South America is arguably the world’s most beautiful continent when it comes to natural wonders. Pound for pound, South America landmarks can compete with anywhere else on earth. If you’re planning a South American vacation (or just dreaming about it), it’ll help to know a few of the continent’s key landmarks. This quick guide might just help you pick your next holiday destination, so keep an open mind!
5 must-see South America landmarks
It’s a big continent, so unsurprisingly there is no shortage of South America landmarks. While tens – if not hundreds – are worth seeing, we’ve narrowed our list down to five. Whether it’s waterfalls, mountains or glaciers that you’re after, South America has a landmark for you.
1. Salar de Uyuni
Most people have never visited this salt flat, but many of us will instantly recognise them from Facebook and Instagram. Salar de Uyuni – sometimes called Salar de Tunupa – is located in southwest Bolivia, and has become a bona fide social media legend.
No visit to the salt flat is complete without a set of wacky photographs. The seemingly endless horizons here make this the perfect backdrop for optical illusions, making the Bolivian salt flat one of the best South America landmarks in the digital age.
2. Iguazu Falls
The world’s largest waterfall network is, naturally, one of the must-see landmarks in South America. Spread across Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu Falls boasts unforgettable views. Its handy location within a rainforest makes it an incredibly popular destination for hikers and adventurous holidaymakers. Even better, it’s easy to get here by plane from Rio De Janeiro.
3. Perito Moreno Glacier
Los Glaciares National Park itself has got to be up there as one of the top South America landmarks. The entire park is magical, but it doesn’t get much better than the Perito Moreno Glacier. Known in Spanish as Glaciar Perito Moreno, it covers a whopping 250 square kilometres.
Perito Moreno is a major tourist attraction, just two hours away from the Patagonian town of El Calafate. Its name is derived from an explorer named Francisco Moreno. The glacier (and the whole park) lie in the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina.
4. Mount Fitz Roy
The imposing Mount Fitz Roy lies in southern Patagonia, on the border between Chile and Argentina. Hikers that have visited El Chalten and its hiking trails will be familiar with the majestic mountain.
With an elevation of 3,405 metres above sea level, Mount Fitz Roy is the official symbol of Argentina’s Santa Cruz Province. Interestingly, it also served as the inspiration for the corporate logo of the Patagonia clothing company.
5. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
Our final South American landmark is Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. The park is best known as a massive sand dune over low and flat land. One of the most fascinating aspects of Lençóis Maranhenses is the series of blue, black and green lagoons within the sand.
The expansive park covers some 1550 square kilometres in the northeast of Brazil. It is accessible only by 4×4 trucks and is home to a small population of people including fishermen.