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Top 10 Largest Cities of South America

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The cities mentioned on this list are South America's largest, either by size, population or both. It's not surprising that Brazil, South America's largest country has five cities listed. Not all cities are tourist destinations, but each has its own attractions, history and sightseeing opportunities.

1. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Aerial view of the buildings of Sao Paulo
Bambu Productions/Iconica/Getty Images
São Paulo, being Brazil's center of commerce, a huge sprawling metropolis and the largest city in South America, probably isn't on your list of vacation hot-spots, but when the day's work is done, the visitors and residents of this city of trade and industry like to play as hard as they work.

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro and Sugarloaf Bay
ArtToday.com
Rio, a cidade maravilhosa, is spectacularly located, and to live up to the scenery, cariocas and visitors enjoy a vivid lifestyle nestled between fabulous beaches and rainforested hills.

3. Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, seen from Cerro Monserrate
©2006 Ron Miller, All Rights Reserved http://www.RonTravel.com
Nestled high in the Andes at 2620 m. (8646 ft), Santafé de Bogotá is a city of contrasts with highrise buildings standing next to colonial churches.It's a city of universities, theaters and shantytowns, and a mixture of influences, Spanish and English and Indian.

4. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires Obelisk
Roberto Ingledew
Big. sprawling Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is cosmopolitan and yet retains a neighborhood feel in the barrios. Sightseeing, shopping, dining and nightlife, including the sensual tango, is a must in this sophisticated city.

5. Salvador, Brazil

Salvador, Bahia
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An exotic tropical city in a vast country that encompasses everything from deserts to rain forests. Near the equator and nearer the South Atlantic Ocean, Salvador is what Americans are imagining when they think of the place where "The Girl from Ipanema" strolled.

6. Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas Cityscape
Javier Pierini / Getty Images
Venezuela's capital and largest city is the center of commerce, culture, economics and the base for touring the country's attractions, including Angel Falls and the llanos.

7. Belo Horizonte, Brazil

The name of the city means "Beautiful Horizon," and the inland city was developed along the plan of Washington, DC. It is one of the largest cities in Brazil and a commercial and university city with many cultural opportunities.

8. Brasilia, Brazil

Brasilia, Goias
Fernando Bueno / Getty Images
Brazil's capital, Brasilia is a monument to what Brazilians can do and have done. It's a city pointing like an arrow into the future. It's built on a massive scale, with large, innovative buildings, a freedom of spirit and imagination.

9. Guayaquil, Ecuador

Guayaquil Rooftops
©2006 Ron Miller, All Rights Reserved http://www.RonTravel.com
Many travelers zip through Guayaquil on their way to the Galapagos. Those who take the time to explore the city and southern coastal Ecuador might be pleasantly surprised.

10. Medellin, Colombia

Medellin is the capital of Antioquia department in Colombia and enjoys a temperate climate that gives the city the names of The Land of Eternal Spring and Capital of The Flowers. Colombia's second largest city, Medellin is a principal manufacturing and industrial area, as well as a commercial flower growing region, particularly orchids, but for years was best known as the center of The Colombian Cartels.
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