A land of extremes, from the driest desert to the highest waterfall in the world, South America is ablaze with natural wonders and one of the most biodiverse continents on earth. A treasure trove for photographers, for most of these, you don’t need any kind of filter to show-off just how incredible these hotspots really are.
Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni), Bolivia
Looking like you’re walking on clouds, the Bolivian Salt Flats are what remains of several prehistoric lakes. A completely therworldly landscape, they look like the point where heaven and earth merge and have played host to some truly epic photo shoots over the years, so bring your most creative friends and strategize your poses.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
The world's highest uninterrupted waterfall, the main plunge of Angel Falls is flanked by cascades and rapids, creating some truly beautiful rushing water. A visit to the falls is a complicated affair, however, with flights from Puerto Ordaz or Ciudad Bolívar required to reach Canaima camp. River trips generally only take place from June to December when the water is deep enough to traverse -- so plan accordingly.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Rising like a Phoenix above the Sacred Valley, the ancient Inca civilization of Machu Picchu includes 200 stone buildings and is one of the best examples of pre-historic architecture. One of the 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu is a must-see, if not just to get that iconic photo in front of the greenery.
Atacama Desert, Chile
The driest non-polar place on earth, Atacama is Chile’s answer to Death Valley and what is believed to be the oldest desert on Earth. In fact, some areas have NEVER seen a drop of rain! The soil has been compared to that of Mars, and the area is often used as the setting of space-centric movies and films. A great place for stargazing, Atacama also boasts the clearest night skies on Earth so if you’re into nighttime photography, get ready to be amazed.
Torres del Paine, Chile
The cornerstone of Patagonia’s national park, the pillars of Torres del Paine are one of the 11 protected areas in the Magallanes Region of Chilean Antarctica. The best way to see it are by hiking, climbing, or horseback. With views of the ice fields, glaciers, rivers, mountains, and everything in between, it’s nature at it’s finest.
The River of Five Colors (Caño Cristales), Colombia
Literally a liquid rainbow in Colombia from July through November, Caño Cristales radiates yellow, green, blue, black, and red, thanks to the unique microorganisms that make a home on the river bottom. Until the mid-2000s, the area was guarded by Columbian military and inaccessible to tourists. Today, it’s open, but still fairly hard to reach with no campsites nearby and only one tiny airport that pulls your luggage by mule.
Lake Titicaca, Peru
The highest commercially navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca in the Andes Mountains is the largest lake in South America. Home to more than 530 aquatic species, the geology, flora, and fauna are all breathtaking. A scared place for the Incans, according to mythology, the entire world was born here. And once you take in the sights, you may be hard-pressed to agree.