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Most Visited Countries in South America

In many South American countries, tourism is increasingly becoming a prominent source of income. Millions of tourists from all over the world visit the regions to witness, experience, and feel the excitement of popular attractions such as natural wonders, architectural masterpieces, ancient relics, diverse cultures, vibrant city life, unique cuisines, and famous landscapes. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil also played major role in the increase of tourism revenue not only in the host country, but all across the subcontinent.

Below is a list of the most visited countries in South America:


1. Brazil

In Brazil, the biggest tourist attraction is its range of natural wonders. Ecotourism is the main focus, recreation and leisure activities such as sunbathing and adventurous excursions are also among the favoured. Cultural tourism in the forms of traditional yet grand festivals also makes it into the highlight.

Popular attractions in Brazil include:

  • The Amazon
  • The Pantanal
  • Sao Paulo
  • Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina
  • Parque Nacional dos Lencois Maranhenses
  • Salvador
  • Rio de Janeiro

The geological feature of Brazil as a tropical country drives the development of beach resorts in many big cities. However, the excitements do not stop at the mostly crowded sandy beaches filled with surfers and the relaxed sunbathing lovers. There are adventures for both budget and the more indulgence visitors; the Pantanal offers horseback riding and safari, the Amazon takes you to deep flooded jungle and the coastal reefs drags you underwater to witness marine wildlife. All are wrapped inside a single country for you to explore.


2. Argentina

The main characteristics of tourism in Argentina are comprised of natural wonders and cultural heritage. Occupying a vast territory in South America, Argentina enjoys a range of microclimates from tropical in the north to polar in the south.

Popular attractions in the country include:

  • Iguazu Falls
  • Buenos Aires
  • Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
  • Ushuaia
  • San Telmo
  • Bariloche
  • Reserva Faunistica Peninsual Valdes

Through good and tough times, Argentina has managed to grow and develop without sacrificing important features of their tourism industry including cultural traditions and wildlife habitats. People are familiar with Argentina for its tango, football legends, Andes, and Patagonia. All of those are combined to feed your hunger for adventures and memorable trips.


3. Chile

It is surprisingly easy to find attractive places in Chile. The country offers a complete assortment of destinations including sites of nature, historical, architecture, archaeological, ethnographic, religious, and artistic. It is a country that caters to all sorts of visitors.

Popular destinations in Chile include:

  • Santiago
  • Parque Nacional Torres del Paine
  • Easter Island
  • Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos
  • Elqui Valley
  • Puerto Williams

One of the best things about Chile is that the journey to any destination also adds to the overall experience. The further you go, the more you realize how the world still has the chance to hide at least few parts where human intervention is nearly zero. Although wilderness is a major part of the adventures, you may be surprised that the exploration is not always as physically demanding as you would probably imagine.


4. Peru

Tourism is indeed not the main contributor to Peru’s economy (dominated by fishing and mining), but it does not mean that the industry is not thriving. Ecotourism in the Peruvian Amazon and cultural tourism in colonial cities are the highlights added with beach resorts and outdoor adventures.

Popular destinations in Peru include:

  • Machu Picchu
  • Cordillera Blanca
  • Islas Uros
  • Parque Nacional Manu
  • Cuzco
  • Lima
  • Reserva Nacional Pacaya-Samiria

Many will consider Peru the true melting pot of South America. Cultural diversity is noticeable, not only between different traditional values but also the blend with modern lifestyle. Ancient buildings make both art and historical exhibits, while a stretch from the deep Amazon to Andean Peaks demonstrate how vast and heterogeneous the landscapes are.


5. Colombia

Bogota, the capital of Colombia, sets a fine example of development towards modern tourism industry for all other cities not only in Colombia, but worldwide. Bogota has recently made noticeable improvements to a lot of its landmarks including museums, entertainment facilities, city parks, network of bicycling routes, and other public areas.

