21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America

By Lyza Paloma October 1st, 2020 Posted in South America & Antarctica Travel Blog, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 6 Comments

Off to South America? Here’s a list of less-traveled destinations in South America with Suggested Tours.

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo by DAVIS VARGAS on Unsplash

South America is a known place for backpacking as it is cheap and filled with many sites. Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, or Lima – you’ve probably heard of them as they are popular in that continent. However, South America also has hidden gems and off-beaten places that tourists or backpackers don’t visit often.

Check out our list of less-traveled destinations in South America – it’s not overcrowded with tourists, so you can fully enjoy the scenery and culture!

1. Aguas Calientes, Peru

21 Less traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

Getting Here: Ride a train from Ollantaytambo or Cusco

Machupicchu Pueblo or Aguas Calientes, is the town nearest to the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu. Its name, Aguas Calientes, means Hot Springs, which are abundant in this town. After your hike to Machu Picchu, spend some time soaking in the hot springs here and touring this charming little place.

Suggested Tours: From Aguas Calientes: Machu Picchu Guided Tour

2. Arequipa, Peru

Ruta de Sillar, Arequipa Peru
This is Ruta de Sillar, just 20 minutes drive from our house in Arequipa

Getting Here: Nearest Airport is Rodriguez Ballon Airport, you can also take a night bus, but it would take you at least 10 hours from Cusco or Lima

Though there are no Inca Ruins in Arequipa, the city of Arequipa is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The historical city center is actually a harmony of European designs and native techniques. You check out the architecture of the buildings as you stroll around Peru’s “legal capital.”

Suggested Tours: Half day City Tour Arequipa

3. Asuncion, Paraguay

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo by Vale Martinez on Unsplash

Getting Here: You can ride a plane to Silvio Pettirossi International Airport; a bus from Buenos Aires (Argentina) would take at least half a day while from Brazil more than 21 hours

Paraguay is one of the less-traveled destinations in South America. However, you should definitely stop by, especially in their capital, Asuncion. It’s cheap and offers you buildings with great architecture from the Metropolitan Cathedral to the Placio de Los Lopez.

4. Baños, Ecuador

DIY Itinerary in South America

Getting Here: You can get a bus from Quito, and it would take more than 3 hours

The adventure capital of Ecuador and the gateway to Amazon is Baños. Baños de Agua Santa means “Baths of Sacred Water, as there are many thermal springs in the area. It’s on the foothills of Tungurahua Volcano, so before entering the Amazon, you should bathe in one. It is also home to 60 plus waterfalls and near rivers, so don’t you miss out on adventures like hiking, rafting, canyoning, and many more.

Suggested Tours: Baños de Agua Santa: White Water Rafting

5. Belem, Brazil

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo from mike CC BY-SA 2.0

Getting Here: The nearest airport is Val-de-CaesAiport, buses from the nearest famous city, Brasilia, to Belen would take more than a day and a half

Belem (Belem do Para), meaning Bethlehem, is located in the north of Brazil. It’s not as popular as Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, or Brasilia but definitely has its own appeal. It’s the gateway to the Amazon River and has quite many colonial buildings. The churches and the market should not be missed.

Suggested Tours: Ver-o-Peso Market and Full-Day City Tour with Lunch

6. Canaima National Park, Venezuela

Getting Here: Ride a plane from Ciudad Bolivar or Caracas

Canaima National Park is another one in our list of less-traveled destinations in South America. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the home of Angel Falls, the highest in the world. It’s pretty big and said to be the size of Belgium! However, access to this part of the country is hard; you’ll need to travel by plane and explore mostly by foot or boat.

7. Copacabana, Bolivia

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo by Azzedine Rouichi on Unsplash

Getting Here: Ride a plane to Copacabana Airport, you can also ride a bus from La Paz, and it would take about 3 hours

I bet when you read this, you remembered the song, but sorry, the song referred to the beach in Rio de Janeiro and not this small town in Bolivia. Copacabana is a town near Lake Titicaca; the name fits as it means the view of the lake. It’s pretty relaxing here and a place where you can stroll around or catch some trout. You could also leave for a day trip to Isla Del Sol.

