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Top 10 Most Visited South American Attractions - 2006

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These are the photo gallery pages that were most viewed by visitors to this site. They may or may not reflect actual travel to and around South America, but do show interest in the various countries and theit most popular scenic or achaeological attractions.

1. iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil

Called Foz do Iguaçu in Portuguese, and Cataratas del Iguazú in Spanish, Iguazu falls are a top destination for visitors from all countries. These photos display only a portion of the grandeur and awe-inspiring nature of the which are taller than Niagara Falls, twice as wide with 275 cascades spread in a horsehoe shape over nearly two miles of the Iguazu River on the border between Argentina and Brazil.

2. Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena was one of the first cities founded by the Spaniards in South America. Begun in 1533, the strategic location called for a fortress, and the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas was started in 1639, but not completed for 150 years. The fortress walls surrounded what is now known as the Ciudad Murallada, or the walled old town, where churches, homes, business and plazas share their colonial heritage.

3. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu is the most visited tourist destination in Peru, with good reason. The ruins stand atop a steep mountain overlooking the Urubamba river far below, and raise questions archaeologists and historians are still asking. The mystique and grandeur bring out the cameras.

4. Devil's Island, French Guiana

The three Iles du Salut (Islands of Salvation or Health), off the coast of French Guiana are lush, tropical isles of abundant foliage, great views and open to visitors. Once however, they were the site of the infamous Devil's Island penal colony, called the Green Hell. Ile Royale is now a resort destination for visitors to French Guiana.

5. Nazca Lines, Peru

On a high plateau now known as the pampa of San Jose, about 250 miles south of Lima on the PanAmerican Highway, a tribal group once used the sixty miles long and five miles wide coastal plain to draw long, intricate lines on the desert floor. Pre-dating the Incas, this group disappeared with the Spanish conquest, leaving behind the lines, pottery, gravesites, and more questions than archaeologists and scientists can answer.

6. Angel Falls, Venezuela

At 979 meters (3230 feet) with an uninterrupted drop of 807 meters (2663 ft), Angel Falls is sixteen times the height of Niagara Falls. Located in Venezuela's Canaima National Park, the falls are best viewed, and appreciated, from the air. Here's a sampling of the awesome falls.

7. Cuzco, Peru

The capital of the Inca Empire, Cuzco combines the ancient city, the colonial additions and the modern buildings and amenities in a splendid reflection of culture and tradition of the sophisticated Incan civilization. The ancient plaza was the core of the suyos, the Four Regions of the Inca Empire reaching from Quito, Ecuador to northern Chile.

8. Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia

Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, bordered by Bolivia and Peru, is the birthplace of the Inca civilization and a must-see tourist destination for many visitors to South America. This photographic tour takes us from Puno, Peru to Copacabana, Bolivia, with stops at islands important to the Inca Empire, archaeological sites, the floating islands of the Uros and views of the magnificent scenery of earth, sky and deep, blue water.

9. Mendoza, Argentina

Mendoza, the capital of Mendoza province, lies at the base of the Andes, closer to Santiago, Chile than Buenos Aires. It's a clean, well laid-out city, with parks and tree-lined streets and parks, the center of commerce and tourism for the area. It's also prime wine country, and an all-seasons destination for climbers, hikers, skiers, rafters, bikers, paragliders, naturalists, trekkers, and oenophiles. Enjoy these photos of some of the local attractions!

10. Cities from Space

Enjoy these photographs, taken on various NASA and International Space Station missions, of South American cities. Seen from above, the scope, topography, natural landmarks and distinctive features vary in clarity, yet each photograph is a unique way to learn about the city and surrounding area.
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