March is an excellent time to explore the diverse and captivating landscapes of South America. As summer transitions to autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, many destinations offer pleasant weather, vibrant festivals, and unique experiences. In this article, we will explore some of the best places to visit in South America in March, taking into account various interests, whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a culture lover, or an adventure seeker.
1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Carnival Hangover and Beyond
If you missed Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous Carnival, don’t despair. March offers a chance to experience the vibrant spirit of the city without the crowds. As the revelry winds down, the city returns to its usual rhythm, allowing you to explore its iconic attractions, including Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer, and Copacabana Beach, at a more relaxed pace. Enjoy pleasant temperatures and fewer tourists, making March an ideal time to savor the essence of this Brazilian gem.
2. Machu Picchu, Peru: Ideal Trekking Conditions
March is a prime month for trekking to Machu Picchu in Peru. The rainy season is tapering off, and the landscapes are lush and vibrant. Whether you choose the classic Inca Trail or one of the alternative treks, you’ll encounter fewer hikers on the trails and enjoy clearer views of the ancient citadel. Make the most of your visit by exploring the nearby Sacred Valley and charming towns like Ollantaytambo and Pisac.
3. Patagonia, Chile and Argentina: Awe-Inspiring Wilderness
March marks the beginning of autumn in Patagonia, offering milder weather and fewer crowds than the peak summer season. This is an excellent time for hiking and wildlife spotting in Torres del Paine National Park (Chile) or Los Glaciares National Park (Argentina). Witness the breathtaking colors of the changing foliage and the dramatic landscapes of glaciers, fjords, and mountains. Be sure to dress warmly, as temperatures can drop significantly in the evenings.
4. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Tango and Culture
The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, comes alive in March with various cultural events and festivals. From the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema to the Tango Buenos Aires Festival and World Cup, the city is a hub of creativity and artistic expression. Explore neighborhoods like San Telmo, known for its antique markets, and catch a tango show for an authentic Argentine experience.
5. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador: Unique Wildlife Encounters
March is a fantastic time to visit the Galapagos Islands, as the warm and wet season transitions to a drier, cooler period. With pleasant weather and fewer tourists, you can fully appreciate the archipelago’s unique flora and fauna. Snorkel with sea lions, observe giant tortoises, and marvel at the diversity of bird species. Consider booking a cruise to explore multiple islands and maximize your wildlife encounters.
6. Santiago, Chile: Wine Tasting and City Exploration
Santiago, the capital of Chile, is an ideal destination for wine enthusiasts and urban explorers. March falls within the grape harvest season, making it a perfect time for wine tasting tours in the nearby Maipo, Colchagua, and Casablanca valleys. After indulging in Chilean wines, explore Santiago’s cultural attractions, such as the historic neighborhoods of Bellavista and Lastarria, and visit the renowned Museo de la Memoria to learn about Chile’s recent history.
7. Carnaval de Oruro, Bolivia: A Bolivian Extravaganza
For a truly unique cultural experience, head to Oruro, Bolivia, in March to witness the famous Carnaval de Oruro. This UNESCO-recognized festival showcases a mesmerizing blend of indigenous, Andean, and Catholic traditions. Elaborate dances, colorful costumes, and vibrant music fill the streets as thousands of participants take part in this annual spectacle. Immerse yourself in Bolivia’s rich cultural heritage during this lively event.
8. Quito and the Andes, Ecuador: Stunning Landscapes and History
March in Ecuador is a delightful time to explore the country’s diverse landscapes. Begin your journey in Quito, the capital, where pleasant weather allows you to explore the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Venture into the Andes Mountains to discover charming villages like Otavalo, known for its indigenous market, and Baños, where you can soak in natural hot springs and go hiking. The landscapes are lush and vibrant, providing excellent photo opportunities.
9. Uruguay: Beach Bliss and Coastal Charm
While many South American countries are transitioning to cooler weather in March, Uruguay offers a unique escape for beach lovers. The country’s coastal towns and pristine beaches, including Punta del Este and La Paloma, are still warm and inviting. Relax on the sandy shores, indulge in fresh seafood, and explore the charming coastal villages. Uruguay’s laid-back atmosphere and natural beauty make it an underrated gem for a March getaway.
10. Colombian Caribbean Coast: Sun, Sand, and History
The Colombian Caribbean coast enjoys delightful weather in March, making it an ideal destination for sun-seekers. Explore the historical city of Cartagena, known for its well-preserved colonial architecture and vibrant culture. Take a dip in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea or visit Tayrona National Park for a taste of tropical paradise. March offers a perfect blend of relaxation and cultural exploration in this beautiful region.
South America in March offers a myriad of travel possibilities, catering to various interests and preferences. Whether you seek adventure in the wild Patagonian landscapes, cultural immersion in vibrant cities, or serene beach getaways, the continent has something to offer. Plan your March holiday in South America wisely, considering your desired experiences and destinations, and get ready for a memorable journey filled with diverse cultures, stunning scenery, and warm hospitality.