10 Must Visit UNESCO Heritage Sites in South America

Historic Centre of São Luís, Brazil

The World Heritage–listed historic center of São Luís is an enchanting neighborhood of steamy cobbled streets and pastel-colored colonial mansions, some handsomely restored, many still deep in tropical decay. It’s a charming area with a unique atmosphere and one of the best concentrations of museums, galleries and craft stores in the Northeast; but unfortunately, a general sketchiness pervades some of its streets after dark.

Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

Salvador de Bahia was the first capital of the republic of Brazil – from 1549 to 1763 to be precise. It is an outstanding example of Amerindian, European and African blending. It was home to the first slave market in the ‘New World’. Due to the surrounding sugarcane plantations the slaves had a ready market. Amazingly, the city has managed to keep its renaissance architecture well preserved.

The Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia

The Coffee Region of Colombia often referred to as the Coffee Triangle or locally as the Eje Cafetero is one of the most beautiful areas of Colombia and South America. Make the journey to the source of your morning cup of coffee by visiting the Coffee Triangle which in 2011 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ischigualasto Natural Park, Argentina

Talampaya Park-Argentina, north of Mendoza, part of Moon Valley. The Ischigualasto Formation contains Late Triassic deposits (231-226 Ma), with some of the oldest known dinosaur remains, which are the world’s 1st w/regards to quality/ number/ importance. It is the only place in the world where nearly all of the Triassic is represented in an undisturbed sequence of rock deposits

Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa, Peru

The Historical Centre of Arequipa is an outstanding example of a colonial settlement, challenged by natural conditions, indigenous influences, the process of conquest and evangelization, and the spectacular nature of its setting. Its ornamented architecture represents a masterpiece of the creative integration of European and native characteristics, crucial for the cultural expression of the entire region.

Machu Picchu, Peru

The Machupicchu archaeological complex is located in the department of Cusco, in the Urubamba province and district of Machupicchu. It is perched on the eastern slopes of the Vilcanota mountain range, a chain of mountains curtailed by the Apurimac and Urubamba Rivers.  The guided tour of Machupicchu starts on a path that leads from the bus terminal. The path, built on purpose for tourism, enters the citadel in the section that houses a cluster of rooms near the outer wall. The path continues through a terrace to gain access to the agricultural zone before arriving at the urban area.

The City of Cuzco, Peru

Cuzco is a beautiful city with well preserved colonial architecture, evidence of a rich and complex history. The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets one sees the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly atop Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst.

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

The Perito Moreno Glacier, named for a 19th-century explorer, is currently 19 miles long and rises an average height of 240 feet above the water. Altogether, the glacier covers about 121 square miles. It is part of an ice field located in both Argentina and Chile that is the third largest reserve of fresh water in the world. Part of an area known as Argentina’s Austral Andes, it became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981.

Canaima National Park, Venezuela

Canaima National Park is spread in south-eastern Venezuela along the border between Guyana and Brazil. The park protects significant populations of 5 endangered mammal species: jaguars, giant anteaters, giant river otters, ocelots and giant armadillos. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 because of the tepuis. The most famous Tepuis in the park are Monte Roraima, the tallest and easiest to climb, and Auyantepui, from which fall the Angel Falls – easily the most famous feature of the park.

Tiwanaku, Bolivia

Tiwanaku is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia. It is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing as the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for approximately five hundred years. The ruins of the ancient city state are near the south-eastern shore of Lake Titicaca in the La Paz Department, Ingavi Province, Tiwanaku Municipality, about 72 km west of La Paz.