South America Travel
Map of South America Best Cities

Best Cities in
South America

Each city has its own unique character and culture, from Tango-obsessed Buenos Aires, to the vibrant beach culture of Rio, to the mysterious and enchanting Inca Empire in Cusco. And to really get away from it all, you can go off the beaten track to quaint villages and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and rich history.

Best Cities:

Statue in the Recoleta neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires
Argentina's capital is one of the most distinctive cities in South America. The inexpensive indulgences and European influenced architecture will make you think you've traveled back in time to 1920's Paris. Stroll down the wide, tree-lined avenues and relax at the many cafes, and at night enjoy the best tango shows in town.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
Explore the most beautiful parts of Rio, including the Corcovado Mountain, Sugar Loaf Mountain, and the Tijuca Forest, where you'll get the chance to trek to the summit and see the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer. Enjoy the scenic beaches, Guanabara Bay and the vibrant beach culture of Copacabana. At night you can opt to see a traditional samba show at one of the many nightclubs.

The great church in the center of Cusco, Peru
Cusco is Peru's most popular attraction, and it is no wonder, since the city is set amidst the heart of the ancient Inca Empire. Snow-capped mountains, and the towering fortress of the ancient Sacsayhuaman surround this beautiful colonial city. Cusco is also a great base for excursions to the surrounding rainforests, whitewater rafting trips, mountain biking, trekking, and mountain climbing.

Best Villages:

The serene yet picturesque little town of Ollaytantambo in Peru
Ollaytantambo, Peru
This village is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Urubamba Valley). It is also home to the most magnificent of the Inca ruins and where the Inca elite lived. You'll find ancient irrigation systems and a temple that was built for astronomical observation. Close by is the Pisac village where they have a handicrafts market every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

The Chilean town of Puerto Varas, amongst beautiful lake and mountain views
Puerto Varas, Chile
This charming village just outside of Puerto Montt and situated on the shores of Lake Llanquihue is one of the most popular tourist spots in Chile. Enjoy the spectacular views of the Calvuco and Osorno volcanoes and the surrounding forests. There are also many opportunities for outdoor activities, including whitewater rafting, volcano ascents, fly- fishing, sea kayaking, boat trips, and hiking in one of the several national parks.

The beautiful Fitz Roy Mountain that is near the trekking capital of Argentina, El Chalten
El Chalten, Argentina
Located in Patagonia, El Chalten is a great place to begin a mountain trek. It has been named the National Hiking Capital because of the many hiking and trekking opportunities, including the Torre and Fitz Roy summits and the Viedma, Upsala, and Moyano glaciers.

The unspoiled Brazilian town of Tiradentes near Rio de Janeiro
Tiradentes, Brazil
For a relaxing vacation and to get away from it all, visit this colonial mining town situated just north of Rio. Stroll through the historic town and relax in the cozy restaurants.

An old car in the center of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Travel back in time in this quaint colonial town with cobblestone lanes and historic buildings reminiscent of Lisbon. This village is a favorite among Argentineans, who frequent the long stretches of coastline.

Map of South America's Best Cities and Villages

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