Interested in visiting South America’s most beloved World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)?
In total, UNESCO has 59 World Heritage Sites in South America. From colonial Ouro Preto, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, to the ruinous San Agustín Archaeological Park in the western highlands of Colombia. Below is a list of experiences showcasing South America’s UNESCO World Heritage sites and suggestions about how to explore them:
Colonial Gems & Historic Cities in Brazil Tour – Starting in Brazil’s sixth largest city, Belo Horizonte, visitors will make their way to Ouro Preto, a city designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Due to its rich gold mining history and spectacular baroque architecture, visitors will traverse the town’s quaint streets lined with boutique shops, restaurants, art galleries, cafes and bars. The city breathes Brazil’s rich Portuguese colonial heritage, and features sites such as São Francisco de Assis, a church show-casing the work of one of the country’s most revered artists, Antonio Francisco Lisboa. Outside of visiting other picturesque colonial towns such as Paraty and Petropolis, travelers will make their way to one of the world’s most iconic destinations, Rio de Janeiro, where they will see the emblematic “Christ the Redeemer” as well as breathtaking, panoramic views of the city from the statue’s home, Corcovado Mountain.
Classic Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu Tour – Adventurers can head to the Peruvian Andes where they will explore the UNESCO World Heritage city, Cuzco. Cuzco houses famous landmarks including the ruins of Sacsay-huaman and the main square, Plaza de Armas. Following Cuzco, travelers will take a three-hour scenic train ride to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu – built by the Incas, the region demonstrates the power and skill of the Inca Empire. Also known as “the lost city of the Incas,” explorers will marvel at the well-preserved Inca stonework and ancient structures that make it one of the world’s most enchanting sites.
Colombia Archaeology Tour to San Agustín Ruins – History-buffs will love visiting UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Agustín Archaeological Park, in Colombia, which is home to more than 35 statues that make up South America’s largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures. Within the park, visitors can travel by horseback to El Tablón and La Chaquira, which features divinities carved into a punctuated mountain face and a view of the stunning Río Magdalena. Later, relaxation awaits in the Spanish colonial town of Popayán, where travelers will enjoy thermal baths made possible by the nearby Puracé Snow Volcano. Having found zen and rejuvenation in the hot springs, guests can then ponder through a colorful indigenous market, highlighting local Guimiano culture, in nearby Silvia.