South America stands out as one of the best holiday spots for any intrepid traveller; with the diverse range of features there ensuring holidaymakers never run out of exciting things to do. Sometimes these fascinating factors encompass the more bizarre side of life. Today, let’s explore five strange and kickass things you could discover when you travel to South America.

Baños Cliffside swing

In Ecuador you can get involved with one of the scariest swing sets ever devised. Sitting on a treehouse at the edge of a gigantic cliff, the swing itself flies out over the abyss below – making for one of the scariest experiences imaginable. Don’t worry though, you’ll be strapped in the whole time.

Fancy like this woman swinging at the famous swing at the “End of the World” located at the La Casa del Árbol (The Treehouse) in Baños, Ecuador?

 

South America’s Horned Screamer

 

Just when you thought you’d wrapped your head around all species and variants of birds (what even are flamingos, anyway?), the horned screamer pops up and throws everything you thought you knew about our feathered friends out the window.

The name says it all with these guys. The screamer’s call is akin to someone being loudly throttled, while a long bone-like protrusion rises out of their skulls in the form of a horn. This is a feature totally unique to this species, who are most commonly found in Ecuador and Colombia.

 

Guinea pigs on the menu

 

In most countries guinea pigs are generally considered to be nothing more than cuddly household pets. However, in Peru things are totally different. You can take a trip to the Andes and find a horde of the critters being served up on your plate.

Don’t get too attached to their fluffy cuteness, you’ll be chowing down on one the following day. Alarmingly, this meal is often served up to diners with the head of the household pet still attached.

Guinea pigs on the grill

Guinea pigs on the grill

 

Toilet paper goes in the bin

 

Somewhat disgustingly, people in South America throw their used toilet paper straight into the bin, and not down the toilet like most other places in the world. But why? The short answer is they’re worried about toilets exploding.

No, the paper itself isn’t made from dynamite or other flammable material – rather the toilets themselves have been horribly setup when it comes to plumbing. Wrap a dirty sheet in a clean one, so as to avoid the bin looking like a total mess. It’ll still smell though.

Little Venezuelan Bavaria

 

You wouldn’t associate South America with anything German (other than perhaps the 7-1 thrashing they gave to Brazil in the semi-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup), but things are a little different in La Colonia Tovar.

The town was founded in 1843 by a series of migrants from The Black Forest, who constructed housing in keeping with what they had become accustomed to living in back in their native land. Most of these buildings still exist today, making for an interesting taste of Europe whenever anyone visits.

South America's little bavaria in Venezuela La Colonia Tovar

South America is a wonderful place to visit – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few eye-opening features to amaze you too (whether it’s for good or bad reasons). Make sure to keep these strange things in mind when you’re next in the continent.