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South America’s Top 5 Natural Wonders

South America boasts many amazing natural places to visit

Let’s face it, the continent of South America boasts so many amazing places for tourists and travellers - whether on a gap year or career break; or holiday to South America - to visit and has so many natural wonders that it is hard to pick just 5. But, in no particular order, we’ve had a go at a guide to the top 5 natural wonders in South America.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

This waterfall needs no introduction as the world’s highest but travel to see water flowing over a sheer drop of 900m and the experience far surpasses any photographs. However a trip to the falls is not a simple affair; this almost adds to the attraction for some. The falls are located in dense jungle. A flight is needed to even reach the nearby Canaima camp which is the starting point for river trips to the bottom of the falls. Where money is no object, a flight can be taken over the falls but due to unpredictable weather there is no guarantee of seeing them clearly.

Amazon rainforest, Brazil

The Amazon rainforest is actually shared by nine countries but 60% lies in Brazil. Most travellers fly into an Amazon city by plane from Rio and then travel inland by boat. For the best experience, you will need at least three days to reach denser parts of the jungle. Guides are a must in the rainforest as it’s not built around tourism; tourists must work around the rainforest’s rules!

Torres del Paine, Chile

A Chilean masterpiece of mountains, lakes, glaciers and rivers situated between the Patagonian Steppes and the Magellanic subpolar forests. The landscape is dominated by the Paine Masif, part of the Andes. Other features of note include the French Valley, Silence Valley and Southern Patagonian Ice Field. There are many popular hiking routes that are easily accessible by all and more than worth the effort.

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia/Peru

The largest freshwater lake in South America lies between Peru and Bolivia. As well as sailing on the lake, the people that live around the water’s edge are just as fascinating. The Uros still live as their ancestors once did, using totora reeds to build their homes and boats.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Another world’s best – this time the largest salt flats in the world. The landscape here really is out of this world. 40,000 years ago the area was part of Lake Minchin. When the lake dried it left behind two smaller lakes and two salt deserts, one of which being Salar de Uyuni. Blank as far as you can see, land and sky blending into one. Many tours allow travellers to hike across the salt flats to really appreciate its vast beauty.

Tips for travelling in South America

  • Avoid travelling in the favelas (shanty towns of Brazil) without a reputable guide.
  • Learn some basic phrases – you’ll be surprised how far you can get with them.
  • Always check the political security of an area before you plan to visit.
  • Time is often not watched as much as it is in the UK. When someone says 6pm, often things may not happen until much later on!