Can You Crush This South American Geography Quiz?


By: Zoe Samuel

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

North America may be home to the most powerful country in the world, but in many ways, South America is even more fascinating. The history of South America starts with strange, powerful ancient civilizations like the Maya and the Aztec. Then came the conquistadors; Spanish conquerors looking for valuable natural resources like gold. From the conquistadors came centuries of cultural collision, wars, United States meddling, and finally, where we are today.

South America has produced some of the greatest athletes, killer parties, artists, business people, and the current pope. It has some of the longest rivers, highest mountains and most isolated indigenous tribes. South America is home to bleeding edge tech companies and cultures untouched by modern civilization. There are pagans, Catholics, and everything in between. South America is a massive collection of counties, each with its own history and identity, so do you think you're ready for this quiz, or do you need to open a search window and cheat on this quiz?

Do you know about the geography of South America? Do you know which country has what features? Do you know where the highest mountains are? Do you know what the biggest waterfalls are? Do you know where to find the most dangerous animals? Take this quiz and find out!

What feature divides the upper and lower Iguazu?

Iguazu Falls is a stunning, horseshoe-shaped waterfall formation in Argentina and Brazil, like Niagara Falls in the U.S. and Canada. When you visit, be sure to take the charming little train on the Argentinian side, so you get a little tour of the jungle, coming out quite suddenly on the falls.


Which river is the longest in South America?

The Amazon is by far the world's longest river, at over 4000 miles in length.


How many countries are in South America?

A quick look at a map would show only 12 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela


Which waterfall is the tallest?

Angel Falls is the world's highest waterfall, and with a height of 3,212 feet, it is South America's tallest.


What is the largest urban area in South America?

With an area of 587.30 square miles, Sao Paulo is the largest urban area in South America. By comparison, New York City is 468.48 square miles.


What is the largest country in South America?

Brazil is absolutely massive, covering an area of 3.29 million square miles. By comparison, Argentina, the close number 2, is 1.07 million square miles.


How many territories are there in South America?

South America is home to three territories: French Guiana, the Falkland Islands and the Galapagos Islands.


What is the biggest island in South America?

The Falklands include the largest island in South America. While Tierra del Fuego is a large area of islands, none are as large as the Falklands.


What is the highest mountain in South America?

Not only is Aconcagua the tallest mountain in South America, it is the tallest mountain outside Asia. Formed by subduction of the Nazca Plate under the South American Plate, this mountain is a major destination for climbers.


What is the largest lake in South America?

With an area of more than 12,000 feet, Lake Titicaca is a lake formed by the pulling apart of the land mass, not by an impact crater. It is a cold, deep lake, and the largest in South America.


What is the driest place in South America?

Once inhabited by the ancient Chinchorro culture, this incredibly arid place is so alien it has doubled as a filming location in place of Mars, which is of course much more expensive to visit.


What two countries in South America are landlocked?

Paraguay and Bolivia are the only landlocked countries in South America. Since many of the coastal countries are huge, and the Andes form a natural barrier, most countries extend too far into the interior to allow the existence of independent landlocked countries.


What region encompasses the world's largest wetland area?

Encompassing parts of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, Pantanal is the world's largest wetland area. Located in the heart of South America, it is home to unique flora and fauna.


What South American city is the southernmost city in the world?

Located in Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia is the southernmost city not just in South America, but in the world. Other than its cultural and tourist industries, the city houses a factory operated by German manufacturer Grundig.


What long mountain range defines the spine of South America?

The Andes are the mountain range that define South America, created by pressure from the tectonic plates. The Andes are some of the highest mountains in the world, and the ridge they form causes much of the weather in South America.


What South American country is located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere?

The complete list of South American countries north of the Equator are: Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, which is really a territory.


What peculiar cyclic weather phenomenon visits parts of South America?

The Madden–Julian oscillation is a traveling weather pattern that rounds South America as part of its cyclical travel. The disturbance is mostly the cause of strange rainfall.


What road in El Salvador is named for the wildflowers growing along its path, winding through many of the country's picturesque villages?

The Ruta de las Flores is a lovely amble through some gorgeous countryside, whereas all the other roads listed here are noted for being unbelievably dangerous! Don't get them confused! The Pan-American Highway is so high up, some cars can't run because their engines don't get enough oxygen.


