Easter Island is famous in its own right. But there are a lot of things that aren’t common knowledge about it. Starting with why it’s on a blog about South America. While geographically, Easter Island is in the middle of the Pacific, administratively it’s a Chilean Province, and you need to go to Santiago to get there.
The official name is not Easter Island, but Rapa Nui, the native name given to the volcanic island by its original Polynesian inhabitants. Rapa Nui means “navel of the world”, and it’s symbolic of its location in the middle of the open Pacific Ocean. The nearest land mass is over 3000Km away, and is the uninhabited Chilean island of Alejandro Selkirk, part of the Robinson Crusoe archipelago.
Some people see the soft white sand of a tropical beach, with its tranquil sea breeze and beckoning shade of a parasol … and then run off into the pounding surf to stand on aboard and mock the sharks. These people are surfers.
Traditionally Hawaii and the California coast have garnered most of the surfer’s attention, but other places are starting get on the map that offer alternative experiences that are often more thrilling and challenging, depending on your vision of the sport. A lot of those are in South America.
Rio de Janeiro is probably the most known destination in South America. One of the major cities in Brazil, it boasts a collection of attractions that would make any city jealous. Chief among them are Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, the lookout over the city know as “Christ the Redeemer” and Carnival. Some people have gotten to know the darker side of the city known as the “flavellas”, thanks to a few recent movies.
Rio is big. Really big. It’s the biggest city in South America, and that’s saying something. That means that there is a lot more to do there than in any other city. A lot of the reasons for visiting Rio revolve around the nightlife and the beaches.
Nowadays, Venezuela is becoming most known because of its eccentric and news-generating President, Hugo Chavez. But there is much more to this Caribbean nation than one man, of course. On the crossroads between the romanticized Spanish Main and the impenetrable vastness of the Amazon, there is a feast of activities and sites to see throughout Venezuela.
There are several well-known romantic vacation spots, such as Maracaibo and Curaçao (the latter being the namesake of a special spirit that is popular throughout South America). Most of the Venezuelan attractions are along the Atlantic coast, which is part of the Caribbean, and they are almost all stunning white beaches with palms waving in the breeze, hammocks swaying lazily with a travel snoozing under a straw hat. Across a small stretch of water are the Carabbean islands, with Trinidad and Tobago being the closest.
Uruguay is a bit of a surprise, and seems rather proud of being the little country that could. On the north of the Rio de la Plata, but full of Argentines; it’s the combination of both Argentina and Brazil. And sandwiched between those two South American giants, it has a lot to live up to.
On the Brazilian part, it has wonderful beaches, among them is Punta del Este. It’s become famous as the place the “in” crowd of South America go to holiday and party. You can come across models, footballers and politicians all strolling down the streets peppered with haute couture stores.