4 South American Countries You Must Visit

Friday, May 22, 2020

The landmass of South America is one of the most - if not the most - intriguing and diverse continents on the planet. Part of the reason for this is the sheer length of the place; in the north, there are hot, sunny countries like Bolivia and Ecuador (the latter specifically named for the Equator which runs through it). Further south, some areas of Argentina and Chile are the closest parts of the world to Antarctica, and more appropriate for ski chalets than beach huts. However, wherever you go, South America will have plenty to offer, as the four countries highlighted here go to prove

Seldom talked about as one of the continent’s jewels, Uruguay has - perhaps as a result of this oversight - remained refreshingly unspoilt and unpretentious. Don’t be put off by its lack of reputation, though, because this verdant country has got plenty to be proud of. The capital, Montevideo, is perhaps the pick of the destinations for a worthwhile holiday; a former Spanish citadel, it is now home to splendid Art Deco architecture and the Mercado del Puerto; the latter is a seafront market area with more excellent restaurants than you could hope to visit. The historic Palacio Salvo is worth a visit, too, particularly for dance buffs who will delight in its Tango museum.

The nation of Peru is dripping with history, as the country (along with neighboring Bolivia) is home to the territory of the Incan civilization. The ruined city of Machu Picchu is an essential visit; depending on how much time you have you might choose to take the scenic four-day hiking route of the Inca trail. The canyon at Colca is also worth a stop - here you will see the majestic condors in all their glory against a stupendous backdrop. If you feel the cities are calling you, then the capital Lima is a surprisingly sedate and charming place to stay; the more touristy charms of Cusco are your best choice if you want some nightlife.

It’s hard to make a case for South America as a tourist wonderland without talking about Brazil. It is, by some margin, the continent’s largest nation, and whereas Spanish is spoken in almost every country around it, Brazil was colonized by Portugal, so Portuguese is spoken here. Beach fans and party-lovers will gravitate to Rio de Janeiro, especially around Mardi Gras for its famous parade. The true beauty of the country is more likely to be discovered on one of the many available Brazil nature tours. This is, after all, the home of the Amazon rainforest and much more besides; a conservation tour is highly recommended.

A long, thin strip down the west coast of the continent, Chile is a nation that perpetually punches above its weight. On the field of sport, its national team holds its own against the much larger Brazil and Argentina - no small thing, on this soccer-mad continent. It’s worth checking out whether you can get tickets to a game; the country’s most successful club, Colo Colo, plays in the capital Santiago. While in Santiago, you’re well advised to try out the street food - empanadas, sopaipillas and the fresh fruit juices for which the nation is famed are all worth sampling. So, too, is the city’s main square, the Plaza de Armas, which is framed by intriguing museums and shops.