It’s safe to say South America is perhaps the most beautiful continent in the world. With an abundance of rich scenery and cultural value to be experienced, you shouldn’t hesitate to begin exploring its vast tropics and bustling cities. Here are some things you should expect when traversing the lands of South America.
You’ll come across some of the most beautiful sights on Earth
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Although you may not be aware of it, South America boasts some of the most iconic natural sights and manmade landmarks on the planet. Take Christ the Redeemer, for example. Standing tall atop the Corvocado Mountain that overlooks Brazil’s lively Rio de Janeiro, the statue is perhaps the most famous in the continent.
And then there’s Machu Picchu, Peru’s lost city that can now pride itself on being one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world – you might want to consider visiting at a time when it’s less busy, so that the crowds don’t taint your experience. Or how about Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat that is so otherworldly the upcoming Star Wars film has filmed there. Don’t believe us? Look at these photos and check it out for yourself. If you’re travelling through Venezuela make sure you don’t skip seeing Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall. The truth is, wherever you go in South America, you’re bound to see something beautiful.
The food will certainly be interesting
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When you’re travelling, you’ll definitely have the urge to try the plethora of different cuisines that are on offer. South America certainly has some interesting dishes for you to try –as famed as Peru’s coveted ceviche is, you’ll also be able to try your hand at the country’s signature cuy, which is basically fried guinea pig. They’re fattened up a bit first though, according to The Secret Traveller,who says the dish tastes a little gamey but not too bad. Would you be brave enough?
So long as you’re able to get past South America’s more interesting dishes, you’ll find some truly delicious examples. Argentinian empanadas are hugely popular, either as a quick snack or a fully-fledged meal depending on their filling. And don’t hesitate to treat yourself to the dessert that’s enjoyed throughout the continent – Dulce de Leche is a creamy caramel treat that you’ll find is served with nearly every sweet food you come across. That isn’t a bad thing, though, as it really is delicious.
You’ll need to keep an eye on your belongings
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As unfortunate as it is in such a divine location, theft is all too common in South America and you’ll stick out as a prime target if you make yourself too obvious. Tourists are usually lax with keeping their valuables concealed, and so opportunists will make the most of this. Pickpockets and bag snatchers are some of the most common thieves you’ll hear about (but hopefully not come across), so ensure your belongings are concealed and secure at all times.
Depending on where you stay, there’s always a risk of bigger theft. Prevent any break-ins or stealing from shared accommodation (such as hostels) by using safes or an equivalent safe space. Hide your valuables from the eagle-eyed – under your pillow is always a good spot – and don’t put too much trust into people you’ve just met, as you can never truly know what their intentions are.
Planning your trip is a must
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You’ll realise very quickly when in South America, spontaneity isn’t really an option. Sure, you’ll want to change and adapt where you go and what you do, but experts recommended having a loose and flexible itinerary that breaks your travels up and provides a realistic outlook on the rest of your trip. The chances of you getting giddy and overwhelmed at the wealth of sights and activities in the continent could lead to you missing out on that one place you were saving until last.
As previously mentioned, an itinerary is an effective way to prevent this. Consider having a daily budget alongside this too, so you don’t overspend too early on and leave yourself out of pocket before coming home. But, most important of all, don’t rule out exploring your location of your own free will – so long as you plan out where you want to be day by day, you’ll be free to wander South America’s glorious landscapes and vibrant towns to your heart’s content.