South America

Colourful, candid and everything in between, South America beats to the rhythm of an infectious, eternal drum. It’s the sequined heat of Carnival and a cool breeze blowing across the Andes, a fiery Argentine tango and the soft silence of an Ecuadorian cloud forest. You taste it in the crackle of slow-cooked barbecue and the tang of a good pisco sour. About the only thing the continent lacks is monotony. From the rocky slopes of Galapagos to the dawn-lit ruins of Machu Picchu, South America is effervescent with sights, sounds and salsa. Now, pass the empanadas and let's talk adventure. 

Explore what it is really like to travel to South America

 

What to see in 7-10 days in South America

Stick to to one or two countries so you can see some of the big-ticket items but also relax and get a feel for daily life. Peru is ideal because you can fly into Cusco and visit Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, then take the train to Aguas Calientes and see Macchu Picchu without the long hike. You could take the Inca Express to Puno and spend some time on Lake Titicaca, and even squeeze in a flight to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon.

Another option would be to explore both Brazil and Argentina. There’s a mix of the great outdoors (Iguazu Falls), beautiful beaches (Rio de Janeiro), local villages, incredible food, world-class wine and plenty of dancing. Alternatively, with 10 days in Ecuador you could experience the Amazon, shop in the Otovalo Markets, visit historic Quito and meet locals in the vibrant little town of Banos.

Trip name Days Total
AUD
CAD
CHF
EUR
GBP
NZD
USD
ZAR
price from
Classic Peru 9
USD $1,852
CAD $2,024
AUD $2,168
EUR €1,492
GBP £1,116
NZD $2,316
ZAR R19,984
CHF FR1,540
Book trip
Inca Trail 8
USD $1,920
CAD $2,095
AUD $2,240
EUR €1,550
GBP £1,150
NZD $2,395
ZAR R20,640
CHF FR1,595
Book trip
Ecuador on a shoestring 8
USD $675
CAD $740
AUD $790
EUR €550
GBP £400
NZD $850
ZAR R7,290
CHF FR560
Book trip
Colonial Colombia 9
USD $1,593
CAD $1,738
AUD $1,870
EUR €1,270
GBP £956
NZD $2,014
ZAR R17,221
CHF FR1,326
Book trip
Simply Peru 11
USD $2,540
CAD $2,570
AUD $2,525
EUR €1,655
GBP £1,460
NZD $2,815
ZAR R25,280
CHF FR2,005
Book trip

What to see in 3 weeks in South America

Combining three countries like Peru, Chile and Argentina will allow you to really get a feel for the destination. You’d get to explore the Amazon, trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and wander the winery trail in Mendoza. However there would also be plenty of breathing room to wander the streets of Santiago and meet the laidback locals on Lake Titicaca.

Swap Peru for Bolivia and you could add La Paz, Salar de Uyuni and a journey across the Bolivian altiplano to the mix. Nature lovers could use this time to hike through Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park and Argentina’s Los Glaciaries National Park. See the Perito Moreno Glacier, catch views of Mt Fitz Roy, journey along the Chilean Fjord Coast and drive the the famous Carretera Austral, probably one of the most stunning roads in South America.

Trip name Days Total
AUD
CAD
CHF
EUR
GBP
NZD
USD
ZAR
price from
Sacred Land of the Incas 15
USD $2,979
NZD $3,807
AUD $3,483
EUR €2,425
CHF FR2,484
CAD $3,307
GBP £1,800
ZAR R32,634
Book trip
Buenos Aires to Rio Unplugged 17
USD $2,196
CAD $2,396
AUD $2,572
EUR €1,780
GBP £1,320
NZD $2,764
ZAR R23,696
CHF FR1,824
Book trip
Discover Bolivia & Argentina 20
USD $3,035
CAD $3,355
AUD $3,590
EUR €2,495
GBP £1,845
NZD $3,860
ZAR R33,090
CHF FR2,545
Book trip
Patagonia Wilderness 15
USD $4,745
CAD $5,350
AUD $5,720
EUR €3,850
GBP £2,910
NZD $6,160
ZAR R52,775
CHF FR3,940
Book trip
Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure 17
USD $5,765
EUR €4,838
CHF FR4,956
NZD $7,513
CAD $6,528
GBP £3,551
ZAR R64,371
AUD $6,851
Book trip
La Paz to Buenos Aires 21
USD $1,724
CAD $2,237
AUD $2,218
EUR €1,554
GBP £1,139
NZD $2,386
ZAR R20,789
CHF FR1,674
Book trip

What to see in 6 weeks in South America

Now we’re talking. The world’s your empanada, so take some time to really think about which countries you want to focus on. You could cross the middle of South America, from Lima to Rio and trek the Inca Trail, walk on the Salar de Uyni salt flats, wander through Mendoza’s wine region, dance up a storm in Buenos Aires, witness the stunning Iguazu Falls, get a tan in Rio and look up at Christ the Redeemer when you’re done. Throw Ecuador into the mix and you’ll get to experience the Amazon, Quito, Cotopaxi Volcano and beautiful Banos.

