How Many Countries of South America Can You Name?

From the Amazon Rainforest to the Andes Mountains, the fourth-largest continent is a treasure trove of natural wonders and historical sites. Let's explore the countries of South America and take a look at what makes each one unique.

How Many Countries Are in South America?

South America is comprised of 12 independent countries and several territories. Wonder which one might be the place for you? Luckily, we've got a quiz for that!

Like majestic natural sight seeing? Western South America is defined by the towering Andes Mountains, which run along the continent's western edge, influencing the climate and cultures of countries like Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Prefer more urban living? Many South Americans love living in the large capital cities, such as São Paulo, Buenos Aires or Lima.


Argentina, home to the iconic Buenos Aires, is famous for its Argentine tango and stunning landscapes, from the Andes Mountains to the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego.

The country is known for its beef, wine and passion for fútbol (aka football, aka soccer). With its diverse regions, Argentina offers everything from the bustling urban life of Buenos Aires to the serene beauty of Patagonia. It's also the country with the least personal space!


Named after Símón Bolívar, Bolivia has a mix of Indigenous and Spanish colonial history. It boasts some of the most monumental architecture in South America, including the ancient ruins of Tiwanaku.

The country's diverse geography ranges from the high-altitude Altiplano to the lush Amazon Basin. Bolivia's vibrant cultures are reflected in its festivals, traditional music and colorful markets.


Brazil, the largest country in South America, is known for samba, the vast Amazon Rainforest and the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro. It's both the most populous country on the continent and the largest by area, covering a significant portion of the South America's eastern coasts.

Brazil is also home to the world's largest river (based on volume), the Amazon River.


Chile stretches along the continent's western edge, featuring the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth, and the scenic landscapes of southern Chile, including Patagonia. The country is known for its robust wine industry.

Chile's long, narrow shape encompasses a wide variety of climates and ecosystems, from coastal beaches to Andean highlands.


Colombia, located on the northern coast of South America, is known for its coffee plantations, vibrant cities like Bogotá and Medellín, and its rich cultural history.

The country's landscapes include the Amazon rainforest, Andean peaks and Caribbean coastlines. Colombia has a lively cultural scene, with influences from Indigenous, African and Spanish heritages.


Ecuador is famed for the Galápagos Islands, the Amazon Basin and the city of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site nestled in the Andes Mountains.

The small size of this South American country belies its incredible biodiversity and cultural depth, with Indigenous communities and colonial architecture weaving its cultural tapestry.

Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic, are known for their rugged landscapes and rich wildlife, including penguins and sea lions. The islands' remote location and distinct ecology attract nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

The capital, Stanley, reflects its British heritage. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are other nearby British overseas territories.

French Guiana

French Guiana, an overseas department of France, is located on the continent's northern coast. It is known for its European nations influence and the spaceport at Kourou.

The capital city, Cayenne, showcases a blend of French and Creole cultures. French Guiana's pristine rainforests and rich biodiversity are also major attractions.


Guyana, part of the Guianas on the continent's northern coast, is known for its dense rainforests, diverse wildlife and the majestic Kaieteur Falls. The country’s capital, Georgetown, offers a peek at its British colonial history with wooden stilted houses and colorful markets, while Guyana's pristine natural environments are a haven for ecotourism.


Paraguay, located in the heart of South America, features sparsely populated areas and — like other parts of the continent — a mix of Indigenous and Spanish cultures that still echoes in its traditions and languages. The country is landlocked, with a landscape dominated by rivers, forests and the Gran Chaco region.


Peru, home to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, offers stunning views of the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Basin, making it a hub for natural and historical exploration.

The capital, Lima, is renowned for its culinary scene and colonial architecture. Peru’s rich history includes the Inca Empire, whose legacy is visible in its archaeological sites and vibrant traditions.


Suriname, the smallest country in South America, is renowned for its vast tracts of tropical rainforest and the multicultural capital city, Paramaribo.

The country’s diverse population includes descendants of Indigenous peoples, Africans, Europeans and Asians. Suriname's natural beauty and cultural diversity make it a unique destination.


Uruguay, with its charming capital Montevideo, boasts beautiful beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and a rich cultural scene influenced by both Spanish and Italian heritage.

The country is known for its laid-back lifestyle, high standard of living and progressive social policies. Uruguay’s cultural life is vibrant, with music, theatre and festivals playing a central role.


Venezuela is known for its spectacular Angel Falls — the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall — and its significant oil reserves, which play a crucial role in its economy. The country’s diverse landscapes range from Caribbean coastlines to Andean mountains and the vast plains of Los Llanos.

What About Central America?

While not part of South America, Central America connects this continent with North America, encompassing countries like Panama and Costa Rica, which share cultural and ecological ties with South America.

Wait, So What's Latin America Then?

Latin America includes both Central and South American countries, as well as parts of the Caribbean. All these regions share a cultural heritage primarily influenced by Spanish and Portuguese colonization. This cultural unity is reflected in the shared languages, traditions and historical experiences across these regions.

Original article: How Many Countries of South America Can You Name?

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