10 Olympic class things to do and see in South America

10 Olympic class things to do and see in South America

WITH the Olympics being held in Rio next year, the focus will be on South America. From Brazil to Chile, here are 10 top inspiring things to do in this huge continent.

By
Anne Gorringe

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Polo championship match in Buenos Aires

1. ARGENTINA

Watch the highlight of the spring polo season, the championship matches held each December in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina. As South America is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are the opposite to Britain. Polo fans flock to Palermo's dedicated polo arena, Campeonato Abierto Argentino de polo. www.aapolo.com

2. TANGO in an old-fashioned dance hall in Buenos Aires. Confitera Ideal is one of the historic cafes and, amazingly, has a grand ballroom on the top floor. Here, beginners can learn the sensuous dance at evening classes. Experts arrive to take to the floor at 11pm to show how it should be done! www.confiteriaideal.com

3. BRAZIL

Marvel at the amazing statue of Christ that stands on the mountain top overlooking Rio de Janerio in Brazil. Since 2007, this impressive Cristo Redentor statue has been named the 'new' Seventh Wonder of the world, thanks to a poll which earned it over 100 million voters.

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Christ the Redeemer statue overlooks Rio de Janerio

4. CARNIVAL in Rio. Party all night as you watch the spectacular costumes and performers in the annual parade in February. The five-day extravaganza takes to the streets each year, 40 days before Easter.

5. CENTRAL CHILE

Most people fly into Santiago, which is half way down this long, thin country down the western side of South America. It's also the jumping-off point for two big attractions. One is skiing, which is held during their winter/early spring months from June to October. Ski resorts include Portillo. Keen skiers love the off-piste action here before the European ski season starts. Travel to Portillo by bus form Santiago in three and a half hours. www.skiportillo.com

6. Take a wine and spa tour in the Colchague Valley. It's 94 miles south of Santiago and it's relaxing to spend each day visiting a different vineyard – or a vineyard spa. Once, Chile was only known for Merlot wine but today it's renowned world-wide for its great selection of different wines. www.colchaguavalley.cl

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Carnival in Rio de Janerio

7. Buy some of the rare blue stone, Lapis lazuli. This beautiful stone is found only in Chile or Afghanistan. It's a great buy in Santiago in the Bellavista district where you'll find the best jewellery.

8. NORTHERN CHILE

Visit the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert. Fascinating finds here include fossils of 75 prehistoric whales!

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The ancient city of Machu Picchu in Peru

9. SOUTHERN CHILE ON THE BORDER WITH ARGENTINA: Go wild in Patagonia. One of the world's best rafting experiences is found here along the Argentine boarder, near the lovelytown of Futaleufu. The river attracts experienced rafting and kayakers from around the world. You get there from Chaiten by bus.

10. PERU

Explore the fascinating Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru. It's believed to date back to the 15th century and is built from huge blocks of stone on the top of a mountaintop. The name actually means 'old mountain and it is recognised for its religious importance.

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