Discover the 12 Most Visited Countries in South America

It is a wonderful destination for anyone to travel to in South America. The continent is home to breathtaking natural beauties, a rich history, and a distinctive culture. Has it thus gained popularity as a travel destination? South America welcomed 20.6 million tourists in 2022 alone! Nevertheless, the COVID-19 Pandemic had an impact on these figures. There were between 25 and 30 million visitors a year prior to the pandemic. According to statistical theories, South America’s tourism industry is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels in the near future, contributing to economic growth.

So which South American nations receive the most volume of tourists? Discover more about each nation as you read on!

1. Suriname

The twelfth most visited country in South America is Suriname. It is a small nation, home to just over 600,000 people. In 2017, there were 279,000 tourists in the nation. The nation is renowned for having a wide range of ecoregions, including mangroves, savannas, Tepuis, swamp forests, and highland forests. Suriname has the largest percentage of forests (90.2%) of any country in the world. The main draws for visitors to Suriname are its breathtaking waterfalls, diverse vegetation, and lush jungles. Furthermore, Suriname takes the protection of its animals and natural surroundings very seriously; nearly 30% of the country’s total land area is legally designated as a natural reserve.

2. Guyana

Guinea comes in at number eleven on the South American travel list. 315,000 people visited Guyana in 2019. Similar like Suriname, the nation is made up of numerous distinct biomes. It features a sand belt, mountains, jungles, savanna, and marshy lowlands where the majority of people reside. Guyana’s unspoiled natural beauties are what draw tourists there; Kaieteur Falls is a well-liked destination.

3. Venezuela

Venezuela, formally known as the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela, is the tenth most visited nation in South America. This nation, which is located on South America’s northern coast, is made up of numerous islands that are dispersed around the Caribbean Sea in addition to continental land. 429,000 tourists entered the nation in 2017. Venezuela is home to an abundance of diverse landscapes, a robust and rich culture, and a diverse range of fauna. Angel Falls, one of the nation’s major tourist destinations, is located there. It is also the tallest waterfall in the world, rising to a height of 3,212 feet!

4. Bolivia

Next on the list of South America’s most visited countries is Bolivia, which ranks ninth. The landlocked nation welcomed 1.2 million tourists from around the globe in 2019. Bolivia offers visitors a wide variety of experiences. Madidi National Park is located in the upper basin of the Amazon River. Madidi, with 18,958 km², is among the world’s largest protected areas! Bolivia is renowned for having two capital cities as well. Sucre is the nation’s constitutional capital, but La Paz serves as its administrative center. While the nation’s Supreme Court is located in Sucre, the legislative and executive departments are housed in La Paz. Another reason why people travel to Bolivia frequently is its natural beauty.

5. Ecuador

The Republic of Ecuador is the formal name for Ecuador. With 2.1 million tourists entering the nation in 2019, this nation ranks seventh among the most visited in South America. Ecuador is incredibly rich in natural resources, which is why so many people travel there.

There are a wide variety of species present, including 4,500 distinct species of insects, 258 distinct species of animals, 345 distinct species of reptiles, and the list goes on. It is regarded as one of the nations with the highest concentration of biodiversity in the world. Ecuador is rich and beautiful in nature, but it is also very beautiful culturally. Its boundaries are dotted with a variety of volcanoes, and the Pacific Ocean forms its whole western boundary, which is home to numerous breathtaking beaches. Additionally under supervision and recognized as a province of Ecuador is the archipelago of Galápagos Islands.

6. Uruguay

The seventh nation on the list is Uruguay. 3.5 million tourists visited the nation in 2019. It was one of the original members of the United Nations and is regarded as one of South America’s more progressive nations. The nation benefits greatly from tourism, which generates over 97,700 employment. Uruguay has a plethora of historical sites and cultural attractions. Punta del Este is a well-known tourist destination. This peninsula-based city beside the sea is well-known for its divided beaches. The peninsula is divided into two sections: Mansa, or the gentle river side, and Brava, or the rocky ocean side. While Brava offers surfing and other more strenuous sports, Mansa offers sunbathing, snorkeling, and other more relaxed activities.

