- National Parks & Reserves
- Off the Beaten Track
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- See & Do
South America is blessed with some of the most astonishing landscapes on earth. This dynamic continent has enthralled travellers for centuries with its array of natural wonders, ancient ruins and modern metropolises. It holds some of the world’s most impressive beaches, most fascinating cultures and most thrilling adventure activities. To inspire your travels, we're picked six of the most impressive South America journeys to kick-start your trip planning.
Although just one of the Inca trails you can follow across the Andes, what makes this 33km route so popular is the unrivalled reward of Machu Picchu at its end. The most famous ruins in South America, no matter how jaded you are, they will stop you in your tracks.
If you haven’t got your own wheels, head to the section between El Calafate/El Chaltén and Bariloche. Much of this route is paved and buses run its length almost daily in season. Despite the transport connections, the region still retains a sense of isolation. That's thanks to the endless pampas scrubland, interrupted only by the occasional tiny settlement or estancia.
Inspired by our list of South America journeys? Try our Tailor-Made Travel service and plan a fully personalised itinerary with the help of a local expert
Discover why the Ciudad Perdida made our list of the Best Places to Travel in 2020
To best soak up the charms and wildlife of this rugged landscape, embark on “The Circuit” – a seven- to ten-day hike. An extended version of the popular “W”, this route that leads you around the back of the Torres, giving you some respite from the inevitable crowds.
Only 3% of the islands's landmass is populated with humans. The rest is a haven of wildlife where you can spot giant tortoises, iguanas and the rare blue-footy booby. Visitors are permitted at 60 designated sites across the archipelago, and visitor numbers are strictly controlled. Most of the sites are only accessible by boat, and you must travel with a guide. For trips to the Galapagos Islands, get in touch with us. Rough Guides works with local experts in the area who can organise the trip of a lifetime.
For more inspiring ideas to visit Ecuador - explore our guide to the best things to do in Ecuador.
Discover why the Galapagos Islands made our list of the Best Places to Travel in 2020.
In fact, it’s one of our top reasons to visit Brazil’s overlooked southern states. Make sure to sit on the left-hand side of the train for the best views (or on the right if you’re not good with heights).
Discover plenty of ideas for your Brazilian trip in our guide to the best things to do in Brazil.
Top image: Marine iguana with blue-footed booby on Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador © reisegraf.ch/Shutterstock