The 10 Most Awesome Things to See in South America

I spent almost a year backpacking through the vast majority of South America, visiting every country on the continent, most of them two or three times. It’s been one hell of a trip, countless twenty-hour ‘night buses’, a few sketchy moments, and a lifetime of memories. So if you’re looking for things to see in South America, I’m your guy!

I wanted to share with you guys the TEN best things to see in South America, so if you’re keen hit the continent, you’ll have an idea of what not to miss. Check it out”

10 Most Awesome Things to See in South America

1) Antarctica

Ok, I know not strictly speaking in South America BUT the leaving point is from Ushuaia, Argentina so you have to be in SA to go, therefore this bad boy is No. 1. Ships leave from Argentina’s southern tip during the Antarctic Summer (Nov to March) and generally run from 11 days to 22 days. Booking in advance can cost anything from $8k to $18k USD but last minute tickets can be found for less than $5k if you’re prepared to hang around Ushuaia for a week or two.

Antarctica is stunning, it’s difficult to articulate just how beautiful it is, but the epic, snow-covered mountain ranges, the icebergs, the seals, penguins, and whales – everything about the place puts Antarctica number one on my sexy list. If you’re still in doubt, here are 5 reasons to visit Antarctica from my trip!

Things to See in South America    
Things to See in South America; Antartica

IMG_7349 IMG_7333 IMG_7238 IMG_7264


2) Easter Island, Chile

The only time I got goosebumps during my whole trip this year was watching the sunset behind the Moai heads, sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on the most isolated island in the world, a truly beautiful, wonderful place.

It’s pricey to get to Easter Island as LAN airlines run a bit of a monopoly from Santiago, Chile. I paid around $700USD for my return flights and it was worth every last cent. Three or four days is enough, but the atmosphere on Isla De Pascua is like no other in the world. An absolute must-see. When you land in the airport, here’s a list of things to do in Santiago to keep you occupied too. 

Things to See in South America    
Things to See in South America; Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Things to see in south America
Things to see in south America

IMG_6476 IMG_6390

3) Machu Picchu, Peru

Famous for a reason, that’s for sure. You’ll have to share Machu Picchu with a lot of other travelers, but don’t let it deter you – Machu Picchu is one of the world’s sites that actually lives up to its expectations.

The surrounding landscape is beautiful and both the train to Aguas Calientes and the Inca Trek are awesome experiences to get you to the iconic point at the top of the ruins. Don’t miss it, and remember to book in advance – this place sells out.

Things to See in South America
Things to See in South America; Machu Picchu
Things to see in south America
Things to see in south America

IMG_4998 IMG_4836

4) Rio De Janiero, Brazil

I was going to add simply ‘Christ the Redeemer’, as it was the thing I wanted to see most on the whole continent, but once you’re in Rio, there’s so much more to see and experience. It’s an amazing city, with an unreal landscape, huge cliffs, like SugerLoaf Mountain, shooting out of the ground and overlooking Copacabana and Ipanema beach, nightlife in Lapa, and of course for me this year, home to the World Cup Final which I was lucky enough to score a ticket for. Rio is the heartbeat of South America, make it your first or last stop if possible, preferably for Carnival in February.

Things to See in South America
Things to See in South America; Rio De Janiero

IMG_6482 IMG_6431 IMG_6511

5) The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

If you like wildlife, you shouldn’t miss a cruise around the Galapagos Islands. Flying there and joining a boat is the best option, that way you can access some of the islands further afield, jam-packed full of animals. Snorkeling around baby seals while they were teasing a white tip shark was one of the highlights of my year, too cute. You can do it solo, backpacking style, but you miss out on a lot of the top islands, and it doesn’t save that much money, so throw a little more at it and take a short cruise.

