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Map of South America (With Countries & Capitals)

South America is the fourth-largest continent in the world and sits in the Western Hemisphere. The continent lies south of North America, sharing a land border via Panama and Colombia. The Caribbean Sea is northwest, bounded by Colombia and Venezuela. The North and South Atlantic Oceans sit northeast and east of the continent, respectively. The South Atlantic Ocean also borders much of the South. The Drake Passage waterway lies directly south of the continent, bridging the 600 miles between Chile and Antarctica. To the west lies the North and South Pacific Oceans.

Here is everything you will find in this overview:

South America Map

Political/Atlas Travel Map of South America with countries, capitals, large cities and roads.
Map of South America

This high-resolution static map is free to download and print for educational or similar purposes. Trips to Discover built this map using data from © Mapbox and © OpenStreetMap and their sources. To learn more, visit Mapbox and OpenStreetMap. If you re-publish this map online or in print, you must credit and link (if online) to Trips to Discover as the source. Contact [email protected] to improve this map.

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Countries and Capitals

Countries: South America has 12 countries

  1. Argentina: Buenos Aires

  2. Bolivia: La Paz (Administrative), Sucre (Constitutional)

  3. Brazil: Brasília

  4. Chile: Santiago

  5. Colombia: Bogotá

  6. Ecuador: Quito

  7. Guyana: Georgetown

  8. Paraguay: Asunción

  9. Peru: Lima

  10. Suriname: Paramaribo

  11. Uruguay: Montevideo

  12. Venezuela: Caracas

Territories: South America has one territory under foreign colonial control

  1. French Guiana: Cayenne (France)

Major Cities

The two major travel hubs in South America are the El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, Colombia, and the São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport in Guarulhos, Brazil. They are in the top 50 busiest airports in the world by passenger traffic. The Guarulhos airport serves the city of São Paulo, Brazil, the largest city on the South American continent by population. Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; and Bogotá, Colombia, are the continent’s following most populous cities, respectively.

Tourist Attractions

South America is rich in natural wonders and cultural landmarks with many of the world’s top tourist destinations, including:

Travel Tips

Packing Essentials: Must-have items for travel in South America.

Local Etiquette: South America is diverse, yet some social norms are widely observed.

  • South Americans tend to be open, friendly and interpersonal people.

  • Kissing on the cheek is a common greeting in much of the continent.

  • Tipping in South America is not considered “mandatory,” but it is appreciated!

  • Unlike some of Central America, having a rudimentary understanding of Spanish is a good idea.

Cultural Insights

South America’s cultural landscape heavily intertwines with the natural environment. Home to the 1.35 billion acre Amazon Rainforest and the Atacama Desert — the continent hosts the largest river and the driest desert in the world. Much of South America’s deep ties to the environment stem from indigenous peoples who comprise a large share of the continent’s population, especially in Bolivia and Peru. The continent brings together the rich culture and traditions of indigenous, Iberian and African peoples, resulting in some of the world’s best food, dance, literature, festivals and ceremonies.

Economic Overview

The U.S. dollar stretches far in South America, making travel within the continent relatively affordable. The U.S. dollar has the strongest purchasing power in the following safe-to-visit countries, and how much cheaper things are in that country compared to the U.S.

  • Bolivia: 60-70% Cheaper

  • Brazil: 40-50% Cheaper

  • Ecuador: 40-50% Cheaper

  • Chile: 40-50% Cheaper

Local Governance and Politics

Safest: The following countries are safest to visit in South America with the lowest level 1 designation by the U.S. State Department:

Safe: These countries are also very safe to visit with level 2 — increased caution — advisories:

Unsafe: The following countries are best to avoid when traveling to the South American continent:

  • Venezuela has a level 4 Do Not Travel advisory from the State Department.

  • Colombia has a level 3 Reconsider Travel advisory. Do Not Travel to the following areas in the country:

    • Arauca

    • Cauca (excluding Popayán)

    • Norte de Santander 

    • The Colombia-Venezuela border region

Guyana has a level 3 Reconsider Travel advisory.

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