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Living in Canada certainly offers a wealth of both scenic and cultural diversity with the gorgeous Rocky Mountains to the heritage of the Native American tribes that live in the frontier areas. However, taking a trip from Canada to South American allows a traveler to experience a wonderful mix of scenery and culture.

Although connected by the Isthmus of Panama in Central America, there are stark differences between Canada and its southern neighbors. Whether hiking up 8000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains to shaking your hips to the samba in Rio during their annual Carnival, you can experience a wealth of differences while travelling to this most remarkable part of the world.

Sites and Attractions

Rio de Janeiro: Certainly one of the most striking places on Earth, Rio is a mixture of white sands, spectacular vistas and a nightlife that is not rivaled anywhere in the world. From the beautiful beaches to the striking views atop Sugarloaf Mountain and seeing the massive Christ the Redeemer statue, Rio is an amazing place, especially during its annual Carnival.

Cusco: The former capital of the Incan Empire features the spectacular Machu Picchu, the legendary lost city. Cusco is filled with attractions of the Pre-Columbian time that reveal the ancient civilization that once dominated this region.

Chilean Patagonia: Wide open frontiers in the shadows of the Torres del Paine mountains, this is certainly one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Here, you can ride on horseback, raft through the fjords and explore wondrous untouched frontiers to your heart’s content.

Buenos Aires: Called the “Paris of the South” for good reason, Buenos Aires features beautiful wide streets and street-side cafes mixed with a vibrant lifestyle that makes it the perfect place for travelers, especially during their spring or fall months when the room rates are very affordable.

Cultures and History

The people of South America represent a mixture of Native and European cultures. While many people speak Spanish or a close version of that language, the citizens of Brazil speak Portuguese and thrive in their unique culture. The vast majority of the South American people is Roman Catholic and has found their cultural stamp thanks to a heady mixture of their native culture combined with outside influences.

While the history of South America is riddled with European conquests and even slavery, the modern world has managed to break through at least in the larger cities while the countryside still retains many of the unique local traditions and customs.

You can see the effects of European influences in the rich cultural diversity of South America that has come in over the centuries. Today, the United States is arguably one of the bigger influences thanks to their movies, music and robust trade with many of these nations. However, they still retain a powerful hold on their native culture which permeates the continent.

All in all, a visit to South America represents a wonderful opportunity to see a diverse mixture of people and culture unlike anything Canada has to offer. For those who want to expand their frontiers, South America offers plenty of opportunities from the rich nightlife of Rio to the spectacular plains of Chile.