South America is filled with incredible sites from the tallest mountains to caves so beautiful you won’t believe they’re real.
Subscribe to Talltanic http://goo.gl/wgfvrr
6. Atacama Desert
Excluding the poles of our planet, the Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth. One of the ways people defines a desert is to look at the region’s average rainfall. Experts consider an area a desert if it receives less than 25 centimeters of rain annually. The Atacama Desert receives less than one-tenth of a centimeter of rain each year. Some regions of the area haven’t seen rain in hundreds of years. The area saw an unprecedented 31 inches of snow when an Antarctic cold front made its way through the area in July 2011. The desert covers a 600-mile strip of land that stretches from the southern border of Peru up to the northern parts of Chile.
While ascending this mountaintop is not considered technically difficult when compared to other mountains like Mount Everest, Aconcagua is still well respected in the climbing world. The summit of the mountain is 22,841 above sea level, making it the highest mountain and, by extension, the tallest point outside of Asia. While the way to the top is nothing more than a walk, the extremely high altitude of the mountain makes the climb difficult and potentially dangerous. Of the 3,500 or so people that attempt the treck annually, there are always those that underestimate the climb and pay for it with their lives. This wonder formed when the Nazca Plate and the South American Plate collided during the Andean orogeny.
4. Salar de Uyuni
You have most likely seen the Salar de Uyuni on TV without even realizing it. Located in Bolivia, Salar De Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat and is a sought out destination for those making car commercials. While it is best to film commercials in the area during the dry season from April to October, it is perhaps more visually stunning to visit the flat in the wet season when the rain changes the ground into the world’s largest mirror. Spanish cinematographer Enrique Pacheco shot a stunning time-lapse video of the area last year titled “Reflections from Uyuni.” The video does a fantastic job of exploring the fabulous reflections that the salt flats produce.
3. The Marble Chapel
For centuries no one knew how the Marble Caves of Chile retained their state of incredible beauty and extravagance, so they came up with their own legends. The Maori people explained that the multi-colored stones and giant crystals found within the cave were the result of a mythological canoe wreck. Irish stories claim that a massive worldwide quarrel amongst gods led to the formation of the natural wonder. Scientists were eventually able to come up with a factually based explanation. The progression of time combined with wave erosion have shaped the caves into their current state. The reflective blue-green water of Carrera Lake, which the Marble Caves lie in, substantially enhances the amazing colors found in the cave.
2. Ojos del Salado
At 22,615 feet this massive stratovolcano is the highest active volcano in the world and barely trails the Aconcagua peak for being the highest point in the western hemisphere. Luckily this massive volcano hasn’t erupted for roughly 1300 years. The volcano’s easy ascent has made it an attractive destination to set altitude records in vehicles. In April of 2015 Chilean Gianfranco Bianchi set the altitude record for motorbikes when he went 21,233 feet up the mountain on a Suzuki RMZ 450. This region also contains the world’s highest lake regarding elevation. The Ojos del Salado Pool lies 20,997 feet high on the eastern side of the wonder.
1. Iguassu Falls
Visiting these waterfalls located on the border of Argentina and Brazil will leave you with drop jaw syndrome. Not only are these falls the largest system of waterfalls in the world, but they are also visually stunning. You have to visit this site to understand its majesty, using words and seeing pictures is futile. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt put it best when she said, “Poor Niagara,” upon first seeing Iguazu Falls. Iguazu Falls retain this reputation over its rival in the U.S. to this day. While Niagara Falls has seen casinos and Starbucks crop up around it, Iguazu Falls remains a spot surrounded totally by nature. Clearly, Niagara Falls has to stop trying so hard.