For those who don’t know South America is a continent that is located South of America (duh!) and consists of 14 countries; Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands (UK), French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela. The most spoken languages here are Portuguese and Spanish (and some minority in French, Dutch and English).

South America has always been one of my favourite and the most memorable continent for me personally. My first South America experience was when I first landed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2009 and fell in love with the country, the people, Latin American culture immediately. My first glimpse and excitement of experiencing an absolutely new culture and discovering exciting new sights in South America really sparked my urge to travel since then.

I really do think that South America is one of few continents that is underrated and does not get the attention it deserves therefore I have compiled this list to share with you all.

1. MOUNT FITZ ROY (PATAGONIA REGION), ARGENTINA + CHILE

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Located in the Southern part of the South America continent, Mount Fitz Roy is one of the most stunning and the most challenging mountains in the region. It is very popular for amongst mountaineer as it is a perfect for trekking, hiking and climbing. Mount Fitz Roy sits beside lake Capri which in combination offers an absolutely breath-taking view.

2. TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK (PATAGONIA REGION), CHILE

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Another perfect nature haven in the Patagonia region, Torres Del Paine National Park is filled with the perfect mixture of with lakes, mountains, forests and glaciers. The best of the best nature landscapes you can dream of gathered in one place!

3. GLACIAR PERITO MORENO (PATAGONIA REGION), ARGENTINA

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Located 80km west of El Calafate in Patagonia’s Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Glaciar Perito Moreno is simply one of its kind. The beauty of ice field ice glacier like a small mountain range combined with the crystal clear lake from melted ice glacier will give you an absolutely unforgettable experience.

4. IGUAZÚ FALLS, ARGENTINA + BRAZIL

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Sitting at the borders of Argentina and Brazil, Iguazú Falls is arguably one of the most magnificent waterfalls in the world. It is claimed to be a ‘better version of Niagra falls’ by many explorers and adventurers. Iguazú Falls should definitely be on the top of your bucket-list if not already!

5. RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

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The city that started it all – this is the very city I got bit by the travel bug! Rio de Janeiro has so charm and beauty no wonder why it is one of the most popular cities not only in Brazil, South America but the World. Rio de Janeiro will also be the host of the world’s biggest sport event this year the 2016 Summer Olympic Games!

5.1 SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN (PÃO DE AÇÚCAR) AND CORCOVADO

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Top landmarks of Brazil hands down, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado are what makes Rio de Janeiro. The peaks can be reached by cable cars which offer the stunning panoramic view over the city – trust me, it will be one of the best things of your life!

5.2  CHRIST THE REDEEMER (CRISTO REDENTO)

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Standing on the peak of Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer is the symbol and the most famous statue in the Brazil. It is also recently crowned one of the 7 new Wonders of the World. The Christ statue overlooks the whole city and you can also climb the stairs inside the statue on to the arm to get the one of the best panoramic views on earth!

5.3 IPANEMA BEACH

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Ipanema beach lies in the Southern part of Rio de Janeiro. It is a world-class beach where you can experience the sub-culture of Brazil alongside the city life. What makes it even more interesting is that Ipanema beach has the Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado as a backdrop making it one of the most picturesque beaches out there.

6. LENÇÓIS MARANHENSES NATIONAL PARK, BRAZIL

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The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is one of the many underrated places in South America. Located in the northeastern part of Brazil, the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is like a desert filled with impressive-looking lagoons.

7. MOUNT RORAIMA & ANGEL FALLS, BRAZIL + VENEZUELA + GUYANA

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Mount Roraima is one of the few flat-top mountains in the world. It offers one of the best trekking trails in South America. It is recommended to hire a guide when you are here to  learn more about the history and the culture and get the most out of your trip. Moreover, Mount Roraima it is also a home to the Angel Falls the World’s No. 1 Tallest Waterfall – yes it is even taller than the famous Victoria Falls in Africa (it is crowned the 2nd tallest).

8. SALAR DE UYUNI, BOLIVIA

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Salar de Uyuni in Southwest of Bolivia is the world’s largest sale flat/lake. The whole area creates an illusion of the mirror-reflection effect.  This place is like a heaven on earth everywhere you look is all white and blue. It is definitely one of the places you never want to miss out in this lifetime!

9. GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS, ECUADOR

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Channels of volcanic islands west of Ecuador, Galápagos Islands are the home to the world’s most exotic rainforest creatures and marine species. The islands can only be reached by boats, planes and helicopters. It offers a truly unique and incredible experience to come so close to the nature unlike anywhere else!

10. INCA TRAIL & MACHU PICCHU, PERU

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Inca Trail is arguably the most prominent trekking trail which leads to famous Machu Picchu. It consists of three overlapping trails offering moderate hiking challenge difficulty. Machu Picchu is was built in the 15th century and most of the ruins still remain intact until today which is why Machu Picchu is often considered as one of the most precious places on earth. Like Christ the Redeemer, Machu Picchu is also crowned as one of the 7 new Wonders of the World.

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OPPORTUNITIES TO TRAVEL IN SOUTH AMERICA FOR FREE! (UP TO THREE MONTHS) WITH LATAM AIRLINES GROUP:

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In celebration of their recent launch of their new blog, Next Stop: Latin America, LATAM Airlines groups (joined force by a world’s leading airlines LAN and TAM) launched a competition offering 3 lucky souls who have the love and passion travelling a chance to win up to 3 months trip in Latin America with International flights and a number of domestic flights as well as a monthly allowance of £1,300 and an explorer kit!

This is an absolutely great opportunity for those who want to take on a once in a lifetime dream trip to South America. Please do hurry as the competition will be open to public only until 22nd February 2016. All you have to do is send a description of your dream trip in Latin America and why you should be selected as an ideal candidate. Registration is available via the website: http://www.nextstoplatinamerica.com/be-an-explorer/