The ultimate South American bucket list

South America is enjoying a moment in the spotlight right now as its popularity among travel lovers continues to grow. This continent has got it all going on. From stunning ancient cities and world class beaches, to natural wonders and magnificent wildlife.

Check out your ultimate South America bucket list.

Strike a pose on the Bolivian Salt Flats

Bolivia is home to the largest salt flats on the planet and this vast, perfectly flat expanse of the white stuff needs to be seen to be believed. It appears like a fantastic snowscape but the thick crust is actually made up of sodium chloride. Multi day tours take you across the barren plane where the scenery makes it perfect for taking warped perspective photos. Along the way you’ll also see flocks of flamingos and multi-coloured lakes, as well as the chance to relax in natural hot springs.

Marvel at Machu Picchu

For many visitors, this mystical Incan city in the sky is the main draw and once you clap eyes on it, it’s easy to understand why. The beauty of this otherworldly citadel is truly breathtaking. Set high in the the Andes mountains and shrouded in clouds, it’s difficult to fathom how, why, and who would even attempt to build it. Add to this the fact that it’s almost 600 years old and you begin to feel the weight of the magic.

Be astonished at Iguazu Falls

Creating a natural border between Argentina and Brazil are the majestic Iguazu Falls. The largest waterfall system in the world consists of a whopping 275 drops measuring 1.7 miles across. With the highest one cascading down over 80 metres. The two sides have separate characters: the Argentine one featuring lots of smaller, picturesque falls... while the Brazilian side lays claim to the bigger, more powerful chutes. Visit them both and decide which one’s your favourite.

Rise above Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro has such a multitude of legendary attractions, it’s impossible to narrow them down to one. The peaks that both surround and dot the estuary provide the best views, so be sure to get up high to enjoy the scenery. While Sugarloaf Mountain is incredible, the panoramic vista from the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue tips the scale. You’ll be blown away as you look down over the familiar sight of the Unesco designated Guanabara Bay.

Chill out in colourful Cartagena

Colombia has been the country topping the annual “must visit” lists of travel publications for the last few years. Cartagena is one of its most vibrant hotspots and totally worth checking out. Situated on the Caribbean coast, this whole city looks like it belongs on a postcard. Brightly coloured buildings line the cobbled streets. Decorated with pink and purple bougainvillea hanging from balconies to create a romantic atmosphere. Walk the walls of the picturesque Old Town, dance into the small hours at the lively clubs, and chill out on the golden sand beaches.

Go exploring on the Galapagos Islands

Made famous by Charles Darwin’s study of the wildlife here, this set of 20 plus Ecuadorian islands is a nature lover’s paradise. The craggy landscapes will have you feeling like you’ve just touched down on another planet, and in many ways you won’t be far wrong. Dive, hike, snorkel, and kayak your way around the Galapagos Islands. But make sure you keep a look out for the giant tortoises, penguins, iguanas... and countless other unique species that call this remote place home.

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