The Quick Report

The Top 10 Must-Visit Hidden Gems in South America 

South America is home to some of the most stunning wonders of the natural world. It’s also rich in architecture and cultural history showcasing monuments of civilization. Here are 10 must-visit hidden destinations.

10. Colonial Quito, Ecuador


Rich with history left over from Spanish rule is Colonial Quito, Ecuador’s capital. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll find well-preserved architecture, ornate churches, and sprawling plazas. Wander cobblestone streets and explore mesmerizing art galleries. Ride a cable car to the top of Pichincha Volcano for breathtaking views. Travel 45 minutes outside of Quito to the true equator.

9. San Gil, Colombia


In the Colombian Andes, straddling the River Fonce, the small town of San Gil is known as a center for adventure sports. You’ll find paragliding, whitewater rafting, caving, and hiking. Check out Gallineral Park and its riverside trees and their curtains of silvery moss. Balneario Pozo Azul is a natural pool with large stone slabs and waterfalls.

8. Isla del Sol, Bolivia


Located in Lake Titicaca is Isla del Sol. Visit the Escalera del Inca and nearby Yumani village. The staircase leads to a spring once believed to prolong youth. North, near Challapampa village, you’ll find the labyrinth-like Chincana ruins. Visit the Inca site Pilko Kaina with its ruined palace. Take a boat tour or spend a day exploring its terraced hillsides.

7. Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua


Ometepe is an island in southwestern Nicaragua on vast Lake Nicaragua with black sand beaches. It features lush vegetation and natural pools. Ometepe is known for its twin volcanoes. North, sits the active Concepción Volcano. South, you’ll find the Maderas Volcano and San Ramón Waterfall. Check out the Ometepe Museum, in the town of Altagracia, to view ancient petroglyphs.

6. Pantanal, Brazil


This natural region is home to one of the world’s largest wetland areas. Pantanal features a diverse biome that’s excellent for exploring the outdoors or watching wildlife. It’s perfect for spotting exotic species in their natural habitat such as jaguars, caimans, and giant otters. Take a boat tour down one of the winding rivers for an unforgettable experience.

5. Cusco, Peru


Resting high in the Andes Mountains near Machu Picchu is Cusco. It’s a city rich with history and culture. You’ll find mesmerizing architecture as you wander the cobblestone streets lined with colonial-era buildings. There are also ancient Inca ruins. Explore the colorful markets offering unique handicrafts. It’s a place like no other.

4. San Blas Islands, Panama


The San Blas Islands of Panama is an archipelago that comprises roughly 365 islands and cays. Around 49 are inhabited. Here, you’ll find stunning white sand beaches and pristine waters. It’s one of the best places in the world for snorkeling, island hopping, or simply relaxing and enjoying the sun and paradise.

3. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia


Salar de Uyuni lies in the Andes of southwestern Bolivia. It’s a seemingly endless expanse of blinding white and home to the world’s largest salt flat. It’s surrounded by the Andes Mountains and towering volcanoes. The view is awe-inspiring. Salt flats are also home to wildlife such as pink flamingos and golden coots. Salar de Uyuni is an incredible experience.

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2. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica


The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is nestled in the misty hills of northwestern Costa Rica. The variety of plants, birds, and wildlife attracts travelers the world over. The spot has become Costa Rica’s premier eco-tourism destination. This cloud forest is a magnificent world filled with lush greenery and exotic wildlife. 

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1. Great Blue Hole, Belize


This underwater sinkhole is a natural wonder of the world. It’s one of the globe’s most popular destinations for diving and snorkeling. It’s located near the center of Lighthouse Reef. The sinkhole features crystal-clear blue water and is surrounded by limestone walls. You’re likely to catch a glimpse of manta rays., reef sharks, and other species in the surrounding waters.

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