You could even spend a week in the wildlife playground of the Galapagos Islands, meeting giant Galapagos tortoises, white tip reef sharks, sea lions, marine iguanas and a staggering amount of birdlife. You won’t regret stopping in Colombia to experience the nightlife of Cali, the crayon-box colours of Cartagena’s buildings, the beaches, national parks and of course, the coffee.

Trip name Days Total
AUD
CAD
CHF
EUR
GBP
NZD
USD
ZAR
price from
Galapagos & Peru Adventure 24
USD $7,025
EUR €5,868
CHF FR6,003
NZD $9,103
CAD $7,910
GBP £4,341
ZAR R78,081
AUD $8,464
Book trip
Amazing South America 47
USD $6,375
CAD $6,980
AUD $7,470
EUR €5,175
GBP £3,840
NZD $7,875
ZAR R68,870
CHF FR5,295
Book trip
Bolivia, Argentina & Peru Adventure 40
USD $5,665
CAD $6,195
AUD $6,645
EUR €4,595
GBP £3,415
NZD $7,145
ZAR R61,255
CHF FR4,695
Book trip
Bolivia to Brazil Explorer 36
USD $5,635
CAD $6,165
AUD $6,600
EUR €4,570
GBP £3,390
NZD $7,095
ZAR R60,830
CHF FR4,680
Book trip
Buenos Aires to Santiago via Ushuaia 34
USD $2,752
CAD $3,619
AUD $3,544
EUR €2,481
GBP £1,826
NZD $3,814
ZAR R33,189
CHF FR2,698
Book trip
Lima to Buenos Aires 42
USD $4,092
CAD $5,301
AUD $5,270
EUR €3,701
GBP £2,705
NZD $5,665
ZAR R49,050
CHF FR3,940
Book trip
Lima to Rio 60
USD $5,868
CAD $7,612
AUD $7,562
EUR €5,306
GBP £3,881
NZD $8,135
ZAR R68,498
CHF FR5,502
Book trip
Delve into South America 21
USD $6,505
CAD $7,335
AUD $7,195
EUR €4,655
GBP £4,090
NZD $8,015
ZAR R72,040
CHF FR5,630
Book trip
South America Traverse 27
USD $8,635
CAD $9,740
AUD $9,555
EUR €5,900
GBP £5,190
NZD $10,640
ZAR R95,625
CHF FR7,140
Book trip

Discover more on themes

Festivals in South America

January

Fiesta de la Santa Tierra, Lake Titicaca, Peru

  • During the Festival of the Sacred Land, half the population celebrates at the Temple of Pachamama (Mother Earth) and the other half at the Temple of Pachatata (Father Earth).

Love parade, Santiago, Chile

  • The world’s biggest electronic dance festival is a non-stop parade of music, with hundreds of DJs from around the world.
February

Rio Carnaval

  • Held 40 days before Easter, Rio is home to the biggest Carnaval party in the world where over 2 million people come to play.

Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria, Puno, Peru

  • The Virgin of Candelaria is Puno’s patron saint and she is honoured with a huge festival each year, featuring traditional dancing and dazzling costumes and masks.
March

National Grape Harvest Festival, Mendoza, Argentina

  • Concerts, street festivals and a cut-throat beauty contest all come to a head in the first week of March with fireworks and gaucho displays.
April

Semana Santa, Uruguay

  • During Holy Week there are rituals, processions and prayer meetings all around South America. In Uruguay the whole country shuts down.
May

Festival of the Snows, Peru

  • Held on a remote Peruvian glacier, this is a three-day festival known as Qoyllurit’I. Around 30,000 pilgrims take part in music and dancing, finishing up with a torch-lit parade.
June

Inti Raymi, Cusco, Peru

  • This Inca Festival of the Sun is held in celebration of the winter solstice. The sun god is honoured with parades and dances, and thousands of visitors fill the streets of Cusco.
July

Septenario Festival, Cuenca, Ecuador

  • This Corpus Christi event is a weeklong celebration, where you can indulge in food, games and watch fireworks each night.

Qoyllur Rit'I, Mahuayani, Peru

August

World Tango Championships, Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Enjoy free dance lessons and concerts as the world’s best tango dancers converge on the city to compete for the crown.

Feria de las Flores, Medellín, Colombia

  • This enormous flower festival features events such as the Cavalgata de Caballos (Horse Parade), Desfile de Carros Antiguos (Antique Car Parade) and the Desfile de Silleteros, a chance to see beautiful flower designs.
September

Rock in Rio, Brazil

  • Starting out in 1985 with Queen and AC/DC as headliners, this has grown to become one of the biggest music festivals in the world.  
November

Dia de los Difuntos, Ecuador

  • All Soul’s Day honours the saints and the dead, where people visit the graves of their loved ones and honour them with special feasts.
December

Feri de Cali, Santiago de Cali, Colombia

  • Not for the faint-hearted, this is two weeks of hardcore partying where the streets of Cali become awash with music and dancing.

Independence Day, Chile

- There is plenty on offer, including rodeos and military processions along with incredible food and wine.

Browse our destinations in South America

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