My travels to South America the past few years have brought me so much happiness, rich and unforgettable experiences plus so many new friends.
At first, I was quite reluctant to come here because of the negative things I hear about this region. But, alas, I couldn’t contain my curiosity.
I just had to see what South America has to offer.
Surely enough, South America did not disappoint. I instantly fell in love with all the things that come with this place.
How I prepared for the ultimate experience
I spent a few weeks completing a Spanish language program because I wanted to enjoy an authentic experience when I travel around the cities and towns in South America. Also, I wanted to communicate with the majority of the locals and understand how things work without relying much on the tourist guides.
Additionally, I tried to read a bit about their culture and tradition. I wanted to make sure that I don’t do anything that will upset the locals.
Things I love to do while in South America
There are so many things that I got to experience when I went to South America. I’d like to share with you the top 10 things that you should never ever forget to do when you fly to this side of the world.
#1. Marvel at the beauty of the Iguazu Falls
Nothing can really beat the feeling you get while looking at the Iguazu Falls. The waterfall system of Iguazu is the largest in the world. It sits between the borders of Misiones, Argentina and Parana, Brazil.
My friends recommended going to the Argentinian side of the waterfall system, so I went there and it was one of the most amazing experience I ever had!
I felt so energized just by marvelling at it. It’s unlike any other waterfall system that I’ve seen in other countries.
#2. Head to the Uyuni Salt Flats of Bolivia
You may have seen thousands of pictures of the salt flats of Bolivia on Facebook or Instagram because it’s quite a popular tourist destination in South America.
I dreamt of coming here ever since I read about it from a book in high school. When I came to the see the Uyuni salt flats, I was extremely excited.
If you plan to camp here, do make sure that you bring enough heat insulating materials. It may be terribly hot during the day, but the temperature severely drops during the evening.
#3. Come to see the glaciers in Patagonia
Patagonia is this quiet region shared by Chile, Argentina and the Andes region. While Patagonia offers plenty of breathtaking attractions, my top favorites are the glaciers.
According to the people I talk to in Patagonia, the region has around 300 glaciers. I’ve only been here once so I never got to see all the glaciers. So far, I got to see the Perito Moreno, Upsala, San Rafael and Viedma Glacier.
While marvelling at the beauty of each glacier, you should also try listening to the roaring sound that they produce.
#4. Explore Chile in a rental car
During my third visit to South America, I explored a number of amazing destinations in Chile with a few friends. We opted to share a rental vehicle so we can see volcanoes, lakes and waterfalls together.
It was a super worth-it road trip. It went by so smoothly because we had a nice, smart and professional driver. We took route 7 or the Carretera Austral route because everyone said that it’s more exciting and challenging.
The route starts at the Puerto Montt and ends at the Villa O’Higgins. The route is about 1,240 km long, so it took us around 5 days to complete the trip.
#5. See the Salto Angel in Venezuela
If you can’t make it to the Iguazu Falls, you should at least check out Angel Falls in Venezuela. It’s also quite a sight to behold. It is the highest waterfalls in the world at 3,212 feet.
To go to Angel Falls, you need need to fly to Canaima. You’re going to fly in a 3 to 5 seater plane to get to Puerto Ordaz to Canaima. Once you’re in Canaima, you have will need to take a boat ride with one of the guides. They will take you to Salto Angel.
#6. Learn how to Tango while you’re in Argentina
Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina is the best place you can learn how to Tango. Although I’m not really a good dancer, I definitely wanted to know a thing or two about this dance.
Together with some friends, I took quick lessons from a professional dance instructor. You should try it too! It’s definitely an enjoyable experience.
#7. Enjoy the festivities in Brazil
If you love attending festivals, you better fly to Brazil in the first week of March to enjoy the Rio Carnival. It’s an annual celebration filled with music and dancing.
It’s the biggest carnival in the world so you can expect to celebrate with millions of excited tourists from all around the globe.
#8 Snowboard or ski in the Bariloche, Argentina
South America is not only known for its monstrous glaciers. They also have snowboarding and ski resorts at Bariloche, Argentina.
In case you’re not a fan of skiing or snowboarding, you can explore the town center instead. You can try their scrumptious chocolate desserts and pastries at the Chocolates Rapa Nui.
#9 Take a plunge in any of Brazil’s beaches
Brazil has some of the best beaches in the world. Some of the best beaches you can go to includes Ipanema, Caraiva, Taipus de Fora, Praia de Pipa, Praia do Sancho and Porto de Galinhas. Pack your best and most colorful swimwear when you come to Brazil’s pristine beaches.
#10 Spot some whales or dolphins in Chile
As a young child, I love watching whales and dolphins, so I was super psyched when I heard that you can go whale and dolphin watching in Chile. If you’re lucky, you might even see Magellanic penguins.
I hope you enjoy your trip to South America! If you’re not sure what to do while you’re there, just follow my suggestions above.