Uncovering South America's Coolest and Most Captivating Destinations

Uncovering South America's Coolest and Most Captivating Destinations
5 min read
07 December 2023

 

Looking for an adventurous trip that takes you off the usual tourist path? With its incredible mix of landscapes and cultures ripe for exploring, cool places to travel in South America that will make your next vacation truly memorable. From sipping coffee amidst colonial architecture to stargazing high in the Andes, you'll find amazing places perfect for the traveler who enjoys immersing themselves in each country's singular charms. Here are some of the coolest places to discover across South America.

 

Channel “Motorcycle Diaries” Through Patagonia, Chile and Argentina

Uncovering South America's Coolest and Most Captivating Destinations

Inspired by Che Guevara’s epic motorcycle journey, trace parts of Patagonia’s little-traveled Carretera Austral highway by car or bike for the ultimate road trip adventure. Along the route through rugged landscapes of mountains, glaciers, forests and lakes, you’ll discover tiny villages unchanged over time with locals who exude warmth. Pitch your tent just anywhere in nature, cross turquoise rivers on rickety footbridges, sample scrumptious seafood after fishing in a quiet fjord, and breathe in the crisp air and sights few outsiders get to experience.

Savor Coffee Traditions in Historic Cartagena, Colombia

Uncovering South America's Coolest and Most Captivating Destinations

With its supremely preserved colonial walled Old Town and nearby tropical islands, you might already have Cartagena on your list. But beyond its postcard-perfect beauty, Colombia’s top tourism draw hides even cooler gems for those wanting a more local experience. Make your way to centuries-old cafes that exude the city’s storied history and culture over tables filled with rounds of tintos (black coffees). Savor the subtle flavored profiles of beans grown nearby while soaking in architecture hailing from Spain’s influence that makes you feel transported back in time.

Stargaze at the Atacama Desert’s Otherworldly Landscapes, Chile

The Atacama may be the world’s driest desert, but it’s extraordinarily beautiful in its barrenness. With clear high-altitude skies untouched by light pollution, the stars absolutely dazzle at night against endless sand and mountain silhouettes. Day brings equally jaw-dropping vistas of Mars-like terrains, gleaming salt flats, and steaming geysers. Atacama’s drastic landscapes feel almost supernatural, causing many to call this region the most extraterrestrial place on Earth. Find your own little slice of paradise by glamping, watching the sunset colors transform this remarkable topography.

Discover Lake Titicaca’s Stunning Islands, Peru and Bolivia

Sapphire Lake Titicaca itself warrants a visit as one of South America’s most picturesque spots sitting 12,500 feet high in the Andes. But the islands dotting the waters make it even more special. Take a boat tour through the Floating Islands handcrafted entirely of reeds and flowers by the Uros people. Further out lies magnificent Taquile Island, where Inca ruins and pre-Incan terraces dot a rolling landscape farmed for centuries by Quechua-speaking locals who’ve preserved rich traditions. Authentic homestays immerse you into their enduring culture all while surrounded by magnificent lake views.

Journey to “The Lost City” Ciudad Perdida Hike, Colombia

If you crave getting off the map for a true adventure, make the multi-day hike into Colombia’s “Lost City” a priority. Accessible only by foot, you’ll traverse steep muddy terrain through thick jungle dotted with waterfalls, sleeping in hammocks under the stars or in indigenous villages along the way. Your reward is reaching the 1,300-year-old ruins of the ancient Tayrona civilization who once inhabited this area - terraces, circular plazas overgrown by vegetation and mystical stone pathways await. It’s an iconic trek that’s remained under many travelers’ radar for those longing to uncover relics of Colombia’s rich history.

Tap into Buenos Aires’ Burgeoning Craft Beer Scene, Argentina

Uncovering South America's Coolest and Most Captivating Destinations

While Buenos Aires needs no introduction as the cosmopolitan “Paris of South America”, its proliferation of small-batch cervezas artesanales (craft beers) makes it an excellent choice for beer lovers wanting a cool urban experience too. With brewpubs dotting Palermo, you can go bar-hopping to sample unique Latin-inspired ales and lagers often unavailable overseas, paired with the city’s famed steakhouses and cuisine. Many brewmasters also add their own Argentinian spin, incorporating local botanicals like maté into complex flavors - all embodying Porteños’ creative spirits and pride in their cultural traditions. ¡Salud!

Conclusion

With epic road trips across staggering natural wonders, opportunities to connect with enduring indigenous cultures, and chances to sip artisanal coffee and craft beer steeped in history, Best travel destinations in South America overflows with tremendously cool travel experiences beyond the usual destinations. Adventure seekers need only choose their favored terrain to traverse - whether Andean peaks, Atacama’s desert expanses, lush Colombian jungle or Patagonia’s glaciers - to access the singular essence of each territory. From night skies illuminated by countless stars to colonial architecture exuding faded grandeur, losing oneself in South America's embrace promises to wholly reinvigorate an open-minded traveler through its magnificent landscapes, dynamic urban energy, and wealth of cultural traditions waiting to be discovered. When you journey here seeking the road less taken, that road will never fail to both challenge your spirit and nourish your soul in the most memorable ways.

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Tracy Meyers 2
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