Top destinations for South America trips for 2023 include spots away from the beaten path. If you want to see unique locations without large tourist crowds, see our best picks below.
This oasis is located in Ica, Huacachina where sand dunes and starry skies abound. Sandboarding, hiking, relaxing dinners, and beach time give travelers a diverse experience of activities. Rumors have it that a mermaid still lives in the oasis. The lagoon was created from underground aquifers, but the expansion of well-drilling started draining the lagoon. Locals began pumping water into the lake in 2015 to preserve the oasis.
Lake Titicaca is one of South America’s largest lakes, but relatively untouched by tourists. If travelers want to experience the true culture of this town, festive dances, folklore, and traditional performances are some activities to hit. Lake tours, floating islands, and more are perfect for the adventure-seeking tourist. Take some time to acclimate to the altitude, or you might find yourself suffering from altitude sickness on an excursion.
Puna is filled with pumice stone fields, old volcanoes, and unique landscapes. Animal sightings of flamingos and llamas are common, and there is no shortage of things to do. Check out the salt flats, Incan trails, or crystal blue waters. If you want to feel immersed in a National Geographic location, Puna, Argentina should be a destination on your list.
After a period of civil unrest, Machu Picchu has reopened, but Choquequirao is another amazing Incan site in an even more remote location. It is known as the sister city of Machu Picchu. It takes about 2 days of hiking to get to the site, the campsites are well-maintained and equipped with running water, showers, and toilet blocks. Small shops also sell snacks and drinks to hikers, and the best time to visit is between May and September.
Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
This national park is packed with rare plants and animals in the arid rainforest climate. Explore via land or water with popular snorkeling and diving on the coral reefs. Costa Rica has no shortage of activities for the outdoor enthusiast. Go ziplining, boat tours, ATV tours, and more to see all that Costa Rica has to offer.
Aysen Region, Chile
The Aysen Region of Chile is a postcard-perfect area. Healthy, green forests, sparkling blue lakes, and the Patagonian Ice Fields. Wildlife far outnumbers any residents, and tourists can spot marine otters, sea lions, and dolphins frequently. The Marble Caves are located in the Aysen Region, and can be an amazing destination.
La Guajira, Colombia
Located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, the bright salt flats and vivid blue water are a relaxing destination far from touristy crowds and the hustle and bustle of the city. The Los Flamencos Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary for many birds about an hour and a half flight from Bogota and 40 minute drive. The local community is home to Wayuu Indians, known for their colorful satchels pictured above.
Marble Caves, Chile
The marble caves of Chile are located in General Carrera Lake, Patagonia. Erosion has created beautiful striations in the marble and can be kayaked through. The lake is made up of water from glacier melt and makes for a gorgeous photo with the marble combination for photographers. Nearby is the San Rafael Glacier and Exploradores Glacier to also explore and hike!
Las Lajas, Colombia
In the mid-1700s, a mother and her special needs daughter found shelter between two big rocks (‘lajas’ in Spanish). Lightning hit the rock and the daughter said that an image of the Virgin Mary appeared there. The small town decided to build a chapel at that location, but was later taken down and the current sanctuary was created, pictured above. The sanctuary is a beautiful masterpiece. There are a fair number of stairs that visitors must climb to reach the cathedral.
Vilcabamba is on the southern coast of Ecuador. The residents of this city tend to live over 100 years. This is not a high volume tourist area, but is perfect for those going to Podocarpus National Park. The spectacled bear can be found in this national park and is the only bear native to South America. It is also highly endangered, but it is the character that Paddington Bear is based off.
Typhoid vaccines are recommended for most destinations outside of the United States. You never know quite where your food came from or who prepared it, so typhoid vaccination can help prevent you from getting sick during your trip. Make an appointment at our newest Scottsdale Away Clinic location to see a travel health specialist today.