Things to Know Before Exploring South America
Name: South America
Area: 17,840,000 sq km (6,890,000 sq mi)
Location: Western Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere
Population: 434,189,442 (2019)
Population density: 24.3/sq km (63/sq mi)
Languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Guaraní, English, French
Time zones: UTC-2 to UTC-5
Number of countries: 12
Main countries: Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay…
Largest cities: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Santiago, Lima, Cuzco, Bogota, Salvador, Brasilia…
Machu Picchu, Peru
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
Easter Island, Chile
Where is South America?
South America is part of what we know as Latin America. Most of South America lies in the south part of the western hemisphere, bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the east, the Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Caribbean Sea on the north. It faces Antarctica on the south across the Drake Passage, while on the north it is separated from North America by the Panama Canal. The Andes Mountains stretch almost the entire western part of South America. Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas, stands in Argentina. To the east of the Andes lies the vast Amazon Basin with lush rainforest. One of South America’s most brilliant natural wonders, the Iguazu Falls, roar on the boundary of Brazil and Argentina.
Best Time to Visit
South America mainly features tropical rainforest and savanna climate. The weather is warm and humid. Winter here is much warmer than in North America. The average temperature of the coldest month is above 0℃ except the mountainous region. In the tropics, which make up most of the continent, the average temperature exceeds 20℃. Rainfall is abundant throughout the continent, and the annual temperature difference is small. The average temperature of the hottest month in most regions is about 26℃, which is far less hot than the tropical areas of Africa and Australia.
November to April is the best time to visit South America. Brazil has summer from December to March the next year and winter from June to September. Summer is the peak tourist season. As for Argentina, January and February are very hot. The best seasons in Buenos Aires are spring and autumn. Skiers of course should head to the Andes during the winter months from June to September.
Seaside Holiday Paradise in South America
South America owns many seaside resorts, and Brazil is the most popular among international travelers. Brazil is the largest tropical country in the world. Apart from the fanatical football and samba zeal, Brazil offers 8,000 kilometers’ coastline with many beautiful beaches. On the top of Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro stands a symbolic giant statue of Jesus with outstretched arms, from where you can get a bird's eye view of the whole city and the winding coastline. The famous Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach are in full view. Other beautiful beaches in South America include Lopes Mendes Beach and Jericho Kola Beach in Brazil, Punta Del Diablo in Uruguay, Shell Beach in Guyana, Anakena Beach in Chile, and San Juan Beach in Colombia.
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Cartagena City, Colombia
Adventure Deep into Amazon Rainforest
What do you think of when you think of the Amazon Rainforest? Piranha, serpents, crocodiles, and primitive tribes? Yes, this is probably a magical land offering the most surprises in the world. The Amazon Rainforest, 7 million sq km in area, totals half of the world's rainforest and runs across 8 countries in South America: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, and Suriname. It has the richest animal and plant resources in the world and produces so much oxygen that it has been called the "Lungs of the Earth".
Peru's Iquitos and Brazil's Manaus are on the main stream of the Amazon River and are the best recommended places for rainforest tours. Here you can explore deep in the dense tropical jungle to see the sloths, parrots, and serpents, ride a boat to fish the piranhas, have a night outing to peek at the frogs and caimans, and visit a native Indian tribe and dance hula with the villagers.
Machu Picchu: Lost Sacred City of Inca Civilization
South America was originally inhabited by Indians, who had once created the splendid ancient Inca civilization and established many kingdoms. There are many Inca historical and cultural sites, the most famous of which is Machu Picchu in Peru. Machu Picchu is divided into the Urban District and the Agricultural District, owning 140 buildings including shrines, altars, parks, residences, fountains, as well as a complete water conservancy system. Drains were cleverly designed and connected to allow water from the holy spring to flow through each room in turn. Countless delicate details make visitors to marvel at this great Inca architecture.