WHERE DO I START? THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO SOUTH AMERICA - South America is a continent you could quite frankly just lose yourself in. It has thousands of miles of varied, natural wonderland; from red-hued deserts to glacier-topped mountains, crystal-clear lakes and, of course, some of the most impressive coastlines the world has to offer.
It’s also home to some of the best cities, but the hard part is knowing where to start.
If it’s on your travel bucket list, I’ve rounded up a beginner’s guide to some of the top spots in South America to help you decide.
Brazil is the largest country in South America and its opportunities are endless. Brazil is home to the mighty Amazon rainforest, and if you’re a fan of veering off the beaten track and embarking on an adventure, this is the perfect way to see some of the planet’s greatest natural wonders. Book yourself on a tour which takes you down some of the rivers, soaking up the sights and sounds of this incredibly lush backdrop.
If it’s the city life you’re after, Brazil doesn’t disappoint. In Rio, you’ll be treated to endless golden beaches (head to the famous Copacabana and feel like a movie star), wonderful restaurants, and a lively nightlife scene. Remember to take a cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain to see Christ the Redeemer, too, and cue the camera.
Running along the Western seam of South America, Chile has over 6,000 km of gorgeous coastline, fringed by vast landscapes and huge mountains.
Its capital, Santiago, is a sophisticated, exciting city with the Andes as its backdrop. Venture here for food markets, boutiques, and great restaurants.
Chile is also famed for its vineyards and its stargazing, thanks to deserts where levels of light pollution are next to nothing. A total solar eclipse is set to arrive on 2nd July 2019, and the Elqui Valley is the best place to catch this incredible natural phenomenon due to its famously clear skies. The valley’s tranquil, rich vineyards aren’t too bad, either.
When visiting Peru, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley is absolute must-sees. The Incan citadel sits high in the sky, accessible by cable cars, a train, or even a trek if you’re feeling like a challenge. There’s plenty to see, both on the tourist trail and a few hidden bits too (think secret museums and temples).
No trip to Peru is complete without seeing Lima, the second driest city in the world after Cairo.
Enjoy its unique landscape, crumbling cliffs, remarkable architecture and some of the best food the continent has to offer.
Argentina has its fair share of varied landscapes, just waiting to be explored. From the mighty Andes to the sweeping deserts, icy blue lakes, and impressive waterfalls, it’s one of the most inviting places on the planet. Hike, ski, trek, sunbathe – here, you can do it all.
It’s also where you’ll find Buenos Aires, home of the Tango. This creative, beautiful city boasts museums, historical landmarks, cute shops, and some of the best steaks and red wines you’ve ever tasted. It also has a wild nightlife scene (which doesn’t get started until late).