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What South American Country You Should Visit This Fall?

The truly adventurous (or truly stupid) might throw a dart at a world map and hope for the best. But in order to make an informed decision about your vacation — maybe get off the beaten track and brush up on your Spanish a bit — you're doing your research. And since you're reading this, it's safe to say you're at least considering a South American adventure. Good choice.

South America offers a broad scope of spice and diversity you must experience to understand. Whether you're partying at a dance hall in Rio de Janeiro after a day of white sand beaches or strolling the old-style European streets of Paramaribo, Suriname's quaint capital city, you'll find a mix of diversity and culture that'll surprise you around every turn of the cobblestone streets.

Before you take off, make sure you secure your home for the trip. Perhaps hire a housesitter and order your wireless home security kit early, because you might want to spend longer than planned at your destination!

1. Paramaribo, Suriname

Tell someone you're going to Suriname on vacation and, unless they're particularly geographically-aware, chances are good you'll get a blank stare. "Suri-what? Why not just go to the Bahamas?" But part of Suriname's charm is its off-the-beaten-path nature. Paramaribo, the country's capital, features homes and cobblestone streets that appear to have been peeled straight out of old-world Europe. Its mix of cultures — East Indian, Surinamese, Javanese, and Maroon, to name a few — brings a one-of-a-kind mix to an out-of-the-way vacation. Suriname's primary spoken language is Dutch, but most residents of Paramaribo also speak English, so you shouldn't have any trouble getting around or making tourist reservations. For more information on things to do and places to stay in Paramaribo, check out the Lonely Planet's Suriname page.

The Torarica - Paramaribo, Suriname
Photo by Flickr user madmack66

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This location isn't off the beaten track, but it's on the top of South America's must-see lists for a reason. This city is sure to see inestimable publicity as the site of the 2016 Summer Olympics. If you're considering South America for its outdoor possibilities, you'll love the landscape around Rio proper: flanked by snow-capped mountains, bordered by white sand beaches and bluer-than-blue waters, and ridged with rainforest. The beachy, urban Portuguese vibe of Rio can't be matched; many expats love living there.

Photo by Flickr user bisonlux

3. Bogotá, Colombia

For a slightly different taste of South American culture, try visiting Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia. Known for its night life, theater festivals, art galleries and parks, and gastronomical specialities, Bogotá can offer you more of a cultural and urban adventure. Modern skylines and old-style European homes and buildings bring the new face-to-face with the very old. Because it's nestled in the Andes Mountains, Bogotá is one of the highest cities in South America; it's also the third-largest city on the continent. Colombia's official tourism page for Bogotá offers a wealth of information on things to do and places to go depending on your interests.

Bogota June 2007 Matthew Riche
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

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