South America is a traveler’s dream come true. In 2013, an estimated 27.4 million visitors traveled to the continent. Tourists travelling to South America are expected to total 40 million by 2020 and jump to 58 million by 2030.
Seeped in history, beautiful landscapes and a variety of rich cultures, it’s no surprise why travelers are drawn to South America. The continent offers South America cruises, great cuisine and a wide variety of historic landmarks to explore.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest attractions in three of South America’s most popular countries.
Known for its tango, steak and excellent football (soccer) teams, Argentina is full of exciting activities. Many South America cruises dock in the capital, Buenos Aires.
Here are three must see sites in Argentina:
- Palacio Barolo: located in Buenos Aires, Palacia Barolo was designed as a tribute to Dante’s Divine Comedy. The palace is 100 meters tall (one meter for each of the Divine Comedy’s 100 songs) and has 22 floors (one floor for every verse in the book).
- Iguazu Falls: located on the border of Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls is considered one of the world’s most splendid natural wonders. The area includes a series of beautiful waterfalls and lots of outdoor activities.
- Mendoza Province: located in the western Argentina is a wine lover’s paradise. The area boasts many wineries and vineyards, but also offers excellent skiing and hiking.
Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. It is also the only country in South America that doesn’t use Spanish as an official language, instead using Portuguese. The country is the second most popular travel destination, accounting for 7% of the world’s tourism.
- Christ the Redeemer: located at the peak of the Corcovado Mountain, the famous statue stands 130 ft tall. The location offers panoramic views of both Guanabara Bay and Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.
- The Rio Carnival: takes place in Rio de Janeiro every year before Lent. Brazil is known for its lively Carnival celebrations that occur throughout the country, but The Rio Carnival is the most famous drawing in more than 2 million attendees.
- Pelourinho: located in the city of Salvador, is renowned for its historic downtown district. It has many colorful houses, colonial building and cobblestone streets.
Peru is located in the northwestern region of South America. A visit to Peru includes learning about ancient cultures, visiting the Amazon River and everything in between.
- Machu Picchu: located high in the Andes Mountain, Machu Picchu is an 15th century Incan site. The stone estate was built around 1450, but abandoned by the Incan people during the Spanish Conquest. Machu Picchu is the largest tourist attraction in all South America.
- Colca Canyon: located in southern Peru along the Colca River, the Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Besides beautiful views of the canyons, Andean condors are a major attraction.
- Plaza de Armas: located in the heart of historic Cuzco, Plaza de Armas was the center of Incan civilization in Peru. It offers historic colonial arcades, cathedrals and gardens to tour.
From taking South America cruises along the coastlines to exploring ancient ruins in the Andes, South America offers extensive, wonder vacation options.