Map of South America
South America is a continent situated in the western hemisphere and, mostly, the southern hemisphere, and bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean.
As part of the Americas, South America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, who was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a New World unknown to Europeans.
South America offers a range of travel options - with stunning coastlines, vibrant cities, historic colonial towns, mountainous treks and the vast and bio-diverse Amazonian rainforest.
Highlights from South America
- Angel Falls, Canaima National Park, Venezuela
- Merida, Venezuela
- Amazon River Basin
- The Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Brazil
- Iguaçu Falls
- The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
- Huascarán National Park, Peru
- Machu Picchu, Peru
- Lake Titicaca, Bolivia
- Atacama Desert, Chile
- Wine Regions of Chile and Argentina
- Puerto Varas, Chile; Bariloche, Argentina
- Torres del Paine, Chile
- Ushuaia, Argentina
Hints and Tips for South America
- Some visas may take time to receive depending on your citizenship. For example, Brazil has a reciprocal visa policy. Check to see what rules apply for you.
- If you're finding bus rides tough, you may want to look into local airlines to reach a distant destination as prices tend to be reasonable.
- Though Spanish is spoken in most countries, it can vary widely in pronunciation and slang confusing those who are fluent as well. Brazilians speak Portuguese and the dialects will differ throughout the large country (it also differs from the Portuguese spoken in Portugal).
- The more you blend in the better. Expensive jewelry and fancy watches make you a target for theft. Local friends may even recommend hiding your camera after taking a photo. Similarly, leave important documents behind in a safe if possible rather than carrying it on your person, and keep some form of ID (such as a passport copy) on you for any unexpected situations.
- Though some countries are infamous for having corrupt police officials who accept bribes, places like Chile are known for having more integrity. If you try to bribe a cop in the latter case, you may find yourself in jail!