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
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
Classic Peru 9
USD $2,185
CAD $2,435
AUD $2,412
EUR €1,795
GBP £1,340
NZD $2,641
ZAR R24,020
CHF FR1,850
Book trip
Ecuador on a shoestring 8
USD $655
CAD $740
AUD $790
EUR €550
GBP £400
NZD $850
ZAR R7,290
CHF FR560
Book trip
Colonial Colombia 9
USD $1,740
CAD $1,895
AUD $2,035
EUR €1,395
GBP £1,045
NZD $2,195
ZAR R18,760
CHF FR1,445
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 $2,813
CAD $3,187
AUD $3,323
EUR €2,290
GBP £1,734
NZD $3,667
ZAR R31,428
CHF FR2,346
Book trip
Buenos Aires to Rio Unplugged 17
USD $2,333
CAD $2,545
AUD $2,732
EUR €1,891
GBP £1,402
NZD $2,936
ZAR R25,177
CHF FR1,938
Book trip
Discover Bolivia & Argentina 20
USD $2,871
CAD $3,141
AUD $3,361
EUR €2,326
GBP £1,728
NZD $3,541
ZAR R30,978
CHF FR2,380
Book trip
Patagonia Wilderness 15
USD $4,745
CAD $5,195
AUD $5,560
EUR €3,850
GBP £2,855
NZD $5,980
ZAR R51,240
CHF FR3,940
Book trip
Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure 17
USD $5,840
CAD $6,538
AUD $6,851
EUR €4,837
GBP £3,556
NZD $7,525
ZAR R64,838
CHF FR4,964
Book trip
La Paz to Buenos Aires 21
USD $2,012
CAD $2,684
AUD $2,580
EUR €1,802
GBP £1,358
NZD $2,855
ZAR R27,004
CHF FR2,007
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 $7,085
CAD $7,778
AUD $8,316
EUR €5,762
GBP £4,271
NZD $8,955
ZAR R77,153
CHF FR5,904
Book trip
Amazing South America 47
USD $5,971
CAD $6,534
AUD $6,993
EUR €4,842
GBP £3,591
NZD $7,371
ZAR R64,462
CHF FR4,954
Book trip
Bolivia, Argentina & Peru Adventure 40
USD $5,202
CAD $5,686
AUD $6,098
EUR €4,216
GBP £3,132
NZD $6,557
ZAR R56,231
CHF FR4,309
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 $3,200
CAD $4,290
AUD $4,120
EUR €2,872
GBP £2,154
NZD $4,509
ZAR R41,414
CHF FR3,195
Book trip
Lima to Buenos Aires 42
USD $4,735
CAD $6,313
AUD $6,097
EUR €4,254
GBP £3,205
NZD $6,744
ZAR R63,875
CHF FR4,688
Book trip
Lima to Rio 60
USD $6,960
CAD $9,298
AUD $8,973
EUR €6,252
GBP £4,710
NZD $9,910
ZAR R87,926
CHF FR6,458
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