8 New Ways to Explore South America

Posted October 1, 2013 by Elica Sue in Travel Lists

South America is a beautiful and exciting part of the world — home to the famous Incan ruins of Macchu Picchu, the world’s biggest rainforest the Amazon, and some of the rarest wildlife on the Galapagos Islands. These places may be on the well-trodden backpackers’ trail, but there are still some new and exciting ways to see these beautiful places from new perspectives.

1. Exploring the Galapagos by Land

The Galapagos Islands are packed with rare and endemic wildlife, but a common way to see them is by sea — on a cruise. If you want to put a little twist on seeing the islands off the coast of Ecuador, you can take a different approach and explore the Galapagos on a hiking trip. You can stay at hotels located on the islands, and still take time during the day to go on a volcano hike, check out the wonderful wildlife, marine life, or go diving. The possibilities are endless!

Rocky Shores of the Galapagos Islands

Flickr photo by Max Ruckman.

2. Finding Guyana’s Hidden Treasures

Located on South America’s northeastern coast, Guyana is one of the only countries in South America where Spanish is not the first language. Guyana has a lot in store, like the beautiful view of the Pakaraima Mountains, the small Ameridian village called Surama, and the Orindiuk Falls, which lies on the border of Brazil and Guyana. If you’re looking to go off the beaten path in South America, there’s a new country waiting to be explored.

The  Potaro River reaches Kaieteur Falls

Flickr photo by Allan Hopkins.

3. Meeting the Huaorani in the Ecuadorian Amazon

It’s one thing to go for a short trek in the Amazon but it’s another thing to experience staying with an indigenous population. Visiting the until-recently isolated Huaorani in Ecuador gives you the opportunity to get truly immersed in the back roads of Ecuador where few have ventured to. On this Huaorani trip, you will get to explore the flora and fauna of the region while you interact with the local community, enjoy a canoe trip to nearby campsite along the Shiripuno river as you learn more about the rain forest and the community’s efforts to preserve their way of life.

Float On

Flickr photo by Andrew.

4. Exploring the Lost Civilization of Chachapoyas in Peru

Peru is popular for their ancient Incan Ruins of Machu Picchu, but did you know about their Chiclayo and Tucume Pyramids, and Sipan Ruins? If you enjoy uncovering ancient worlds, seeing more of Peru’s lesser known historical sites and ruins will add a whole new dimension to Peru’s history and culture, not to mention your experience.


Flickr photo by Cata Bravo.

5. Veering Off the Path on the Choquequira Trail in Peru

Machu Picchu is a popular destination in Peru, and the Inca Trail is a trek that thousands have done on their pilgrimage to South America’s most legendary site. If you want to get a taste of Machu Picchu without taking an already-beaten path, opt for the Choquequira trek instead. This path is considered to be difficult and challenging, but if you’re willing to work for the reward, you won’t regret it. On this path, you’ll be able to take in the breathtaking sights,  experience the energy of the ruins both day and night, and still end up at Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu

Flickr photo by Hua Lin.

6. Fernando de Noronha

Most people visit Brazil for the famous cities like Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Belo Horizonte, just to name a few, but what about Fernando de Noronha? Fernando de Noronha is located off Brazil’s eastern-most coast. That’s right, it’s a group of islands. You can relax as much as you want, or choose to go snorkeling, hiking, surfing, scuba diving…but what you won’t get on mainland Brazil is the sensation of being far away from it all on an island.

Fernando de Noronha

Flickr photo by Michel Rios.

7. Lençóis Maranhenses

Also located in Brazil is Lençóis Maranhenses – what you might consider the opposite of an island paradise. If you’re in the mood for trekking through sand dunes beside freshwater lagoons, this is the place for you. Its desert-esque environment isn’t what you’d typically think of when you mention Brazil, but it delivers a unique experience and gives you new perspectives of Brazil. You can take a swim in the lagoons to cool down, or visit local villages.


Flickr photo by ernie_greatoutdoors.

8. Discoveries in Bolivia

Bolivia is surrounded by some of the most well known countries in South America, namely Brazil, Argentina, and Peru, all three of which are popular tourist destinations. It tends to shy away from the limelight, but in actual fact, Bolivia is a gold mine full of unique experiences waiting to happen — traverse the Salt Desert of Uyuni, wander around the World Heritage Site of Potosi, and dig out the ancient ruins of Tihuanaco, and so much more.

Salar de Uyuni - Bolivia

Flickr photo by Szymon Kochanski.

Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Adventure Life.

About the Author

Elica Sue

Elica Sue is WildJunket's web editor and writer specializing in languages and student travel. Based in California, she grew up with an exposure to a menagerie of culture, language, and art, and is a student pursuing what she is most passionate about: writing, traveling, and learning languages. She blogs at Travelengua.

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