Top Ten South American Attractions

Top Ten South American Attractions

 

  1. Machu Picchu, Peru

    Machu Picchu (Quechua: Machu Pikchu, “Old Peak,” is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,430 meters (7,970 ft.) above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 80 kilometers (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas,” it is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World. The Incas started building the estate around 1400 AD, but it was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction.
    Links: Top Ten Peruvian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machu_Picchu,
  2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Rio de Janeiro is the 2nd largest city of Brazil, and the 3rd largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th largest in the Americas and 26th in the world. The city was the capital of Brazil for nearly two centuries, from 1763 to 1815 during the Portuguese colonial era, 1815 to 1821 as the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, and 1822 to 1960 as an independent nation. Rio is nicknamed the Cidade Maravilhosa or “Marvelous City.” Rio de Janeiro represents the 2nd largest GDP in the country (and 30th largest in the world in 2008), estimated at about R$ 343 billion (IBGE/2008) (nearly US$ 201 billion), and is the headquarters of two major Brazilian companies, Petrobras and Vale, and major oil companies and telephony in Brazil, besides the largest conglomerate of media and communications companies in Latin America, the Globo Organizations. The home of many universities and institutes, it is the 2nd largest center of research and development in Brazil, accounting for 17% of national scientific production according to 2005 data. Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Some of the most famous landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (‘Cristo Redentor’) atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world’s largest football stadiums. The 2016 Summer Olympics will take place in Rio de Janeiro, which will mark the first time a South American city hosts the event. Rio’s Maracanã Stadium will also host the final match for 2014 FIFA World Cup. Rio de Janeiro will also host World Youth Day in 2013.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, Sculptures, Top 100 South American Sculptures, Top Ten Carnival Celebrations, Beaches, Top Ten South American Beaches, Top Ten Theatres, Top Ten Arenas, Top Ten Soccer Stadiums, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_de_Janeiro,
  3. São Paulo, Brazil

    São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world’s 7th largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the 2nd most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among the five-largest metropolitan areas on the planet. São Paulo is the capital of the state of São Paulo, which is the most populous Brazilian state, and exerts strong regional influence in commerce and finance as well as arts and entertainment. São Paulo maintains strong international influence and is considered an Alpha World City. The name of the city honors Saint Paul. The metropolis has significant cultural, economic and political influence both nationally and internationally. It houses several important monuments, parks and museums such as the Latin American Memorial, the Museum of the Portuguese Language, São Paulo Museum of Art and the Ibirapuera Park. The Paulista Avenue is the most important financial center of São Paulo. The city holds many high profile events, like the São Paulo Art Biennial, the Brazil Grand Prix Formula 1 Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Fashion Week, ATP Brasil Open, and the São Paulo Indy 300. It is home to the São Paulo Stock Exchange, the Future Markets, and the Cereal Market Stock Exchanges (the 2nd largest stock exchange in the World, in market value). São Paulo has been home to several of the tallest buildings in Brazil, including the building Mirante do Vale, Italia, Altino Arantes, North Tower of the UNSCOM (United Nations Center Enterprise) and many others. The city’s Latin motto, which it has shared with the battleship and the aircraft carrier named after it, is Non dvcor, dvco, which translates as “I am not led, I lead.” The city, which is also colloquially known as “Sampa” or “Cidade da Garoa” (city of drizzle), is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, its architecture, gastronomy, severe traffic congestion and multitude of skyscrapers.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten South American Museums, Top Ten Brazilian Museums, Top Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Bridges, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A3o_Paulo,
  4. Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the 2nd largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent. Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the 4th largest conurbation in Latin America, with a population of around 13 million. The city of Buenos Aires is not a part of the Buenos Aires Province, nor is it its capital; rather, it is an autonomous district. In 1880, after decades of political infighting, Buenos Aires was federalized and removed from Buenos Aires Province. The city limits were enlarged to include the towns of Belgrano and Flores. The 1994 constitutional amendment granted the city autonomy, hence its formal name: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires. Its citizens first elected a Chief of Government (Mayor) in 1996; before, the Mayor was directly appointed by the President of the Republic. People from Buenos Aires are referred to as porteños (people of the port). Buenos Aires is a top tourist destination, and is known for its European style architecture and rich cultural life.
    Links: Top Ten Argentine Attractions, Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buenos_aires,
  5. Lines and Geoglyphs of Nazca and Pampas de Jumana, Peru

    The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert of Peru. They have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 kilometres (50 mi) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana. Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 200 BC and 700 AD. The hundreds of individual figures range in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks or orcas, llamas, and lizards. The lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the ubiquitous reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish ground beneath. Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than seventy are designs of animal, bird, fish or human figures. The largest figures are over 200 meters (660 ft.) across. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but they generally ascribe religious significance to them, as they were major works that required vision, planning and coordination of people to achieve.
    Links: Top Ten Peruvian Attractions, Top Ten Archeological Mysteries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazca_Lines,
  6. Easter Island

