The World From Above is a series on The Trusted Traveller that will be rolled out throughout the year. In each post I’ll be taking you above the world one region at a time. From Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Oceania, nothing will be missed.
If your new here you might want to go back and check out my other World from Above posts from Asia, North America and Europe.
Now however its time to tackle a new region, South America. As always I’ve enlisted the help of some of my most well travelled friends and together we’ll be taking you through South America from above. Giving you the low down on how you too can get the best views from above from Brazil to Peru and everything in between. We’re here to help inspire you to get that view too.
So lets get right into it with the South America from Above photos.
Arenal, Costa Rica
Virginie – FarmBoy & CityGirl
Of all the places to go zip-lining in Costa Rica, Arenal has the highest line at 2 500 feet over a lush jungle. It also happens to have amazing viewpoints. From up there, you can either look up at the volcano (which is in the cloud most of the times, like the day we were there), or down at the Laguna de Arenal, which is the lake you can see in the picture. It’s such a relaxing place, where you can barely see any civilization, only nature like it was hundreds of years ago.
Waterfall El Pailón del Diablo, Baños, Ecuador
You will get to see several beautiful waterfalls along the way, but the best one is right at the end of the road: El Pailón del Diablo. The power of the water will take your breath away. Hike up the stairs and see it from very close and above.
While getting there you are able to do some activities like getting close to a waterfall by cable car or canopy, so take some cash with you for an adrenaline rush.
La Cordillera Blanca, Peru
Leah – The Mochilera Diaries
In central Peru, you’ll find the country’s highest mountain range, La Cordillera Blanca. This stunning region of the greater Andes mountain range is home to Huascarán National Park and a multitude of incredible trekking opportunities including day hikes to shimmering turquoise lagoons surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Most travelers use the town of Huaraz as a base camp to explore this natural playground. At 4600 meters and above, hikers must be well acclimatized to the altitude and prepared for extreme cold, but the views are more than worth the effort. This photo was taken on a day trip to Laguna 69, a full-day excursion lasting around 9 hours in total.
Flying Over the Andes Mountains, Argentina
Laura Lynch – Savored Journeys
Whenever we fly over mountain ranges, we make sure we’re sitting at the window seat in order to get some of the best views while flying over. We were lucky enough to fly over the Andes mountain range, high above Argentina, during the daylight so we could see the glaciers and lakes that form along the longest mountain range in the world. It spans about 4,300 feet through seven South American countries. We were headed to Mendoza, Argentina, located on the eastern side of the Andes range, where views of the mountain stretch as far as the eye can see.
Elaina – The Freedom Travellers
Exploring Iguazu Falls has to be one of the top must-dos when travelling around South America. The falls span three countries; Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. The entire area has been declared a UNESCO Heritage Park and we’d highly recommend spending a day on both the Argentine and Brazilian sides.
There’s a debate on which country has the best vantage point, but in our opinion they’re both great! From the Argentine side the boardwalks take you right up to the falls giving you an up close view. From the Brazilian side you can enjoy a more panoramic vista, allowing you to capture the sheer scale of the area.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Claudia – My Adventures Across the World
One of the best views of Machu Picchu is the one from the Inti Punku – the Sun Gate. Only those hiking the official Inca Trail will be able to get this view, as the site opens at 6 am. This is perhaps what drove me to hike the official Inca Trail instead of one of the alternative trails. I took this particular shot at around 5:45 am. We had left our base camp at 3:30 am in order to walk to the Inti Punku and until we actually got to the view point, we were unsure we’d be able to catch the view as it was still nighttime when we left and we did not know what the weather would be like that day. We were very lucky. I was so happy and felt a huge sense of achievement when the view spread before my eyes – so much so that a few tears rolled down my cheeks!
San Andres, Colombia
Anna – Anna Everywhere
This is the island of San Andres in Colombia seen from its highest point – the tower of a local church. I stumbled upon this church by passing by it when a local man asked me if I wanted to climb the church. When I agreed he showed me where to go and it turned out I actually had to sit on a rooftop of this church. Unusual, but definitelty worth the view!
Mt Roraima, Venezuela
Will – The Broke Backpacker
Cold air whipped past my face, my nose red and frozen. I rubbed my soaked hands together and stepped towards the edge. Tantalising windows in the mist emerged before me, revealing snap-shots of the Gran Savana Below. Numerous tepuis spilled away from me on all sides, orange, red and glistening in the sun. The climb had been hard but it was worth it; 3 days later and I stood upon Mt Roraima, the highest table top mountain in the world.
Sonja – Breadcrumbs Guide
Cusco, Peru is a city for wanderers. Meander your way up its heart-pounding hills and you’ll be rewarded with views of the city’s red-tiled roofs and busy squares. Hostal Wara Wara has the best view from their open air terrace where you can get panoramic views of the city while watching the Plaza de Armas come to life each morning. You might even spot a llama walking the narrow lanes. If you’re not staying at the hostel, head up a bit further to San Cristobal Church where you can get the same view, or even further up to Sacsayhuaman Inca Ruins. On a clear day, you’ll even see the distant snow-capped peak, Ausangate.
Lake Cuicocho, Ecuador
Mark and Camille – 365traveldates
As a soft landing to the Andes cross over from Colombia into Ecuador and a few hours south you’ll hit the beautiful surroundings of Otavalo. There are tons of beautiful hikes and volcanoes but one of the most beautiful in a region full of gorgeous views is Lake Cuicocho. If you find yourself with 5-6 hours to spare you can easily walk around the rim of the crater taking in the views of valleys, snow capped mountains and the crater lake. If you’re short on time take a boat in or do a quick one way up the trail and turn back around. Don’t forget the altitude is higher so you might want to take it easy if you’re just getting in.
The Tagus Cove on Isabela Island in the Galapagos
Lance – Travel Addicts
The Islands of the Galapagos in Ecuador are near the top of every traveler’s dream destination list. Being both geologically unique and geographically remote led to perfect experiments in biological evolution. Charles Darwin came here to study the flora and fauna. And this view on Isabela Island honors Darwin. From the top of the peak, visitors can look out on the entirety of western Isabela Island, including Darwin Lake and Tagus Cove (which is riddled with graffiti from early pirates…and some later ones). The rocky volcanic peak has a large number of roaming brown land iguanas out looking for food (one of only two spots we were able to see them in the islands). The cove below is packed with giant sea turtles and even a few sharks. There are very few places where visitors are allowed to hike up in the Galapagos, but Tagus Cove is one of the most beautiful.
Lake Quilotoa Ecuador
Vicky – Buddy The Traveling Monkey
This is a view of Lake Quilotoa in Ecuador. It’s less than 3 hours away from Baños, an area well known for it’s lush landscape and outdoor activities. What makes Lake Quilotoa so special? It’s a lake, inside a crater, inside a volcano! We absolutely loved our visit to the lake and can’t recommend it enough. The entry fee is only $2 and you’re free to walk wherever you like. It’s beautiful and has trails that take you right down to the water’s edge. You can even spend the night; there’s a hostel right by the water. If you’re ever in Ecuador, Lake Quilotoa is a must-see!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Steph – Quarter Life Epiphany
While Christ the Redeemer is known as the most iconic landmark of Rio de Janeiro (and is perhaps the most photographed), few people realize that the view down from Christo Redentor is almost as spectacular as the statue itself.
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Over to you!
What would you include on your top list of South America From Above views?
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Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.