January 7th, 2015
2015 has arrived and the growth of South American tourism is here to stay. Over just the last decade, the industry has grown 50% and is forecasted to show continued development. Maybe you’ve never considered a trip down South, but bearing in mind upcoming Olympics in Brazil and other world wonders south of the Equator, it’s definitely an excursion to put on your bucket list. So this year we’ve decided to compile a list of the most compelling reasons to visit the thriving and increasingly sophisticated destination.
#1. Topographical Diversity
The region spans from Amazonian rainforests to the Atacama Desert, and just about every other landform in between. The range of accessible geographies is unique to the region, and many tourists take the loop for that reason alone. Start on the western edge to hike or ski the world’s longest mountain range with peaks only second to the Himalayas. Next, travel down to Patagonia to experience the world’s most pristine wilderness and glacial landscapes, where you will hit the ‘end of the Earth’ on Argentina’s southern frontier. Finally, after navigating a trek north, you can experience six of the ten world’s largest waterfalls throughout Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. South America’s landscapes are ones for the books – or calendar.
5 Reasons to put South America on your Bucket List
In the land where wine flows cheaper than water, it doesn’t get much better for affordable adventures than South America. While country economy varies, the majority of these Latin cities have a favorable exchange rate. For example, a quick cab ride in Bolivia - 1 US dollar, while a full course local lunch in Ecuador is only 3 dollars – with the convenience of the USD being their national currency. For the thrifty traveler, this region gives a hefty bang for your buck.
#3. Rich Historical Exploration
Boasting 71 World Heritage Sites and two of the seven modern World Wonders, your journey through South America takes you back thousands of years. Brave a four-day trek to the ancient civilizations of Machu Picchu in Peru to experience the city in the sky, a world phenomenon that demonstrates the power and skill of the Incan Empire. Then make a cruise to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, the site where Darwin found inspiration for his theory on evolution followed by Chile’s Easter Island to learn the history of the Rapa Nui people - a civilization who went without contact for thousands of years. The rich and less explored historical sites of the area make South America a true gem.
Having Spanish as the dominant language for the majority of the continent gives South American tourism a clear advantage. While dialects vary across cultures, navigating the native tongue is much easier across borders compared to Asia, Europe, or Africa. Additionally, the proximity of the continent makes South America very accessible, requiring only a fairly short flight from most US airline hubs. Further, once arriving at your destination, navigation is fairly inexpensive and useable. Both buses and railway systems are common.
#5. Emerging Markets
Although breathtaking natural sites are abundant, South American cities are also a hot spot rapidly transforming in sophistication and modernization. Brazil, for example, will be taking center stage over the next few years. The urgency has led to infrastructure developments and a thriving tourist destination. Other top cities serve as culturally diverse hubs. Buenos Aires, Argentina performs as the continents melting pot with indigenous cultures and early European immigration, followed by an influx from South Africa, Asia, and surrounding countries. With better structures and increased promotion, the market will experience growth in most cities.
"Machu Picchu early morning" by Charlesjsharp is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
"São Paulo" by Júlio Boaro is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0