South America is more than just a destination, it is an exciting adventure to discover and explore. Rather, it’s an intriguing array of cultures, landscapes, and wonders with some of the most breathtaking views and memorable experiences in the entire world.
Fun Facts About South America to Know in 2023
Are you ready to learn more about the enchanting mysteries and hidden tidbits of the allure of South America?
Take a look at 25 fascinating facts and a quick question and answer section to learn more about this amazing destination that will only make you want to visit and experience it for yourself.
1. South America Is Vast and Features Deserts to Rain Forests.
There are a lot of things to see in South America. Did you know that South America spans more than 17.8 million square kilometers and takes up one-eighth of the Earth in the southern part of the Western Hemisphere? That is twice the size of Europe with a landmass that is incredible.
2. The Amazon Rainforest Provides 20% of the World’s Oxygen
The Amazon Rainforest is fascinating with gorgeous lush flora and fauna and is home to more than 10 percent of the earth’s species. It also is the green lung of our planet providing 20% of the world’s oxygen. Now that is truly a global ecological powerhouse.
3. Diversity Diversity Diversity
South America is a very diverse location. Spanish and Portuguese are the two dominant languages but there are more than 450 others spoken throughout the area including indigenous ones like Quechua and Aymara which are still common and widely spoken today.
This is a continent that is rich in diversity, cultural heritage, customs, and a variety of religious beliefs.
4. Home To The World’s Largest Mountain Range
The impressive Andes Mountains that stretch more than 7,000 kilometers, 4,300 miles claim the title of the longest continental mountain range spanning seven countries.
5. South America Is Very High
With plenty of tall things to see in South America, it is safe to say that it has the highest capital in the world. Elevation that it. La Paz in Bolivia boasts an extremely high elevation of 3,650 miles or 11, 975 feet.
6. South America Is Home To Highest Uninterrupted Water Fall
Beautiful indeed, the Angel Falls located in Venezuela, is the world’s highest interrupted waterfall with a height of 979 meters or nearly 3, 300 feet. Its extremely impressive water drops from Canaima National Park’s Auyantepui Mountain, are truly a sight to see.
7. A Delicious Land Of Coffee Beans and Drinks
South America’s Brazil and Columbia are synonymous with top coffee-producing countries throughout the entire world. The unique climate and terrains give their arabica beans and coffee here a distinctive and delicious flavor profile.
Café con leche, coffee with milk, and espresso are two common coffee drinks that are enjoyed here and worldwide.
8. Amazon River, The Second-Longest River On Earth
The notorious Amazon River which begins in Peru and continues through Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil is the second-longest river in the world. The longest is Africa’s Nile River.
9. Ancient Civilizations Thrived in South America
Advanced civilizations like the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs thrived in South America long before the Europeans arrived. The remains of the Incan city, Machu Picchu in Peru is a popular and iconic archeological site to see and explore.
10. South America is Home to Unique Wildlife
Ever heard of capybaras, jaguars, and anacondas? They are unique species that live in South America’s Galápagos Islands among others that are only found in South America. These beautiful creatures are not found anywhere else in the world.
11. Home To The Driest Place on Earth: Atamaca Desert
Known as the driest place on Earth, the Atacama Desert is a stunning sight to see filled with life and color right along Chile’s Pacific coastline.
It hasn’t rained here in centuries, but remarkably there are many plants, animals, and wildlife that are thriving demonstrating nature’s will to survive.
12. Christianity Is The Main South America Religion
Although there are many different religious beliefs and faiths in South America, Christianity is the main religion with more than 50 percent Roman Catholic and 19 percent Protestant. This is due to the Europeans moving to South America and converting the indigenous people to Christian faith.
13. Home of the World’s Largest Salt Flat
The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, South America is the world’s largest salt flat showcasing more than 10 billion tons of salt. After rainfall, it transforms into a massive mirror, reflecting the sky above, offering a surreal experience.
It is also the home of astounding scenes, from giant cactuses and colorful lakes. As a matter of fact, the table salt you eat may come from here. Fun Fact: The blockbuster Star Wars was filed here.
14. Sensual Dance, the Tango’s Birthplace Is Buenos Aires, South America
One of the most popular dances in the world originated in the seedy bars and streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina, The sensual tango is now loved worldwide. Its passionate moves and rhythms perfectly embody South America’s passion, traditions, and energetic spirit.
