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A Guide to Backpacking South America – Part 3

Here we are at the last part of our backpacking guide to South America! So far we’ve taken you through 8 different countries, each offering an abundance of different activities, historical sights, stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife. The next 4 are full of all that and more, with Peru our first stop, so read on and finish your tour of South America with Alpha…then go a do it for yourself!

Peru

Perhaps the most visited country in the whole of South America, there’s so much to see and experience here it’s easy to see why. Home to the Amazon rainforest and an impressive Incan history, it’s one country we’d encourage you to visit the most in the world. With so much going on, we’ve broken it down into a smaller South America travel checklist to help you decide what to see and do during your visit.

Peru flag

3 Things You Need to See:

  1. The stunning beauty of Colca Canyon – you can hike the canyon if you like, but witnessing the absolutely beautiful scenery here is not to be missed! We can’t stress enough how much you’ll regret it if you don’t see this.
  2. See the Nazca Lines – these are mysterious ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert and no one is quite sure how they got there or what they mean. It’s one of Peru’s most interesting sights and is best seen from the air.
  3. See the sights in Lima – Peru’s largest city is full to bursting with museums, historical buildings, catacombs, great nightlife and amazing food. This city is usually used as a stopover en-route to Cusco but it makes a fantastic sightseeing stop.

 

3 Things You Need to Do:

  1. Machu Picchu – sitting high in the Andes Mountains, this is the most popular activity for tourists in Peru. It’s a trek through history and you can do a day trip, or a longer walking tour which lasts a few nights. Some people might try to avoid this because they don’t want to follow the crowd, but we’d advise against this! Go and see it, it will take your breath away.
  2. Tour the Floating Islands in Lake Titicaca – Home to the Uros tribe, touring these islands will give you a great insight into the lives of Peru’s aboriginal people. You can book a day trip from the city of Puno and spend your time standing on an island made of reeds.
  3. Go Sandboarding in Huacachina – Huge sand dunes, a desert oasis, a source of adrenaline…there isn’t much more needed to be said!

 

Other Things To Know:

Suriname

A small country on the north eastern coast of South America, it hosts huge areas of tropical rainforest and is a truly unique country within the continent. Here’s what you should see and do there.

2000px-Flag_of_Suriname

3 Things You Need to See:

  1. Waterkant – this is one of the top attractions in Paramaribo, which is the capital of Suriname. Wander along this riverside boulevard and see history at it’s architectural finest.
  2. See Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral – this cathedral is made completely of wood and gives a completely different and special atmosphere when you’re inside. A very unusual and interesting sight not to be missed in Paramaribo!
  3. Neotropical Butterfly Park – this butterfly farm and park in Wanica is an incredible place to go and see butterflies in all different shapes and sizes. You’ll be surprised at the diversity and we can guarantee you’ve never seen some of these butterflies before.

 

3 Things You Need to Do:

  1. Visit Fort Zeelandia – a place of historic pride and tragedy, this is a beautiful colonial fort with a museum inside where you’ll learn everything you need to know about Suriname’s history. Perfect for those of you who are into their history.
  2. Go on the Commewijne River – hailed as one of the most awesome things to do in Suriname, you can take a boat on the river and you can also dolphin watch at sunset.
  3. Visit the Paramaribo zoo – because why not! Who doesn’t love a zoo

 

Other Things To Know:

 

Uruguay

Uruguay is the place South Americans from Argentina and Brazil go for their summer beach holidays, so if the locals are going there you can assume it’s worth you heading there for a visit too! Despite this, there is a common misconception amongst tourists that there isn’t a lot to see or do in Uruguay, but those who travel there will fall in love. Read on to find out what there is to do and see!

UruguayFlagImage1

3 Things You Need to See:

  1. Montevideo – a visit to the capital city is definitely one to put top of the list. It has a vibrant history and rich cultural life that will make you feel completely immersed in the country from day 1.
  2. La Mano en la Arena – a piece of art essential to any tour of Uruguay. It’s a giant sculpted hand which protrudes from the sands on a beach called Playa Brava. You can climb in and get some great pictures, and it’s easy to get to from wherever you are as there’s a bus stop just down the road.
  3. Palacio Salvo – an incredibly imposing landmark in the capital, when it was first built it incurred a mixed response. However, now it’s a draw for tourists who visit to appreciate it’s unique architecture. The most spectacular building in Uruguay.

 

3 Things You Need to Do:

  1. Visit Villa Serrana – If you’re looking for something a little bit detached from the norm, this little village is off the beaten track and a well-deserved retreat from the hustle and bustle of the other cities.
  2. Take an arranged tour of Montevideo – this can be booked and you’ll be able to discover the city in detail over the course of 3 hours for £25!
  3. Visit Paysandu – this is Uruguay’s third largest city and should be included in your travels around the country. There is a multitude of things to do there so you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice.

 

Other Things To Know:

 

Venezuela

Last but not least there is Venezuela. Although there is some important advice for areas in the country which you should always make sure you’re aware of, the country itself is definitely worth seeing if you can. With the most incredible landscapes and it’s said that few countries in the world have this degree of natural beauty.

Flag_of_Venezuela

3 Things You Need to See:

  1. See the capital – Caracas is the capital city of Venezuela and is the commercial and cultural centre of the entire country. There are bad points to this city too, but there are some absolutely stunning buildings to see including a cathedral, national art gallery and a mausoleum to name a few.
  2. Visit Merida – surrounded by impressive mountains, this smaller colonial town in the north west is well worth seeing. It’s known to be a beautiful city full of handsome architecture and a friendly and welcoming population.
  3. Archipiélago Los Roques – a group of nearly 300 paradise islands with perfect beaches are perfect if you love natural beaches and snorkelling to see what wildlife you can spot.

 

3 Things You Need to Do:

  1. Stay in an all-inclusive resort (if you can afford it) – Island Margarita could not be more perfect if it tried, and if you can stretch your funds to an all- inclusive resort we’d definitely recommend fitting this into your travels.
  2. Do some adventure sports! – Merida is known as the adventure sports capital of Venezuela and you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re an adventure sports lover. We can’t list everything you can do because there’s so many choices! A major stop for backpackers.
  3. Go to La Tortuga Island – uninhabited paradise and only accessible by boat, you can sign up to a boat tour and visit this island to go snorkelling and relax. Sounds heavenly.

 

Other Things To Know:

Of course you shouldn't be backpacking anywhere without the proper insurance, which is where we really can lend our expertise! Get yourselves a Longstay policy and you can rest assured you'll be fully covered and ready to backpack around South America with no worries at all! Get a quote here!

 

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