South America is fast becoming a new mecca for both the outdoor and urban backpacker. The continent is vast and makes for some truly big adventures for travelers. For those unfamiliar with the scale of South America, just to put it in perspective, Brazil alone as a country in land mass is nearly the size of the United States and Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world.
Backpacking in South America
What makes South America a fantastic destination for backpacking is its diversity and vibrancy. Divided into nine countries, South America has a dizzying array of natural wonders, spectacular geography and abundance of bio-diversity. This includes places like Patagonia, the Andean Mountains, Amazon rainforest, the Galapagos Island, the Atacama desert, you will even find ice-blue colored glaciers.
Explore the big cities like Rio de Janeiro, Santiago or Buenos Aires. Spend your nights drinking great wine, dancing the tango or experience the vibrant rhythms of the Brazil Carnival. There is an unmistakable energy pulsing through the streets of South American cities. There are plenty of first rate cafes and restaurants, charming neighborhoods, magnificent cathedrals, busy markets and architectural wonders dating back to the colonial period.
Hiking in South America
Many people travel to South America just for the hiking and climbing. South America offers backpackers wanting to hike around some of the most amazing scenic backdrops and a diverse terrain there is, giving hikers the opportunity to climb some of the most interesting peaks in the world.
There are many iconic hikes in South America, like the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, found in the heart of the Peruvian Andes is on many backpackers bucket lists. Or spend time hiking around the Chilean Patagonia in national parks like Torres del Paine. There are lots of waterfalls, glaciers, forests, lakes and good campsites alone the trails. There are many other great trails for hiking and mountaineering destinations in South America that will peak your curiosity.
Wildlife in South America
If you are a wildlife enthusiast and love the outdoors, then South America is place for you. It has everything from the familiar to the unusual. Apart from Africa, there is properly no better place to observe wildlife. South America is the home to more bird, insect, animal and plant life than anywhere else on the planet. The Amazon rainforest stretches over 8 countries. Where you can observe wildlife like the jaguar, macaw, anaconda or capybara the world’s largest rodent. For bird watchers there is also the world largest eagle, the majestic Harpy Eagle.