7. Paraguay

South America’s sixth most visited nation is Paraguay. Like Bolivia, it is a landlocked nation as well. A total of 4.4 million people visited Paraguay in 2019. The country is divided into two distinct sections due to the Río Paraguay. Región Oriental refers to the eastern portion, whereas Región Occidental, or Western Paraguay, refers to the western half. Because of its diverse nature, Paraguay frequently welcomes large numbers of tourists. Monkeys, wild boars, anteaters, armadillos, and other animals may be found all around the nation. In addition, the nation is full of breathtaking natural areas, such as the Gran Chaco and marshes.

8. Colombia

Next on the list of most visited countries in South America is Colombia. The nation welcomed 4.5 million tourists in 2019. A fun fact about Colombia is that, although the most of its landmass is in South America, it does contain a little portion of land off the coast of Mexico in North America. Colombia’s diverse range of ecosystems contributes to the country’s high level of tourism. Colombia contains the Andes mountains in addition to several coastal regions, such as the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. With so many ancient structures, including Castle San Felipe de Barajas and Monumento Torre del Reloj, Cartagena is a famous tourist destination. Additionally, Colombia is a part of the Ring of Fire, an area of the globe that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

9. Peru

The fourth most visited country in South America is Peru. 5.3 million tourists visited the western nation in 2019. The country as a whole is situated in the southern hemisphere, somewhat south of the equator, which it passes by by two miles. Three distinct cultural regions make up Peru: the costa, or coast; the sierra, or hills; and the selva, or forest. These various locations are home to numerous famous ecosystems and important historical sites. The Huascarán, Peru’s highest point at an astounding 22,205 feet, is located in the Sierra. A significant section of the Amazon rainforest is contained in the selva. The Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, which is perched high in the Andes highlands, is arguably the most well-known tourist destination in Peru.

10. Chile

Next, with 5.4 million tourists arriving in 2019, Chile is the third most visited nation in South America. At its greatest distance, it is barely 217 miles from east to west and is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains. Many tourists flock to this western country to view the spectacular Incaic architecture that’s distributed all around the region. Many visitors travel to San Pedro de Atacama, a town in the country’s north, to view the Incan architecture. Part of Chile, Easter Island is a well-liked vacation spot in the Pacific Ocean off the country’s coast. The most well-known feature of this little 3,300-person island is its abundance of gigantic skulls, or moai, which can be seen all over the place.

11. Brazil

Next up is Brazil, the second-most visited nation in South America. In 2019, 6.4 million travelers entered the nation. It’s the largest country in South America, the fifth-largest in the world by area, and the seventh most populous. Along with an abundance of breathtaking natural scenery, Brazil is home to a diverse range of historical and cultural landmarks. For all of these various reasons, tourists visit the nation. The world’s largest waterfall system, Iguazu Falls, is located on the border between Brazil and Argentina. In addition, a lot of people travel to Brazil to visit the Amazon jungle. The Amazon claims almost 2,100,000 square miles of rainforest on the continent, encompassing the majority of the Amazon basin. Rio de Janeiro hosted both the Summer Olympics in 2016 and the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

12. Argentina

And lastly, Argentina is the most traveled-to nation in South America! 7.4 million tourists visited the nation in 2019 to take advantage of everything it had to offer. It is the eighth-largest country in the globe and the second-largest in South America, after Brazil, of course. South America’s most visited city is Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. The capital city offers a wealth of activities and is renowned for its sophisticated nightlife as well as its extensive historical legacy and beautiful architecture. Numerous possibilities exist for various trips that will highlight the city and its remarkable past.

Argentina is a naturally gorgeous country in addition to its artificial beauty. Its border with Brazil is where the magnificent Iguazu Falls waterfall system, the biggest in the world, is located. At Los Glaciares National Park, the nation is home to the greatest ice cover outside of Antarctica and Greenland. It’s South America’s biggest national park. There are several incredibly large ice sheets in the park. Perito Moreno is the national park’s most well-known glacier. The natural splendor of Los Glaciares National Park has made it a World Heritage Site. Argentina has a lot to offer in terms of culture, history, and natural beauty, which makes it the most visited nation in South America!