South American holidays are all about adventure. Whether you choose to go to Argentina, Brazil, Peru or anywhere else on the continent, you’ll find that there are more amazing things to do and see than anyone could possibly experience in a lifetime.
You can have a lot of fun trying though, and those memories are ones that you’re likely never to forget.
A South America trip expands your horizons, both literally and figuratively, with a stunning setting like nowhere else on Earth.
Not only that but because of the sheer wealth and variety of activities on offer, you can customise your adventure to be exactly what you want, based on what you feel will be the most exciting and fulfilling for you personally.
As there’s so much to see, we couldn’t possibly cover it all here. However, we have a few suggestions for unusual things to do in South America to help you plan out your once-in-a-lifetime trip.
1. Esteros del ibera
The Argentinian wetlands known as Esteros del ibera are one of the finest places to see wildlife in an unspoiled natural habitat.
Although the natural beauties of the continent are known throughout the world, this is an often-overlooked diamond of a location for anyone who considers themselves a lover of all things flora and fauna.
With its humid temperatures, swamps, lakes and lagoons, it’s far from commercial, but that’s exactly what makes it such a special place. Its awe-inspiring beauty makes visiting the world’s second largest wetland more than worth the effort.
2. The Devil’s Nose
While its name may sound somewhat uninviting, riding the iconic Devil’s Nose heritage railway in Sibambe, Ecuador is a magical and otherworldly experience.
An impressive feat of engineering that has been re-laid recently, the steam locomotive journey blends plenty of sensational scenery with heart-quickening drops, with the switchback descending almost vertically down the Andes mountain.
As you weave through the perilous path, you’ll be met with dramatic, panoramic views featuring imposing mountains and rolling greenery.
It’s jaw-dropping, unforgettable and is guaranteed to be like no train journey you’ve ever embarked on before.
We’re staying in Peru now for one highlight that is much less well-known than our last entry but is no less strange or brilliant.
Vinicunca, also referred to as rainbow mountain, is one of the most captivating sights not only in South America, but anywhere in the world.
Its mountain peaks are a stunning technicolour pastel masterpiece crafted by mother nature herself. It’s also an incredible journey getting there: past llama and alpacas, strolling across the springs until you get to the natural wonder itself. It’s a simply astonishing experience.
4. Mano del Desierto
Found in the deserts of Chile, Mano del Desierto – often simply known as the Hand of the Desert – is a sculpture located 1,100 metres above sea level.
For many, it creates a sense of human vulnerability and helplessness.
However, art is all about the individual, just as South America tours are all about unique experiences. So, whatever you take from this sculpture is down to you. Some see beauty, some see desperation. In order to discover what you’ll see, you’ll have to visit it yourself.
When you consider just how many amazing sights there are to behold in South America, the fact that Quilotoa – a caldera formed by the collapse of a volcano over half a millennium ago in the west of the Ecuadorian Andes – is viewed by many as among the continent’s most beautiful makes you realise just how special a place this must be.
Indeed, there’s nowhere else quite like it, with a lake that changes colour as the temperature rises and surroundings which preserve the kind of life forgotten by most of the world. It’s an absolute must see for those hiking along the Andes mountains.