High Five… South America

The mere mention of South America should get the blood pumping through your veins, your head spinning, the adrenalin surging, and open wide your eyes.

This continent is begging to be discovered and will envelop you in a fanatical embrace and infuse so much spirit into your person, you’ll be the life and soul of every party. WOW!

Mother Nature was having a good day when choosing what to grace this vast land with; the Amazon Rainforest, the snow peaked Andes, alpine lakes a plenty, the amazing Patagonian glaciers, idyllic beaches.

Five unforgettable South America Experiences

Choosing five (only five!) unforgettable experiences is going to be a little tricky… wish me luck, here I go…

1. Give your CV something to shout about and volunteer

If you’re after a little more depth from your South America experience then you need to get your volunteer on. Build houses, help protect the Amazon, contribute to conservation efforts on the Galapagos Islands, teach English in Buenos Aires… there’s tons of projects that can put your skills to the test, and the short and long-term benefits are beyond anything you could ever ask for.

2. Gush over the views of Iguassu falls

Iguassu Falls means ‘great waters’ and although this translation is pretty spot on, it’s more than a little understated; try ‘gargantuan/huge/immense, enormous/monstrous waters’ and you’ll get more of an accurate picture! The sheer power of Iguassu will literally knock your socks off. For those that are brave enough (and fancy getting rather wet) you can opt to take a boat ride and get up close and personal.

3. Four wheel drive over the salt flats

Jeremy Clarkson eat your heart out. Driving across the salt flats is a fantastic experience, even more so when you’re in a 4×4. The area’s unusual landscape of mountains, active volcanoes and geysers is like nowhere on earth, and the contrast of piercing blue skies and blinding white salt on the flat lakebed will make your camera very happy, and your friends on Facebook very jealous.

Budda Sanjay

Bend your perspective on Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni salt flats | Photo by christopherwalmsley in our Flickr Group

4. Follow in Darwin’s footsteps on the Galapagos Islands

Animal lovers rejoice, for the Galapagos Islands are your paradise. In a world where flora and fauna are truly ‘A List’, you won’t ever want to step foot in a city environment again. Hang out with iguanas, snorkel with sea lions, meet giant tortoise older than Bruce Forsyth and see loads of boobies (calm down, they’re a species of bird). From the stark lava fields to rich vegetation and white sandy beaches — the islands are ready and waiting, and need to be explored.

NorthSeymour_2010 09 28_0728

The Galapagos Islands are sealed with adventure. See what we did there? Sealed. Seal. See… no? | Photo by HBarrison

5. Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Like a long line of crumbs that lead beady eyes to the cookie jar, the Inca Trail is an epic once-in-a-lifetime adventure that culminates in the enchanting and mysterious Lost City of the Incas: Machu Picchu. It’s a destination featuring on most ‘do before I die’ lists and it’s not difficult to see why. In its 26 miles, it manages to combine jaw-dropping mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle and a stunning mix of Inca ruins.

So what are you thinking? Would you put this High Five on your South American itinerary or go throw in something a little different?

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