Choosing which captivating destinations to explore first in South America can be a daunting task due to the abundance of incredible places.
The Galapagos Islands
One of the must-see locations is undoubtedly the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago located 1,000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador. Renowned as one of the most peculiar and intriguing places on Earth, it consists of 13 major islands, with five of them inhabited by humans. The remaining islands harbor an astonishing array of diverse wildlife species, ranging from tortoises, sharks, and seals to various land and marine animals, plants, and birds. Whether you opt for a cruise or an eco-tour, there are numerous ways to explore this remarkable area.
Another unmissable destination in South America is the Amazon Rainforest, one of the largest rainforests globally and primarily accessible by boat due to its dense foliage. Countless riverboat tours are available, but for a truly unique experience, consider staying at the Ariau Amazon Towers, the world’s largest and only tree house hotel. This unparalleled adventure offers an elevated experience, nestled above the jungle floor. You can partake in a wide range of eco-tourism activities, such as swimming with rare pink dolphins, hiking through the rugged rainforest, embarking on an Amazon river adventure, or simply relaxing in one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. It’s no wonder that the Amazon Rainforest is listed among the Discovery Channel’s thousand places to visit before you die.
Perched high in the Andes at an altitude exceeding 12,500 feet, Lake Titicaca is yet another enchanting destination that should not be missed in South America. As the largest freshwater lake on the continent, it stretches across the border of Bolivia and Peru, boasting mesmerizing deep blue waters unlike any other on the planet. According to Inca mythology, the Island of the Sun, located within the lake, is believed to be the birthplace of their god Virococha. Additionally, the Floating Islands, known as Los Uros, are a fascinating man-made creation dating back 500 years. Constructed by indigenous people who sought refuge on the lake, these islands are meticulously crafted from reeds and continually reconstructed. A visit to Lake Titicaca offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in its awe-inspiring beauty and rich cultural heritage.
While in South America, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the captivating ruins of Machu Picchu, explore Lima, and trek the legendary Inca Trail. It’s important to pack warm clothing and take into account the higher altitude of these areas, allowing yourself enough time to acclimate and avoid overexertion. Patagonia, known as the “Land of the Big Feet,” is another remarkable destination worth exploring, initially discovered by Ferdinand Magellan.
With an array of choices available, it’s recommended to browse through South American travel websites for comprehensive information. These websites can provide details on cruises, eco-tourism adventures, and the official Ariau Amazon Towers website, among others. Whether you desire guided tours of Machu Picchu, kayaking excursions on Lake Titicaca, or any other activity that piques your interest, you can easily find options that align with your plans and budget.