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15 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit South America

by Claudia Looi

February 21, 2018

5 minute read

Whether you prefer wandering in a time-warp village, hiking along rugged mountain ranges, taking a rickety ride up hills or tasting an endless amount of Malbec in South America, I’ve got the photos that will make you want to visit.

South America fascinates me. I’ve been to the continent three times and one of those South America vacations was for eight months. It’s difficult to select just 15 photos to showcase this incredible land but here are the most exceptional places.

1. Iguazu Falls Brazil and Argentina

One can never truly appreciate the grandeur of the Iguazu Falls until they visit. A picture may paint a thousand words, but it can never replace the in-person experience. Located on the border of Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu Falls has 275 individual waterfalls, but the Devil’s Throat takes center stage.

I visited both the Argentinian and Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls. I took this photo while on a helicopter on the Brazilian side.

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Known as the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City), Rio de Janeiro will blow you away with its magnificent landscape of mountains, white sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean and picturesque Guanabara Bay. It’s one of the few cities in the world that can boast of a perfect alignment of mountains and the sea.

It was a cloudy day during my visit to the Statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado, the most famous Art Deco sculpture in the world. So, here is the view of Rio from Corcovado.

3. Perito Moreno, Argentina

Located in southwest Argentina, Perito Moreno Glacier is the most accessible glacier in the world. Enjoy this view from the viewing platform.

4. Torres del Paine, Chile

If you’re looking to hike in Torres del Paine National Park in southern Patagonia, you can choose the W Trek (5 days) or the O Trek (8 days). Though trekking will provide a full experience of the rugged terrains of Torres del Paine, I chose a guided day tour instead. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I saw glacier, lagoon, lakes, the iconic Mirador las Torres and a herd of guanacos (South Andean deer, like llamas) and a baby puma. But this is one of the most magnificent structures in the park – Mirador las Torres.

5. Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats), Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni (elevation 11,995 feet) is the largest salt flat in the world. This 400-square mile salt desert in southwest Bolivia with glistening white salt is a mysterious place. Somewhere in the middle of this vast open space is an island, Isla Incahuasi. It’s a hilly rock formation covered with cacti of all sizes. Look at this ‘otherworldly’ scenery.

6. Isla Magdalena, Chile

Imagine an island with thousands of Magellanic penguins playing in their natural habitat, and no human inhabitants. Isla Magdalena is an island on the Strait of Magellan about 20 miles from Punta Arenas, a city at the southern tip of Chile.


7. Lake Titicaca, Peru

The world’s highest navigational lake, Lake Titicaca sits at an elevation of 12,507 feet. The most popular tour at Lake Titicaca on the Peru side of the lake is a visit to the floating man-made islands of the Uros. These are floating islands constructed from totora reeds since pre-Columbian days.

8. Mendoza, Argentina

Flanked by the Andes Mountains to the west of the city, the wine growing region of Mendoza has ideal weather and soil for Malbec grapes. Take a winery tour, enjoy the scenery, and savour the robust and full-bodied red wines. Malbec pairs well with Argentinian steak and chorizo (sausages).

9. Buenos Aires, Argentina

There isn’t a shortage of things to do in Buenos Aires, but the one thing not to be missed is the Feria de San Telmo (San Telmo Sunday Fair) in San Telmo. The fair starts at 10 am every Sunday and ends at around 4 pm. Join in the fun on the cobblestone streets and squares of San Telmo. Check out the food, antiques, art, souvenirs, and entertainment, like these musicians playing the local milonga and tango music for the street dancers.

10. La Paz, Bolivia

Standing at the Mirador Killi Killi lookout point, elevation 12,090 feet, is the view of La Paz’s cityscape and the snow-capped mountains of Cordillera Real. Arguably one of the most stunning views of a city I’ve ever seen.

11. Valparaiso, Chile

Don’t leave hilly Valparaiso, Chile’s port city without taking the funicular Ascensor Artilleria to the Maritime Museum.

12. Municipal Market of Sao Paulo, Brazil

The Municipal Market itself is a work of art – an eclectic industrial architecture with stained glass windows and massive columns. Sao Paulo's over a hundred-year-old market houses restaurants on the mezzanine floor, and the ground floor has vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, meats, herbs, cheeses, and nuts.

13. Bariloche, Argentina

At 3,445 feet, Cerro Campanario offers the view of the lakes and mountain ranges of Bariloche, a city located in the foothills of southern Andes and at the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake. You can reach the top of the mountain (Cerro in Spanish) using a chairlift or hike up.

14. Machu Picchu

Call to mind Peru; chances are you’ll conjure up images of Machu Picchu. Even if you have seen the photos a million times in brochures or online, a trip to Machu Picchu will leave you in awe and wonder. I’ve chosen a photo of Machu Picchu taken from the citadel.

15. Intinan Museum (Middle of the World Museum)

I balanced an egg on the head of a nail and saw gravity at work in Intinan Museum, Ecuador. Try it there and let me know how it goes.



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