The continent of South America is located in the southern and western hemispheres of the earth with some of its portion lying in the northern hemisphere. It is an American subcontinent. There is a large number of attractions in this region for tourists from all over the world. From Brazil’s parties and carnivals to the natural beauty of places like Columbia and Venezuela, there are many popular tourist destinations.
Following are five of the most famous places to travel in South America.
Discovered only about a hundred years ago, Machu Picchu is the mystical remains of the Inca civilization and is also referred to as “Lost City of the Incas”. This fifteen centuries old archeological site is one of the most famous places to travel in South America. Spread over an area of 80,000 acres, it is situated on a ridge at a height of 2,430 meters between the mountains of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. Among the remains of the ancient city are terraced fields which were used for the cultivation of crops. Tourists come to visit the amazing site in order to see the wonderful quality of the ancient architecture as well as the spectacular mountain vista.
- Hiram Bingham – an American historian – was the first individual to discover and unveil the mystical Machu Picchu to the world.
- The path taken by tourists to reach the site is known as the Inca Trail. It is a trek which takes tourists to the Inca remains after three days.
- Machu Picchu was built by the ninth Inca emperor, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui. According to historians, it served as a Royal real estate for the emperor and other nobles.
- Among the remains of ancient structures are several religious buildings, including the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Three Windows.
- The Machu Picchu site was deserted by its ancient inhabitants about a hundred years after its construction. Archeologists and historians suggest the reason to be an invasion by the Spanish or small pox epidemic which wiped out the Inca civilization.
Cano Cristales is known as the most beautiful river in the world and one of the most famous places to travel in South America. Also referred to as the Liquid Rainbow, Cano Cristales is the River of Five Colors. As the name implies, the water body reflects various colors which make it one of the most famous places to travel in South America. It is located in the Meta Province in Columbia. The river originates from Serrania de la Macarena and flows for a hundred kilometers before emptying into the Guyabero River. The rocks at the bed of the river are covered by green moss for most part of the year. However, between June and November, various flora and fauna impart various vibrant colors to the river bed including red, yellow, blue, green and black.
- The river is located at a remote area which is not accessible by road. Interested tourists have to fly to the La Macarena town and then take a trip to the Serrania de la Macarena National Park where the river is located.
- Guerrilla activity in the area was common leading to the closing of the site for tourists up until 2009 when it was reopened.
- The river’s water is crystal clear owing to the fact that it lacks small particles, such as nutrients for aquatic life.
- The most prominent color of the river is red which is caused by the growth of an endemic species of plants known as Macarenia clavigera.
Rio de Janeiro
Commonly referred to as Rio, the city is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. It is the ultimate party destination for tourists owing to its wonderful beaches and culture of music. In addition, there are various other attractions for visitors, including the diversity of flora and fauna, historical significance and pristine tropical forests. Owing to this reason, Rio de Janeiro is also known as “the Marvelous City”.
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil. It has also been the capital of the country for almost two centuries when it was a Portuguese colony.
- One of the most famous landmarks of the country – Christ the Redeemer– is located in Rio.
- It is the country’s cultural center. Over a fifty museums offer an insight into the region’s history while the annual Carnival celebrations along with music and literature are other exciting attractions.
- Rio de Janeiro is going to be the first city of the continent to host the Olympic Games in 2016.
- There is interesting architecture in the city which dates back to a period between the sixteen and nineteen centuries. These include churches and other buildings.
- One of the world’s largest libraries, Biblioteca Nacional is situated in Rio. It contains a collection comprising of over nine million items.
Another wonder of the South American continent is the Galapagos Islands located in the Pacific Ocean. The archipelago consists of volcanic islands which are situated on each side of the Equator. Along with the surrounding water, the islands serve as a national park as well as a biological marine reserve.
- The Galapagos Islands consist of an archipelago of nineteen main islands situated at a distance of a thousand kilometers from the continent in the Pacific Ocean.
- The biological marine reserve formed by the islands is referred to as a “living museum” as well as a “showcase of evolution”.
- Collectively, the islands, islets and rocks forming the Galapagos archipelago are 127 in number.
- The world’s last giant Pinta tortoise – named, Lonesome George – was found on the Galapagos before it passed away in 2012.
- Three major ocean currents merge at the Archipelagos and bring a huge variety of marine life.
- Among other tourist attractions on the Galapagos are lava tunnels situated on Santa Cruz. These tunnels lead to an insight into the formation of the mystical islands.
- Located on the Isabela Island is the Alcedo Volcano which can be climbed by the tourists. This is where the world’s largest population density of tortoise is found.
Among the most famous tourist spots of South America are the Angel Falls. Located in Venezuela, it is the highest waterfall of the world which cascades down uninterrupted. It has earned a place among the most beautiful waterfalls of the world including the Niagara Falls, Iguazu Falls and the Victoria Falls.
- Water falls from a height of 979 meters with a plunge of about eight hundred meters. The final destination of the waterfall is the Auyan-tepui Mountain located in the Canaima National Park in the Bolivar State.
- The Angel Falls areamong the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- The waterfall exhibits a more fascinating scene during the rainy season when it splits into two individual waterfalls. During high water level, the spray of water can be felt up to a distance of a mile.
- The falls have appeared in several Hollywood movies including Disney’s Dinosaur and Arachnophobia. It has also been shown in the popular animated movie “Up” where it has been named as Paradise Falls.
Apart from these attractions, the continent of South America is full of wonders for adventurous tourists. From beach parties to the region’s cultural colors, there is a lot to discover and enjoy.