The Best South American Locations Every Nature Lover Should Add to their Bucket List in 2018

Flamingoes in Laguna Colorada, Uyuni, Bolivia
Flamingoes in Laguna Colorada, Uyuni, Bolivia | © Byelikova Oksana / Shutterstock
Photo of Harry Stewart
21 November 2017

If there is one thing South America has no shortage of, it’s bucket list worthy natural attractions. But with such a large area to explore, how do you decide where to go for the best wilderness experience in 2018? Thankfully, Culture Trip has traveled far and wide to bring you the answers.

Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina

Scientists say large amounts of flowing water make us happy, supposedly due to the collision of water molecules creating negative ions in the air. And after just a few minutes basking in the glory of the epic Iguazu Falls, it’s normal to start feeling giddy as you soak up the raw energy of the most spectacular waterfall on earth.

Igauzu Falls | © sharptoyou/Shutterstock

The Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Blindingly bright and stunningly surreal, the vast white desert landscape of the world’s largest salt flats capture the imagination of travelers from around the globe. And due to the fact it features in what looks to be a rather epic battle scene in this year’s release of Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi, the Salar de Uyuni promises to be more relevant than ever in 2018.

Salar de Uyuni | © Henner Damke / Shutterstock

The South West Circuit, Bolivia

Just outside the Salar lies Bolivia’s other natural wonder, a strange and barren land full of surreal deserts, brightly colored lagoons and bubbling geysers among impossibly tall volcanoes.

Flamingoes in Laguna Colorada, Uyuni, Bolivia | © Byelikova Oksana / Shutterstock

Patagonia, Argentina/Chile

From Mt Fitz Roy to Torres del Paine and everything in between, the rugged wilderness of Patagonia is considered among the most pristine land on earth. Creaking glaciers, glimmering lagoons, and snowcapped peaks are all par for the course in this outdoor lover’s wonderland which is set to receive an additional one million acres of unspoiled parkland come 2018.

Fitzroy | © jstarj/pixabay

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

And of all Patagonia’s grand glaciers, none are as awe-inspiring as the incredible Perito Moreno. Visitors can witness huge chunks of ice calve off the mighty structure from platforms below – or, better yet – trek over the surface on a thrilling icy escapade.

Perito Moreno Glacier | © Jefferson Bernardes/Shutterstock

The Atacama Desert, Chile

The driest non-polar region on earth might not sound that inviting, yet these hauntingly beautiful lands have plenty to offer the intrepid traveler in the year to come. Expect to find isolated high altitude lakes and towering ice-capped volcanoes in a bizarre and unearthly section aptly named the Valley of the Moon.

Valle de la Luna | © Ulrich Peters/Flickr

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Nature lovers rejoice, for the Galapagos Islands host some of the most diverse wildlife on earth. As the inspiration behind Darwin’s theory of natural selection, it’s little wonder these far-flung islands have set the stage for so many captivating Nat Geo documentaries. Whether it be a luxury ocean cruise or budget independent travel, book ASAP to get the best Galapogas deal in 2018.

Giant Tortoise | © Alexas_Fotos/pixabay

The Amazon Rainforest

Nowhere is as quintessentially South American as the great Amazon Rainforest. Covering an astonishing 5.5 million square kilometers and stretching over nine different countries, this mammoth eco-system is the largest and most bio-diverse in the world. But it’s being deforested at an alarming rate, so get in quick to appreciate such beauty while it still exists.

The Amazon rainforest | © Brazilian things

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