Besides Bogota, other popular attractions in the Colombia include:

  • Cartagena
  • Ciudad Perdida
  • La Guajira Peninsula
  • Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy
  • Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

Colombia has been working hard to compete with bigger tourism nations like Brazil and Argentina. One thing that makes it easier for Colombia to do the job is its geographical location in the equator which provides diverse landscapes and a whole range of outdoor adventure activities for visitors. In addition to those, the country has its shares of the Amazon jungle, Caribbean coast, and Andean summits to make lasting impressions for every tourist.


6. Uruguay

Bordered by Argentina and Brazil, it only made sense if most travelers thought of Uruguay as the underdog in the tourism industry of South America, at least in the old days. The country has constant fierce competitions from both giants, but it does not seem to give up easily.

Popular destinations in Uruguay include:

  • Montevideo
  • Punta del Diablo
  • Salto
  • Colonia del Sacramento
  • Cabo Polonio

As the second smallest country on the continent, Uruguay has its shares of dim days living under the shadows of its two big neighbors. Persistent does pay off since the country now gets the recognition and reputation it deserves for its safety, diversity, and dynamic lifestyle. Many adventures and activities in Uruguay are not exactly created for visitors, but for tourists this is in fact the ultimate invitation to visit.


7. Ecuador

Blessed with vast cultural and natural wealth, Ecuador is listed as one of 17 countries with the greatest wildlife diversity concentrations. Most animals and plants in the country are protected to preserve the natural beauty for generations to come.

Some of the best destinations in Ecuador include:

  • Galapagos Islands
  • Parque Nacional Yasuni
  • Parque Nacional Podocarpus
  • Parque Nacional Cotopaxi
  • Mindo
  • Montanita

Although Ecuador is not particularly a big country, its wildlife diversity can only be matched by a handful of others all around the world. The combination of species found in its share of Amazon rainforest and Galapagos Islands alone makes a bewildering amazement you hardly find anywhere else.


8. Paraguay

It would be wrong to claim that Paraguay is a major force in the tourism industry of South America, but it would not be entirely correct either to say that the country is least attractive than others. Paraguay lacks of world’s famous destinations, yet the country makes it up with a range of quiet beautiful pristine destinations.

Some of the best attractions in Paraguay include:

  • Parque Nacional San Rafael
  • Concepcion
  • Yaguaron Church
  • Encarnacion

A country with just a small number of international visitors can only mean one of two things: unsafe or unknown. Fortunately Paraguay falls under the latter, which means you can almost enjoy all the attractions and adventures without worrying about crowd of any size. Paraguay is a country of contrasts where the poor meets the wealthy, where modern style meets traditional values.

9. Bolivia

With great tourism potential, Bolivia is climbing its way up to sit alongside major countries in South America. It has a healthy number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, diverse cultures, and great food.

Some of the most popular destinations in Bolivia include:

  • Tiwanaku
  • Potosi
  • Madidi National Park
  • Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos
  • Sucre
  • Tupiza

In terms of tourist visit, the number is not yet on Bolivia’s favor. However, the diversity of its nature and cultural backgrounds are certainly helping the country to attract more visitors in years to come. There are parades for the crowd-lovers and countless adrenaline-pumping adventures such as paragliding, rattling, and fishing for monster fish in the Amazon river.


10. Venezuela

For a country with mesmerizing natural beauty, Venezuela is a little bit late to enter the tourism industry with serious undertakings. The diversity of its landscapes and wildlife should keep the visitors coming for many years to come if the country takes its tourism project with great enthusiasm.

Some popular destinations to Venezuela include:

  • Angel Falls
  • Merida
  • Roraima
  • Archipelago Los Roques
  • Delta del Orinoco

The mixture of Caribbean coastlines, Andean summits, and idyllic islands thrives in Venezuela. Another good thing for international visitors is that visiting Venezuela at the moment is quite cheap due to hyper inflation in the country. Venezuela has some of the most remarkable natural beauties all across South America; this is not a country to miss during your excursion on the continent.



Almost everything about South America is an invitation to get involved in the vibrant adventurous lifestyle. On one side you have great wilderness such as Amazonia rainforest and Patagonian glaciers; on other sides there are dynamic nightlife filled with music and dances as well as colonial towns and white sandy beaches to ease the body and soul.

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