South America is the fourth largest continent on Earth. Its length from north to south is more than 7,000 km, from west to east – about 5,000, and the total area reaches 17.8 km². Most of the mainland is in the Southern Hemisphere. The total number of inhabitants is more than 385 million people: according to this indicator, South America ranks fourth among the continents. But if we discard the dry facts, one thing can be said: this is a whole world, unknown, bright, alluring and frightening at the same time. Each country of this continent deserves the closest study, the most curious tourists and the most enthusiastic reviews.
South American countries
According to Countryaah, South America has the following countries:
How to get there
The cost of air travel to South American countries varies significantly on regular days and during sales periods. If a regular ticket can cost an average of 1700-2000 USD, then sale and promotional tickets can be bought at a discount of up to 50%. The most profitable for Russians is to buy a ticket to Venezuela (the cheapest one can be bought for 500-810 USD on the days of maximum discounts). Or fly to the relatively massive countries of the Caribbean, such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic, from where you can already move to the mainland by domestic airlines.
If you have time and money, you can arrange an unforgettable ocean trip: a boat trip to Buenos Aires will cost 1500-2000 EUR. Such a voyage will take much more time than a flight, because most often it is not just sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, but a full-fledged cruise calling at the ports of Europe and Central America.
Transport in South America
Inside the continent, air travel is quite expensive, but cruise travel by sea is widespread (the cost depends on the class of the liner). Railways are used primarily for freight transportation – there are very few passenger trains, but bus service is very common. Traveling by bus, of course, is less comfortable, but very economical (prices vary depending on the country and destinations – tourist or domestic). In addition, car rentals are very cheap here.
The climate is different in different parts of South America. In the north – the equatorial zone with the highest temperatures in January, in the south – the frosty polar zone. It is here that you can celebrate the New Year in a bikini under the scorching sun, and then go to a more familiar climate zone to a ski resort in the Andean highlands. In the south of the mainland, plump king penguins roam with might and main – Antarctica is close!
If you find yourself in South America for the first time and are accustomed to the international class of service, choose large hotel chains (preferably international ones). Rooms in them cost from 50-90 USD per day. Students and exotic lovers often settle in small hotels or private apartments – the cost can start from 15-20 USD per day. The appearance and amenities of housing will depend on the country, proximity to popular resorts and personal luck.
In general, the most expensive tourist package in South America is the flight: accommodation, meals and excursions are noticeably cheaper here than in Europe.
South American countries
Brazil is the largest country in South America by area and population and the fifth largest and most populous country in the world. The capital is Brasilia. Travelers bring the most vivid impressions from Brazil at the end of February, after the famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The rest of the time, tourists enjoy traveling through the Amazon jungle, admiring the Iguazu Falls and relaxing on the magnificent beaches of the Atlantic.
Argentina is the second largest country in South America after Brazil, and the eighth largest country in the world. The capital is Buenos Aires. Russian tourists can stay here without a visa for up to 90 days within six months. The most popular tourist time in Argentina is from mid-December to mid-January (Christmas, New Year and the famous carnival on January 16th). The most attractive places for tourists are Museo del Fin del Mundo (Museum of the End of the World) on the southern tip of the mainland in Ushuaia, silver mines, thanks to which the country got its name (from the Latin Argentum – “silver”), Indian Patagonia for lovers exotics and Iguazu Falls Reserve.
Bolivia is located in the central part of South America and has no access to the sea. The official capital of the state is the city of Sucre, but the government is located in La Paz, the largest city in the country. To date, this is the most “Indian” state of America, attracting tourists with exotic. The main tourist routes run to Lake Titicaca (the largest in South America and the highest mountain in the world) and the eastern slopes of the Andes – from the high deserts to the evergreen forests of the Amazon.
Venezuela is a state in the north of South America, washed by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is the city of Caracas. Here there are conditions for a beach holiday – the luxurious beaches of the Caribbean coast, a fashionable secluded vacation on Margarita Island, and for an active one: Avila National Park near Caracas, the Amazonian jungle, the highest waterfall on the planet – Angel, the longest cable car in the world with a length of 12, 6 km and the country’s highest mountain peak – Pico Bolívar (4981 m).
Guyana is a country on the northeast coast of South America. The capital is Georgetown. Almost 90% of the country is occupied by wet jungles. It is precisely because of the unfavorable conditions for tourism in the traditional sense that Guyana is visited primarily by ecotourists. They have chosen the waterfalls of the Guiana Highlands, the Pacaraima Mountains, the national parks of Kaieteur and Ivokrama, where visitors learn the wisdom of rafting, and also make hiking and horseback riding through the Rupununi savannahs.
Guiana (or French Guiana) is the largest overseas region of France, located in the northeast of South America. A French visa is required to enter Guiana. The administrative center is the city of Cayenne. 96% of the country’s territory is occupied by tropical forests – this region is one of the most forested and environmentally friendly in the world. Tourist centers and villages of local residents are concentrated in the coastal strip, the central regions are practically deserted.
