10 Hidden Secrets Of South America!
South America is a huge continent intersected by the Equator and with coasts on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans there is plenty to see. Find out some of its hidden secrets right here.
1. Cape Horn, Chile
Although commonly attributed to neighbouring Argentina, the southernmost point of the South American continent is Cape Horn in Chile. Also known as the ‘end of the world’, Cape Horn is located on Hornos Island off of the south tip of Chile. First discovered in the 1600s and with an interesting maritime history infamous for its wild and stormy weather, Cape Horn has also been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Due to its somewhat remote location from the mainland, this is one of Chile’s less frequented tourist spots, but is well worth a trip none-the-less.
2. Salinas Grandes, Argentina
Situated in north central Argentina, the Salinas Grandes is a vast salt flat covering an area of around 6000 sq.km. With an average altitude of 170m above sea level this arid region is spectacular in its bleakness. Bordering 4 Argentinian provinces, if you’re in the area make sure that you take time to visit this incredible place.
3. Pink Fairy Armadillo, Argentina
Another Argentinian secret to look out for is the native pink fairy armadillo. Only found in Argentina, they live in the central grasslands of the country. Currently labelled as an endangered risk due loss of habit, they are a protected species. Secretive, nocturnal and difficult to spot, these unique members of the armadillo family are worth keeping a sharp eye out for.
4. Jericoacoara, Brazil
As the largest country in South America, Brazil is famous for many things, such as football, fiesta and of course its fantastic Atlantic coast beaches. Jericoacoara is a hidden gem of a beach, a 4hr drive west from the city of Fortaleza in the north-east of the country. First appearances might give you the idea that Jericoaoara beach is a bit desert-esque, but once you spy the sparkling blue waters beyond the 30m Pol do Sol (Sunset Dune) you will change your mind and fall in love with this beautiful and secluded spot.
5. Huacachina, Peru
Peru is famed worldwide for its ancient Mayan civilisation, but there are plenty of other less well known things to see and do of course. Take Huacachina; while there may be no ski resorts in the country, the giant sand dunes found just outside the southern coastal city of Ica are perfect to try out some sand boarding or sledding. This desert oasis is the perfect stop to make to see one of Peru’s less well known attractions.
6. Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador
Since this is reputedly the world’s tallest snow-topped active volcano, Cotopaxi is perhaps not so much secret as it is one of Ecuador’s most incredible places to visit. Found a 90minute drive south of the country’s capital Quito, in the Cotopaxi National Park, the lush fertile land surrounding the volcano is filled with native flora and fauna. And if you are brave and decide to climb the mountain, then remember to wrap up warm beforehand so that you can enjoy the splendid views to be had from the summit.
7. Rainforest, Guyana
Guyana is the 3rd smallest mainland country in South America, and is the only one to have English as the official language. Unfortunately often overlooked by travellers, Guyana boasts one of the largest unspoilt rainforests on the continent and has been applauded worldwide for its incredible conservation efforts. With many safaris taking place into the rainforest you can spot some of the most diverse flora and fauna anywhere in the world.
8. Cerros de Mavecure, Colombia
In the south-eastern part of Colombia you will find the remote but lovely Cerros de Mavecure, which mean ‘the Crying Rocks of Mavecure’ in English. These three imposing and spectacularly dramatic hills are actually mounds and are found 50km south of the city of Inirida. Named Pajarito (Little Bird), Mono (Monkey) and Mavicure, they can only be accessed by river making them one of the less well frequented spots of the country.
9. Yunek, Venezuela
In South America’s most northerly country, Venezuela, you will find the incredible village of Yunek. Located in the 30,000sq.km Canaima National Park in the south-east of the country, this tiny village has a population of just 80 people who continue to live a largely traditional Venezuelan existence which is hard to find these days.
10. El Cafetal Coffee Plantation, Bolivia
Although Bolivia isn’t one of the world’s biggest coffee producers (that award goes to Brazil followed surprisingly by Vietnam), but what it does make is of the finest quality. Near the small town of Buena Vista in the heart of this central South American country you will find the El Cafetal coffee plantation. Taking a tour of the coffee factory, you can also sample some of the organic coffee freshly ground in amazing settings.