South America Bucket List | Top 15 Unique Experiences
The beautiful continent of South America is full of breathtaking natural scenery and some of the most tranquil places on the planet, but it’s also nice to get your pulse pumping now and then!
There are lots of adrenaline-pumping sports to enjoy in South America, whether you prefer them in the air, on the water, or primarily on the ground.
Activities that will help you to fully appreciate, experience, and appreciate everything that this beautiful continent has to offer. You may have made your own bucket list, but after seeing these 15 Bucket List Experiences to do in South America, we’re convinced that you’ll need a second one.
- Dive with Hammerhead Sharks in the Galapagos Islands
- Bungee Jumping in Action Valley, Peru
- Climb Alpamayo’s Ice Falls in Peru
- Kitesurfing in Coche Island
- Mountain Biking on a Volcano in Banos
- Swim in a dune pool
- Discover some of the most fascinating cities in the planet
- Take a trip to the Amazon Rainforest
- Go Trekking in the Andes – One of the most spectacular mountain ranges on the planet
- Get to know the locals
- Face off against Moai statues
- Photograph the world’s largest salt flat in Bolivia
- Walk through the jungle to explore the Lost City of Ciudad Perdida
- Go Wind Surfing in Jericoacoara, Brazil
- Visit the Instagrammable Iguazu Falls
Dive with Hammerhead Sharks in the Galapagos Islands
The hammerhead shark’s striking face is one of nature’s great beauties, and the Galapagos Islands’ seas offer some of the best diving opportunities in the world for encounters with these magnificent marine animals.
It’s absolutely feasible to be surrounded by hundreds of these sharks in the Galapagos, with the waters off Darwin and Wolf Islands being particularly good. The area’s hammerhead shark population is at its peak in the summer, with big schools frequently present in June, albeit this is not for the faint of heart.
Bungee Jumping in Action Valley, Peru
Taking a bungee leap over 120 metres in the air, is an incredible experience, but witnessing the ground speed towards you just adds to the adrenaline rush.
Although going out of the cabin requires a good amount of daring, the panorama in this steep-sided valley just a short distance from Cusco is stunning.
Climb Alpamayo’s Ice Falls in Peru
With a steep sheet of ice that rises elegantly up into the sky in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, Alpamayo offers one of the most appealing ice climbing prospects in the world. The climb is difficult, so this is one for experienced climbers, but the scenery and experience are practically unequalled.
The views of the steep white ice faces are breathtaking, but if you don’t have the experience to climb Alpamayo, there is a great hiking trail that circles the mountain.
Kitesurfing in Coche Island
Coche Island, off the coast of Venezuela, is a fantastic tourist destination with many of the amenities you’d expect from a Caribbean paradise. The constant breeze blowing in from the ocean, on the other hand, provides not only relief from the heat but also excellent kitesurfing conditions for those beaches on the west side of the island.
Coche, which hosts international tournaments on a regular basis, is an excellent destination for beginners and experts alike, and it also boasts plenty of other amenities and pleasant resorts for a relaxing stay.
Mountain Biking on a Volcano in Banos
Tungurahua is the volcano that towers over the town of Banos in the Ecuadorean highlands, and it has earned a reputation as the country’s adventure sports centre. Typically, organised excursions will carry you up the mountain’s slopes by minibus, allowing you to enjoy the downward descent on the slopes, which provides some excellent opportunities to build up some speed.
There are various options for descent, so talk to the local experts and pick an adventure that suits your degree of mountain biking skill.
Swim in a dune pool
Although a dune pool may appear to be an oxymoron, there is a magnificent area in Brazil where the sand extends out in undulating cushions, dotted with the cleanest and bluest of rainfall pools. Swimming, paddle boarding, taking breathtaking photography, and exploring the mangroves and towns of this national park are all options.
Discover some of the most fascinating cities in the planet
The rich medley of South American cultures’ colours, sights, and fragrances are amplified nowhere more than in its wonderful patchwork of cities. Many of these cosmopolitan hubs are framed by breathtaking cinematic landscape, serving as launching pads for the experiences that await them right outside their doors.
South America is home to some of the most compelling capital cities in the world, from Buenos Aires‘ tango salons, steakhouses, and majestic architecture to Rio de Janeiro‘s effervescent ambiance, trendy Lima in Peru, or Bolivia’s twin capitals of Sucre and La Paz.
