Beyond Buenos Aires
South America is exciting. The cities are colourful and energised, the people have a passion for life and the natural landscape is extraordinary. You can discover the world's longest mountain range, largest rainforest and highest waterfall. Once you've developed a taste for South American travel, you'll be back - there are 12 countries awaiting your attention. Here we're focusing on the three that team perfectly with Buenos Aires.
Just across the river from Buenos Aires is Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. This city offers many perspectives - it has historic art deco and neoclassical architecture, modern high-rises, vibrant beach communities and a fascinating cultural life. From Marina del Norte in Buenos Aires, it takes around three hours to reach Montevideo by ferry.
Things to do in Montevideo:
- Listen to music and do a little shopping at Mercado del Puerto, the port market near the ferry terminal
- Compare Buenos Aires steak with Montevideo steak at a parrilla in Punta Carretas
- Explore old Montevideo by walking from Zabala to Plaza Independencia. Along the way you'll see Palacia Salvo, once the tallest building in South America; Palacia Estevez, now a museum; El Cabildo, the city hall; Club Uruguayo, a neoclassical building that's now a private social club; and Casa de Lavalleja, a grand house built in 1783
- Ramble along Rambla de Montevideo, the coastal avenue that runs along the Rio de la Plata
- Catch a live performance at either Auditoria del Sodre (modern) or Teatro Solis (historic)
- See the countryside on a guided horse trek and tour a historic Spanish colonial farm house
- Discover Uruguay wine on a guided tasting tour to the Canelones wine region, which is known for tannat, a red wine grape that comes from the Basque region of Spain
Rio de Janeiro is the city of joie de vivre, lust for life and carpe diem. Spend a few days here, or even a week, and you'll discover a new level of travel confidence.
Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains, the capital of Chile is breathtakingly different. It's all about views here - high-rises and snowy mountain tops are an incredible pairing from every angle.
Things to do in Santiago:
- Explore Santiago's most significant sights on a half-day guided tour of the city. Visit monuments, plazas and landmarks, including the bohemian neighbourhood of Bellavista and the neo-classical splendour of Moneda Palace
- If you'd rather go self-guided, use the Santiago open-top hop-on hop-off buses to see the city. The buses circulate around 12 stops in central Santiago
- Take a day trip to Valparaiso Port and Vina del Mar, travelling through Chile's spectacular countryside and pausing in the picturesque Casablanca Valley to taste Chilean wine. Vina del Mar is a gorgeous beach; Valparaiso's is famous for its colourful sprawl of houses and hills
Head up to Cajon del Maipo in the mountains southeast of Santiago. Attractions include El Morado Natural Monument, hiking trails to the San Francisco Glacier and Laguna Morales, and Banos Morales thermal springs. You might even see Andean condors up here.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sunsets and samba, cable cars, Christ the Redeemer and girls from Ipanema with surfboards - Rio de Janeiro is the city of joie de vivre, lust for life and carpe diem. Spend a few days here, or even a week, and you'll discover a new level of travel confidence.
Things to do in Rio:
- Take an open-air jeep sightseeing tour that includes the picturesque Santa Teresa historic residential area; Tijuca, the world's largest urban forest; and Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer statue, high on Corcovado Peak - crafted in the 1920s, this iconic colossus is one of the 'new seven wonders of the world'
- Dine at Marius Degustare on Copacabana Beach. Its unique décor includes an incredible collection of antique pieces from old ships, so you're surrounded by memories of explorers, fishermen, traders and pirates. As you'd expect, the menu at Marius is laden with seafood, as well as world-famous steaks. After a sumptuous dinner, you can stretch your legs with a stroll to the night markets
- Enjoy a toe-tingling cable car ride up the Sugar Loaf. The first leg of the ascent stops at the summit of Morro da Urca. The second leg completes the journey to Pao de Acucar, where you can toast the sunset with a cocktail
- Sign up for samba lessons at Rio Scenarium in the historic district of Lapa. This venue has been described as 'the most beautiful bar in Rio'
Sao Paulo, Brazil
With its feverish energy, decadent nightlife and dynamic culture, this Brazilian megalopolis will expand your mind and test your stamina. It's South America unfiltered - you'll never feel like a clichéd tourist while you're checking out this supercity.
Things to do in Sao Paulo:
- Roam Ibirapuera Park, a large urban green space with museums, galleries, a planetarium and bike trails
- See one of Latin America's most important art collections at Sao Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), which includes works by many European masters - from Botticelli and Rembrandt to Van Gogh and Picasso
- Admire the magnificence of Sao Paulo Cathedral, one of the largest neo-gothic cathedrals in the world. Its crypt is the final resting place of every bishop and archbishop from Sao Paulo
- Eat a mountainous mortadella sandwich, an iconic Sao Paulo food experience, at the food court within the historic Municipal Market
- Head up the Altino Arantes Building (Banespa Tower), which took a decade to build (1939 to 49). The observation deck provides panoramic views of the city and the Serra da Cantareira mountain range to the north
- Visit the Football Museum to learn more about South America's enduring obsession with the beautiful game
- Wander Beco do Batman, a cobblestone laneway that's thoroughly embellished with street art
- Feel the beat of the Galeria do Rock, a retail complex devoted to rock and hip hop music
- Enjoy a refined morning or afternoon tea at Casa das Roas, a café within a huge historic mansion
- Look for monkeys, toucans and capybaras in Albert Lofgren State Park, in the far north of the Pedra Branca district