In speaking about South America, we often first think of iconic locations such as the Amazon rainforest and the famed ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru. However, the eastern side of the continent also calls home a few iconic sites – Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires in Argentina, and the mighty Iguassu Falls on the border of these two countries.
Rio was won in battle by the Portuguese over the French in 1565, and became an important stop on the trade and exploration voyages between the old and new worlds. With gold and silver, then coffee becoming the backbone of the fledgling colony, this port town on the Atlantic quickly grew to a powerhouse for trade and the developing Brazilian economy. Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s most beautiful coastal cities, featuring majestic mountains dotting the backdrop to the Christ the Redeemer statue, as well as the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.
To the south is Argentina, with its cultural hotbed of a capital, Buenos Aires. Yet another port town, located on the shores of the Río de la Plata on the border of Uruguay, Buenos Aires acted as an important transportation and administration hub for the Spanish during the 17th and 18th centuries. Known as the home of “Eva” Peron, its European café culture and architecture, and of course, the famous Tango dance, this city offers so much to Globetrotters.
Sitting almost geographically in the middle between these two vibrant cities, is one of the world’s largest waterfalls – Iguassu Falls. Legend has it that a deity planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her lover Tarobá in a canoe. In a rage, the deity sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. The Iguassu Falls are one of the most sought after destinations for anyone travelling to South America. Eleanor Roosevelt, when sighting the falls, uttered the famous words, “poor Niagara”.
With options to visit and see the falls from both the Argentinean and Brazilian side, 2 full days should be dedicated to seeing this amazing feat of Mother Nature. Consider a helicopter ride over the falls, a high adrenalin speedboat journey to the base of the falls, or simply walk the many footpaths in and around the waterfall network.
Offering natural beauty, vibrant culture, and fascinating history, the Atlantic side of South America is certainly worth greater exploration!
9-Day Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aires and Rio with Air
4-Day Copacabana Palace – Stay of Distinction
3-Day Iguassu Falls Both Sides (Brazil to Argentina)
4-Day Rio – Jewel in the Crown
3-Day Buenos Aires Highlights