see locations to keep everyone entertained and intrigued while trekking through South America.
Lençóis Maranhenses — Brazil
The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is a protected area on Brazil’s northern coast that is known for the vast desert landscape featuring rainwater lagoons and sand dunes that look more like clouds.
La Mano In Punta Del Este — Uruguay
It’s hard to miss a giant hand emerging from the sand on the beach, so if you’re paying a visit to Punta del Este in Uruguay, you might as well go to see La Mano in person. The sculpture was completed in February 1982 and is one of Uruguay’s most recognizable landmarks.
Kaieteur Falls — Guyana
The largest single drop waterfall in the world and one of the most powerful waterfalls anywhere, Guyana’s Kaieteur Falls was clearly made when Mother Nature felt like showing off what she could really do.
Swing At The End Of The World — Ecuador
So, obviously, the world doesn’t have an actual end (or does it?), but if you’re looking to feel like you’re sitting at the edge of world, Bonas, Ecuador is the place to do it thanks to the single swing set up at the very top of a cliff.
Caño Cristales — Colombia
There are no crystals in this river, but the crystal clear water will reveal a number of colorful streams for its visitors. The river is commonly called the River of Five Colors or the liquid rainbow because of the vibrant colors of the water.
Uyuni Salt Flats — Bolivia
Known for being the largest salt flats on the planet at over 10,500 square kilometers and containing more than 50% of the world’s lithium reserves, a visit to the Bolivian salt flats—also known as Salar de Uyuni—leaves you feeling like you’re walking on water.
Torres Del Paine — Chilean Patagonia
Known for amazing soaring mountains, bright glaciers, and expansive grasslands, no one would regret making the trip down to Torres del Paine National Park if they’re looking for their next adventure.
Laguna de los Tres — Argentine Patagonia
If you choose to go to the Argentine side of Patagonia rather than the Chilean side, you won’t be disappointed by Laguna de los Tres, the trek that takes you to the foot of Mount Chaltén.
Laguna Colorada — Bolivia
A shallow salt lake within the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, Bolivia’s Laguna Colorada isn’t going to look anything like the lakes you’re used to. Just as tourists are drawn to the strange colored lake, so is the nearly extinct flamingo population, so keep your eyes open!
Easter Island — Chile
If you’re going to go to South America, you pretty much have to pay a visit to Easter Island, right? The volcanic island is considered a territory of Chile and has more than 900 monumental statues around the island.
Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral — Colombia
If you’re claustrophobic, this might not be the excursion for you, but if you’re looking for an underground adventure in Colombia, this underground Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of a salt mine should be high on your list.
Iguazu Falls — Argentina Or Brazil
Another destination that falls between two South American countries, Iguazu Falls is similar to the split of Niagara Falls between the U.S. and Canada. Whether you choose to view Iguazu from Brazil or Argentina, you’ll be mesmerized by this waterfall.
El Camino De La Muerte — Bolivia
Bolivia’s North Yungas Road is nicknamed El Camino de la Muerte, otherwise known as Death Road, so visiting it is certainly not for the faint of heart. It’s considered the world’s most dangerous road, but that doesn’t stop thousands of people from biking along it every year.
Skylodge Adventure Suites — Peru
If you’ve ever dreamt of sleeping in a glass cabin that’s suspended from a mountaintop cliff, you should consider staying at Peru’s Skylodge Adventure Suites. In order to reach the pods, you have to climb 400 meters or access it thorough zipline trails.
Fernando De Noronha — Brazil
Fernando de Noronha is a volcanic archipelago located about 350 kilometers off Brazil’s northeast coast. Named after its largest island, the island is home to a protected national marine park and ecological sanctuary.
It’s known for its beautiful beaches, and for scuba diving and snorkeling. Sea turtles, rays, dolphins, and reef sharks all hang out in the water.
Rainbow Mountain — Peru
The name alone is enough for anyone to know that it’s probably worth the trip while in Peru. Like the rainbow mountains in China’s Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, the mountains get their hues from mineral deposits.
Perito Moreno Glacier — Argentina
Just like Laguna de los Tres, Perito Moreno Glacier is located in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park, so you can conquer a few glaciers after you’re done trekking up the mountains.
Monumento A La Mitad Del Mundo — Ecuador
Standing tall at nearly 100 feet high, the Mitad del Mundo monument highlights the exact location of the equator in Quito, Ecuador, which is what the country is named after.
Nazca Lines — Peru
You’ll need an elevated platform or a plane to fly over the Nazca Lines in order to fully appreciate them, but luckily the platform is provided for you. The geoglyphs span an area of nearly 1,000 square kilometers with an estimated 300 figures composed of over 10,000 lines.
The purpose of the lines is unclear, but some believe the Nazca people created them to be seen by gods in the sky.
Laguna Verde — Bolivia
It doesn’t take long to figure out why this salt lake in Bolivia is referred to as the Laguna Verde or Green Lagoon. It’s near the Uyuni Salt Flats, and the water gets its green color from the salt in the water, which creates a stellar view when paired with the Licancabur stratovolcano in the background.