About South America

map of south america

“It may not be the most enormous or the most populated continent, but South America is the most diverse – it holds 5 of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, as well as the biggest tropical wilderness on Earth. Between them, South America’s diverse regions hold irreplaceable ecosystems teeming with life – which in turn produce countless free services and resources for people across the continent, including the earth’s largest supply of one of our most basic survival needs: fresh water.” Conservation International


  • Six of the 17 so-called mega-diverse countries are found in South America: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela.
  • South America has nearly 26% of the world’s renewable sources of freshwater.
  • South America contains more than 40% of the world’s plant and animal species, in an area smaller than 15% of the Earth’s land surface.
  • Argentina’s Patagonia has one of the highest wind energy potentials on Earth.
  • More than 20% of Earth’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest, earning it the nickname the “Lungs of the Planet”

In South America you will find the world’s…

  • Largest river by volume and the second-longest: Amazon
  • Largest rainforest: Amazon (which represents 54% of the total rainforests left on Earth)
  • Longest mountain range: Andes
  • Largest commercially navigable lake: Lake Titicaca (shared by Bolivia & Peru)
  • Largest salt lake: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
  • Driest place: Atacama Desert, Chile
  • Highest capital city: La Paz, Bolivia
  • Highest point in the Western Hemisphere: Mount Aconcagua (6,960.8 m or 22,837.3 ft) in Mendoza province, Argentina
  • Lowest point in the Western Hemisphere: Laguna del Carbon (105 m or 344 ft below sea level) in Santa Cruz province, Argentina
  • Highest waterfall: Angel Falls, Venezuela
  • Southernmost inhabited community: Puerto Toro, Chile