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South America has long been a popular destination for backpackers from all over the world. The various countries within the continent each have something unique to offer so it’s almost guaranteed that a trip to any of them will be an adventure to remember.
The largest country in South America is hosting both the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games in the coming years, likely to make it even more popular with tourists than it is already. The natural habitat in Brazil has been appealing for many years, with people coming to the country to visit things like the Amazon Rainforest.
Rio has become a popular destination for its beaches and the world-famous Carnaval, as well as its New Year’s Eve parties. The statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooks the city and has become an icon for the whole of Brazil. There are several hostels around the city, making it easy for backpackers to find a place to stay, even at short notice. It goes without saying that the appeal of the fast-moving, developing city makes it a haven for travellers.
Peru is probably best known for having been the home of one of the most advanced ancient civilisations, the Incas. Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic destinations in the world, often referred to as the Lost City of the Incas. You can trek up the mountain to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site but make sure you pack for a long arduous day. It will be hard work but the view is likely to be well worth the effort.
If you want to visit the other areas of Peru, you’ll find a number of different places offering vastly contrasting experiences. From the Pacific west coast, to the tropical forests, to the bleak mountains of the Andes, Peru has a lot to offer the hardcore, experienced traveller as well as the newbie looking for a less intense trip. You can make camp at various destinations all over the country so if you want to really get to grips with the country, take a tent and go travelling the traditional way.
The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires has an established reputation as a cosmopolitan, chic city, consequently making it a hugely popular tourist destination. It has one of the busiest ports in South America and is often thought of as being the South American version of Paris. There is a strong influence of European culture in the city, which features symphony orchestras, museums and libraries. There are also several preserved homes of notable artists, writers and composers.
The Iguazú National Park has waterfalls and jungle that are ideal for a trekking trip or, if you fancy something completely different, Los Glaciares National Park has permanent glaciers that will give you some stunning photographs. Be sure to book your hotel or hostel in advance to ensure you can get into the best ones; the location of your base can make the world of difference to your trip.
South America is huge and has a whole host of other countries that are well worth visiting. Guyana, Suriname and Ecuador are perhaps not as popular as the countries mentioned above but still have plenty to offer backpackers. Try planning a route that allows you to circle the continent and take in as many of the different countries as you can.
Ideally, you should give yourself several weeks to travel to different destinations and visit a number of cities in each place. The national parks cover hundreds of miles so you can see so many different things on just one day trip. The more you can see, the better your trip is likely to be. Make a detailed itinerary before you go and ensure you’ve pre-booked most of your places to stay. This will ensure you don’t spend too long in one place and can be sure that you get to visit everywhere on your list.
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