Take a trip to the Amazon Rainforest
Water is the lifeline of most of South America, and there’s no better way to get to know and appreciate the Amazon Rainforest than on a river cruise. The Amazon River basin is home to some of the world’s most spectacular scenery and animals, including the pink river dolphins of Peru’s ‘Jungle of Mirrors’ – Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, as well as the beating heart of many of South America’s villages, towns, and cities.
Witness the amazing grandeur of the Pantanal in Brazil as the waters merge. Visit the floating eateries of Iquitos, go on a Pampas tour through the Bolivian Amazon, or enjoy a boat along Ecuador’s coast.
Go Trekking in the Andes – One of the most spectacular mountain ranges on the planet
The vast mountain ranges of South America are undoubtedly the most magnificent feature of the continent.The massive Andes, the world’s longest continental mountain range at 7000 kilometres in length, forms the backbone of these, lining the whole western side of the continent.
The beautiful Torres Del Paine National Park, at the bottom of the continent, is a wild and harsh terrain dominated by extreme geology, including Los Cuernos del Paine Massif, glacial lakes, and massive glaciers. The Paine Massif, glacial lakes, and massive glaciers can all be found in this area. These, as well as the table-like plateaus of Brazil’s Chapada Diamantina.
Get to know the locals
Getting to know the people of South America is perhaps the most enjoyable thing you can do while there, taking the time to interact with folks whose local knowledge, heritage, and customs will inevitably enrich your vacation. From the Amazonian indigenous tribes to the successors of famed pre-Columbian civilizations and succeeding Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors and their African servants, this vibrant continent has a rich and fascinating cultural legacy. Meet the rainforest’s shamans and enter their enigmatic domain, learn about the Argentinian gauchos’ way of life, and discover the importance of religion and music in modern civilization. Above all, embrace the emotion, warmth, and so forth.
Face off against Moai statues
In South America, it’s not just the archipelagos that get all the attention; there are also outstanding solitary islands worth seeing all around the continent. Make time to visit Easter Island, which is located far out in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile and is a perfect example. There’s also a stunning open-air museum with iconic monolithic statues known as Moai, as well as magnificent white coral sand beaches and fascinating volcanic geology.
Photograph the world’s largest salt flat in Bolivia
South American deserts exist in a variety of shapes, sizes, and climates. The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat, covering over 10,000 square kilometres and is certainly a sight to behold – a stunningly magnificent dried-up prehistoric salt lake. When it rains, the water changes the flat white terrain into a stunning mirror reflecting the sky, making for a terrific photo opportunity.
Walk through the jungle to explore the Lost City of Ciudad Perdida
This abandoned city is one of Colombia’s most remote tourist attractions, and this four-day journey through the Colombian rainforest offers plenty of obstacles for those seeking extreme activities in the region.
You’ll love the animals and scenery as you get further away from the usual path, but the last trek up hundreds of stairs to the hilltop city will put your fitness to the test.
The full grandeur of the place may be appreciated when you gaze out over the surrounding mountains from the cleared platforms of the city erected by the Tairona people.
Go Wind Surfing in Jericoacoara, Brazil
Jericoacoara, located in the northeast of the country on a lovely stretch of coastline, is a stunning destination for windsurfers and non-windsurfers alike. If you do, the consistent wind from the Atlantic is perfect for windsurfing.
Warm waves are ideal for getting your thrills windsurfing, while those accompanying you may enjoy the beautiful surroundings on the beach as well as the vibrant social scene in town.
Visit the Instagrammable Iguazu Falls
The humbling waters of the Iguazu Falls are shared by Argentina and Brazil, making it one of the most breathtaking sights in South America. It’s an incredible, visceral experience at any time of day, but if your visit coincides with a full moon, don’t miss it. The sounds of the forest’s nocturnal hum and the cascade of the waterfall combine to create an entrancing shimmering light show.
Adventure beckons, and not just any adventure, but one in South America. However, with such enormous swaths of land and sea to explore — spanning 12 countries – deciding what to do can be difficult. That’s why we’ve developed a list of suggestions to make your life a little easier while also tickling your travel appetite. Some of the experiences we’ve shared in the South America Bucket List are tried-and-true favourites, while others are a little more unconventional.