South America is an immense continent, vibrant and beating with rich Latin culture, breathtaking natural beauty and urban hubs of activity. Nowhere else can be found such an intense and mesmerising array of different landscapes, climates and cultures in one continent with one beating spirit.
Always upbeat and forever entertaining, South America caters for an entire continuum of travelling desires; time-defying rainforests for the naturalists, ancient civilisations for the historians and endless vistas for the adventurers. From world-class cities to picturesque seaports and mystifying Incan ruins, there is always something waiting to be discovered in this rich land.
Cruising this immense coastline is like sampling a tiny piece of all the landscapes of the world. Beaches and cliffs, rivers and rainforests, mountains and lakes, smooth fjords and snowy peaks are guaranteed to take your breath away.
Perhaps the most famous of the South American islands are the Galapagos Islands - a dream-like collection of pristine islands, beloved for their unique wildlife and unmatchable sense of discovery. This volcanic archipelago off the coast of Ecuador was made famous by Charles Darwin’s 17th Century scientific visit, and has since become an object of fascinating discovery for scientists worldwide. The Galapagos Islands can be visited by yacht, but travellers must adhere to strict guidelines and specific routes in the interest of preserving the islands’ beloved wildlife.
But the Galapagos Islands are not the only beach-encircled getaway that South America has to offer. Indeed, often overlooked for their remoteness, South America’s rugged coastline is dotted with many desolate and unspoilt islands waiting to be explored. Ilha Grande off the coast of Brazil is known for its cerulean seas, pearly beaches and strong surf waters. For Arctic wildlife lovers, Magdalena Island in the Strait of Magellan, Chile, is waiting for discovery along with its native colony of over 200,000 Magellanic Penguins.
Avid readers should also be sure to stop by Robinson Crusoe Island for the ultimate desert island experience. The largest of the Juan Fernandez Islands off the coast of Chile, it is not difficult to see how DeFoe was inspired by the rugged beauty and formidable desolation of this tropical island.
The Amazon Rainforest, also known as the Amazon Jungle, covers much of Brazil and extends into parts of Colombia and Peru. It is world renowned for its sheer size as the world’s largest rainforest, covering a size close to the lower 48 states of the USA and housing 10% of the world’s biodiversity. It is pocketed with many charming river towns to stop by, and dominated by the world famous Amazon river streaking through it.
Only in South America could lush rainforestry be found in the same continent as Antarctic landscape. The world’s southernmost country Argentina serves as a gateway to the Antarctic, with some brave travellers departing from its tip to cross the famous Drake Passage. But Argentina and Chile, both extremely long countries stretching down a good portion of southern South America, are much more than a gateway to the Antarctic. These southern nations are brimming with breathtaking national parks, icy ravines and glaciers.
Chile’s western coast and staggering south is pure scenic inspiration as mountains, glaciers, inlets and islands demand attention from the yachts that cruise their midst. Paired with a romantically artistic soul and dainty coastal port towns, this lengthy country is an ideal destination for the adventurous sailor.