Andean peaks, Amazonian rainforest, Patagonian glaciers, Incan ruins, colonial towns, white-sand beaches and vertiginous nightlife: the wonders of South America set the stage for incredible adventures.
Be mindful of what you're getting into: South America can be a lifetime addiction. I didn't realize this when I first hiked Andean trails and visited pre-Colombian sites more than 15 years ago. Like other travelers who shared the journey, I was hooked. I fell hard for the incredible wonders of this continent: its mist-covered peaks, thundering falls and vast rainforests. Add to this the human-made treasures: buzzing indigenous markets, picturesque colonial towns and vibrant cityscapes. This is just the beginning, and in South America there really is no end. It's the reason I've returned so many times, but know there is still much more to discover.
South America bucket list
It's apparent why Argentina has long held travelers in awe: tango, beef, gauchos, fútbol, Patagonia, the Andes. The classics alone make a formidable wanderlust cocktail.
Picturesque colonial centers, Kichwa villages, Amazonian rainforest and the breathtaking heights of the Andes – Ecuador may be small, but it has a dazzling array of wonders.
Peru is as complex as its most intricate and exquisite weavings. Festivals mark ancient rites, the urban vanguard beams innovation and nature brims with splendid diversity.
South America in planning
On South America’s southern frontier, nature grows wild, barren and beautiful. Spaces are large, as are the silences that fill them. For the newly arrived, such emptiness can be as impressive as the sight of Patagonia’s jagged peaks, pristine rivers and dusty backwater oases. In its enormous scale, Patagonia offers a wealth of potential experiences and landscapes.