Is travelling – or even backpacking – through South America on your bucket list? If it’s not then it definitely should be! With a vast variety of cultures, food, climates and landscapes, it can be tough to know where to go and what to see first in South America. For this reason, we have compiled a (bucket) list of places that you definitely should not miss out on.So grab your travel buddy or your group of friends and let’s go!



1. Hike in the Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

The Torres del Paine National Park is worth writing a whole post about, to be honest. There are several choices when it comes to hiking through this beautiful nature reserve. You can either do the W trek, which takes five days to complete or you can do the O trek which takes longer. Either way you will see more nature, mountains, glaciers and bright blue lakes than you ever thought possible. Put your hiking shoes on, this will be an adventure you’ll never forget!



2. Become a Gaucho in Argentina

You can make your cowboy/girl dreams come true and be a Gaucho for a day in Argentina. The Gauchos are an important part of Argentina’s history which means that it is kept alive and well in many parts of the country.


3. Dance at the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When in Rio during Carnival, don’t miss out on the opportunity to dance on the street with the locals. The city is filled with colour, parades, beautifully elaborate costumes and happy people. What’s not to love?


4. See the end of the world at Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia is the most southern city in the world, which makes it a particularly cool item to tick off your South America bucket list. Make sure to bring the right attire though as it gets very cold!




5. Go snorkelling on Ilha Grande, Brazil

We have previously written about Ilha Grande, Brazil, but it is always worth a mention. It is just a few hours drive + ferry trip away from Rio de Janeiro and has an amazing off-the-grid feel to it. Go snorkelling there and discover a breathtaking underwater world.


6. Walk like an Inca at the Inca Trail, Peru

This is the original way of travelling to the infamous Machu Picchu, Peru. The Inca trail is a four-day traverse in the footsteps of the Incas. You will be completely disconnected from technology which is also great for a digital detox. You can admire the cloud forests, mountains and you end up at Machu Picchu just in time for sunrise.


7. Take a road trip through the Atacama Desert, Chile

This is another beautiful destination we have previously mentioned, so make sure to go check out that article. This location is one of our favourite places to visit in the world as the landscapes are completely surreal. We also recommend stargazing as the Atacama Desert boast some of the clearest night skies in the world. Rent a car and go explore by yourself rather than booking a tour. Trust us, you won’t regret it.




8. Fly over the Nazca Lines, Peru

No one knows who made the Nazca Lines in Peru. Was it the aliens? The Incas? Either way, seeing them from above is a truly unique experience. You can fly over it with a small plane or climb the viewing platform. The latter option doesn’t give you as good of a view but it is definitely cheaper.


9. Make Charles Darwin proud in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

There are not many places in the world where you can see as much unique wildlife as in the Galapagos Islands, which makes this a perfect bucket list item.


10. Visit the mysterious Easter Island statues, Chile

Easter Island is 2000 miles away from continental Chile, but it is definitely worth a visit. The Moai statues are definitely one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks. Make sure to add Rapa Nui to your South America bucket list if you are an adventurous traveller as there are lots of hiking opportunities.


11. Hear (and see) the Roar of Iguazu Falls, Brazil/ Argentina

Iguazu Falls is one of the world’s most famous waterfalls and it is located between Brazil and Argentina. Locals fight over whether it is better to see them from the Brazilian or the Argentinian side. Why not go and decide for yourself?


12. Swim with pink dolphins in the Amazon

Yes, you read that right. There are pink dolphins in the Amazon and you can swim with them! Book a trip from Manaus to meet these enchanted creatures yourself.


13. Travel to Antarctica (if it’s still there)

South America is the closest you’ll ever be to being in Antarctica, so why not pay it a visit?


14. Watch the Sun Rise Over the Bolivia Salt Flats, Bolivia

The Uyuni salt flats are the largest in the world! If you are lucky, there will be a thin layer of water on the salt, turning it into the world’s largest mirror. A truly unique destination that you just have to see!




15. Party in the street in Lapa, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

In a city that is pretty famous for its party spirit, there is one district dedicated to partying – hard! There is always a street party for you to join on the weekends here. Just show up and join the crowds!


16. Relax at Punta Del Este, Uruguay

Not so much a backpackers destination, this resort town on the coast of Uruguay always feels like a luxury holiday. The beautiful beaches, lovely people and lively nightlife make it definitely worth a visit.


17. Stargaze in Elqui Valley, Chile

As we have previously mentioned, Chile has amazing night skies. At Elqui Valley the skies are so beautiful and clear, you won’t believe that they are real!


18. Become Lara Croft in the Ciudad Perdida, Colombia

Ciudad Perdida literally translates to Lost City. Sounds like something out of a movie or a video game, right? The city is only accessible by foot but getting there is considered one of the most beautiful hikes in South America. Make sure to wear the right attire when walking through the Colombian jungle.


19. Go Off-Grid in the Guianas

Not many South America travellers make it to the Guianas, but they are definitely worth a visit. Three countries make up the Guianas: Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname. While Guyana has a classic Caribbean feel to it, the other two have a more unique identity. Go off the beaten path and see these countries for yourself!


20. Beach Hop And Relax At Parque Nacional Tayrona, Colombia

Colombia is not only a beautiful country with amazing people, food and climate but it also has gorgeous beaches. The postcard worthy Parque Nacional Tayrona has clear waters, white sandy beaches while at the same time being surrounded by jungle. How amazing does that sound?




Which of these locations are you adding to your bucket list? Tell us in the Facebook comments!


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