How Well Do You Know South American Geography?

By: Jouviane Alexandre
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Ola! Or should we say hola? Travelling down to South America, you'd be met with distinct cultures as you travel the continent, but where exactly are you headed? With large countries such as Brazil and Argentina, it's quite an easy feat to get lost, but not if you're a master of South American geography!

Its own small melting pot, South America has a blend of cultures and languages. While most of the country speaks Portuguese due to Brazil's high population, Spanish is a close second. You'll also find the Guyanese speaking English, the Surinen speaking Dutch, and the Guineans speaking French. If you wanted to meet your English-speaking counterparts, would you travel north, south, east, or west? Which two countries are land-locked? Brazil shares a border with how many countries?

While you might be good with capitals, do you know what side of the country Lima falls on? Can you pick which country borders Central America? Your knowledge might span the largest country on the continent and even the smallest but travel deeper! We're going beyond the Amazon through the mountains and into the desert. 

If you're ready to bounce around from Buenos Aires to Brasilia to Caracas, let's take a trip with this quiz!

How many countries are there in South America?

The South American continent is made up of 12 countries. Even with this small number, the large continent holds more than 422 million people.

Which of these is a landlocked country in South America?

Due to the relatively large size of most of its countries, South America doesn't have very many landlocked states. In fact, it only has two, Bolivia and Paraguay.

What is the longest river in South America?

The Amazon River is the longest river in South America. Almost twice the size of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, it runs for more than 4,300 miles.

What is the longest mountain range in the world?

The Andes are not only the longest mountain range in South America, but it is also the longest in the world. Along the western coast of South America, the Andes are more than 4,300 miles long.

Which of these countries physically located on the continent was formerly colonized by France and is not considered part of South America?

While most South American countries have a history of Spanish settlers, the French settled in what is now French Guiana. Although located ON the continent, it is not considered part of South America and is considered a part of France.

Spanish is not the official language of which of these countries?

Although most of the countries in South America speak Spanish, there are four that do not. It's the largest country on the continent, and the natives of Brazil speak Portuguese. The countries of Guyana and Suriname speak English and Dutch, respectively.

Which of these countries is named for it's latitudinal coordinate?

While many countries are named after an important historical figure, not Ecuador! The Spanish word for equator, Ecuador got it's name since it is crossed by the equator.

Which lake sits on the border between Peru and Bolivia?

While probably one of the more well-known lakes of South America, Lake Titicaca is the 4th largest. Around 3,200 miles in area, it is located between the borders of Peru and Bolivia.

In which country would you find the statue, Christ the Redeemer?

Christ the Redeemer is one of the great wonders of the world. Found in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the statue stands over 100 feet tall.

What is the tallest waterfall in the world?

Angels Falls, located in Venezuela, is the largest waterfall in the world. It stands at over 3,200 feet.

Which of these South American countries doesn't border the Atlantic Ocean?

The continent of South America shares borders with both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Since Peru is on the western side of the continent, it shares no border with the Atlantic Ocean.

With which of these countries does Brazil not share a border?

Brazil is the largest country in South America. Taking up almost half of the area of the continent alone, Brazil shares a border with nine of the 11 other countries. It doesn't share a border with Ecuador or Chile.

What is the capital of Argentina?

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. The city has a population of more than 13 million people.

Which country is considered to reach the southernmost point of mainland South America?

Chile is the most southernmost point in South America. Although it is debated whether its southernmost point is Cabo Froward or Cape Horn, it is definitely a location in the Chilean country.

Which of these passes through the South American continent?

The Tropic of Cancer runs through Mexico and a few islands in the Caribbean. The Tropic of Capricorn runs through South America, passing through Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.

What is the most spoken language in South America?

While many might think Spanish is the most spoken language in South America, they'd be wrong! Although Spanish comes in at a close second, Portuguese is the most spoken language. The high population of Brazil pushes the language to #1.

Which country's capitals are Sucre and La Paz?

Bolivia is considered to have two capital cities. Sucre is its constitutional capital, while La Paz is considered its administrative capital.

What is the capital of Guyana?

Georgetown is the largest city and capital of Guyana. The city has just under 120,000 inhabitants.

Which strait is located to the east of Argentina?

The Strait of Magellan is a narrow strip of water that separates the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It was named for the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan.

What is the capital of Brazil?

Although Sao Paulo is the largest city with more than 12 million residents, and Rio de Janeiro might be the biggest tourist city, the capital of Brazil is Brasilia.

Which body of water doesn't border South America?

South America is not bordered by the Indian Ocean. The continent is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, Atlantic Ocean to the east, and Caribbean Sea to the north.

In what direction does the Amazon river flow?

Thousands of years ago, the Amazon River once flowed into the Pacific Ocean, but that is no longer the case. The river currently flows from west to east.

What ancient Inca city can be found in South America?

Machu Picchu was the ancient civilization of the Incas. Located in Peru, it has become a huge tourist attraction over the years.

What is the strip of land that connects South America to the rest of North America?

While normally called Central America, this strip of land is very much part of North America. Just below Mexico, it connects to the South American continent. It is made up of countries like Belize, Honduras, and Panama.

Which Central American country borders South America?

Panama shares a border with the South American continent. It borders Colombia.

What is the capital of Venezuela?

Caracas is the capital city of Venezuela. Also it's largest city, it has over close to 2 million people.

Which of these islands ISN'T just off the coast of South America?

The Dominican Republic is not an island that is just off the coast of South America. The islands of Aruba, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago are just off the coast of the South American continent, all under 500 miles in distance from a South American city.

What is the largest city in South America?

Sao Paulo is the largest city on the South American continent with just over 12 million people. It is also found in the largest country on the continent, Brazil, which has more than 207 million people.

What is the name of the driest hot desert in the world?

While Antarctica is the driest desert in the world, it is cold. The driest hot desert in the world is Atacama Desert. Located west of the Andes mountain range, it is mostly located on the Chilean coast.

The popular Galapagos Islands are a part of which South American country?

The Galapagos Islands are a part of the Republic of Ecuador. It is known for its abundance of volcanoes and unique wildlife.

Both the highest (Aconcagua) and lowest (Peninsula Valdes) points in South America can be found in which country?

Argentina houses both the highest and lowest points on the continent. Peninsula Valdes is the lowest point which comes in at -151 ft. below sea level. Aconagua, the highest point of the Andes mountains, stands at over 22,800 feet.

What is the capital of Peru?

Lima is the largest city and capital city of Peru. The city also has more than 9 million inhabitants.

What is the smallest South American country?

The smallest country in South America is Suriname, which is just over 160,000 square km.

South America larger than which of these continents?

South America is the fourth-largest continent, making it larger than both Europe and Australia. It is fourth, just after Asia, Africa, and North America.

The Amazon River empties into which body of water?

For many years, the starting point of the Amazon River has been hard to pinpoint. However, the river definitely flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

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