South América is a continent that invites you to explore and immerse yourself in out-of-the-ordinary experiences that will give you away memories that will last a lifetime. The amazing scenery and colorful cultural expressions also grant travellers with great picture opportunities. But some places are so stunning that any photo can really do them justice. Here are our top 5 destinations that are even more impressive life than in pictures. 😉
1. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
These islands are in every other travellers wish-list for a reason. Galapagos islands are considered a living laboratory of nature and evolution because of their unique characteristics… they are like a huge natural playground where visitors can experience up close encounters with nature, with breathtaking scenery as a backdrop. It is one of the most important marine reserves in the world, so that there’s not only amazing things to see on the archipelago’s islands, but under the sea as well. Pretty much everywhere you look there is a chance to spot some of natures wonderful creatures… from cute blue-footed boobies, to impressivly gigantic land and sea turtles, playful sea lions, pengüins, marine iguanas, among many others. Regardless if diving at its reefs and underwater caves, relaxing at any of the endless beautiful beaches or exploring the islands by land, there isn’t any picture that can really show how special this place is.
2. Sacred Valley in Cusco, Perú
The Sacred Valley is nestled in the heart of the former Inca Empire, just over 30 kilometers outside from the city of Cusco. It streches over aproximately 60 kilometers along the Urubamba river, a fair bit lower than Cusco, making it into a very fertile and warmer land. These milder conditions, along with astonishingly beautiful landscapes, make it into a great place to just kick back, relax and enjoy life. There are also many magnificent ruins tucked away throughout the valley, as well as Spanish colonial villages, such as Pisca, where you can engage with locals and score some fine handcraft pieces. Follow the footsteps of the Incas exploring the many hidden gems that this very special Incan settlement has to offer. There are also many opportunities for adding an adventure component to the experience, for those keen on a bit of an extra thrill. Have your camera ready, but beware of possible lamas photobombing your shot! 😛
3. Uyuni Saltflats, Bolivia
This attraction is of an uncomparable natural beauty. It’s the largest salt flat in the world, with an area of 12,000 square kilometers, perched at over 3,600 meters above sea level. The endless white-painted salt desert creates an amazing optical ilussion that distorts the sense of distance between things that may be far away from each other. So you can try and take those funny pictures, like you were “crashing” a truck with your foot or “eating” your seemingly tiny friend. To top this up, this place hosts more great sites, like the Incahuasi Island, a volcanic outcropping covered with immense cacti up to 10 meters tall, volcanoes, mountains full of minerals, where you can let your inner geologist go wild or just enjoy some unbeatable sunsets.
4. Atacama Desert, Chile
The Atacama desert is another imposing natural scenario. To discover it is a whole adventure, featuring endless shapes, colors, shades, lights, volcanoes, dry salt lakes, ponds, geysers and a starring performance by the power of nature at its finest. Some of its landscapes really look like out of this world, such as the mystical moon Valley (Valle de la Luna), where merely watching a sunset can be a show of remarkable beauty. A contrasting but astounding experience is the visit to El Tatio Geysers, the highest geothermal field in the world, at about 14,100 feet of altitude. The steam plumes towering high, cutting through the morning sky and the reflections on the salty crystal steam pools are just astounding.
5. Buzios, Brazil
This destination seems to be tailored for complete relaxation on beautiful beaches. The Buzios Peninsula, 170 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro, is as close as you can get to beach-lovers paradise. More tha 20 crystal-clear-water beaches are in store for you. Some of them sort of tucked away, perfect if you are planning a romantic trip or just appreciate some layed back beach time. Buzios also offers opportunities for some great snorkeling and also for hiking through its gorgeous Atlantic forest. So, regardless of how active you choose to be, this destination will provide you with a picture perfect setting for it!
¿Need some ideas to start planning your South American journey? 😉