The best natural wonders of South America

South America,

Given its incredible natural and cultural attributes, it is perhaps surprising that the beautiful continent of South America is not spoken of more frequently as an idyllic holiday destination. However, anyone who has spent an extended period of time in Brazil, Chile, Peru or any of the region’s other nations will happily share how rewarding a place it can be to visit.

Colca Canyon, Peru

Image above: Colca Canyon, Peru

Here, we will delve a little deeper into the wild side of South America, leaving behind its vibrant towns and cities in search of the peace, tranquillity and epic landscapes that await anyone who takes the time to seek them out. From the world-famous to the well-kept secrets, there is an almost endless list of natural highlights to discover here.

Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, Argentina (Credit: Stingy Nomads)

Image above: Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, Argentina (Credit: Stingy Nomads)

To help us on our South American journey, we spoke with Campbell and Alya – AKA Stingy Nomads – whose travel adventures have taken them to every corner of the globe. Despite visiting such a wide range of countries, they believe that South America is the world’s most exciting continent and, after reading their account of it (which you will find below), it is easy to see why! Here’s what they had to say about this land of great beauty and even greater contrasts:

“Surrounded by the Caribbean, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the wild continent of South America is home to some of the world’s most grandiose landscapes and spectacular natural wonders. The breath taking sights on this incredible continent range from the planet’s largest rainforest to the world’s driest desert. Traveling here we explored incredible mountain ranges, alien deserts, icy landscapes and dazzling coral reefs. When touring South America prepare yourself for incredible adventures and life changing experiences.

Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina

Image above: Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina

“With so many extraordinary encounters, even for two people it is difficult to reach consensus on a list of places in South America that belongs on every bucket list.

“The spectacular Iguazu Falls is 275 individual drops tumbling over the edge of the Paraná Plateau. These incredible falls of the Iguazu River stretch over the border between Brazil and Argentina for 2.7km and are not to be missed! With excellent infrastructure visitors can walk into the heart of these impressive falls, but prepare yourself to get wet!

Atacama Desert, Chile (Credit: Stingy Nomads)

Image above: Atacama Desert, Chile (Credit: Stingy Nomads)

“Officially the driest place on Earth, the barren yet beautiful Atacama Desert in the north of Chile flaunts an unreal landscape of ragged, rocky mountains and ravines. The contrast with the gleaming white salt pans and sky-scraping volcanoes create a photographer’s dream.

“Southern Patagonia boasts sprawling ice fields, another terrain of spectacular beauty on this incredibly diverse continent. The Perito Moreno glacier near El Calafate in Argentina covers more than 250 sq. km. Situated in Los Glaciares National Park there is a large boardwalk from which you have excellent views of this marvel of nature. Want to get even closer? Strap on crampons and go for a hike on this unreal glacier!

The Pantanal, Brazil

Image above: The Pantanal, Brazil

“With the biggest variety of plants and animals on earth, South America is a dream destination for wildlife journeys. The Amazon rainforest is the most biodiverse place on earth, straddling eight countries. Exploring these dense jungles you can see macaws, sloths, snakes and with some luck a jaguar. If watching wildlife is your thing, don’t miss out on the Pantanal! This immense tropical wetlands system is located mainly in western Brazil and is home to many bird species; capybaras and caymans are all over the place and jaguars are often seen. It is easier seeing animals here over the open plains than in the dense jungles.

Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands

Image above: Bartolomé Island, Galápagos Islands 

“The Galápagos Islands, part of the Republic of Ecuador, is an archipelago of volcanic islands lying close to the Equator. The islands are known for safaris with a difference; they are home to a variety of unique plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. These unique islands were the source of Darwin's theory of evolution. Want to meet some of the most extraordinary creatures alive?

“Home to ancient cultures, cities filled with history, natural wonders and awesome terrain for adventure sports, South America is unparalleled in terms of the diversity of world class excursions available. Be ready for buckets full of adventure when visiting the most exiting continent on Earth.”

Of course, the above merely scratches the surface of the many natural wonders which can be experienced in South America via a cruise holiday from Southampton. To stay on top of all the deals which will allow you to discover this amazing part of the world as they become available, simply keep an eye on our dedicated South America cruises page.

Additional Image Credits: Latin Discoveries, SF Brit, Marinelson Almeida, Pete