6 Underrated Destinations To Visit in South America in 2024

South America, a continent revered for its iconic landmarks and well-trodden tourist destinations like Machu Picchu, Patagonia or the Amazon Rainforest also harbors a trove of lesser-known treasures awaiting discovery. Next year, set forth on a journey off the beaten path to uncover the enchanting landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and unique experiences offered by some of the continent’s most underrated destinations.

From the colonial charm of Salta, Argentina, to the coastal tranquility of Huanchaco, Peru, and the cultural tapestry of Chiloé Island, Chile, this explorative journey promises to redefine your South American travel experience.

With undiscovered destinations comes a great deal of planning – let us help and create the itinerary that is best for you, your family or your travel companions. Read on to learn our top underrated destinations to travel visit in South America in 2024 and send us a message today to get started planning your trip.

1. Salta, Argentina: A Fusion of Nature and Culture

Salta, Argentina

Discover Salta, Argentina: A hidden gem blending stunning landscapes, rich culture, and the iconic Train to the Clouds.

Nestled in the northwestern region of Argentina, Salta emerges as a hidden gem seamlessly blending stunning landscapes with a rich cultural tapestry. The Calchaquí Valleys, a geological marvel, invite exploration with their rugged canyons and picturesque vineyards, offering a unique perspective on Argentina’s diverse terrain. A must-visit is the iconic Train to the Clouds, one of the highest rail routes globally, providing awe-inspiring views of the majestic Andes Mountains.

Beyond the breathtaking landscapes, Salta’s colonial architecture captivates visitors, offering a glimpse into the region’s historical roots. The city’s well-preserved buildings, adorned with intricate details, reflect the grandeur of a bygone era, creating a charming backdrop for exploration. Immerse yourself in the local culture by experiencing traditional folk music and dance. Salta’s vibrant expressions of heritage echo through its streets, plazas, and lively festivals, providing a sensory journey into the heart of Argentina’s cultural identity.

2. Sucre, Bolivia: Tranquil Oasis of Colonial Elegance

Sucre, Bolivia

Explore Sucre’s historic heart, a UNESCO site with well-preserved colonial architecture, offering a serene escape in Bolivia.

In the heart of Bolivia, Sucre stands as a tranquil oasis distinguished by its white-washed colonial buildings and laid-back ambiance. As the constitutional capital of Bolivia, Sucre’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, invites exploration through narrow streets adorned with well-preserved colonial architecture. The city’s peaceful atmosphere and leisurely pace offer a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of more populous urban centers.

Beyond the city limits, Sucre opens doors to indigenous villages, providing an authentic and immersive experience into Bolivia’s diverse cultural tapestry. Travelers can engage with local communities, gaining insights into traditional practices and rituals that contribute to the vibrant mosaic of Bolivian culture. In 2024, Sucre beckons those seeking a serene escape and an opportunity to uncover the hidden gems embedded in Bolivia’s historical and cultural fabric.

3. Huanchaco, Peru: Surfing, History, and Coastal Serenity

Huanchaco, Peru

A coastal haven blending surfing culture and ancient traditions with the allure of ‘caballitos de totora’ and Pacific waves

For those in search of a coastal escape with a relaxed vibe, Huanchaco in Peru offers an enchanting blend of surfing culture and ancient history. Renowned for its traditional reed boats, known as “caballitos de totora,” Huanchaco preserves cultural traditions that date back centuries. Surf enthusiasts can ride the Pacific waves, immersing themselves in the town’s vibrant surfing culture, while history buffs can explore the nearby archaeological site of Chan Chan.

Huanchaco’s fusion of modern beach culture and historical significance provides a unique travel experience. The town’s relaxed atmosphere and proximity to ancient wonders create an ambiance that transcends the typical coastal retreat. As 2024 unfolds, Huanchaco stands as a coastal haven for those seeking a harmonious blend of adventure, cultural exploration, and seaside tranquility.

4. Barichara, Colombia: Colonial Haven in the Colombian Countryside

Barichara, Colombia

Barichara, Colombia: A timeless colonial town nestled in the countryside, offering a car-free haven for tranquility and cultural immersion.

Nestled in the Colombian countryside, Barichara stands as a picturesque colonial town offering a peaceful retreat from the vibrancy of urban life. Cobblestone streets wind through well-preserved architecture, creating a timeless charm that transports visitors to an era of colonial elegance. One of Barichara’s unique characteristics is the absence of cars, enhancing the town’s tranquility and allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the serenity of their surroundings.

Barichara’s authenticity, coupled with its colonial beauty, creates a haven for travelers seeking a quiet escape and a glimpse into Colombia’s rich cultural heritage. The town’s artisanal workshops, showcasing traditional crafts, and local markets add to the overall experience, inviting visitors to engage with the community and contribute to the preservation of Colombia’s cultural legacy.

5. Samaipata, Bolivia: Nature’s Embrace and Ancient Mysteries

Samaipata, Bolivia

A small-town charm nestled in the Andean foothills, inviting historical exploration and immersion in nature’s wonders.

Tucked away in the foothills of the Andes, Samaipata in Bolivia offers a small-town charm surrounded by nature’s bounty and archaeological wonders. The nearby El Fuerte, a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasts pre-Inca ruins and carvings that unravel the mysteries of ancient civilizations. Samaipata’s relaxed atmosphere becomes a gateway to explore the natural wonders of Amboró National Park and the cultural significance of the region’s indigenous communities.

In 2024, Samaipata beckons those seeking a blend of historical exploration and immersion in the tranquility of nature. Whether hiking through the lush landscapes, discovering ancient carvings, or engaging with local communities, Samaipata provides a multifaceted experience that enriches the understanding of Bolivia’s diverse heritage and its harmonious coexistence with nature.

6. Chiloé Island, Chile: A Cultural Mosaic of Wooden Churches and Palafitos

Chiloé Island, Chile

Explore Chiloé Island off southern Chile, a UNESCO site with wooden churches and palafitos, offering a cultural tapestry of folklore and communal traditions.

Off the coast of southern Chile, Chiloé Island emerges as a unique destination celebrated for its distinctive wooden churches, stilt houses known as palafitos, and rich folklore. The island’s churches, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcase a fusion of Chiloé’s indigenous and European influences, providing a visual narrative of the island’s cultural evolution.

As visitors explore the island, they encounter the traditional “minga,” a communal work system that reflects the collaborative spirit of Chiloé’s communities. Vibrant festivals, deeply rooted in folklore and tradition, further reveal the island’s cultural heartbeat. With its captivating blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty, Chiloé Island promises an unforgettable experience for those willing to venture off the conventional tourist circuit and delve into the authentic soul of Chile’s southern archipelago.

As the new year quickly approaches, the allure of South America extends beyond its iconic destinations to embrace a collection of underrated gems. Salta’s fusion of culture and nature, Sucre’s colonial elegance, Huanchaco’s coastal serenity, Barichara’s countryside haven, Samaipata’s ancient mysteries, and Chiloé Island’s cultural mosaic collectively redefine the South American travel narrative. These destinations beckon intrepid explorers, promising not just a journey through landscapes but an immersion into the rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural wonders that South America, in all its hidden splendor, has to offer.

With every cobblestone street, ancient ruin, and coastal wave, these destinations narrate stories of resilience, heritage, and the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. In 2024, let South America’s underrated gems be your guide, inviting you to uncover the treasures that lie beyond the familiar and embark on a journey of exploration, enlightenment, and unparalleled discovery. Send us a message today to let Kuoda plan your trip to these destinations and more.

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