Suggested Tours: Titicaca Lake, Copacabana, and Isla del Sol Day Trip

8. Cordoba, Argentina

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo by Walter “CheToba” De Boever on Unsplash

Getting Here: There is a Cordoba Airport; however, from Buenos Aires, you can ride a train or bus

There are perhaps many cities named Cordoba, but on our list is the one in Argentina. After Buenos Aires, it’s the second most populous city; however, after touring the capital, people leave and go to the next country. One should not miss this as there is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the city, the Jesuit Block. Aside from those, there are also many historical buildings from the European occupation.

Suggested Tours: Cordoba Horseback Riding with BBQ

9. Cuenca, Ecuador

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo by Juan Ordonez on Unsplash

Getting Here: There are daily flights from Quito; a bus ride would take about 6 hours

Santa Ana de Los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca sure is a mouthful but you can call it Cuenca, for short. Its center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The layout of the town has been preserved well as well as the historic buildings. Besides those, you can have adventures outside of the city like hiking or going to a national park.

Suggested Tours: Cuenca City Half Day Tour

10. Encarnación, Paraguay

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo from t_y_l CC BY-SA 2.0

Getting Here: The nearest airport is Teniente Amin Ayub Gonzalez Airport; however, you can also ride a bus from Asuncion, but it would take more than 7 hours; you can also cross borders from Posadas, Argentina to here

Encarnación is slowly becoming a hot spot, but it is still not as known as other cities like Buenos Aires or Rio. It’s near a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jesus and Trinidad Jesuit Ruins. What’s a great thing to do here? Well, relax by the beaches and talk with the locals in the “Pearl of the South.”

11. Fortaleza, Brazil

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo from Rosanetur CC BY 2.0

Getting Here: There are international and domestic flights to Pinto Martins; from Brasilia, it would take at least 1 day and 16 hours by bus

Want to enjoy the beach and not leave the city? Well, go to Fortaleza; they have about 16 miles of urban beaches. Enjoy or relax in the sun, at night, go to clubs and parties. Aside from those, you can also check out its historic center with colorful colonial buildings. Fortaleza is one of the less-traveled destinations in South America but will be totally worth it.

Suggested Tours: Fortaleza Beach Park Tickets

12. Georgetown, Guyana

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo by Joshua Gobin on Unsplash

Getting Here: Cheddi Jagan Temeri International Airport is the main airport of Georgetown and has flights to the US, Spain, and even the Caribbean; you can also catch buses from Suriname or Brazil

There are many Georgetown all over the world, more than 20 in the US, but this one is the capital of Guyana. Guyana is one of the least visited countries in South America, but you would not miss this out. Georgetown is charming as its buildings and is influenced by the French, Dutch, and English, unlike most of South America with Portuguese or Spanish influences.

13. Los Roques, Venezuela

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo from Alessandro Caproni CC BY 2.0

Getting Here: You can get a flight from Caracas

One less traveled paradise on our list is Archipelago de Los Roques. They are islands in the Caribbean Sea that’s part of Venezuela. It’s a national park filled with birds, marine life, and gorgeous beaches. Aside from swimming, you can snorkel, see turtles hatch, or windsurf.

14. Montevideo, Uruguay

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo by Christian von Koenig on Unsplash

Getting Here: The nearest airport Carrasco International Airport, from Buenos Aires, Argentina; you can travel by boat; you can also get a bus from Cordoba, Argentina for about 12 hours

Although Montevideo is Uruguay’s capital, it’s on our list since many people skip the country. Don’t! Montevideo has historic buildings and gorgeous beaches. You can get guided tours from volunteers, the government, or private entities.

Suggested Tours: Montevideo 3-Hour Bike Tour

15. Paramaribo, Suriname

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America

Getting Here: Have a Flight to Paramaribo-Zanderij International Airport; you can also have a trip from Georgetown, Guyana, to here (via bus and ferry)

Suriname is another country in South America that’s skipped by many. However, you should come and visit this nation. Paramaribo or Parbo, the capital, has a historic inner-city considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You should check out the Dutch colonial houses that have been built with local techniques in the 17th-18th century.

16. Patagonia, Argentina

Puerto Tranquilo - The heart of Aysen, Chilean Patagonia

Getting Here: You can take a bus from Buenos Aires, and it will take about a day to a day and a half; you can also ride a plane to Rio Gallegos

With amazing scenery, from gorgeous mountains, stunning glaciers, and fascinating lakes, Patagonia should be on your list. It’s the Southern part of Argentina that’s near Antarctica. Many definitely miss this as they aim to go to another country up North or East, but you should check this out.

