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South America's unique culture and rich history offer something to delight every traveler. Immerse yourself in dynamic cities, admire exotic wildlife, inspect ancient ruins or bask on sun-kissed beaches.
Stretching across half the continent, Brazil epitomizes South American spirit with vibrant cities, white-sand beaches and adventurous outdoor life all wrapped in laid-back charm. Stroll Rio de Janiero's streets for a glimpse of Portuguese history or ascend Corcovado Mountain for stunning views of the city as you stand next to the massive Christ the Redeemer statue. See the astounding Iguassu Falls from the Brazilian side, enjoy a samba show, dine at a churrascaria steak house or catch surf and sun at Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Journey into the Amazon region for sightings of rare wildlife or observe the diverse range of creatures inhabiting the Pantanal wetlands. Kayaking, rafting, hiking and snorkeling are just a few more ways to soak up the glorious Brazilian outdoors.
From the Amazon rainforest to the Andes mountain range, Peru's natural wonders hold no limits. Travel through Sacred Valley along the Inca Trail, passing agricultural terraces and stunning ruins, toward the mystical Incan city of Machu Picchu. Behold the cryptic Nazca Lines, an intricate and massive tapestry of geoglyphs carved into the sands millions of years ago that is best appreciated from the air, or spot Andean condors flying at Colca Canyon. Other natural wonders include Lake Titicaca, the world's highest commercially navigable lake, and the marine fauna of Ballestas Islands, also known as "the poor man's Galapagos." The cities possess treasures too, so take time to admire impressive churches, sample local cuisine or shop for indigenous textiles.
Argentina's cosmopolitan cities, remarkable landscape and lively culture make it a traveler's paradise. Explore by train the Argentine side of Iguassu Falls with numerous walkways that wind under the crashing water or experience country life on a visit to the Pampas lowlands. In lively Buenos Aires, don't miss Colon Opera House, La Boca district, Metropolitan Cathedral or a sultry tango performance. Sip wine in Mendoza or revel in Patagonia's glacier-carved landscapes and painted Andean deserts.
Ecuador's rich history and colonial architecture will literally take you to new heights - its capital city Quito is the second highest in the world at an altitude of more than 9100 feet. Wander Quito's Old Town center amidst the Church of San Francisco, Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of the National Vow, among other valued landmarks. Pick through hand-woven wool crafts in Otavalo, stroll cobblestone streets and admire Cuenca's quaint buildings or head to Banos in the hills of the Andes for outdoor adventures like horseback riding and mountain biking. Nature lovers will enjoy perusing tropical cloud forests and the Amazon jungles of the Oriente for unusual plants, animals and birds. Cruise, swim, snorkel and discover the rugged natural beauty of the Galapagos Islands, complete with intriguing fauna including giant tortoises, sea lions, marine iguanas and sea turtles.
Don't be fooled by Chile's slender shape; the country is home to volcanoes, beaches, geysers, steppe, desert and glacial fields. Journey up San Cristobal Hill for sweeping views of Santiago (Chile's capital city), observe the penguin colonies of Magdalena Island or sip wine at countryside vineyards. Chile's lake district is a nature lover's paradise for rafting, horseback riding and hiking in the country's oldest national park. Cruise the Chilean fjords past massive glaciers and snowcapped mountains or explore neighboring Easter Island.
The landlocked country of Bolivia boasts the world's highest administrative capital city, La Paz. Explore the city's narrow streets and Indian markets, or admire the surreal rocky landscapes of Valle de la Luna. Discover whitewashed colonial buildings in Sucre, descend into an underground tin mine in Potosi or see the extraordinary landscape of Salar de Uyuni, an expansive salt flat. You might also cruise Lake Titicaca on the Bolivia-Peru border to visit Moon Island, site of the most significant Inca ruins on the lake, and Sun Island, said to be the birthplace of the Inca Empire.
In Venezuela, fly over stunning Angel Falls (the world's highest waterfall), hike in Canaima National Park or float the Orinoco River to learn about the Warao (canoe people) who live in houses perched on stilts along the riverbanks. Explore museums and churches of bustling Caracas, shop local wares on nearby Margarita Island or bask on gorgeous beaches. A trip to Colombia will have you browsing alpine cities like Bogota to admire colonial churches and breathtaking views. Sip coffee on Monserrate hill where scenic mountain-top cafes offer an escape from the chilly Andean air. Peruse museums in energetic Medellin, experience seaside bliss in Santa Marta or get a bird's-eye view of Cartagena's city walls and fortress from the top of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas.
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