Chili

This unusually long and slender country has traditionally been viewed as less glamorous than its neighbor, Argentina. But a stable economy and a steady democracy in the post-Pinochet period have transformed the capital, Santiago. Walk around the trendy historic Lastarria quarter, pop into the ultra-modern arts space beneath the Moneda government building, or dine out on ceviche and sushi in wealthy Vitacura, and you will feel you are in South America’s safest, most middle-class, most quietly confident country.

Columbia:

Once regarded as unsafe, this beautiful, balmy, mountainous land – and the only South American country to boast both Caribbean and Pacific coasts – is now firmly on the mainstream tourist bucket-list.