Features // South America

A sex-themed amusement park is set to open in Brazil
A sex-themed amusement park is set to open in Brazil

Forget about virtual-reality roller coasters, the future of theme parks just got a whole lot raunchier. Developers in Brazil are planning to build an adults-only park, where traditional rides will be replaced by the likes of penis-shaped bumper cars, an erotic ghost train and a 7D vibrating cinema. Unlike the comparatively chaste Jeju Loveland in…

Quiz: can you name these famous places in South America?
Quiz: can you name these famous places in South America?

Do you dream of trekking through the Amazon, marvelling at Easter Island‘s moai or gorging on steak in Buenos Aires – or have you done it all already? Either way, this quiz is sure to spark your wanderlust. We’ve picked nine famous places in South America. Can you identify them all?

8 of South America’s most memorable eccentricities
8 of South America’s most memorable eccentricities

Tasty ‘big-ass ants’, llamas wearing woolly hats, and tiny enclaves of Welsh culture make South America a fascinating, if at times, mind boggling continent to explore. Here’s our foray into some of the more eclectic cultural treats to be found upon these shores. 1. Patagonia’s Welsh teahouses Debuted to the world in Bruce Chatwin’s pivotal…

Beyond steak: how to order like a local in Buenos Aires
Beyond steak: how to order like a local in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is often associated with steaks, but they are far from the most common cut served up in the parrillas (meat restaurants) of Argentina‘s capital. In fact, many of the cuts are different from the European or North American standards. It’s often the tastier (and cheaper) bits of beef – and a fair amount of offal – that is…

Providencia: an introduction to Colombia’s Caribbean island
Providencia: an introduction to Colombia’s Caribbean island

Colombia meets Jamaica? Not quite, but two competing images loom large over the Caribbean island of Providencia: Bob Marley, adopted saint of the local Raizal population, and Johnny Depp, fictional hero of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise and a symbol of everything ‘pirate’ to the local tourism industry. It’s all a very long…

23 brilliant pictures of Brazil
23 brilliant pictures of Brazil

This year sees the Olympics and Paralympics take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. If you’re heading to Brazil to catch any of the sporting action, here are a few great photos to inspire your trip from Picfair‘s best roaming photographers. Staircase decorated with street art Staircase by Lourdes Siracuza Cappi / Picfair Capoeira on the…

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America
15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

South America has become a favoured destination for the intrepid backpacker, and while it’s impressive in the astounding diversity of its nations, there are a number of universal lessons that every traveller will learn at some point during their time here. So whether you fell foul of altitude or accepted that you – inevitably – suck…

Why Córdoba is Argentina’s most underrated region
Why Córdoba is Argentina’s most underrated region

Although long popular with Argentine tourists, Córdoba Province receives few foreign visitors, despite being one of the most diverse parts of the country. This underrated region is home to hip cities, kitsch Germania, iconic revolutionaries, skydiving hubs, UFO-spotters, and perhaps the finest horse riding on the continent. Because its capital is getting cool The capital of…

12 tips for backpacking Colombia
12 tips for backpacking Colombia

Colombia is a nation on the rise. The land of Shakira, Gabriel García Márquez and James Rodríguez has it all, from the bougainvillea-festooned streets of Cartagena and the mysterious tombs of Tierradento. There’s white-water rafting at San Gil and all-night salsa clubs in Cali, and as a bonus, the Colombian peso is at its lowest…

The subtropical river system just 30 minutes from Buenos Aires
The subtropical river system just 30 minutes from Buenos Aires

Just outside Buenos Aires, Argentina is one of South America’s most unexpected landscapes – the Paraná Delta. Part of the continent’s second largest river system, it is accessed via a Victorian-style toy train and the town of Tigre, an idiosyncratic cross between England’s Henley-on-Thames and Italy’s Venice.            With a population…

8 must-visit places in South America you’ve probably never heard of
8 must-visit places in South America you’ve probably never heard of

Access to even some of the more remote parts of South America has improved in the past few decades, establishing a now well-etched tourist trail. But if you want to escape the crowds and make a beeline for an unexplored South American treasure, look no further than this list of the places you’ve never heard…

Why Uruguay is South America’s best beach destination
Why Uruguay is South America’s best beach destination

Squeezed between Argentina and Brazil and shaped a bit like a football, Uruguay doesn’t feature on your average South American checklist. But with its progressive politics, sizzling asado culture and some of the best beaches on the continent, we think it should. From off-grid hippie enclaves (note: cannabis was legalised here in 2014) to chic…

6 reasons to visit Bogotá: South America’s underrated capital
6 reasons to visit Bogotá: South America’s underrated capital

