Home to the world's tallest waterfall, driest desert, longest mountain chain, and largest rainforest...welcome to South America.
The world's fourth largest continent spans an uncompromising 6,800,000 square miles (17,840,000 km), and it contains some of the most spectacular scenery, ruins, cities, intrigues, and inequalities. From the impenetrable forests of Darién in northern Colombia to the Antarctic waters of the Beagle Channel in Argentina, there is plenty that will make any visitor stop in awe. Whether you are whitewater rafting in Ecuador, birdwatching in Guyana, hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, sipping a caipirinha in Brazil, gazing into the distance on the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia, wandering through Jesuit ruins in Paraguay, surfing on the Punta del Diablo resort in Uruguay, hiking through the Torres del Paine in Chile, or taking in the pampas in Argentina, there will be moments when the beauty, diversity, and warmth of this continent hit home. With the Amazon rainforest, the Andes Mountains, the Atacama Desert, Patagonia, and countless miles of pristine coastline with which to lure visitors, South America lays claim to unrivalled natural wonders. Aside from the well-known sites and sounds of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival and Machu Picchu, there are attractions that are less crowded, such as the Falkland Islands in the chilly South Atlantic and the Isla de Pascua (Easter Island) out in the more climatically agreeable Pacific Ocean. Decades of enthusiasts visiting these shores have carved out a well-worn track here, but don't let this deter you, as there are new places to be discovered and opened up to the world all the time. Just drop the names of Mompox, Colombia; São Luis, Brazil; and Paramaribo, Suriname into idle dinner chat and watch your fellow diner back at home frown in confusion. South America is waiting to be explored and enjoyed.