This is a list I compiled of the top ten places to visit in South America, keep in mind that these countries are not all spanish speaking countries (ie Brazil) and that this list is based on research and personal opinion (seeing as to how I’ve been to South America on multiple occasions) . South America is home to some of the most beautiful places on the planet and I figure if we have a blog all about South America then it’s important to recognize it’s beauty as well as it’s struggles. Che Guevara
#1) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
With it’s warm white sands, gorgeous vistas and vibrant nightlife, Rio de Janeiro makes for a fun getaway at any time of year. Whether you're looking for a glittery Carnival costume or a striking view of Christ the Redeemer you won’t be disappointed with what you find in this amazing city. I have been to Rio three times before and I can confidently say that it is my dream destination and my go-to vacation spot.
(“Christ the Redeemer” Statue in Rio de janeiro Brazil)
#2) Buenos Aires, Argentina
This sophisticated city known as the "Paris of the South" has a lot going for it. You'll find it hard not to fall in love with Buenos Aires' wide boulevards and Parisian-style cafes. Buenos Aires suits all types of vacationers. Arrive in fall or spring for gorgeous foliage and all around good company from the people of Buenos Aires. Guevara and Alberto soon set off from Buenos Aires, Argentina, astride a 1939 Norton 500 cc motorcycle they named La Poderosa II (The Mighty One) with the idea of eventually spending a few weeks volunteering at the San Pablo Leper colony in Peru on the banks of the Amazon River. They later returned to Buenos Aires at the end of August after spending a month in Miami. He returned to medical school by October of 1952.
(“The Obelisk” commemorative landmark in the city)
#3) Cusco, Peru
As the former capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is the home base for travelers visiting the legendary Machu Picchu. If you're not worn out from the hike along the Inca Trail, spend time marveling at lesser-known attractions like the extensive Pre-Columbian Museum. Cuzco made an impression on Che and Alberto on March 1st, 1952 as they spent time studying the architecture and wandering the cities museums and libraries. In Cuzco a local doctor provided them a Land Rover to take them to the Valley of the Incas.
#4) Costa Rica
Costa Rica is more than a simple beach vacation. There are volcanoes to hike, misty rainforests to explore and a vibrant culture to experience. Be forewarned: You'll find it super hard to find a reason to leave.
#5) The Galápagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands are best known for their rich array of creatures — ranging from giant tortoises and lizards to seals and penguins. Getting here will cost you, but isn't admiring towering volcanoes, gorgeous sands and unique wildlife worth it?
(Helicopter shot of one of the main islands)
#6) Easter Island, Chile
Easter Island, also known as “Isla de Pascua” or “Rapa Nui” by the Spanish and Polynesian, is one of the most alluring sacred sites on Earth. Famous for its enigmatic giant stone figures, the Moai were built centuries ago, but continue to remain a mystery and our only link to the demise of this isolated Polynesian culture.
#7) Angel Falls, Venezuela
Veer off the beaten course for a little adventure and a lot of adrenaline. The tallest waterfall in the world at 3,212 feet promises just that. Take in the views via helicopter, only then will you fully capture the thrill and immensity of this natural wonder.
(Helicopter View of the falls)
#8) Granada, Nicaragua
A colonial destination, Granada is the first European town established on mainland America. Explore their open-air markets, beautiful street walk ways and colorful architecture. If you should find yourself outlining the details of your retirement while in town, so be it.
(The Historical Guadalupe Church)
#9) Lima, Peru
Lima, founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, is a fascinating city and a treasure trove of history. Explore ancient Incan archeological sites, or stroll through the elegant cathedrals and opulent palaces dating from Spanish colonial times. Downtown Lima is crowded, but you'll enjoy exploring the city's neighborhoods—especially the beachfront areas, which have great shopping and dining and fabulous hotels. On May 1st, 1952 Che and Alberto arrived in Lima, Peru and during this time Guevara met doctor Hugo Pesce, a Peruvian scientist, director of the national leprosy program, and an important local Marxist. They discuss several nights until the early morning and years later Che identified these conversations as being very important for his evolution in attitude towards life and society.
#10) Bogotá, Colombia
Ten million people call vibrant, passionate, sprawling Bogota home. The energy of this metropolitan heart of columbia is fueled by it’s hundreds of eclectic and authentic dining hot spots, fantastic wines, and frequent foodie festivals. Try asking the locals where they like to eat, then walk off your empanadas and aji with a stroll through the historic district of La Candelaria or during an indulgent shopping adventure on the North Side. On July 2, 1952 Ernesto and Alberto caught a Catalina flying boat to the capital. While visiting Bogotá, Colombia, he wrote a letter to his mother on July 6, 1952. In the letter he describes the conditions under the right-wing government of Conservative Laureano Gómez as the following: There is more repression of individual freedom here than in any country we've been to, the police patrol the streets carrying rifles and demand your papers every few minutes.