Off-the-Beaten-Path: Must-Visit Destinations in South America


South America is a land of endless possibilities for travelers. From the vibrant culture of Brazil to the breathtaking landscapes of Peru, the continent offers an array of diverse and captivating experiences. While there are many popular tourist destinations in South America, some of the most unforgettable experiences can be found off the beaten path. These hidden gems offer a chance to truly immerse oneself in the local culture, see breathtaking natural wonders, and make unforgettable memories.

In this article, we’ve put together a list of destinations in South America that are not typically found on the tourist circuit. These destinations will give you a taste of the real South America and allow you to experience the beauty, culture, and adventure that this amazing continent has to offer.

So if you’re looking for something a little different, a little more authentic, and a little more off the beaten path, keep reading! By the end of this article, you’ll be inspired to add a few more stops to your South American itinerary and create some unforgettable memories.


South America is a continent filled with breathtaking scenery, vibrant culture, and delicious food. However, many travelers tend to stick to the well-trodden path of popular destinations, missing out on the hidden gems that are off-the-beaten path. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of 15 must-visit destinations in South America that are lesser-known but just as spectacular.

We start our journey in Colombia, a country that is quickly gaining popularity among travelers. Colombia offers a diverse range of landscapes, from the lush Amazon rainforest to the towering Andes mountains. The country’s unique culture and friendly locals also make it a must-visit destination :

  • El Desierto de la Tatacoa: this desert, located in the Huila Department, is a fascinating natural wonder that is often overlooked by visitors to the country. With its red and grey landscapes, unique flora and fauna, and opportunities for stargazing, El Desierto de la Tatacoa is a must-visit destination for nature lovers.
  • Quebrada Las Gachas: a natural pool located in the Santander Department. The crystal-clear water and red rock formations make for a stunning and unique landscape. Visitors can swim in the natural pools, sunbathe on the rocks, and take in beautiful surroundings.

Finally, we recommend visiting the town of Salento, located in the Quindio Department. This charming town is surrounded by the lush greenery of the Cocora Valley and is known for its traditional architecture, coffee farms, and local crafts. Salento is also a great base for exploring the Cocora Valley, which is home to the tallest palm trees in the world.

We hope these off-the-beaten-path destinations in Colombia have inspired you to visit this beautiful country. Don’t forget to check out our full list of 15 must-visit destinations in South America which includes many more hidden gems.


Peru is a country that is very popular among travelers due to its incredible natural beauty, ancient history, and vibrant culture. However, there are many hidden gems in Peru that are off the beaten path and definitely worth exploring.

Here are two hidden gems in Peru that you should consider adding to your itinerary:


Sandoval Lake is a hidden gem in the Peruvian Amazon that offers a unique and unforgettable experience. To reach the lake, you must hike through the jungle, which in itself is an incredible experience. Once you arrive, you’ll be amazed by the crystal-clear waters of the lake and the abundant wildlife that surrounds it. You can take a canoe ride on the lake, hike around the perimeter, or simply relax and take in the stunning views.


Aguas de Huancaraylla is a beautiful natural hot spring located in the Ayacucho region of Peru. This hidden gem is surrounded by stunning mountain views and lush greenery, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind. The hot spring is said to have healing properties and is a popular spot among locals. It’s also a great place to go hiking and explore the surrounding nature.

Don’t miss out on these amazing off-the-beaten-path destinations in Peru. They are truly unique and will give you a glimpse into the incredible natural beauty and culture of this amazing country.

Don’t forget to check out our full list of 15 must-visit destinations in South America which includes many more hidden gems.


Bolivia is a country full of unique culture, history, and landscape that is definitely worth exploring. While many travelers stick to popular destinations like La Paz, the Salt Flats, and Lake Titicaca, there are many hidden gems in Bolivia that are worth discovering. Here are a few off-the-beaten-path destinations that you won’t want to miss:

  • The Chiquitania region: Located in eastern Bolivia, the Chiquitania region is a unique destination that is often overlooked by travelers. This region is known for its rich history and culture, as well as its beautiful natural landscapes. Visitors can explore Jesuit missions that date back to the 17th century, visit local communities and learn about their traditions, or go hiking in the nearby national parks. The Chiquitania region is a great place to get off the beaten path and experience the authentic culture and nature of Bolivia.

Remember, when you’re planning your trip to Bolivia, make sure to include these off-the-beaten-path destinations in your itinerary. By exploring these hidden gems, you’ll get a unique and authentic experience that you won’t find anywhere else.


Ecuador is a country that’s often overlooked by travelers, but it’s filled with hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered. From the Amazon rainforest to the Andes mountains, Ecuador offers a diverse range of ecosystems and cultures to explore. Here are two off-the-beaten-path destinations in Ecuador that are definitely worth a visit:

  • Cayambe Coca National Park: This national park is located in the northern part of Ecuador and is home to the Cayambe Volcano, which is the third-highest peak in the country. The park offers a range of activities for visitors, including hiking, mountain biking, and birdwatching. One of the park’s main attractions is the Papallacta hot springs, which are located at an altitude of over 3,000 meters and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Ecolodge: Located in the cloud forest region of Ecuador, the Santa Lucia Ecolodge offers visitors a chance to experience the country’s unique ecosystem up close. The lodge is situated on a hill overlooking the cloud forest and offers a range of activities, including hiking, birdwatching, and cultural tours. The lodge is also committed to sustainability, and guests can learn about the lodge’s efforts to protect the environment and support the local community.


Chile is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse landscapes, from the towering Andes mountains to the pristine beaches along the Pacific coast. While many tourists flock to popular destinations like Patagonia and Easter Island, there are also many hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

  • MARBLE CAVES The Marble Caves, also known as the Marble Cathedral, is a natural wonder that is located in the middle of General Carrera Lake in Chilean Patagonia. The caves were formed over thousands of years by the waves lapping against the calcium carbonate cliffs, creating a unique geological formation of swirling patterns and stunning blue hues. Visitors can explore the Marble Caves by boat, offering a truly unforgettable experience that is off the beaten path.
  • Other lesser-known destinations in Chile include the Atacama Desert, the Chiloé Archipelago, and the Carretera Austral, a scenic highway that winds through the Patagonian wilderness. These destinations offer a glimpse into the natural and cultural diversity of Chile that can be overlooked by those who stick to the main tourist routes.

Don’t miss out on the chance to explore these hidden gems in Chile and experience the country’s unique beauty and culture beyond the beaten path.


After exploring these off-the-beaten-path destinations in South America, it’s clear that there is so much more to discover beyond the popular tourist attractions. Whether you’re an adventurous traveler seeking out unique experiences or a seasoned explorer looking for something different, these hidden gems offer a chance to see South America in a whole new light.

We hope that this list has inspired you to explore some lesser-known corners of this vibrant continent and to step outside your comfort zone to discover something new.

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