Suggested Tours: Perito Moreno Glacier and Optional Boat Cruise

17. Potosi, Bolivia

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo from
Ralf Kayser
CC BY 2.0

Getting Here: from La Paz, you can ride a night bus to Potosi, and it would take about 9 hours

One of the highest cities in the world is Potosi. It’s a city that lies at the foot of Cerro Rico and has much silver ore. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is one of the world’s leading industrial complex during the 16th century. You’ll be amazed!

Suggested Tours: 6-Day Private Best-of-Bolivia Tour

18. Providencia Island, Colombia

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo by Guillermo Bresciano on Unsplash

Getting Here: You can get flights from San Andres to Providencia

The Isla de Providencia is a Caribbean Island that’s part of Colombia but a bit near Nicaragua. It’s one of the less-traveled destinations in South America as most don’t know it. If you want to enjoy the sun and the sea in a tranquil atmosphere, it’s the place to be.

19. Serrania de la Macarena, Colombia

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo from
Fotur Colombia
CC BY 2.0

Getting Here: La Macarena Airport is the nearest airport here, there are flights from Bogota

A National Natural Park with much endemic flora and fauna is Serrania de la Macarena in Colombia. The main attraction here is the River of Five Colors, Caño Cristales, the most beautiful river in the world. It’s so fascinating and beautiful, you should definitely stop here.

Suggested Tours: 3 or 4-Day trip to Caño Cristales with Flight

20. Tolar Grande, Argentina

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo from
AHLN
CC BY 2.0

Getting Here: You can get a ride from Salta

A stunning village in Salta is Tolar Grande. One should come here as there are many gorgeous sites nearby like the Ojos de Mar, with 3-6 small ponds, and Salar de Arizaro, a salt flat. One should venture from Salta and visit this little town.

Suggested Tours: 3-Day Safari to Altiplano High Desert

21. Valparaiso, Chile

21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America
Photo by Loïc Mermilliod on Unsplash

Getting Here: The nearest airport is in Santiago de Chile, then you can ride a bus for about 1.5 hours

Valparaiso is a port city in Chile, the second-most populous city in the country. The historic quarter is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is a Jewel of the Pacific. There are many colonial buildings and exciting funicular lifts.

Suggested Tours: Valparaiso World Heritage Half-Day Walking Tour

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About the Writer

Lyza Paloma

Hey, I’m Lyza! I once was a person who just imagined going to places “one day” but decided to pursue my dreams. My first travel abroad was in Japan, solo, last 2018, and fell in love with the journey since. I’m aiming to visit 10 countries before turning 30 and 2 new places in the Philippines every year. Besides traveling, I love organizing trips, photography, reading, and making new friends. Follow my adventures through my Instagram.​

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6 thoughts on “21 Less-traveled Destinations that will make you visit South America

  1. So much nice memories of SA. I did whitewater rafting in Banos after attempting to climb mt Cotopaxi. So much to do in SA. Great article, I’m feeling nostalgic reading it 🙂

  2. Great write up , Missed a lot of amazing places in Bolivia though , Samaipata which is 3 hours from Santa Cruz Bolivia has amazing sights , best Condor viewing in the world, amazing waterfalls, and is the base for Amboro National Park , Sandboarding in Lomas de Arena is amazing and looking for Jaguars in Madidi and Kaa Iya National Parks are a must while in Bolivia.

  3. I loooove Arequipa and Potosí! Such wonderful places 🙂 but I think that the places on this list are not less travelled. Most of them are on the list of most travellers in South America….

  4. Huaraz has some fantastic hiking opportunities. I’m not sure I agree about Puno though- bit of a tourist trap!

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Written by Lyza Paloma

Lyza is a native of Leyte who spent 10 years studying and working in Cebu before working for Two Monkeys Travel. She decided to stop daydreaming and started to pursue her dreams of traveling to the Philippines and the world. She has already been to 4 countries in Asia and 18 provinces in the Philippines. She’s flexible and can travel solo, with friends, or family. Besides traveling, she loves organizing trips, taking pictures, reading, and making new friends.

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