My South American bucket list

I’ve been thinking about South America a lot since my recent post My 5 favourite events around the world (plus 5 more I want to go to). It’s a continent that has eluded my travels thus far – so I figured it’s about time I made a bucket list of some of the places I’d like to visit there one day.

I’ve already mentioned or indirectly mentioned a couple of places in South America, so I’ll just touch on them and a few more events and places of interest. Without further ado, here are 10 things on my South American bucket list (which is subject to change and isn’t in any particular order).

My South American bucket list

1. 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil

I know that I completely botched the 2010 World Cup, having had tickets to all of the All Whites games and I still didn’t quite make it to South Africa (it’s a long story) – but that’s made me really consider going to Brazil.

I know that the New Zealand team didn’t qualify, but that hasn’t really diminished my desire to go.

This year’s World Cup is full of great group matches. For example, the English squad’s group was called the “Group of Death” by Mike Norman on Betfair’s World Cup 2014 news section.

No one can argue the depth in that group considering it also features Uruguay, Italy, Costa Rica and, of course, my adopted country for nearly five years, England. Every match in that group will be incredible.

And there are other groups with solid matches as well; Germany and Portugal will face off, and in a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final, the Netherlands and Spain will line up against one another.

2. Rio Carnival, Rio de Janeiro 

I’ve already stated my reasoning in a previous post, but there’s no beating 2 million people generally having a good time in the streets all at once.

My South American bucket list

3. Parintins Folklore Festival, Parintins

Also known as Bumba Meu Boi and Boi Bumba, this festival is truly unique to the rainforest region of Brazil. It takes place annually in the city Parintins, and it is a three-day indigenous event that is focused on the celebration of a resurrected ox (that’s pretty cool, right? Zombie ox!).

It’s the second-largest festival in all of Brazil, and much like the Rio Carnival it features extravagant floats, dancing, and singing.

4. Touring the Amazon Rainforest

I know this might sound a little cliché, but the Amazon is the home of some of the most unique creatures and plants in the world. Not to mention it’s 5,500,000 square kilometres in size, which is about 24 times the size of Great Britain, 42 times the size of England, and would cover roughly 70% of Australia. Truly incredible.

My South American bucket list: Christ the Redeemer

5. Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro 

There’s no way anyone could go to Rio without going up to the Christ the Redeemer Statue. It’s 38 metres tall, sits atop the 710-metre-tall Corcovado Mount, and overlooks the city. I can’t imagine a better place to take photos of Rio. Although, according to the official Corcovado website, a train ride to the top does look to be a bit on the pricey side at $50 or €36.

6. Machu Picchu

There’s a ton of mystery surrounding this piece of ancient Incan history, as no one really seems to know what it was used for. However, the city itself sits between two mountains in the Andes about 2.4 kilometres above sea level, and can often be above the clouds – which makes for an amazing photograph.

My South American bucket list: Angel Falls

7. Angel Falls, Venezuala

To be honest, I’m not too sure about the difficulty that’s involved getting into and around Venezuela, but I would love to see the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall.

8. Iguazu Falls, Brazilian/Argentinean border

Another waterfall, but the Iguazu Falls are on the list for another reason; it’s overall size (2.7 km wide). There’s a story that former First Lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt once visited the falls and could only say “Poor Niagara”, which seems a little bit harsh.

My South American bucket list: Inti Raymi

9. Inti Raymi, Peru/Ecuador

This summer solstice celebration takes place annually in Ecuador and Peru, and it is heavily based off old Incan traditions. It would be like going back in time to see a traditional Incan celebration.

10. Gold Museum, Bogota

It’s the home of largest selection of ancient South American gold work. There is apparently over 50,000 gold pieces on display, and it has separate rooms for the different cultures. Plus, I’ve never been to a Gold Museum before. I imagine it would be pretty cool.

Have I missed anything off my South American bucket list?

About Simon Petersen 506 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.


  1. Post some photos if you make it to Inti Raymi. I overslept and raced, puffing and panting up the hill too late to see anything. Lots of old ladies, well used to the altitude and coming back downhill, laughed at me.

  2. Great post man.

    But pleasseeeeeeeee.

    Group of Death is Germany, Portugal, USA, and Algeria. That’s the toughest group.

    Don’t get me wrong, England’s group is nothing to sneeze at, but Costa Rica isn’t much and we all know England can’t get it together for major competitions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.