South America Travel Guide

South America Travel Guide

For the best vacation of your life, move to South America. Here you’ll find beautiful beaches nestled between jungle-covered mountains, stunning landscapes that seem to stretch on forever, and cultures that combine European and indigenous traditions. The continent boasts year-round warm weather which is perfect for long leisurely walks along the beach or a bike ride through the countryside. Plus there are numerous outdoor activities to enjoy including surfing, scuba diving, hiking trails through remote rainforests, and more.


South America offers a diverse landscape and a vast and varied culture. From the luxurious scenery of Brazil to the high-altitude capital city of Bolivia, the region has something for everyone to explore.


There are many different regions to choose from when planning a trip to South America. Every country has different attractions and each offers a unique experience. While some of the most popular destinations include Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Brazil, and Peru, there are other places that deserve a second look.


With so many countries and regions to explore on this beautiful continent, you’re sure that you’ll find the ideal vacation plan for your family or group of friends.


South America Landscape: Lying between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, South America is the third largest continent in the world. The landscape ranges from dry deserts to rainforests to tropical beaches. The geographic regions include:


  • Arid regions include Patagonia, Atacama Desert (where no rain has fallen in over 400 years), and parts of Chile. Large areas of the desert can be found in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and northern Chile. The Atacama Desert is the driest in the world, with only a little more than 1mm of rain every year, although there are some lakes and other forms of water within this region.
  • Tropical regions include the Amazon Rainforest and parts of northern Argentina and southern Brazil. Puna grassland can be found in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and northern Argentina.


South America Culture and Heritage: When most people think of South America, they envision jungle treks and Andean peaks. However, the continent has a rich history that dates back over a thousand years. Most countries on the continent were colonized by Spain or Portugal in the 16th century and many indigenous people live in remote villages in the Andes Mountains.

The culture of South America is diverse and it varies greatly from country to country. Each country has its own national hero, flag, currency, and government chief executive.


South America Cuisine and Recipes

South America has a diverse cuisine that includes traditional recipes from Native Americans. Because of the diversity in climate and culture, there also are many different types of dishes found on the continent. South America has a large variety of foods such as rice, pork, meat, potatoes, and pasta. Some of the most popular and well-known include:


  • Ceviche – A dish of raw fish that is marinated in lemon juice and sea salt.
  • Tamales – Traditional food made from corn and wrapped in plantain leaves. The corn is steamed for several hours then cooked with other ingredients such as pork or beans.
  • Fruit Empanadas – A billowy pastry crust stuffed with fruit and baked.
  • Churrasco – Grilled meat often served with a sauce. It is frequently cooked over an open flame or on top of hot coals.
  • Sopa Seca – A bud-like appetizer that is a cross between a tamale and a quiche. The appetizer is stuffed with cheese, corn, and eggs and then wrapped in plantain leaves or corn husks before being steamed over hot coals.
    Inca Berry Tea – A drink made with stems and fruit from the Peruvian pepper tree. The leaves are boiled with water then strained and sweetened to make a black tea-like drink.


South America Entertainment: South America is home to hundreds of festivals each year that range from music and dance to traditional celebrations. The events are often held in large stadiums or arenas and feature food, dancing, parades, and other entertainment.


The largest festival in the world takes place on the continent and is called the Carnaval de Barranquilla. It is held every year during the months of February and March. The event celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus reaching Colombia’s coast on April 7, 1498. Over 2 million people visit this celebration each year.

List of countries in South America



French Guiana
Falkland Islands

Our South American Travel Resources