Things to See in South America
Things to See in South America; Galapagos Islands


6) Patagonia, Chile and Argentina

El Chalten, El Calafate, Bariloche, Ushuaia, and Torres Del Paine, which I sadly missed, are all huge highlights on the continent. The trekking is world-class, there are excursions to see penguins and seals, the bus system between all the towns is top-notch – try to allocate at least ten days, preferably a chunk more, to explore Patagonia. I loved it, your Instagram likes will go through the roof.

Things to See in South America
Things to See in South America; Patagonia

IMG_6764 IMG_6708

7) Iguaçu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

The continent’s most famous falls spill over the border between Argentina and Brazil, be sure to see both sides when you visit though, even though it’s a pricey visa should you be American, Canadian or Australian (free for EU passports, amongst others). The Brazil side lets you see the true size and power of the falls in all their glory, whereas the Argentinian side gives you some up-close-and-personal access, including a boat ride UNDER the falls – make sure you buy the ticket for that experience, so much fun.

Things to See in South America
Things to See in South America; Iguazu Falls

IMG_5883 IMG_5893 IMG_5929

8) Angel Falls, Venezuela

The tallest waterfall in the world at almost 1km vertically, and it’s a mission to access. First of all, you have to go to Venezuela, not enjoying the best of reputations right now, then bus to the center of the country. From there a flight into the Amazon Basin, then a boat ride in a canoe for a few hours, sleep in a hammock in the jungle and a morning hike finally gives you access to the amazing falls. You have to earn this one, and it’s worth the effort. A huge bonus with this one is that you won’t be sharing it with thousands of other travelers, a handful at most – which makes it all the more magical.

Things to See in South America    
Things to See in South America; Angel Falls, Venezuela

IMG_3968 IMG_3974

9) Salt Flats, Bolivia

A true mainstay on the travelers’ ‘gringo trail’, the salt flats are an obvious inclusion. I visited this place with my girlfriend, and we stayed in an original, boutique salt hotel perched on the side of the salt flats, this added to the experience so much and although it’s not cheap, it was well worth the $150 or so per night, for one night.

Taking cool pics with distorted perspective was something I had been looking forward to for years, and we nailed it….

Things to See in South America    
Things to See in South America; The Salt Flats

IMG_5791 IMG_5656 IMG_5719

10) Amazon Safari, multiple countries

I managed to hit the Amazonian Basin in Ecuador, but you can do it in numerous countries across the continent, with Brazil being the most famous. Ecuador, for me, was a great option – a gorgeous country, and great value. For a couple of hundred bucks, you can bus into the basin, get a three-night rustic lodge with full board, and wildlife excursions all included – an amazing price. So I’d certainly recommend going from Quito, Ecuador. I went here with my mum and she absolutely loved it as well, so it’s senior friendly too.

Things to See in South America    
Things to See in South America; The Amazon

IMG_4077 DSC_7135 DSC_7500


Honourable Mentions:

The continent blew my mind so I had to cheat and squeeze in a couple of other experiences I loved during my time in South America too:

A) Taking Spanish lessons in Medellin, Colombia: I spent almost a month in Medellin after burning out from travelling too fast. Great city, fun language, epic nightlife and short term rentals available – hugely recommended folks.

B) Buenos Aires: Tough call between Rio and BA for a spot in the top ten. Rio won out with Christ the Redeemer and the World Cup, but BA was a narrow second. AMAZING city, and the city I’d most like to live in on the continent. Schedule AT LEAST four nights here on your trip, there’s so much to see and do, it’s crazy.

NOTE: I used some AMAZING companies to access all these places, so any questions, just email me or msg me on my Facebook fan page and I’ll put you guys in contact with all the superstars I recommend.

Getting Around South America? Book Your Overland Journeys online HERE


Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.

Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!

Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.

Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email to get started.

Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.

I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!


So if you’re ready to…..

1) Change your life
2) Travel the world
3) Get paid to travel
4) Create a positive influence on others
5) Be free of offices and ‘real world’ rubbish

Then Sign Up Below and Let’s Get Started!

Follow me on Instagram @onestep4ward