Extend your trip
Visit four more of South America’s natural beauties.
Rainbow Mountain, Peru
The Ausangate Mountain in the Peruvian Andes is painted in mineral-rich stripes of turquoise, gold, orange and red. Although it’s a pilgrimage site for local Quechua people and tourists, there’s no easy way to get there; it involves a journey from the Inca city of Cuzco and a day’s hike to reach its peak. Most people go on foot but those who are less active (or suffering the effects of altitude sickness) can travel on horseback.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Extending from the Patagonian Steppe all the way to the Andes is a magnificent profusion of glaciers, mountains, rivers and lakes. But it’s the torres (towers) from which the park gets its name that people come to see: three granite peaks, spearing heavenwards from the Cordillera Paine, reflected from certain vantage points in the still waters of an ice-blue lake.
Patagonian Lake District, Argentina
Glacial lakes are strung out like watery wayfinders between the northern Patagonian towns of Bariloche and San Martín de los Andes. They guide travellers along the Route of the Seven Lakes, which winds through national parks filled with a head-swivelling abundance of valleys, peaks, waterfalls and forests.
Salt Flats, Bolivia
The world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni, shrouds the high plateau of south-west Bolivia in a veil of white. On closer inspection, you see that these prehistoric lakes have been quilted in geometrically perfect salt crystals. When covered with a film of wet-season rain, they mirror the sky in a dazzling display of optical trickery.