Historical sites dot the world’s landscape, giving us a window into our past. Whether social, military-related or possessing some other form of relevance, millions of people each and every year travel the globe in order to get a glimpse of many of these interesting archaeological finds.
The United Nations gives a special destination to various sites that demonstrate immense social and cultural value, known as UNESCO sites. On the continent of South America, there are roughly 60 of these sites scattered from Columbia to Argentina, providing travellers with plenty of opportunities to explore our ancient past. Here, we’ve put together a list of the top four UNESCO sites in South America for you to consider when you plan your next journey.
Once a prominent city of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu in Peru is likely the most well-known UNESCO site around the world that is located in South America. Situated roughly 7,500 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains, you’ll have to fly or drive into Cusco and then take a train from there to the mountain. It is so high up in the mountains that only a few people even knew of its existence before the 20th century; a huge canopy of clouds keeps the former city enveloped and out of sight of those who do not dare to journey up to the summit.(Image by Marito Bonito)
Salvador de Bahia
Known to many as the former capital of Brazil, Salvador de Bahia is located north of Rio de Janeiro and is situated along the coast. It is here that most of Brazil’s trade and immigration entered the country, creating a melting pot between Europe, Africa and Native America throughout the 1500s, 1600s and 1700s. The Renaissance architecture and city planning are still visible to tourists, with a plethora of art, music and dance in the city’s atmosphere for all those choose to visit.
Rapa Nui National Park
Isolated in the South Pacific off the coast of Chile, Rapa Nui National Park is situated on a small island commonly referred to as Easter Island. The Rapa Nui were inhabitants of this small island and survived for thousands of years without experiencing any direct contact with other civilizations. The people here quarried large pieces of stone to make more than a dozen giant moai, figures of their gods, that are now recognized by most people across the world. If you plan to come to this island, you’ll be able to see them, in addition to fishing, snorkelling, hiking and exploring the dormant volcanoes in the area.(Image by ARNAUD)
The Galapagos Islands
One of the most popular UNESCO sites in the entire world, the Galapagos Islands are located off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. It was here that Charles Darwin first made observations that led him to form the Theory of Evolution. Today, there are plenty of tours offered on the islands – reachable by boat or plane – to let you immerse yourself in the beauty of this isolated tropic climate. Cruises are also available that can run up to 5 days around the islands, letting you enjoy things at your own time and on your own terms. With some of the most biodiversity in the world, you won’t want to miss the epic flora and fauna that can be seen here.
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Feature image by georges