South America is one of the most diverse and beautiful places on Earth. Each of its countries boasts both natural and man-made beauty and there is an endless collection of vibrant and colourful places to visit. Whether it is brightly coloured cities or surreal landscapes that inspire you, it is guaranteed you will find it hard to believe some of these vibrantly coloured places actually exist unless you see them with your own eyes.
One of the most popular and best loved attractions in Rio de Janeiro are the Escadaria Selaron created by Chilean-born artist Jorge Selaron. Located between the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighbourhoods in Rio, Selaron’s “tribute to the Brazillian people” are a landmark in Rio and famous all over the world. In 1990, Selaron decided to renovate the dilapidated steps outside his house and eventually covered the entire 215 steps in beautiful, colourful tiled mosaics. The steps are covered in over 2,000 tiles which have been collected from over 60 countries around the world with visitors sending them in. Selaron worked non stop on the steps as he considered the work would never be complete and that “this crazy and unique dream will only end on the day of my death” and he continued to work on it until his death in 2013.
Bolivia has some of the most surreal and spectacular landscapes in the world and you can find a number of them in Bolivia’s southern Altiplano, which are best seen when travelling through the Atacama Desert. There are a number of strikingly vibrant, coloured lagoons in this region of Bolivia, with one of the most beautiful being Laguna Verde. Laguna Verde, which translates to “green lake” in Spanish is a salt lake that owes its colouring to the mineral suspensions of arsenic and a number of other minerals in its waters. Depending on the weather conditions, the colour of the lake varies from deep turquoise to dark emerald. The wild beauty of the region is also displayed in the backdrop of the lake, where the imposing, dormant Licancábur volcano stands at approximately 5,868 metres in elevation! Flocks of beautiful, exotic pink flamingoes have also made the waters of Laguna Verde and the other lakes in the altiplano region their home. Laguna Verde is one of the most beautiful lakes we’ve come across not just in South America but in all our travels!
Valparaiso, or Valpo as the locals know it, is a colourful, lively seaport city in Chile, located only an hour from the capital, Santiago. Valparaiso has been a UNESCO World Heritage listed city since 2003 and is known for its world famous street art. Valparaiso is an art lover’s heaven and everywhere you look you will see bright, colourful artwork, which is known by many to be the best street art in the world. The colourful artwork ranges from emotive and expressive pieces to political and simply beautiful, creative murals. The city has been built upon dozens of steep hillsides and from the colourful port, Valpo looks like a colourful lego city tumbling into the Pacific Ocean. Valpo is alight with bright colours in its gorgeous artworks, colourful houses, bright port and natural beauty. Valpo is a beautiful, crazy, artistic and intense city that you will never forget and wish you had allowed more time to spend exploring this unforgettable city.
La Boca is a neighbourhood of Buenos Aires that is popular with visitors to Argentina. Tourists descend on La Boca with the intent of visiting the football stadium ‘La Bombonera’, home of the Boca Juniors, the most popular soccer team in Argentina and to visit the iconic, colourful pedestrian street, the Caminitio. La Boca is situated on the mouth of the river and its proximity to the river is the reason for its very existence, where the area consisted solely of shipyards and houses for the workers. The houses were built with leftover building materials mainly sheet metal and corrugated iron. In 1960 a local artist, Benito Quinquela Martin painted the walls of the abandoned street and encouraged artists and performers to showcase their work. The cobblestoned street is vibrant and colourful, full of quirky artists’ studios and is filled with artists showcasing their artwork and tango dancers performing.
Caño Cristales: The River of Five Colours
Caño Cristales is a river located in the Meta province in the Serrania de la Macarena mountain range of Colombia. Also known as the River of Five Colours, it is often referred to as one of the most beautiful rivers in the world due to its vibrant colouring. From July through to November the river bed is strikingly coloured yellow, green, blue, black and red. The unique colouring of the river is caused by a red plant, Macarenia clavigera which grows on the riverbed, with the other colours coming from black rocks, blue water, green algae and yellow sand. The colours all combine to produce a stunning iridescent effect and truly make it one of the most colourful and beautiful rivers in the world. Visitors to Caño Cristales are able to swim in the river which is also made up of waterfalls, caverns and pools making it one of Colombia’s most beautiful natural destinations.
Many of these beautiful places can be visited as part of a cruise, you may even want to be adventurous and try a singles cruise holiday!