Referring to the countries in South America that are around and south of the Tropic of Capricorn, the Southern Cone, in geographical terms, is comprised of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. However, Southern Brazil and Paraguay are politically and socially considered to also be part of the Southern Cone, and so we refer to all five countries:
Southern Cone Countries: Why are them so special?
South America’s second largest country doesn’t disappoint when it comes to awe-inspiring attractions and fascinating cities for foreign visitors. Rich in culture, it blends traditional gaucho heritage across the central and southern grasslands with the influences of European immigrants in both its capital and in cities further south. And with more than its fair share of outstanding areas of natural beauty, Argentina is a country that never fails to delight.
The south of Brazil shares a number of qualities with its Argentine and Uruguayan neighbors; expect to encounter gauchos, yerba mate and a fondness for asado. But it’s also defined by nature’s most important resource: water. Travelers here should make the most of its spectacular subtropical coastline and record-defying waterfalls.
With the angular spine of the Andes Mountain chain passing the whole length of the country, and scorched desert plains in the north and mountainous national parks in the south, Chile is by far the South American country with the most dramatic scenery. Those who venture into Chilean Patagonian can expect to be among only a small handful of people each year who explore this region of untouched wilderness.
Less developed and more inaccessible than the other countries that make up the Southern Cone, Paraguay requires a greater deal of pre-planning to ensure that you can safely visit its highlights. But despite its unpolished exterior, Paraguay astonishes with its huge expanses of semi-arid but wildlife-rich virgin forest and crumbling monuments that tell the history of the many settlers who’ve arrived here across the centuries.
Often visited as part of a day-trip from Buenos Aires, its neighbor across Río de la Plata, Uruguay merits much more than a cursory excursion. This treasure chest of historic buildings, relaxed, welcoming cities and miles and miles of coastline is slowly putting itself on the map as a top South American destination. Sharing many cultural traits with nearby Argentina, the tiny nation of Uruguay is an easier place to travel than its larger cousin thanks to the short distances between its key attractions.
Planning your vacation to the Southern Cone
As one of the most prosperous macro-regions of Latin America, the Southern Cone promises a high standard of tours agencies and a well-established tourism infrastructure.
To inspire and assist you in your plans for visiting South America, we recomend you this guide, wich includes includes:
- the top highlights of the Southern Cone;
- recommended two-week travel itineraries for each of the five nations in the region;
- an overview of country-specific travel information regarding visas, best time to visit, currency and advice about staying safe while traveling.