8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South America

South America

Did you know that there are over 59 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South America? 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are important cultural and natural landmarks that are deemed to have “outstanding universal value,” according to UNESCO. The acronym stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and it has added 911 sites to its list of living historical spots since its beginnings in the 1970s. The World Heritage organization also helps to raise awareness of threatened sites and to establish protective measures for its sites.

We  have put together 8 UNESCO sites to visit in South America

Los Glaciares National Park is a glacier playground, with the Perito Moreno Glacier next to Lake Argentino being the main attraction. At 2,800 square miles, Los Glaciares is the biggest national park in Argentina, and one of the biggest in South America. It lies on the border with Chile in the south of Argentina, where the climate is colder than in much of the continent. Visitors can fly into El Calafate, then take a tour of the Perito Moreno Glacier and go ice trekking across the stunning ice field. For nature lovers, hikers, and those who just want to see huge magnificent glaciers Los Glaciares is the place.

Iguazu National Park is not just a waterfall, it has borders with Brazil and Argentina and a huge subtropical rainforest, with he falls on the Argentina side. There are a lot of nature trails, the ecological train and boat trips you can take to take in all the sights. The falls provide a great habitat for many wildlife species, including monkeys, jaguars, giant anteaters and lots of species of plants. This is a great place to visit for nature lovers. 

One of the most breathtaking sights on the UNESCO World Heritage list is the historic site of Machu Picchu. Built by the Incas, this city is a master piece built by the Inca Empire. At 2430 meters above sea level, and hidden well in the dense cloud forest of central Peru, Machu Picchu went unnoticed to all but a few farmers until the early 20th century. Even today, with the convenience of daily flights in and out of Cusco and daily trains between Cusco and Machu Picchu, it’s best to make a week of it. Take your time and plan your Machu Picchu vacation well, because it will be an unforgettable experience, and it is great for exploring the culture and history of the area. Check out this post on: Exploring Cusco. 

The Nazca Lines are etched onto the desert floor in southwest Peru are another World Heritage site. These giant geoglyphs cover 450 square kilometers of the desert floor, and their vast sizes and shapes are only truly appreciated from an airplane. Take a Nazca Lines overflight during your Peru vacation to see the monkey, spider, hummingbird, and other fascinating geoglyphs that have survived the centuries. This post will provide you with more details on the Nazca Lines.

Salvador de Bahia, located on the coast of Brazil north of Rio de Janeiro but south of Recife, and was the original capital of Brazil. The area is famous for its Renaissance architecture and historic centre. The area also has a lot of African influenced culture which can be seen in the food, dance and music in this region. If you are interested in more things to do in Salvador – check out this post: Things To Do In Salvador Brazil.



Brazil’s Pantanal Conservation Complex may not be as well-known as Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, but the Pantanal is a breathtaking stretch of wetlands – the world’s largest – and is said to be better for wildlife spotting. The Cuiaba River feeds a vast network of plains, which is a sanctuary to 80 species of mammals, 650 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles, and 400 species of fish.


The ruins of the Tiwanaku are located Peru’s southern border and Boliva’s westerns side, a day trip here is a must do if you are in the area. The Tiwanaku is one of the best examples of pre-Inca architecture. The Tiwanaku culture, which at its peak (AD 500-900). Tiwanaku, is a complex of ruined pyramids, temples, palaces and megaliths set amid the barren highlands. Most striking is the seven-tiered Pyramid of Akapana, believed to be the religious heart of Tiwanaku – local Aymara people still come here to leave offerings to the achachilas also know as the (mountain gods). Visit the on-site museum which has a variety of exhibits from the Tiwanaku era.

The Galapagos islands were made famous by Charles Darwin and were one of the first places to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1978. You can take a tour of the Galapagos islands and visit many of the different islands or go via a small plane. You will see a huge rage of wildlife and biodiversity. The 19 islands and it’s wildlife inhabitants influenced Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

8 UNESCO World Heritage Site8 UNESCO World Heritage Site


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Showing 9 comments
  • Helene

    I need to go see Machu Picchu! All these look super cool though… It’s a shame that beautiful places often become really touristy because loads of others discover the beauty too… And then they’re not so beautiful anymore! But I guess there´s not much we can do about that… Great post with lots of inspiring travel ideas:D

  • lexieanimetravel

    Wow I dind’nt know that It exist a glacier place in the south of America, that’s so cool to explore. Ice trekking would be so cool to do! that park with an enormous water bodies covering the border of two countries, that’s just super enorme, I hope it’s accessible for travellers to see this kind of gift from nature, and the rest just perfect as they are!

  • Aditi

    I’d love to go boating and hiking in Iguazu National Park. It’s more than gorgeous. Needless to say, Machu Picchu is on everyone’s bucketlist – it’s so beautiful. Cheers!!

  • Yesh Sewdayal

    The Galapogas Islands and Machu Picchu are on my bucket list! Besides the historic, educational and cultural importance they hold, they are simply beautiful! Such a great compilation of UNESCO sites!

  • Travelquartz

    Peru Machu Picchu and all the destinations mentioned here are on my must-visit list now …..just need to be on a month-long vacation at least to cover each place. Saving this post for future references.

  • Rahat Arora

    Wow these 8 World heritage sites are really stunning must to explore by everyone. Images of these destinations are beautiful. I like Los Glaciares National Park and Machu Pichu the most. Great information.

  • Constance

    All of these spots look amazing!! I’ve always wanted to see the Nazca lines and Machu Picchu. I’d looked into it along with the rainforest, Easter Island, Lake Titicaca, and the Uyuni Salt Flats and that would’ve taken at least a month on a quite strenuous tour. So many places to go, so little time! :/

  • Alexander Popkov

    These all are fantastic places. Good selection. I think I liked the most is the glaziers! I have traveled to one in Norway and it was great, but this one is so much larger and scenic.

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