15. South America is Rich in Natural Resources
Did someone say oil, iron ore, emeralds, silver and gold? South America has some of the largest reserves of natural resources. As a matter of fact, Argentina translates to silver and Venezuela’s oil reserves are bigger than Saudi Arabia’s!
16. Patagonian Luscious Landscapes Are Breathtaking
Patagonia is an extraordinary location in South America that showcases gorgeous lush landscapes that include fascinating glaciers, breathtaking fjords, and picturesque lakes like no other in the world.
17. Pink Dolphins Swim in the Amazon River
They really do exist! The Amazon River is the home to very rare and beautiful pink river dolphins that only live and swim in freshwater.
This is truly a pretty-in-pink sight to see that will leave you spellbound. This amazing creature is considered mythical and the topic of many South American folklore stories.
18. Lively, Fun and Festive Celebrations Held Throughout South America
South America is known for its lively and fun celebrations like the Rio Carnival in Brazil to the Into Raymi in Peru, South Americans know how to celebrate. These lively musical events are a testament to their rich culture, diversity, sense of community, and so much more.
19. The Equator Runs Right Through South America
The Equator, an imaginary line drawn around the planet goes right through the continent of South America and straddles both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
20. South America is A Melting Pot of Diversity
South America is a melting pot of indigenous African, Asian, and European cultures and boasts the most culturally diverse place in the world.
21. South America Is A Culinary Delight
South American cuisine from Peruvian ceviche to Argentina’s asado, world-class Malbec wine, and beloved Yerba maté and everything in between is as diverse and delicious as its amazing landscapes.
Enjoy Latino and European treats including pasta dishes, asado BBQ, tamales, empanadas, humitas, sweet dulce de leche, and a tasty blend of culinary delights.
22. South Americans Have A True Passion for Soccer
Football/soccer is almost like a religion in South America and is its most popular sport. Everyone cheers on their teams. Legendary South American players including Pele, Maradona, and Messi are known throughout the entire world for their athletic talent.
Plus, their teams have won the World Cup twice, an impressive accomplishment for this highly competitive sport.
23. Easter Island A Renowned Archeological Landmark
Easter Island is known for its massive stone statues called Moai. This breathtaking and significant archeological enigma located in Chile is a must-see for everyone who visits the area.
24. South America Rich in Historical Wars and Conflicts
South America is a continent heavily impacted by wars and conflicts, like the War of the Pacific, the Chaco War and the Falkland Islands Conflict. These conflicts launched change throughout the continent and the entire world.
25. Gnocchi Day Is Celebrated in Argentina Monthly
Gnocchi Day is celebrated on the 29th of every month. This Italian tradition started in the 19th Century and commemorates Saint Pantaleon associated with providing comfort food to all.
It’s a day of reflection and enjoying a delicious plate of pasta and sauce, just one culturally observed event that brings the community together.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to visit South America?
The best time varies by region due to its vast size and diverse climates. Generally, the dry season, May to September is best for places like the Andes and the Amazon. Summer is November through February and the winter is June through August.
There is a rainy season between January and March. It is best to determine where you want to visit and plan your trip accordingly.
What countries make up South America?
South America is extremely large and includes 12 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Is it safe to travel to South America?
Like any destination outside the United States, safety varies from region to region. Most tourist destinations are considered safe by the U. S. State Department, but it’s essential to research current conditions and take common-sense precautions before traveling.
What currency is used in South America?
Each South American country has its very own currency, like the Brazilian Real, the Argentine Peso, the Bolivian boliviano, the Chilean peso, the Paraguayan Gurani, the Guyanese dollar, and the Peruvian Nuevo sol. Ecuador accepts the United States dollar.
We recommend that you always have plenty of local currency and a credit card when you travel to South American countries.
Do I need a visa to visit South America?
Visa requirements vary by country and nationality. It’s best to check with the respective embassies before planning your trip. On average if you have a valid United States-issued passport you are welcome and allowed in most South American countries for stays of 90 days or less.
Most countries will require your passport to be valid for at least six months from the time you travel.
Book Your Trip to South America Today!
Now that you know all the unique entertaining, educational, and fun things to experience in wonderful South America, get your family and friends together and plan to visit today.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for – book your trip today and experience for yourself all that South America has to offer. Happy travels!