South America is full of green, natural wonders, for now. With the recent development projects that are focusing on these previously virgin forests and unique ecosystems, now is the best time to visit the national parks in the region. Surprisingly enough, some of the well-known tourist destinations in South America are not actually within a national park system. Here, we count down the best parks and why you should go.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil – an island in the Atlantic Ocean, this park was also designated as a World Heritage Site. To get in, you’ll need to either take a boat via Recife or by plane (if you have more money). It was deemed as a national park because of its environmental importance, but the beach and the water is something to die for. There’s also very little development in the island, perfect for those wanting to get away.
Galapagos, Ecuador – A series of islands found on the West coast of Ecuador, they are known for a variety of species that gave Charles Darwin his Theory of Evolution. It may cost a bit of money trying to tour the islands, but the beauty of the creatures living there and the landscape is definitely bucket list material.
Iguazu National Park, Argentina/Brazil – With a shared border between Brazil & Argentina, this national park is the location of the famous Iguazu Falls, and offers hiking in lush rainforests to visitors who are willing to get much closer to the falls. Make sure you take note of the final shuttle times, otherwise you might get left behind!
Los Glaciares National Park, Patagonia, Argentina – one of the largest national parks in Argentina, its crowning glory is an ice cap, the largest outside of Antarctica and Greenland. It’s also a great place for tourists to go on glacier tours, and is very close to the next national park on the list.
Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile – otherworldly beauty, where you’ll see lush green landscapes set amidst glaciers and snow topped mountains. Here you’ll find cute penguins, lots of trekking and climbing activities, as well as kayaking.
Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary – Technically not a national park, but the people are lobbying for it to be one called an Inca National Park – protecting the area around the Vilcabamba & Vilcanota mountains, and of course, Machu Picchu. There haven’t been any other significant changes on it yet, but Machu Picchu has already been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making this site a definite must see.
South America has other great national parks in not-so visited countries such as Guyana and Guinea, which is good for those who want to really get off the beaten track and be an explorer in the making.