Polluted, rainy and business-orientated. Let’s face it, a trip to Bogotá hardly sounds appealing. And many travellers don’t bother to probe much further than this bleak reputation, seeing Bogotá either as somewhere to be skipped out altogether, or as merely a logistical blot on a more exciting itinerary. Other Latin American cities such as Buenos…

6 incredible journeys in South America
6 incredible journeys in South America

South America is blessed with some of the most astonishing landscapes on earth. This dynamic continent has enthralled travellers for centuries with its array of natural wonders, ancient ruins and modern metropolises. It holds some of the world’s most impressive beaches, most fascinating cultures and most thrilling adventure activities. But one of the greatest joys…

The man who accidentally picked up a pet penguin in Uruguay
The man who accidentally picked up a pet penguin in Uruguay

Tom Michell, author of The Penguin Lessons, was an intrepid but fairly ordinary 23 year old when he travelled to Argentina in the 1970s to teach English in a boys’ school. But on one school break, in which he travelled through Brazil and Uruguay, he picked up an unusual companion… Here’s the story of how it…

Bolivia’s most beautiful journeys
Bolivia’s most beautiful journeys

As T.S. Eliot once said, “The journey, not the arrival, matters,” and nowhere is this truer than travelling in Bolivia. Here, we’ve picked five of the most beautiful travel routes through the country. Follow these to witness some of the finest scenery Bolivia has to offer. For magnificent mountains: La Paz to Copacabana Mode of transport: Bus…

Bolivia: make time for South America’s most misunderstood country
Bolivia: make time for South America’s most misunderstood country

Bolivia brims with unique and barely-visited landscapes and cultures. It offers everything from the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flats, to the Parque Nacional Madidi – one of the most biologically diverse places on earth, plus a wealth of ancient indigenous customs and traditions. But despite this plethora of attractions, the country rarely…

Behind the scenes of the best restaurants in Lima
Behind the scenes of the best restaurants in Lima

Co-author of The Rough Guide to Peru and Lima resident Greg de Villiers gives us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the city’s best restaurants.  Beto is a big man, whose big man hands nearly swallow the spoon he’s using to ladle fish out of a beat-up blue cooler. He is famous in his area, his restaurant an…

Sleeping in the sky: Peru’s epic suspended lodge
Sleeping in the sky: Peru’s epic suspended lodge

If Peru’s Sacred Valley wasn’t epic enough already, now you can sleep in transparent capsules suspended 300metres from one of its towering cliff faces. With a panoramic view overlooking the mystical Andes, the rapids of Rio Urubamba and the Sacred Valley itself, Skylodge (bookable through Airbnb) is not only the world’s first hanging lodge: it might…

Passport to write: the winner!
Passport to write: the winner!

After weeks of deliberation, we’re thrilled to announce that Stephanie Dyson is the winner of the Rough Guides and Journeys are made @gapyear.com writing competition and the recipient of a £2000 travel voucher. Congratulations, Stephanie!  The judges were particularly impressed by her fresh take on a well-known experience. The colourful language in her carefully paced piece bought the sunrise to life and made us…

Quiz: can you locate these national parks?
Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

National parks are some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural places, taking in mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and forests (sometimes all in the same one), but how much do you know about them? Can you tell these national parks apart? Compare flights, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

9 tips for backpacking South America
9 tips for backpacking South America

Taken from the Rough Guide to South America on a Budget, these are our top nine tips for backpacking South America. From the tropical beaches of the Caribbean to the windswept archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, backpacking South America guarantees a treasure trove of adventures that has fuelled the imagination of travellers for centuries, with dizzying…

20 brilliantly colourful pictures of Colombia
20 brilliantly colourful pictures of Colombia

Professional photographer Matt Garceau shares his experience of photographing Cartagena, Colombia. “The nearly 500-year-old walled city of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, comprises a compact series of neighbourhoods that are surrounded by enormous Spanish walls and fortresses.  Pressed right up to the Caribbean sea, the melange of aged buildings inside are painted brilliant colours of blue,…

6 Peruvian recipes you need to master
6 Peruvian recipes you need to master

Peruvian cuisine is rated among the best in the world and is currently experiencing a period of flourishing self-confidence and popularity overseas. Here are six classic Peruvian recipes taken from the Rough Guide to Peru, all fairly simple to prepare and found throughout the country. All quantities given will feed four people, so invite a few…

In pictures: meet the people of Peru
In pictures: meet the people of Peru

Rough Guides writer and photographer Kiki Deere shares with us some pictures of Peru from her latest research trip across the country. “My research for the new edition of the Rough Guide to Peru took me to remote corners of the country, from the little explored Cotahuasi Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the…

