If you’re like me, your Instagram feed is inundated with scores of travel bloggers posing in front of the same destinations, whether it’s the quintessential photo in Machu Picchu, or the ever-popular Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia. But if you’re looking for offbeat travel destinations to visit in South America, you’ve come to the right place. We gathered up the best travel bloggers in the industry to help us highlight their favorite places to visit in South America.
14 Best Travel Destinations in South America Not Overrun with Tourists
#1: MOMPOX, COLOMBIA
Mompóx, the pueblo frozen in time. It goes down as one of the most beautiful small towns in Colombia, but is not often visited by tourists due to the effort it takes to travel there. Situated on Isla Margarita, Mompóx is lined by the Magdalena River peacefully drifting by. It's one of the oldest colonial towns in Colombia, and has managed to fully maintain its authentic charm.
#2: MONTE TRONADOR, BARILOCHE, ARGENTINA
Suzanne of Meandering Wild writes: Monte Tronador is a peak on the Chilean / Argentinian border rising from the foothills of the Andean Lake District. The view from Refugio Otto Meiling at the base of Glacier Alerce is magical, even more so at sunrise and sunset. It takes effort to get to this location but the views are worth every step.
#3: SALINAS SALT LAGOON, PERU
The Salinas Salt Lagoon is a wonderful, off the beaten track attraction located just a few hours outside of Arequipa, Peru. Public transportation to the area is non existent so the only way to reach this dreamy paradise is by an organised tour. Prepare to be blown away by rugged volcanoes, scenic snow-capped mountains and hoards of vicuña, llamas and alpacas. And the best thing? You’ll probably have the place to yourself!
Contributed by Sheree from Winging the World. This awkward wanderluster wants to prove that even wimps can travel, just look at her! Follow her escapades on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
#4: EASTER ISLAND, CHILE
One of the unique places to visit in South America is Easter Island, located off of mainland Chile. This remote island has a mystery surrounding it on why the moai, giant sculptures with large heads, were created. There are hundreds of moai scattered across the island so you’ll be impressed with seeing them in person. Easter Islands’ coastlines are also worth checking out during an afternoon stroll.
At Life Of Doing, we share our affordable travel itineraries, stories, and adventures to inspire you to travel while maintaining working professional life.
#5: POTOSI, BOLIVIA
Located in southern Bolivia, Potosí used to be one of the wealthiest cities in the region. Today it's a mining town that exhibits one of the highest poverty rates in the country. Yet, there are so many things to see and experience. Besides going on a controversial mining tour, visitors can learn history of the city and silver mining in Casa National de la Moneda, explore beautiful colonial architecture and enjoy fantastic views from the top of Mirador Torre Compañia de Jesús. And of course, don't leave Potosí without trying some of its famous spicy local dishes! Tip: since Potosí is also one of the highest cities in the world with an altitude of 4090m, we recommend taking some time to adjust to higher altitudes before coming, to avoid the altitude sickness.
About the author: Ženja is the author of Bearly Here travel blog and an avid traveler, who loves spending time in nature, hiking, trying local food, watching sunrises and meeting new people.
#6: COLCA CANYON, PERU
Circling condors, challenging hiking trails, volcanoes, waterfalls, and natural hot springs make up Colca Canyon. It is one of the worlds deepest canyons and is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Home to the Andean Condor, it is well worth visiting the lookout point of Cruz Del Condor to catch a glimpse of these majestic birds up close, as well as rafting on the Colca River and spending a few days hiking through the canyon.
Roshni from The Wanderlust Within is a photography and hiking enthusiast. She loves colourful hidden gems and would choose the mountains over a beach any day.
#7: SAN CIPRIANO NATIONAL PARK, COLOMBIA
San Cipriano, a natural reserve located close Cali in Colombia, offers an unforgettable adventure. Inside the natural reserve, you’ll find some of the most crystalline waters that you have ever seen and a hidden waterfall. One of the main highlights of a trip to San Cipriano is the transportation to get to the park entrance.
You’ll have to take a ride through the jungle on a vehicle that has been abated to cruise along an abandoned train line. The name for the transport is called Brujitas. By visiting this natural reserve not only are you getting off the beaten track in Colombia you are also supporting a local community.
