It’s on every traveler’s bucket list and for good reason, South America is one of those once-in-a-lifetime destinations. A plethora of life-affirming experiences reward the intrepid explorer from breathtaking natural sights to mystical ruins, and from vibrant metropolises to untouched islands. From top to tip, South America will enchant and enthrall.

Feel your pulse quicken as your meander through the pristine surrounds of the Amazon Basin, witness the majesty of the thundering Iguaçu Falls, traverse the plains of Patagonia and the Pantanal Wetlands, and acclimatize to the soaring Andes. The Galapagos Islands provides a snapshot of a unique habitat allowed to thrive in a remote locale, and likewise, the solemn moai statues on Easter Island and lost city of Machu Picchu are a confounding enigma of their own.

Feel your heart beat in time with the rhythm of South America’s cities, too. Samba your way to Rio de Janeiro for the color and pageantry of the world’s largest street party, Carneval, and stay and play on the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Tango is king in Santiago and cumbia rules the dancefloors of Colombia. There’s a rich tradition in South America of the arts, and the Latin American literary and visual style of magic realism is no doubt informed by the continent’s otherworldly surrounds. You’ll be bewitched by South America too.