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People 17 Jun 2016

What is South America’s most popular tourist destination?

Tourism in Latin America has increased considerably in recent years. In 2015, 96.6 million foreign tourists decided to visit the region, the highest figure in a decade. International arrivals at South America grew 4% last year, according to the World Tourism Organization.

TripAdvisor recently announced its Traveller’s Choice Awards for destinations. The winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions in destinations worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period, as well as traveler booking interest on TripAdvisor,” as confirmed by Laura Martínez, Media Executive of the webpage.

10. Bogota, Colombia

The Colombian capital, one of the two destinations in the Andean country included in the ranking, takes the tenth spot in TripAdvisor’s list. Bogota is home to the first library founded in the American continent, in 1777, the gigantic 283 hectare Simón Bolívar park, the Gold Museum and its wonderful collection of pre-Hispanic metalwork, the Monserrate or the historic La Candelaria district, to name a few of its landmarks.

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9. Jijoca de Jericoacoara, Brazil

This small municipality has become a top destination for lovers of watersports and nature. With a short history in the tourism industry, Jericoacoara welcomes thousands of tourists offering them attractions such as its national park or its incredible Duna do Por do Sol.

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8. Santiago de Chile, Chile

With a population of a bit over 6,158,000, Chile’s capital is the only city of the country that made it to the list. Nevertheless, the city’s abundant tourist attractions justify its excellent ratings by travelers. Cerro San Cristobal and Cerro Santa Lucia, La Moneda Palace, the 18th century Metropolitan Cathedral, la Chascona or the Central Market are just some of the landmarks of the city.

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7. Gramado, Brazil

Another small Brazilian municipality that has become one of the favorite spots for tourists travelling to South America. The city owes its European feel to the waves of German, Italian and Portuguese immigrants that settled in the area. The city is surrounded by lush natural wonders, such as the Quilombom Valley, Knorr Park or the Black Lake.

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6. Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Declared World Heritage by UNESCO, the walled city of Cartagena de Indias brims with appeal and attractions for tourists, with highlights such as the San Felipe de Barajas castle, Santo Domingo Square and the Watchtower. It is also offers the possibility to visit the Baru peninsula: a coastal zone with unbelievable white sand beaches bathed by crystal clear waters.

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5. San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

Located in the Nahuel Huapi national park, San Carlos de Bariloche is, with a population of 113,450 the second most populated city of the Patagonian Andes and the second most visited destination in the country. Tourism is the key driver of the economy of a city that welcomes travelers throughout the year: From snow sports lovers (the best sky resort in the country is located just 20 km away from the city), to outdoor enthusiasts.

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4. Mendoza, Argentina

Over one thousand vineyards scattered across the region are the main reason why thousands of tourists are drawn to Mendoza every year. This bustling city offers the perfect combination of cuisine and wine culture to make it a perfect spot for both food lovers and oenophiles. The city is also blessed with a multicultural vibe that reflects upon its Spanish and Italian heritage.

3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Despite attracting less visitors than Sao Paulo (1.27 million, compared to the 2.44 million that visited the latter), Rio de Janeiro was the best-rated Portuguese-speaking metropolis in the region. Most of the visitors that arrive to the city are business travellers, with just 29% of them being tourists. Rio will host this year’s Olympic Games.

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2. Cusco, Peru

Tourists travelling to South America have awarded a commendable silver medal to the former capital of the Inca Empire. The city boasts a wonderful array of tourist attractions, including the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, the Cathedral, the Church of the Society of Jesus or the San Blas neighborhood. And for the tired visitor, Cusco offers wonderful samples the exquisite Peruvian cuisine to recover their energy: Kapchi (stewed beans), marinated pork and humita, steamed fresh corn cakes.

1. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is the fifth most-visited city in Latin America, with 2.18 million tourists, according to MasterCard’s Annual Index of Global Destination Cities 2015. However, TripAdvisor users have selected Argentina’s capital as the most popular destination in South America and the seventeenth in the world. Most of the best-loved tourist attractions of the birthplace of tango can be found between the Monserrat and San Telmo neighborhoods.  Avenida de Mayo is one of city’s most prominent areas, with the Casa Rosada and the Palace of Congress standing opposite to one another, and flanked by other notable architectural works, such as the House of Culture, the Barolo Palace and the oldest café in the city: Café Tortoni.

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