Add These To Your Route!
Having spent 6 whole months on the road travelling through South America, visiting Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador, we thought we’d share with you our 25 most memorable moments!
From hiking through the cold, windswept plains of Patagonia to spotting wildlife in the wet and humid Pantanal, this is merely scratching the surface of what we’ve enjoyed and accomplished. South America presented us with a whole host of amazing experiences that have without a doubt enriched our lives.
In no particular order, (excluding food as this could be a blog post on its own!) these are some unforgettable highlights from our overland trip that we recommend you include in your own itinerary…
1. Find yourself above the clouds by trekking to the summit of Volcano Villarrica, Chile.
2. Camp right on the beach along the Caribbean coast and watch the sun go down over Tayrona, Colombia.
3. Brave the Patagonian winds whilst hiking the ‘W’ in the Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.
4. Relax on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and revel in the amount of naked flesh on show!
5. Wake up early and head to Mount Fitzroy in time for sunrise, at Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.
6. Lose all perspective by driving over the largest salt flat in the world, ‘The Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.
7. Go caffeine crazy! Visit a family-run finca in Salento, Colombia to discover how coffee is produced.
8. Go in search of caiman and capybara whilst on safari in the Brazilian Pantanal.
9. Prepare for an adrenalin rush whilst sand surfing and racing around in dune buggies across the western deserts of Peru at Huacachina.
10. Get covered in foam and flour and dance the night away at the ‘Carnaval de Barranquilla’, Colombia.
11. Take an alternative to the Inca Trail and hike to Machu Picchu through the lush, mountainous Lares Valley.
12. Be awed by the blue white giant ‘The Perito Moreno Glacier’ in Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.
13. Enjoy a spot of retail therapy at one of South America’s largest artisan markets, in Otavalo, Ecuador.
14. Marvel at the turquoise waters of Quilotoa Lake whilst hiking around the rim of the volcanic crater, Ecuador.
15. Show your competitive side by playing a gunpowder fuelled game of ‘Tejo’ with the locals, Colombia.
16. Experience the greatness of the mighty Iguacu Falls up close with a wet and wild boat ride.
17. Hop on a catamaran and go whale watching off the Peninsula Valdes, Argentina.
18. Wiggle those hips and get swept off your feet with a salsa lesson in Cali, Colombia.
19. Grab your hiking boots and venture down into Peru’s very own ‘Grand Canyon’ – ‘The Colca Canyon’.
20. Refine your taste buds by going on a ‘Winery Tour’ in Mendoza, Argentina.
21. Head to the beach or wander the cobbled streets of Paraty, one of Brazil’s pristine, colonial, coastal towns.
22. Get off the beaten-path and head to Bolivia’s Altiplano for the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever witness!
23. Be a cowboy for a day! Take a horse ride into the wild, north west, plains of Argentina.
24. Climb to the top of the Basilica del Voto Nacional, Quito, Ecuador, and enjoy views of South America’s highest city.
25. Try your hand at piranha fishing in the Brazilian Pantanal and have your catch cooked fresh for your lunch!
Top 25 Experiences
South America has provided us with a jam-packed, fun-filled incredible 6 months!
In spite of what the media has been portraying lately surrounding this year’s Football World Cup being held in Brazil, don’t let thoughts of drugs, gangs and guns put you off! Having initially read a selection of popular travel guides that expressed concerns over travel to some South American countries, we too had worries about travelling there independently. But this didn’t stop us from setting foot on the continent.
Instead, we thought about how we could travel there with minimised risk, to put both our own and family’s minds at ease. That’s how we made the decision to travel with an overland company, having never done this kind of travel before. But in actual fact we never feared for our personal safety at all. We were hugely welcomed by every nation we visited and felt the enormous pride from everyone we met, as local people were thrilled and honoured that out of all the countries in the world, we had chosen to visit their country.
Yes, we abandoned the original itinerary of visiting Venezuela, but we uphold that decision, as why take unnecessary risk if you don’t have to? We’ll just have to visit Venezuela in the future when the situation is calmer, giving us a great reason to return to South America, this time independently, with a custom made itinerary perfect for us as hikers!
As you can see, South America has so much to offer. So be sure to add some of our favourites to your own bucket-list! (And if you’ve not got one, start writing one, it’s never too early!)