Colombia is a state in the northwest of South America, named after the great traveler. The capital is Bogotá. Russians are allowed visa-free entry to the territory of Colombia for up to 90 days. This country is famous for its historical heritage, many museums and an amazing fusion of European culture, brought by the Spanish conquistadors in the 15th century, and Indian culture, still carefully preserved in some parts of the country. Colombia has amazing nature: national parks, the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, the Amazon River basin, palm valleys and coffee plantations.
Paraguay is called the heart of America because this country has no access to the sea. Its population has retained its originality: the Indian dialect of Guarani is the state language here along with Spanish. The capital is Asuncion. “Guiana” is translated from Guaran as “great river” – meaning the Rio Paraguay (the third most full-flowing and longest river of the continent), dividing the country into the arid Gran Chaco plain and the humid regions between the Rio Paraguay and Rio Alta Parana. The country was chosen by ecotourists and connoisseurs of superbly preserved architectural monuments from the period of the Jesuit state.
Peru is a country on the west coast of South America. The capital is Lima. Fans of antiquities know Peru as the place of the Inca settlement – the Inca state of Tahuantinsuyu was the largest empire of pre-Columbian America and still remains a mystery to ethnographers and archaeologists. Here is the famous Machu Picchu, which has become one of the new wonders of the world, and landscapes with mysterious Nazca lines, the origin of which scientists still cannot explain. In total, there are more than 180 museums in Peru and many archaeological parks lost in the Andes valleys.
Visa-free entry to Peru is open for Russian tourists for up to 90 days.
Suriname is a country in the northeast of South America. The capital is Paramaribo. People come here in search of ecotourism in unusual places: rainforests, Atabru waterfalls, Kau, Uonotobo, Galibi reserve, Sipaliwini region, which occupies most of the territory, trio, acurio and wayana Indian reservations.
Uruguay is a country in the southeast of South America. The capital is Montevideo. If you want to relax on the beach, come to Uruguay between January and April. Connoisseurs of colonial architecture will surely enjoy the sights of Cologna and Montevideo. Every year, a month and a half before Easter, two days before Lent, Catholics in Uruguay host a colorful carnival.
Visa-free entry to Uruguay is open for Russian tourists for up to 90 days.
Chile is a state in the southwest of South America, occupying a long strip from the Pacific coast to the Andes highlands. The capital is Santiago. In Chile, balneological tourism is widespread (33 sanatorium bases with water and mud treatment), beach holidays (the areas of Arica, Iquique, Valparaiso), as well as trips to the national parks of La Campana, Torres del Paine, to Lake San Rafael, to places Altiplano and San Pedro and, of course, the famous Easter Island. For lovers of skiing – 15 resorts with slopes from the most extreme to the simplest.
Ecuador is located in the northwest of the mainland and gets its name from the Spanish “equator”. The capital is Quito. Particularly noteworthy are the Galapagos Islands, famous not only for their fauna, but also for their fantastic beaches, the Oriente National Park and a trip to the Amazon, the El Kayas region with 200 lakes and lagoons, a monument to the ancient culture of Ingapirca and museums of the colonial and pre-colonial eras in Quito.
A visa-free regime for visiting Ecuador has been introduced for Russian tourists for up to 90 days.
In addition, South America includes the disputed island territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, as well as the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands, which are still disputed by Great Britain and Argentina. Tourists arrive on the islands as part of cruise tours. The most common activities are mountain climbing, hiking and rafting in kayaks and kayaks. The Falkland (Malvinas) Islands are almost forgotten places by tourists. In terms of climate, their territory is close to Iceland : it is cold, strong winds, and not only seagulls, but also plump king penguins scurry along the coast.
Nature of South America
After the breakup of the Gondwana mainland at the end of the Cretaceous into Africa, Australia, Antarctica and South America, the latter remained a separate continent. Connecting the current North and South America, the Isthmus of Panama appeared about three million years ago, significantly affecting the flora and fauna of the continent.
This, in turn, led to the almost complete extinction of endemic species in South America.
The variety of landscapes and climatic zones strikes the tourist’s imagination. Andes, the world’s longest mountain range, is also called the “ridge” of South America, stretching almost its entire length for 9 thousand km. The highest peaks – Aconcagua (6960 m) in Argentina and Ojos del Salado (6908 m) are covered with snow all year round. The movement of the earth’s crust in this region, which continues to this day, causes earthquakes and eruptions of active volcanoes.
The famous Amazon flows here, the second largest river on the planet, always full-flowing thanks to its numerous tributaries. On its shores, the endless Amazonian jungle rises, so dense that some of their areas remain unexplored to this day.
The Amazonian jungle is called the “lungs of the planet.”
In contrast to the Amazonian rainforests on the mainland is one of the driest places on the planet, the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. In Argentina and Uruguay, the pampas are hot and dusty.
There are vast lakes in South America, and high waterfalls, and rocky islands. From the north, the mainland is washed by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, while its southernmost point – the island of Tierra del Fuego – is subject to frequent storms of the cold Atlantic Ocean.