South America is a continent that makes up part of the Americas. It is bordered by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Central America, and the Caribbean Sea. This continent is politically divided into 12 sovereign countries, French Guiana (a territory of France), and the Falkland Islands (its territory is under dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina). Tourism in South America is a significant part of the economy for many countries as visitors come to see ancient ruins, natural parks, and a diverse range of cultures. Some countries are more popular than others. This article takes a look at the least visited sovereign countries in South America.
The Least Popular Tourist Destinations in South America
Ecuador is number five on the list of least visited countries in South America. In 2015, this country received around 1.543 million international tourists. Its government is dedicated to increasing the size and importance of its tourism industry.
Perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in this country is the Galapagos Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean. These islands are well-known for having a high level of endemic species and for helping Charles Darwin develop his Theory of Evolution. This country is also home to Chimborazo volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador and the highest peak near the Equator. Ecuador provides tourists with the opportunity to learn about a number of different cultures, visit numerous beaches, and explore a variety of archaeological ruins.
Paraguay is the 4th least visited country in South America. In 2015, this country received around 1.214 million international tourists. This industry provides jobs to approximately 9,500 people in the country.
This country offers nature and adventure based tourist attractions. Hiking, zip-lining, rock rappelling, and fishing are some of the most popular activities available in Paraguay. Tourists can feast upon the region's unique culinary dishes prepared here, or come to learn about diverse cultures.
Bolivia is the 3rd least visited country in South America. In 2015, this country received approximately 882,000 international tourists. The largest groups of tourists primarily visit from Brazil (33,254), Chile (30,776), and the United States (29,612).
Bolivia is home to 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the ruins of Tiwanaku. One of the oldest known settlements in the Americas, the city of Potosí, is in Bolivia. It was once home to the largest silver deposits in the world. The Amazon Rainforest, the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos, the Fuerte de Samaipata, and the Carnival of Oruro, are all tourist attractions located in Bolivia. Additionally, tourists may visit Lake Titicaca (the highest navigable lake in the world), the Andes mountains, and the Madidi National Park (one of the most biodiverse parks in the world).
Suriname is the 2nd least visited country in South America, receiving only around 228,000 tourists in 2015. This sovereign country has the smallest area on the continent and once made up part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
This country has just over a half million residents - the majority of whom live along the coastal areas. Approximately 30% of the area of Suriname has been protected as a nature reserve, most of which is the rainforest. Ecotourism is popular here and many visitors tour the nature reserves, islands, indigenous villages, and waterfalls.
The Least Visited Country In South America
Guyana is the least visited country in South America. Only 207,000 tourists visited here in 2015. This country was once a Dutch colony and then a British colony before gaining its independence in 1966. It is known locally as “The Land of Many Waters.”
The government has previously attempted to nominate the Kaieteur National Park, which is home to one of the highest levels of endemism in South America, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately for Guyana, the site was considered too small for a nomination. Tourists to Guyana may visit several important sites, including St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, the second tallest wooden religious building in the world, the Demerara Harbour Bridge, the fourth longest floating bridge in the world, and the Guiana Highlands Forest, a World Wildlife Fund ecoregion.