The Seven Natural Wonders of South America

Tiputini River and Rainforest, Yasuni National Park, Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador, South America

 Danita Delimont / Getty Images

There has been renewed interest in bringing forth new wonders of the modern world, and South America will likely be included in this list in some form or another.

However, South America is so spectacular with a diverse geography it is difficult to choose seven natural wonders of South America but here are some great contenders for this list.

01 of 07

Amazon Rainforest

Bridges over the trees in the Amazon in Peru

TripSavvy / Lauren Breedlove

The Amazon Rainforest is a massive piece of land and water of 1.7 billion acres that touches nearly all of South America including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.

The majority, nearly 60% of it is in Brazil and it is the largest rainforest in the world, remaining generally intact with its biodiversity of species rich due to its remoteness. Its greatest threats are deforestation and climate change which have contributed to droughts in recent years.

02 of 07

Angel Falls

Angel Falls in Venezuela

Francisco Becerro / Creative Commons

Angel Falls are the highest falls in the world and the biggest tourist attraction in Venezuela. Located in Canaima National Park, the falls drop an impressive 979m downward, resulting in most of the water dispersed as mist on the people below.

Many tours are available and advised as the falls are located in dense jungle and require a flight to read the starting point to the base of the falls.

03 of 07

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos coastline.

Jesse Kraft / EyeEm / Getty Images

An archipelago, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, Galapagos Islands attract animal lovers who are attracted by the number of species who appear unaware of unafraid of humans.

These islands originally inspired Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection and continue to leave travelers in awe. Located hundreds of miles in the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Islands are a bucket list item for many travelers.

04 of 07

Iguazu Falls

 Chris VR / TripSavvy

Bordering the three corners of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, Iguazu Falls comprise of 275 cascades that are often compared to Niagara in North America. But Iguazu Falls are far more impressive in grandeur, leading Eleanor Roosevelt to lament "Poor Niagara."

It is relatively easy to visit the falls on both the Brazil and Argentina borders with flights heading into both towns bordering the falls. However, if you enter on the Argentine side and want to see the view from Brazil, you will need a visa which must be obtained in advance as it is not possible at the border.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Salar de Uyuni

salt flat
 Chris VR / TripSavvy

Located in Bolivia, the world's largest salt flat is more than 4,000 sq miles and an altitude of nearly 12,000 ft. Salar de Uyuni is considered one of the most unique areas in the world.

Salar de Uyuni was formed from several prehistoric lakes and is now covered with a crust of salt. The area is amazingly flat and many tourists take advantage of this uniformity by playing with the perspective in photography.

The most photographed site in Bolivia because of its Dali-like appearance. Don't worry about the right time of year to visit as it is beautiful during rainy season with the landscape providing a beautiful reflection.

06 of 07

Atacama Desert

Red lake in the Atacama Desert

 Chris VR

West of the Andes mountain range in Chile, this desert is just a short distance from San Pedro de Atacama. Covering 40,000 sq miles in Northern Chile it is the world's driest desert and travelers remark that they can feel the moisture escaping from their skin when hiking through the area. The area is part of a salt mountain range and you can see outer worldly like shapes of salt that break through the soil to create cactus-like salt formations.

07 of 07

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine in Patagonia.

JKboy Jatenipat / Getty Images

An adventurer lovers paradise, this area located in Chile's Torres del Paine National Park features a playground of mountain ranges and glacial lakes. Travelers head to the South of Chile for one reason, to trek through this challenging area of Patagonia. Many choose the popular 5-day 'W' trail while the more ambitious choose the 9-day loop.