Life is sweet in sucre: studying in Bolivia’s most relaxed town
Life is sweet in sucre: studying in Bolivia’s most relaxed town

Ros Walford recounts her time studying Spanish in Sucre, one of Bolivia’s most relaxed towns.  Sitting in Sucre’s shady central Plaza Mayor with my friend Katrien, it seemed that all was right with the world. The birds were singing, kids were playing, people laughing and strolling through the park and we were deep in conversation. Then,…

Brazil’s sexiest beaches
Brazil’s sexiest beaches

Brazil has some of the sexiest, swoon-inducing stretches of sand in the world. We’ve all heard of Copacabana and Ipanema, but the country has thousands of miles of unspoilt coral coves, balmy bays and coconut palm-shaded coast beyond Rio. Glorious beaches fringe much of the country’s 7500 km-long coastline, from the steamy tropical coast in the…

Off the map in the Atacama: Chile’s eerie ghost towns
Off the map in the Atacama: Chile’s eerie ghost towns

Thousands of foreign travellers visit the geysers, salt flats, oases and volcanoes of north Chile’s Atacama Desert, but few make it to two of the region’s man-made attractions: the starkly beautiful ghost towns of Humberstone and Santa Laura. Shafik Meghji takes us into these abandoned settlements.  Yellow tsunami “hazard zone” signs, planted like sunflowers on…

The Bolivian food revival: will it work?
The Bolivian food revival: will it work?

Bolivian food has long been in the shadows of its more acclaimed South American neighbours, but the co-founder of Noma – the renowned Nordic restaurant named best in the world earlier this year – aims to change that. Shafik Meghji popped into his new venture in La Paz for alpaca jerky, freeze-dried potatoes, custard apple…

Things to do in Ecuador beyond the Galápagos
Things to do in Ecuador beyond the Galápagos

There’s so much more to Ecuador than just the Galápagos. Chitra Ramaswamy went on her own voyage of discovery to find the best things to do in Ecuador, beyond Darwin’s famous islands. The alarm on my mobile phone goes off at 4am. Deep in the heart of Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest, a fragile wilderness that…

In the footsteps of Gabriel García Márquez: a tour of Colombia
In the footsteps of Gabriel García Márquez: a tour of Colombia

Following in the footsteps of legendary author Gabriel García Márquez, James Rice takes us on a literary tour of Colombia. Gabriel García Márquez, the acclaimed Colombian novelist who died in April 2014, never considered his stories as magical as others supposed. Amused that he was always praised for his inventiveness, he once said: “The truth…

Surprises in the salt flats of Bolivia
Surprises in the salt flats of Bolivia

The blindingly white expanse of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is one of South America’s most spectacular sights, but few travellers venture beyond the classic tour circuit. Shafik Meghji hadn’t planned to either until violent snowstorms and gale force winds forced him off course. He was rewarded with ancient tombs, hidden lagoons, surreal rock formations –…

Don’t get lost in translation: how to teach English abroad
Don’t get lost in translation: how to teach English abroad

During her career break Ros Walford took up teaching English as a foreign language in Chile. Here Ros tells all about the realities and practicalities of teaching English abroad. As the row of blank faces stared at me across the classroom, I trembled slightly and wondered what on earth I had been thinking when I’d…

The other Inca trail, Peru
The other Inca trail, Peru

Escaping the hundreds of climbers on their way to Machu Picchu, Alex Robinson discovers the “other Inca Trail” in Peru – an equally impressive but near-empty climb.  I woke with a start in the night. The dogs were barking in the camp. I heard the clatter of tin cans, the crash of plates and then…

How to see São Paulo like a local
How to see São Paulo like a local

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. That’s the traveller’s rule of thumb, but in a metropolis of 11 million like São Paulo, Brazil, it’s hard to know where to start. Luckily Paulistanos take their food, drink and partying seriously, so if you want to immerse yourself like a local, follow our lead:  Join the queue at…

Twenty places to make you feel insignificant
Twenty places to make you feel insignificant

French novelist Gustave Flaubert once said: “Travelling makes one modest – you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world”. With this in mind, here are twenty daunting and spectacular places around the world that might make you feel a little small. Easter Island, Chile A trip to see Easter Island’s moai lined up on…

How to be an Antarctic explorer
How to be an Antarctic explorer

This year marks the centenary of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition on board his ship Endurance to Antarctica. In an age when most people found a trip to Blackpool thrilling enough, he was setting off for Antarctica in a wooden schooner – not once, but four times. What bravery, madness and skills are required to explore Earth’s greatest southern…

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