In many ways, the continent of South America is a gem of a place. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world lining its shores, the capital South American cities are full of wonder, history, and culture, the cuisine in South America is second to none, and there are tons of adventure at every turn. It's a place that people flock to each year in search of an authentic South American vacation, pouring their hard-earned cash into the economies.

Because many parts of the economy have established themselves as major tourist destinations, they have been able to pull away from the long-established roots of poverty. A divide in wealth is very apparent in this part of the world, where the poor are beyond dirt poor, and the wealthy are some of the most prosperous folks in the world. Like the people, many countries also see a divide in riches. While many areas remain impoverished, others are flourishing. Check out these South American countries that are known to be the richest ones.

9 Brazil Has The Biggest Commercial Market

The massive country of Brazil has some of the most amazing and hidden beaches, but it also has the most significant commercial market on the continent, and this essentially means that lots of money are being made there. It also has one of the largest e-commerce markets in the region, housing forty-two percent of the online shopping activity in Latin America. Where there is money flowing, there is wealth to be made.

8 Uruguay Has The Highest GDP Per Capita

Uruguay is the second richest country in South America, and that is largely because of its booming export business. The small South American country churns out tons of wool, rice, soybeans, frozen beef, malt, and milk. This booming export business has created a stable economy for the people of Uruguay and contributes to the $24K per capita. Aside from financial wealth, Uruguay boasts first in democracy and peace within Latin America as well as first in press freedom and size in middle class and prosperity.

7 Chile Is Wealthy Compared To The Continent And The World

Santiago, Chile, is known for its economic wealth as well as its rich and vibrant culture and history. If traveling in South America, this is a city that you will not want to miss. Chile is actually the richest country in all of South America with exceedingly high living standards as well as a well-developed economy. Areas such as mining, manufacturing, personal services, and retail trade have bolstered the economy and made the country a leading contender in wealth on the world circuit, not just the Latin American circuit.

6 Peru Is Wealthy And Has A Rapidly Expanding Economy

Peru might not be the richest country in South America by monetary standards, but it is rich in another way: social freedom. The people here are some of the least repressed in the entire hemisphere, and the country ranks high in terms of sovereign states. Peru also has some rapidly growing industries, aiding it in its riches. Mining, manufacturing, tourism, and fishing are all rapidly growing in the country of Peru.

5 Suriname Isn't Rich By World Standards But Does Okay By Latin America Standards

Suriname isn't one of the richest countries in the world, and it falls in the middle of the road by Latin American standards. It does pretty well for being the smallest country in all of South America, however. The country's riches lie within its ability to export several lucrative items like oil, gold, and aluminum ore. The country, like many in this region, has areas of extreme poverty and sectors of affluent wealth.

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4 Colombia Has Some Catching Up To Do, But It's Made Major Gains In Recent Years

Colombia has long been known as a South American country steeped high in poverty and crime, but don't count Colombia out just yet. In recent years, the country has made some serious gains in the economic wealth department. Over the last decade and a half, Colombia has established itself as one of the world’s fastest-growing information technology sectors in the entire world. Poverty in this area is decreasing, so who knows what the next couple of decades will bring?

3 Peru Has One Of The Lowest Poverty Rates

When we consider wealth in any specific area, one gauge often used it the poverty rate. If a country has a low poverty rate, then we can safely assume people are working and caring for their families. The small, friendly country of Peru has one of the lowest poverty rates in South America at nineteen percent. This low poverty rate, combined with a rapidly growing economy, means that economic gains are on the rise.

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2 Paraguay Can Thank Major Exports Like Meat For Its Economic Success

Since the 1970s, Paraguay has been climbing the riches ladder and has seen more consistent growth in its economy than any other South American country. This is largely due to its export business. The country ranks second in the world for Tung oil and stevia production and sixth in the world for soybeans and corn. It also exports a massive amount of wheat and beef, giving its economy the diversity it needs to be an export contender on a large scale.

1 Ecuador Is Making A Run At Richest Thanks To Biodiversity And Tourism

Ecuador is another country that sees wealth on a spectrum. There are many rural, poor parts to this region of the world, and other parts that do very well. The economy is diverse, and it exports goods such as petroleum, bananas, coffee, rice, potatoes, sugarcane, cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, and dairy products as well as fish, shrimp, and balsa wood. Aside from exporting products, the country has looked towards tourism and biodiversity to help promote itself. It is fast becoming a tourist hotspot in the South American region.