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Travelers' Choice

Top 25 Destinations — South America

From can’t-miss iconic cities to new surprises, these are the spots that travelers raved about most on Tripadvisor this year.
Incan majesty and Andean baroque exist side-by-side in Cusco's stone streets, epitomized by the Qoriacancha palace and the church of Santo Domingo flanking the Plaza de Armas. In this high-altitude melting pot of Amerindian and mestizo culture, you'll find... more
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With its plentiful beaches, dramatic mountains, and backdrop of samba and bossa nova rhythms, it's easy to fall in love with Rio de Janeiro. Made famous in song, Ipanema Beach is still the place to stroll, sunbathe, and be seen. The largest Art Deco statue in... more
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The birthplace of the tango is, like the dance itself, captivating, seductive and bustling with excited energy. Atmospheric old neighborhoods are rife with romantic restaurants and thumping nightlife, and Buenos Aires' European heritage is evident in its... more
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Cartagena, a gorgeous fishing village on Colombia's Caribbean coast, has excellent beaches, a historic old town (that's entirely walkable) and beautiful colonial architecture. It's also one of the safest places in the country, so it's no wonder it's a popular... more
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The small Brazilian village of Gramado is a quaint and woodsy respite that boasts some delightful surprises. After you’ve fully enjoyed the paddleboats and surrounding Black Forest pines of Lago Negro, pay a visit to Snowland, a unique indoor snow park. Kids... more
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Lima, founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, is a fascinating city and a treasure trove of history. Explore ancient Incan archeological sites, or stroll through the elegant cathedrals and opulent palaces dating from Spanish colonial times. Downtown Lima is... more
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Porto Seguro is as vibrant as any part of Brazil.  A schooner will take you from the bank of the city's Buranhem River 15 miles out to the Recife de Fora Marine Park for an exploration at sea.  A city stairway will guide you up to the Cidade Historica to take... more
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Santiago is one of those metropolitan joys where the more you look, the more you find. Funky cafes and dance clubs dot Bellavista, Forest Park art collections range from pre-Columbian to contemporary, and architecture runs the gamut from the 16th-century San... more
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The largest city in South America, Sao Paulo’s cuisine and art is as multinational as its diverse population of 10 million. With the restaurants of the Jardins district serving every food imaginable to diners from around the world, you wouldn’t be out of place... more
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With a rich pre-Colombian history, Ecuador's capital was founded on the ruins of an Incan city but offers everything a modern traveler might need. It remains the least-altered historic center in Latin America and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage... more
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Known best for its wine, Mendoza is a bustling city to the east of Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. Although it draws its share of adventure travelers, lured by the climbing, skiing, hiking and rafting opportunities within an easy... more
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Ten million people call vibrant, passionate, sprawling Bogota home. The energy of this metropolitan heart of Colombia is in part fueled by its hundreds of eclectic and authentic dining hot spots, fantastic wines, and frequent foodie festivals. Ask the locals... more
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German-inspired architecture adds a quirky Alpine twist to this resort, where high-altitude pine forests offer a wonderfully cool escape from the lowland heat. Add emerald-green peaks as a backdrop, and Campos do Jordao becomes a tropical mountain stunner. more
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Nipping at the ankles of the Andes, San Carlos is a world-renowned ski destination, set in a landscape offering all the natural wonders of Argentina. Visitors can experience snow, lakes and peaceful beaches, along with vibrant nightclubs and gourmet cuisine.... more
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Giant anteaters, howler monkeys, ocelots, endangered jaguars and clouds of butterflies are among the attractions at this World Heritage-designated park that marks the border between Brazil and Argentina. By foot or by raft, explorers can view one of the... more
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Just its location—in the Sacred Valley of the Incas—makes Urubamba sound like a mystical, magical place. The snow covered Ch'iqun mountain stands proudly in the background of this Peruvian town that serves as a base for people who want to visit the famous... more
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Once infamous for dangerous gangs and drug activity, Medellin has been transformed. It’s now a vibrant destination for travelers seeking a culturally rich vacation. Medellin rises proudly from the belly of the Aburrá Valley, and its natural beauty makes a... more
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The oldest city in Colombia, romantic Santa Marta is fringed by beautiful beaches and the stunning mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range. Ancient ruins take cover in the lush mangrove forests of Tayrona National Park, the perfect spot for a day... more
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Looking for an unusual and beautiful landscape? Sandstone canyons, flamingo-dotted salt flats, steaming geysers, hot springs, volcanic peaks and alien-looking rock formations are on offer all around San Pedro de Atacama. Hiking, biking and horseback riding are... more
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Montevideo, a port city and the capital of Uruguay, is a perfect destination for travelers looking for a relaxing stroll past colonial era buildings and along beautiful beaches. The Ciudadela Gateway, the only remaining section of the wall that once surrounded... more
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In Peru's second-most populous city, aka "The White City," stunning colonial buildings made of pearly sillar stone vie for attention with the surrounding volcanoes and snow-capped peaks of the western Andes. Founded in 1540, it's a smorgasbord of mansions and... more
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Perched at the Triple Frontier, where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina meet, Puerto Iguazu is linked to Brazil by the Tancredo Neves bridge. It is home to the Museum of Images of the Jungle, the Mborore Museum, a bird rehabilitation center and the famed Iguazu... more
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It's no wonder Machu Picchu is Peru's most-visited site. Dating to the mid-1400s, it's a marvel of mortar-free limestone architecture perched on a high plateau deep in the Amazonian jungle. Get there via train from Cusco or, if you're not faint-hearted, make... more
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