What crater lake in El Salvador is a major tourist attraction?

While all the above are South American impact crater sites, only Lake Ilopango is a crater lake. Spanning 28 square miles, the lake sits on an active volcano, though its eruptions tend to be small. Most recently, the lake produced a lava dome forming a small island, erupting from December 31, 1879, up to March 26, 1880.


What Bolivian cave has a diabolical connection?

Cueva del Diablo sits at the bottom of a 100-meter cleft in the rock. Local legend holds that The Devil was fleeing an image of Saint Bartholomew when he took refuge in the cave, leaving a black streak in the rock as he passed by.


What volcanic artifact is a must see in El Salvador?

Located near hot springs and formed between 72,000 and 57,000 years ago, Coatepeque Caldera is a crater lake formed by an ancient volcano. Called Lake Coatepeque, the body of water is next to a small settlement. The island itself was a sacred place to the Maya.


What glacier in Patagonia is a major tourist attraction?

At 97 square miles, the Perito Moreno Glacier is a massive tourist destination, with observation platforms built over it to give visitors an epic view. The glacier is named in part for Francisco Moreno, an explorer who defended Argentina in a border dispute with Chile.


What remote town was at the center of a border dispute between Chile and Argentina?

El Chaltén is officially Argentina's Capital Nacional del Trekking, and for the most part it's just an amazing tourism destination. In 1985, Chile and Argentina had a dispute about who controlled the city, but Argentina kept the town in an agreement with Chile, and no shots were fired.


What mountain village in Argentina looks like it was lifted right out of the Alps?

Commonly called Bariloche, San Carlos de Bariloche is a mountain village in the Andes sporting very Germanic-looking architecture and landscape. This village really came to fame in 1995 when it was discovered as the hiding place of several Nazi war criminals who fled Germany after World War II.


What Central American nation was once part of the nation of Colombia?

Panama broke from Colombia in 1903 at the prodding of the United States, which wanted a cozy relationship with the local government in order to build the Panama Canal. Until then, Panama was just another part of Colombia.


What national park lies due east of Bogota?

Established in 1977 and located in the Orinoco River basin, Chingaza National Park has no indigenous people right now, but once did. With elevations up to 13,190 feet, make sure you eat some iron before you go there.


What South American nation is nearly all coastline?

Chile (pronounced CHILL-ay) is a narrow country taking up much of the west coast of South America, and little else. With a mountain range to its east, this is a natural shape for it.


What massive lake sits in the center of Uruguay?

Lake Rincon Del Bonete is a dammed fresh water lake in central Uruguay. That it is fresh water is notable, since there are some ancient salt water lakes in South America.


What island sits in the middle of Laguna Mar Chiquita, Argentina?

El Mistolar is an uninhabited island with a long beach in the middle of Laguna Mar Chiquita, Argentina.


What disputed islands were the center of a war between Argentina and The United Kingdom?

The Falkland islands, called Islas Malvinas by Argentina, are a British possession in South America. They are home to a colony of southern rockhopper penguins, who, being lighter than humans, do not set off the antipersonnel mines on some of the beaches of the Falklands, left over from the Falklands War.


What is the southernmost island of South America?

The only signs of civilization on Isla Hornos is a small Chilean naval base, Part of Tierra Del Fuego, the island is inside Cabo de Hornos National Park.


What is the westernmost volcano in South America?

Standing 4,842 feet tall, Volcan La Cumbre is the most active volcano in the Galapagos Islands, and is the westernmost volcano in South America.


What is the northernmost point in South America?

Punta Gallinas may not be where South America connects with Central America, but it is actually South America's northernmost point, north of Panama and Costa Rica, and parallel with Nicaragua.


What is the source of the Amazon River?

While still disputed by some, mostly for political reasons, a 2014 study found the source of Amazon to be in Peru, at Cordillera Rumi Cruz. A 2001 study found Nevado Mismi to be the source of the Amazon, where a simple wooden cross stands to mark the source today. Why not visit both and have all your bases covered?


What Colombian town sits adjacent to the Brazilian town of Tabatinga?

These two towns sit on the banks of the Amazon. Leticia houses a museum of the local indigenous culture, and has its own airport. If you want to go on a trip on the Amazon, it's an interesting place to start.


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