If you are planning to go to South America anytime soon then there are some amazing sights you can’t afford to miss while you are there.
So, there’s this city and it’s, like, lost. Except, it’s not so lost that you can’t go and visit it on a train. Going by train to Machu Picchu isn’t very cool but walking there definitely is. I did the multi-day trek to Machu Picchu and it was one of the finest experiences of my life. We arrived just as the sun was coming out from behind the lost city and it really was a quite amazing feeling. If you’ve ever within about 1000 miles of this place you should do whatever is necessary (up to and including selling vital body parts on the black market) to get there.
Uyuni Salt Lake
I have to admit that when I signed up to get crammed into a 4×4 for several days on a trip over the world’s biggest salt flats I has a suspicion that it might be the worst thing ever. It wasn’t. It was one of the best. As well as all that salt to dazzle your eyes there are coloured lakes, weird rock formations and an island in the middle of the salt with cacti growing on it. It is a weird and outlandish place in Bolivia which will give you a once in a lifetime experience.
I love giant waterfalls almost as much as I love lost cities in the jungle and big expanses of salt. Iguazu Falls is just an incredible place, with an obscene amount of water crashing down over the edges. If you are still feeling a bit dry and salty after Uyuni then this is the place to head to. It sits on the triple border between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, giving you the tempting option of seeing three countries in a matter of hours.
I’m going to come clean and admit that I haven’t yet see this waterfall. However, I hope to do so next year on a trip to Venezuela. It is the world’s highest waterfall. Technically, it’s the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall but it sounds less exciting when you put it like this. It’s so remote that you need to fly out there to see the glory of the water falling out of the sky in front of your eyes.
Rio de Janeiro
I just wasted 10 minutes trying to decide which of this amazing city’s top attractions to include. Then I thought I would get all rebellious and include the whole insane city. The beaches, Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain; it’s just a magical place. The only complaint I have about Rio is that I was sold a pair of sandals that hurt my feet while there, but I feel that is more to do with the delicate skin on my feet than any inherent problem with the city.
The Devil’s Nose Train Ride
Ok, so you’ve heard of the other places on the list but do you know about this train ride in Ecuador? The best thing about it is the fact that you can ride on the roof, which is the future of rail travel if you think about it. The track does some complicated things as it goes up and down steep hills, leading to some people calling it one of the planet’s greatest engineering feats. The scenery is terrific and the big dogs that come bounding after the train when it passes their properties add to the sense of fun.