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Top 7 National Parks in South America
South America has many natural reservoirs and World Heritage Sites containing unique fauna and flora, breathtaking landscapes and majestic scenery. You should definitely consider visiting one of South America’s National Parks on your future vacations to this part of the world.
1. Galápagos National Park (Ecuador)
This beautiful isolated archipelago, composed of 15 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets, is the home of astonishing endemic creatures such as the blue footed booby, the giant tortoise and the sea iguana. When you see the Galapagos Islands you’ll easily understand why Charles Darwin spent a year here, and also why in his field notes he defined the Galapagos as: ‘A little world within itself’. Discover the Galapagos on one of our Ecuador tours.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site will delight you with the beauty of its beaches and unique wildlife. There are many thrilling activities you can do too, such as swimming with dolphins, snorkelling among sharks, diving with manta-rays and exploring timeless landscapes.
2. Torres del Paine (Chile)
Torres del Paine is located in the Chilean Patagonia region close to the cities of Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales. Torres del Paine was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. Its main attraction is the majestic scenery of the Paine Massif, highlighted by three granite towers. The flora of the park ranges from grassland to southern beach forests and the wildlife includes Andean Condors, Chilean Flamingos, Pumas, Guanacos (camels), and more.
3. Manu National Park (Peru)
This open gate to the Peruvian Amazon side is also the largest National park in Peru with an extension of 15,328 km². Located in Madre de Dios and Paucartambo, Cusco was also recognized by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve and in 1987, it was pronounced a World Heritage Site. The great variety of wildlife and larger species of the lowland forests includes jaguar and pumas, nine-banded armadillo, several deer species and more. There are 14 species of monkey and for birdwatchers, you have the chance to see over 1,000 bird species if you visit this park on your tour to Peru.
4. Tayrona Natural National Park (Colombia)
The jungle meets soft, sandy, white Caribbean beaches and the archaeological remains of an antique city of the Tayrona civilization across the 37,066 acres of land park located in the north side of Colombia. Among the ecosystems that make up the park you’ll find dry, humid cloud forests here. In the sea and along the coastline are coral reefs, extensions of marine grasses, beaches, rocky areas and excellent places for activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming. Check out our Colombia tours to find out more about other World Heritage sites in Colombia you can visit with us!
5. Sajama National Park (Bolivia)
Sajama National Park is located in the Oruro part of Boliviaand was created in 1939. The highest point is a volcano (4200m) and the park also includes desert plains and hot springs, cave paintings, colonial architecture and original art. Up to 80 pools of different temperatures and sizes are found here – perfect for bathing!
6. Iguazú National Park (Brazil-Argentina)
This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains about 167,000 acres of land composed of breathtaking scenery. It spans two national parks and two countries: Argentina and Brazil. On the Argentinian side there are 250 separate waterfalls. Several endangered species live in Iguazú National Park: jaguars, South American Tapir, wild turkeys and the Harpy Eagle among others. The Vinaceous Amazon, named for its wine-colored plumage, can be found here too along with more than 300 species of bird, 2000 plant species and many, many types of reptiles and mammals.
7. Canaima National Park (Venezuela)
The highest waterfall in the world and mysterious table-top shaped mountains (plateaus) are the main reasons to visit this Venezuelan UNESCO World Heritage site. The famous Tepuis from this park are so isolated they developed their own ecosystems, where you can see plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. These majestic giant plateaus arise throughout the park and are home to the indigenous Pemon Indians. Canaima has varied fauna, distributed throughout the park according to multiple environmental factors such as altitude and vegetation type. The flora comprise over 300 endemic species. Click here to check out our new tours to this destination: Venezuela Vacations.
Author: Carlos Castañeda / Published by: Johana Grisales
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