South America is a wondrous continent! Filled with natural and man-made wonders, there is no shortage of sights that will take your breath away. Some of the most iconic cities in the world can be found in the southern part of this mighty landmass. A trip to the continent would be simply incomplete without a visit to Santiago de Chile, Argentina’s bustling capital Buenos Aires and the jewel in Brazil’s crown, Rio de Janeiro.
Santiago is the hub of Chile — a city full of skyscrapers, long avenues and verdant parks. Take a ride on a cable car to San Cristóbal Hill where the views from the summit are unbeatable. Your days can be spent wandering the streets, admiring the street art and eating at cafés in some of the city’s most attractive districts: Providencia, Pedro de Valdivia and Lastarria. Santiago is the perfect place from which to travel further afield into Chile, though you don’t have to go that far to find amazing sights. Vineyards offering tours and wine tasting sessions can be found just an hour or two outside of Santiago. A nice glass of crisp white or full-bodied red wine taken whilst enjoying the stunning view of the Andean cordillera is one of the finest pleasures Chile has to offer. A visit to the seaside towns of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar is also a must: the former offers a bohemian vibe, with winding streets full of funiculars and colourful street art while the latter offers a more chic, laid-back ambience with a stunning beachfront.
Argentina, like its neighbour, is also a country of fine wines. These are excellent when paired with the fine steaks, cooked on a parrilla grill, and is a staple of Argentinian cuisine. There are plenty of stylish neighbourhoods to explore during the day, from the chic Palermo to the vibrant and colourful La Boca. The Recoleta Cemetery is world-famous for being the final resting place of Eva Perón, Buenos Aires’ most famous inhabitant. It is a fascinating complex with tombstones spanning many different eras, set out in long alleyways.
The Plaza de Mayo is also a must-visit; a beautiful square that is home to the Casa Rosada, the presidential offices, as well as other impressive buildings such as the neoclassical Metropolitan Cathedral. Do not miss out on the nightlife in Buenos Aires! To get a real taste of Argentinian culture, visit a tango bar to get your fill of live music and dancing. To fully explore Argentina would take a lot longer than a week, but for a shorter stay, make sure to head north – the Iguassu Falls is one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world.
The Iguassu Falls cross the border between Brazil and Argentina. Most of the falls are on the Argentinian side while the river that feeds the falls is largely in Brazil. The falls are divided into upper and lower sections, with boardwalks around the park for tourists to get the best views. The Devil’s Throat section of the falls on the Argentinian side is truly a sight to behold. For those happy to pay a little extra, the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is the only hotel to be located inside the park, offering the privilege of beautiful surroundings as well as the opportunity to beat the crowds come morning-time.
Moving further into Brazil, the ex-capital of Rio de Janeiro is one of the most iconic cities in the world! From famous beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema to one of the seven modern wonders of the world – the statue of Christ the Redeemer - there is plenty to explore in this energetic city. Be sure to take a cable car to the distinctly shaped Sugarloaf Mountain, where you will be rewarded with astonishing views of the city and the sea. And in the evenings, enjoy the local cuisine while watching a mesmerising samba performance.
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