The vast continent of South America is full of epic journeys. Here are four to add to an adventurous bucket list.

Machu Picchu, Peru

It's one of the world's ultimate bucket list destinations, but if you don't have the time or energy to hike the Inca trail, there's a more leisurely way to get to the ancient citadel high in the Andes Mountains — by train. You can choose to depart from either Cuzco or the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The scenic journey follows the Urubamba River through the Sacred Valley and the phenomenal views won't disappoint. For those with a bit more time on their hands, you can start your train journey from sea level in Ecuador, climbing to more than 3600m into the imposing Andes ranges, and passing through fascinating destinations like Quito, the Avenue of the Volcanos, Lima, Arequipa and Lake Titicaca, before making it to Cuzco and beyond.

Death Road, Boliva

It's known as the most dangerous road in the world, particularly for cyclists — but there's a reason that tourists still flock to take it on. The Yungus Road winds around rolling hills with stunning views of the Amazon rainforest, but has few railings to protect from the terrifying drop to the bottom. At the 700-metre mark of the journey, the road thins to be just three metres wide. Luckily, since a new highway was built around the infamous road, there's not quite as much traffic to deal with as there used to be.

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Ruta 40, Argentina

This long and winding road — the longest in the country — is legendary among Argentines and visitors alike, running for an impressive 5224km. Much like Route 66 in the US, it's inspired countless songs and books. The best way to tackle Ruta 40 is to rent a car and drive it yourself. While most of the road has been paved over time, it's also a good idea to get a 4WD as parts are still pretty rough - although that's part of the appeal for some. It's bound to be a memorable road trip, as you'll travel from the country's southernmost point at the ocean near Cabo Virgenes and drive through 11 provinces, 12 national parks and across 24 rivers.

Galapagos by boat

See how Darwin devised his theory of evolution by visiting the Galapagos Islands by boat — it's the best way to visit these fascinatingly varied environments and the creatures that inhabit them. Some of the strangest animals you might see include a blood-drinking finch, a fish-eating snake and the marine iguana, the only sea-going lizard. A number of companies offer tours of the area, but if you're a fan of the mega-liner, you're out of luck — the Galapagos National Park limits ships to 100 passengers. But a smaller group is the way to go when the environment is this precious.