The huge continent of South America has been drawing visitors for decades, because of its archaeological sites and breathtaking sceneries. While access to some of these sites has improved in the last years, there are still many that have remained hidden to most of the world. Visiting these places might mean hours of bus or boat rides but every single minute is worth it once you see what they have to offer.

1. Lago General Carrera, Chile/Argentina

This 1850 square-kilometer body of water straddles the borders of Chile and Argentina and is located about 5 hours south of Coyhaique. It is impressive due to the changing hues of the water, which comes from melting glaciers from the mountain.

Just as breathtaking are the blue, white, and pink marble rock formations at the center, formed after 6000 years of erosion. Visitors can take a boat ride to the biggest, the Marble Cathedral or El Catedral de Marbol.

2. Quilotoa Volcano, Ecuador

Ecuador is already one of the least visited countries in South America, so you can expect almost no rush of tourists here. Although it is much smaller compared to its neighbors, it has enough natural beauty to draw visitors in. For example, it has 8 major volcanoes that can wow you.

The most beautiful is the Quilotoa Volcano, with its caldera at 3,914 meters or 12,841 feet high. The crater has a 3 km diameter and offers wonderful sights, so long as you make the difficult hike. What makes it more remote is also the lack of tourist infrastructure around the volcano, so you can expect the trip to be a true adventure.

3. Vinicunca, Peru

The Rainbow Mountain of Vinicunca is a true once-in-a-lifetime natural wonder. At an altitude of 5,200 meters or 17,100 feet, it is a part of the Peruvian Andes. The name comes from the 7 colors due to the minerals found on the mountain. The end effect is a rainbow mountain that cannot be found anywhere else. Reaching the mountain is a challenge, with visitors needing to hike for a day from Quichuyuno.

4. Angel Falls, Venezuela

The Angel Falls, or Salto Angel in Spanish, is not just remote because of the difficulties traveling into Venezuela these days. The world’s highest waterfall also requires a total travel time of 3 days from the nearest city. It is found inside a dense rainforest, adding to the challenge of reaching it. However, its impressive drop will make any other waterfall look tiny. Visitors who want to reach Salto Angel will need to first fly from Ciudad Bolivar to Canaima Camp. Next is a 10-hour drive to the river, before a long boat ride to reach the base of the falls.

5. Yacyreta Island Dunes, Paraguay

This site is found in another one of the lesser-known South American countries, Paraguay. Here the Parana River hosts the island of Yacyreta and its interestingly-shaped white sand dunes. The most famous of them all is the San Cosme y Damian. Visiting these dunes are tough due to the lack of tourist infrastructure. In fact, only some fishermen live there so you will need a tour guide to bring you there.

These are just some of the truly hidden gems found in South America, which might be challenging to reach but once you see the beauty they have to offer, will make every hour of journey nothing less than worthwhile.