    Moai, or mo‘ai, are monolithic human figures carved from rock on the Polynesian island of Easter Island between the years 1250 and 1500. Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island’s perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-fifths the size of their bodies. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna). The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island, but most would be cast down during later conflicts between clans. The 887 statues’ production and transportation is considered a remarkable creative and physical feat. The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 meters (33 ft.) high and weighed 82 tons; the heaviest erected was a shorter but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tons; and one unfinished sculpture, if completed, would have been approximately 21 meters (69 ft.) tall with a weight of about 270 tons.
    Links: Top Ten Chilean Attractions, Top Ten Easter Island Attractions, Top 100 Monuments, Sculptures, Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island,
  7. Brasília, Brasil

    Brasília is the capital city of Brazil. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,562,963 (3,716,996 in the metropolitan area) as of 2008, making it the 4th largest city in Brazil. Brasília hosts 124 foreign embassies. As the national capital, Brasília is the seat of all three branches of the Brazilian government. The city also hosts the headquarters of many Brazilian companies. Planning policies such as the location of residential buildings around expansive urban areas, as well as building the city around large avenues and dividing it into sectors, have sparked a debate and reflection on life in big cities in the 20th century. The city’s design divides it into numbered blocks as well as sectors for specified activities, such as the Hotel Sector, the Banking Sector or the Embassy Sector. The city was planned and developed in 1956 with Lúcio Costa as the principal urban planner and Oscar Niemeyer as the principal architect. On April 22, 1960, it formally became Brazil’s national capital. Viewed from above, the main portion of the city resembles an airplane or a butterfly. Residents of Brasília are known as brasilienses or candangos (the latter referring to those not born in the city, but migrated there when the city was established). In local usage, the word “Brasília” usually refers only to the First Administrative Region within the Distrito Federal (Federal District), where the most important government buildings are located. Brasília has a unique status in Brazil, as it is an administrative division rather than a legal municipality like nearly all cities in Brazil.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, Top Ten Cathedrals, Sculptures, Top 100 South American Sculptures, Top Ten Stadiums, Top Ten Soccer Stadiums, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bras%C3%ADlia,
  8. Amazon Rainforest

    The Amazon Rainforest is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America. This basin encompasses 7 million square km (1.7 billion acres), of which five and a half million square km (1.4 billion acres) are covered by the rainforest. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombian Amazon with 10%, and with minor amounts in, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and France (French Guiana). States or departments in four nations bear the name Amazonas after it. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and it comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Top Ten Forests, Top Ten Rainforests, Top Ten Birds, Top Ten Rivers, Top Ten Waterfalls, Top Ten Frogs/Toads, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Rainforest,
  9. Tiwanaku, Bolivia

           Tiwanaku, the spiritual and political center of the Tiwanaku culture, is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia, South America. Tiwanaku is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing as the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for approximately five hundred years. The ruins of the ancient city state are near the south-eastern shore of Lake Titicaca in the La Paz Department, Ingavi Province, Tiwanaku Municipality, about 72 km (44 miles) west of La Paz. The site was first recorded in written history by Spanish conquistador and self-acclaimed “first chronicler of the Indies” Pedro Cieza de León. Leon stumbled upon the remains of Tiwanaku in 1549 while searching for the Inca capital Qullasuyu. Some have hypothesized that Tiwanaku’s modern name is related to the Aymara term taypiqala, meaning “stone in the center,” alluding to the belief that it lay at the center of the world. However, the name by which Tiwanaku was known to its inhabitants may have been lost, as the people of Tiwanaku had no written language.
    Links: Top Ten Bolivian Attractions, Top 100 RuinsTop Ten Gates, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiwanaku,
  10. Bogotá, Colombia

    Bogotá, Distrito Capital, from 1991 to 2000 called Santa Fé de Bogotá, is the capital city of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, even though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent Capital district and no longer belongs administratively to that department. Bogotá is the most populous city in the country, with an estimated 7,304,384 inhabitants (2009). Bogotá and its metropolitan area, which includes municipalities such as Chía, Cota, Soacha, Cajicá and La Calera, had an estimated population of 8,566,926 in 2009. In terms of land area, Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia, and one of the biggest of Latin America. It figures amongst the 30 largest cities of the world and it is the 3rd highest capital city in South America (after La Paz and Quito) at 2,625 meters (8,612 ft) above sea level. With its many universities and libraries, Bogotá has become known as “The Athens of South America.” Bogotá owns the largest moorland of the world, which is located in the Sumapaz Locality.
    Links: Top Ten Colombian Attractions, Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, Top Ten Gold Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogot%C3%A1,
  11. Montévideo, Uruguay

    Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento. According to the census of 2004, Montevideo has a population of 1,325,968 (about half of Uruguay’s population). It has an area of 530 square kilometers (200 sq mi) and extends 20 kilometers (12 mi) from west to east. The southernmost cosmopolitan capital city in the Americas and 3rd most southern in the world, it is situated in the southern coast of the country, on the northeastern bank of the Río de la Plata, “Silver River.” The city was under brief British rule in 1807 and was involved in the first major naval battle in WWII: the Battle of the River Plate. It is also the place where the Montevideo convention was signed, in 1933, by 19 nations of the Americas. The city hosted the 1st FIFA World Cup in 1930. Montevideo has a rich architectural and cultural heritage, the latter including tango and candombe. According to Mercer Human Resource Consulting, in 2007 Montevideo provided the highest quality of life in Latin America. Described as a “vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life,” it is the hub of commerce and higher education in Uruguay: its first university, the Universidad de la República, was founded in 1849. The architecture of Montevideo reflects its history, ranging from colonial to Art Deco, and influenced by Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and British immigrants.
    Links: Top Ten Uruguayan Attractions, Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montevideo,
  12. Historic Centre of San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador

           San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of  approximately 2,504,991 (2005), Quito is the 2nd most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of Metropolitan District of Quito. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations. The elevation of the city’s central square (Plaza de La Independencia) is 2,800 m (9,200 ft), making Quito the 2nd highest administrative capital city in the world after La Paz, Bolivia, and the highest legal capital (ahead of Sucre, also in Bolivia, and Bogotá, Colombia). The central square of Quito is located about 25 km (16 mi) south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 km (0.62 mi) of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word ecuador is Spanish for equator.
    Links: Top Ten Ecuadorean Attractions, Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quito,
  13. Pumapunku, Boliva

           Pumapunku is part of a large temple complex or monument group that is part of the Tiwanaku Site near Tiwanaku, Bolivia. In Aymara, its name means, “The Door of the Cougar.” The complex consists of an unwalled western court, a central unwalled esplanade, a terraced platform mound that is faced with megalithic stone, and a walled eastern court. The Pumapunku is a terraced earthen mound that is faced with megalithic blocks. It is 167.36 m wide along its north-south axis and 116.7 m long along its east-west axis. On the northeast and southeast corners of the Pumapunku it has 20-meter wide projections that extend 27.6 meters north and south from the rectangular mound. The eastern edge of the Pumapunku is occupied by what is called the “Plataforma Lítica.” The Plataforma consists of a stone terrace that is 6.75 by 38.72 meters in dimension. This terrace is paved with multiple enormous stone blocks. The Plataforma Lítica contains the largest stone slab found in both the Pumapunku and Tiwanaku Site. This stone slab is 7.81 meters long, 5.17 meters wide and averages 1.07 meters thick. Based upon the specific gravity of the red sandstone from which it was carved, this stone slab has been estimated to weigh 131 metric tons. The core of the Pumapunku consists of clay. The fill underlying selected parts of the edge of the Pumapunku consists of river sand and cobbles instead of clay. Excavations at the Pumapunku have documented “three major building epochs, in addition to small repairs and remodeling.” At its peak, Pumapunku is thought to have been “unimaginably wondrous,” adorned with polished metal plaques, brightly colored ceramic and fabric ornamentation, trafficked by costumed citizens, elaborately dressed priests and elites decked in exotic jewelry. Our understanding of this complex is limited due to its age, the lack of a written record, the current deteriorated state of the structures due to treasure hunting, looting, stone mining for building stone and railroad ballast, and natural weathering. The area within the kilometer separating the Pumapunku and Kalasasaya complexes has been surveyed using ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry, induced electrical conductivity, and magnetic susceptibility. The geophysical data collected from these surveys and excavations have revealed in the area between the Pumapunku and Kalasasaya complexes the presence of numerous man-made structures. These structures include the wall foundations of buildings and compounds, water conduits, pool-like features, revetments, terraces, residential compounds, and widespread gravel pavements all of which now lie buried and hidden beneath the modern ground’s surface.

    Links: Top Ten Bolivian Attractions, Top 100 SymbolsTop Ten Historic Swastikas, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puma_Punku,
  14. Galápagos Islands National Park, Ecuador

           The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean, 972 km (525 mi) west of continental Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands and its surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park, and a biological marine reserve. The islands are geologically young and famed for their vast number of endemic species, which were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. The first crude navigation chart of the islands was done by the buccaneer Ambrose Cowley in 1684. He named the individual islands after some of his fellow pirates or after the English noblemen who helped the privateer’s cause. More recently, the Ecuadorian government gave most of the islands Spanish names. While the Spanish names are official, many users (especially ecological researchers) continue to use the older English names, particularly as those were the names used when Charles Darwin visited.
    Links: Top Ten Ecuadorean Attractions, National Parks, Top Ten South American National Parks, Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_Islands,
  15. Iguazú National Park, Argentina

           The Iguazú National Park is a national park of Argentina, located in Iguazú, in the north of the province of Misiones, Argentine Mesopotamia. It has an area of 550 square km (212 sq mi).
    Links: Top Ten Argentine Attractions, National Parks, Top Ten Waterfalls, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iguaz%C3%BA_National_Park,
  16. Bonus: Sacred City of Caral-Supe, Peru

    Caral is a large settlement in the Supe Valley, near Supe, Barranca province, some 200 km north of Lima. Caral is the most ancient city of the Americas, and is a well-studied site of the Caral civilization or Norte Chico civilization.
    Links: Top Ten Peruvian Attractions, Top Ten Ancient Cities, Top Ten Spiritual Destinations on Earthhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caral,
  17. Links: Attractions, Top Ten South American Museums, Top Ten South American Resorts, Top Ten South American Hotels, Top Ten South American Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_the_Americas,

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