Daniel James from Layer Culture is a cultural traveller from the United Kingdom. Daniel dedicates his time exploring and learning about life in Latin America.
#8: BRIDGES ISLAND, USHUAIA, ARGENTINA
Bridges Island is a small island in the Beagle Channel off the coast of Ushuaia which is the southernmost city not only in Argentina but in the world. The scenery is breathtaking and its the highlight of any beagle channel cruise. To discover more about this area click here.
Passport and Piano is a travel blog for people who want to travel beyond the ordinary and includes unique places around the world. You can follow Fiona, the writer behind Passport and Piano on Facebook.
#9: VILLARRICA MOUNTAIN, PUCON, CHILE
If you’re into adventure and breathtaking nature, Pucón is the place. Among the many activities available, the coolest one is to climb the active Villarrica volcano. It’s one of the few volcanoes in the world where you can see lava in the crater, and it’s not a technical ascent, you just need to hike up, part of it in the snow (if you’re not trained in mountaineering you have to go with a guide –there’s plenty of options in Pucón). After reaching the 2.847m (9.341ft) summit, you’ll slid down. It doesn’t get more fun than that! The views of the lakes surrounding the mountain are just as amazing as the feeling of summiting it.
#10: LAGUNA DE LOS TRES, EL CHALTEN, ARGENTINA
El Chaltén is a small town tucked away in southern Patagonia and the starting point of the best one-day hikes in Patagonia. While most hikers flock to Torres del Paine on their South America hiking trips, you can find beauty in a challenging 21km round-trip trek that takes anywhere from 6-8 hours, depending on how much time you spend marveling at the spectacular views. And the reward for all your hard word? You can see stunning views of Mount Fitzroy standing proudly behind Laguna de los Tres. Watch out for the last 1km section that generally takes an hour - just remember, you’re all in it together!.
#11: MINDO, ECUADOR
Mindo Ecuador is a little slice of paradise tucked away in the Andes mountain. A quick 2-hour escape from the hustle and bustle of Quito Ecuador. This small village is best known for its birding community however, there is also chocolate and coffee tours. Mindo is a great place to relax, unwind, and reconnect!
Summer is the mastermind behind DoYouSalut, a travel and lifestyle blog encouraging you to Live, Travel and Celebrate! Follow her on Instagram, @doyousalut.
#12: BALLESTAS ISLANDS, PERU
Riding the waves of the Pacific Ocean in a boat, we can see the rock formations protruding from the water. As we move closer, we are stunned to see a gathering of thousands of birds carpeting the rocky islands. Welcome to the Ballestas Islands, a natural splendor along the south coast of Peru. Home to sea lions, penguins, starfish, and birds like terns, cormorants, pelicans, vultures, Peruvian boobies among others, the ecosystem of the islands projects a gleaming illustration of co-existence and harmony.
Pubali and Indranil, the blogger duo of Paradise Catchers, are an Indian couple traveling across Latin America and Caribbean, while working full-time corporate jobs.
#13: LAGUNA CHURUP, PERU
If you are feeling adventurous (and motivated) the hike to Laguna Churup out of Huaraz, Peru is well worth it. The reward is an azure glacial lake at the foot of the snow-capped Cordillera Blancas mountains. The hike normally takes 3 to 5 hours and provides sweeping views of the valley below and surrounding Cordillera Blancas.
Rand Shoaf writes at Well Traveled Mile about maximizing credit cards and earning travel rewards points to help readers travel for less.
Blog: Well Traveled Mile
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#14: Ollantaytambo, Peru
Just a train ride between both Cusco and Machu Picchu likes Ollantaytambo, an underrated Peruvian mountain village that is skipped over my many tourists. Ollantaytambo is surrounded on all sides by mountains, and has a wide river running along side it, making it the perfect place to spend time away from the tourist crowds. It boasts its own Incan ruins at the Ollantaytambo Sanctuary, and other ruins along the river and up in the mountains that are free to explore. After you've finished exploring, spend time in the local food market, Mercado San Pedro, to admire the variety of potatoes grown here, or grab some Peruvian cuisine and a Pisco and the central Plaza de Armas square.
Erika left her corporate America job and started backpacking around the world in October, 2017. 1.5 years and 24 countries later, she’s now living in Tokyo, Japan.
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