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Top 5 Destinations in South America

Starting off the new year with our top 5 travel destinations in South America that you cannot miss out on! We hope we can inspire you for your future travels this year, so you can get out there and enjoy the world!

January 16, 2023

To kick off the new year we are just as excited as you are with the many prospects of travel, adventure and experiences that lie ahead of us for the rest of this year! Despite uncertainties and restrictions in the world of travel in 2021, many of you still managed to get out there and enjoy some time abroad so we can definitely remain optimistic for the opportunities of travel that will again present themselves in this following year.  

In line with the start of the new  year, I am also happy to introduce myself as a new Intern that will be working within the Marketing department here at Ravel! During my interview I was asked the challenging question of ‘if you could go anywhere in the world where would you choose?’. As a fellow traveller I am sure you are also debating how to answer this difficult question without listing each and every continent but one answer that did come straight to my mind was Peru. Located in South America, the home to the stunning Machu Picchu, the fascinating Nazca Lines and of course the culturally rich capital Lima have always been at the top of my travel list. Moreover, not only Peru but the whole of South America has so much rich culture, stunning sights and exciting experiences to offer that planning trips to this wonderful continent should be everyone’s priority this year.

Just to recommend a few, this blog compiles 5 different destinations that are a must-see in South America!

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Have you ever been curious to know what it feels like to walk on clouds? Well visiting the Salt Flats of Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia will allow you to feel just that! Located in the Andes of Southwestern Bolivia, this wonderful mirage of heaven holds the legacy that a prehistoric lake dried up here. What is left is this ginormous landscape of untouched white salt rock face. Covering almost 12,000 sq km this is actually the largest salt flat in the world and it would equate to covering an area larger than some 150 countries, such as Qatar and the Bahamas!

As it is one of South America’s most remarkable vistas it is even more important to visit at certain times of the year to witness it in its full beauty. For example during the rainier season of December to April it is especially magical since the overflowing waters from lakes nearby leave a very thin layer of water on the surface of this vista creating the unusual mirrored effect which reflects the beautiful blue skies. Plus giving the illusion of a never ending horizon, almost as if you were in heaven…

On the other hand visiting during the drier months is also ideal since due to cooler temperatures the ground hardens, making it easier to drive across to different places that potentially wouldn’t be reachable during the wet season.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Second along the list is the iconic Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Home of the mighty Christ the Redeemer overlooking the whole city from Mount Corcovado or to the famous Copacabana beach, this bustling city should be on every traveler's bucket list. The city is synonymous with various things including a wonderful array of colours, music and samba during carnival season or the passion filled football fans, but most importantly the beautiful scenery that this city holds,  which can be considered something very different to other places in the world.

To be able to visit this city, which boasts the biggest carnival in the world, is a dream for many. With the Carnival being held each year before Lent, it attracts two million people per day to the streets of Rio whereby everyone is curious to see the street parades, blocos and bandanas that celebrate through the streets.  What is more, the top Samba schools get the honour of performing in front of the crowds creating stunning displays. Make sure to pay close attention to the different costumes and colours used as these are prepared and decided months in advance. Why not bring your own costume or mask and get fully involved with the exciting spirit?

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Nazca Lines, Peru

Referencing back to my dream destination, the Nazca lines of Peru are something that should be intriguing to everyone. They are found in south Peru and consist of huge geoglyphs (these are designs, patterns, motifs, usually larger than 4 meters in size) that are carved into the ground. There are around 300 different figures which are depicted by these large patterns in the Peruvian desert and some of these designs even measure widths of 30meters or heights of 9 kilometers! Best observed from up high/ in the air, some notable figures include a hummingbird, a monkey and even a spider.

However, there are still a lot of mysteries surrounding these figures such as how and why were they formed? Or even what purpose did they serve? Due to their immense sizes these lines are virtually impossible to study from a ground level and they were only discovered in the 1930s whereby commercial flights over this region allowed their discovery. Dating back to around AD 1 to 700 it is believed these historic figures were made by the Nasca people of this time. At present there are no explanations to solve the mystery of the purpose of these lines but research continues and better understanding of these unique formations will continue. If conspiracy theories have you gripping the edge of your seat then the Nazca lines are definitely a fascinating attraction that you have to visit! Even better, if this has gotten your attention why not begin planning your trip to view this unsolved mystery, by working with a Ravel trip planner.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

The world’s tallest, uninterrupted waterfall is next on our list. With an impressive height of 979 meters and a plunge of 807 meters this waterfall was even named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Falling down from a flat- topped plateau named, Auyán-Tepuí (“Devils Mountain”), the water falling down barely makes contact with the side of the mountain due to the gravitational force from such a large height. Located in the heart of the Canaima National Park the fall is better seen from air since it is surrounded by dense jungle.

With Canaima National Park being the size of Belgium, not only is the park home to over 1000 species of flora and fauna but there is plenty to see and do here. Especially perfect for outdoor enthusiasts the park is perfect for hikes, boat trips, excursions and even plunges into natural jacuzzis.  Be attentive when you visit as at certain times of the year the falls have so much velocity and power that the mist and water droplets can influence the weather in the park. People can feel the mist even from a 1km distance!

Santuario de Las Lajas, Colombia

Our final destination is the Basilica of Santuario de las Lajas, located in Colombia. Impressively this stunning church was built actually inside a canyon, 40meters above the Guáitara River. This gothic church took over 30 years to build and descending down the stairs from the nearby village to see this will take everyone’s breath away. Looking even more impressive during the evenings, the whole church is illuminated in various different colours giving an even more mystical view of this church.

Located only 10 kilometers from the Ecuador- Colombia border, also observable from air and in a cable car, there are plenty of ways you can reach and enjoy this site whether that is on foot, by car or in the air. Why not take a look at the museum also, which features different Colombian books and documents from the historic period of when the church was built.

Thank you for reading!

I hope these 5 destinations have motivated you to book your tickets and pack you bags, to visit one of these beautiful places this year. Make sure to also check out our Ravel Trips Instagram page to enjoy more of what there is to see/ visit around the world. Already inspired? Then start planning your trip with an expert with our trip planning service or get inspiration from the community in our web app.

For more information or assistance feel free to reach out to us at tripplanning@raveltrips.com to start your next adventure.

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