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Brazil's beaches are top of many people's travel wishlist. The huge number of beautiful resorts, each with it's own unique charms can be staggering and overwhelming. The Lencois National Park, just East of Sao Luiz, has some of the most amazingly undeveloped stretches of Brazil's coastline – there's huge empty beaches backed by shimmering sand dunes that run for well about 200 km. If you prefer a more amenities, there's also a host of small, trendy resorts throughout Brazil – Jericoacoara, Pipa, Morro do Sao Paulo and Fernando de Noronha are just a few.
Iguassu Falls is on the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. For many this is South America's number 1 travel highlight. The roaring waterfalls are truly monstrous in size - visit during the rainy season for the most impressive views. There's also good birdwatching and jungle lodges in nearby Argentina.
Torres del Paine National Park in Chile is South America's top trekking destination. A wilderness of spectacular granite peaks and beautiful lakes will amaze all visitors, and there are some fantastic week long trekking possibilities. Torres del Paine is remote – it's 5 hours travel overland from the nearest airport at Punta Arenas, but this is surely some of South America's most amazing scenery.
Ecuador's Galapagos Islands are expensive, but many people's first choice for a trip to South America. Darwin was so amazed by the natural biodiversity that he studied the fauna extensively – this is where the theory of evolution was born. The amount of wildlife in the Galapagos Islands is quite staggering – there's sea lions, penguins, seals, sharks, whales, turtles, tortoises plus a huge range of birdlife. What makes the Galapagos Islands so special is that the wildlife has no fear of humans – the animals treat visitors as if they were simply another animal, inquisitively approaching them. There are a lot of concerns that the environment is being irrevocably damaged in the Galapagos Islands – if you do visit, check your tour operators responsible tourism credentials.
Some of South America's most spectacularly beautiful beaches are found at Tayrona National Park on Colombia's Caribbean coast. The landscape could be described as an empty tropical beach paradise, full of beautiful bays and coves. The fact that there is only one hotel (though lots of camping options) keeps the tourist hordes away – at Park Tayrona you can experience a paradise without seeing another soul all day.