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
Galapagos Panorama - Northern Islands - (Nemo III) 10
USD $3,718
CAD $4,361
AUD $4,578
EUR €3,234
GBP £2,370
NZD $5,017
ZAR R43,049
CHF FR3,310
Book trip
Classic Peru 9
USD $1,857
CAD $2,069
AUD $2,171
EUR €1,525
GBP £1,126
NZD $2,375
ZAR R20,417
CHF FR1,572
Book trip
Inca Trail 8
USD $1,602
CAD $1,780
AUD $1,865
EUR €1,317
GBP £969
NZD $2,035
ZAR R17,544
CHF FR1,355
Book trip
Ecuador on a shoestring 8
USD $495
CAD $555
AUD $581
EUR €412
GBP £296
NZD $637
ZAR R5,467
CHF FR420
Book trip
Colonial Colombia 9
USD $1,705
CAD $1,895
AUD $1,995
EUR €1,395
GBP £1,035
NZD $2,195
ZAR R18,760
CHF FR1,445
Book trip
Simply Peru 11
USD $2,495
CAD $2,570
AUD $2,525
EUR €1,655
GBP £1,460
NZD $2,810
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 $2,990
CAD $3,370
AUD $3,535
EUR €2,495
GBP £1,835
NZD $3,880
ZAR R33,240
CHF FR2,555
Book trip
Buenos Aires to Rio Unplugged 17
USD $2,182
CAD $2,430
AUD $2,550
EUR €1,803
GBP £1,323
NZD $2,741
ZAR R23,988
CHF FR1,845
Book trip
Discover Bolivia & Argentina 20
USD $3,010
CAD $3,355
AUD $3,520
EUR €2,495
GBP £1,825
NZD $3,860
ZAR R33,090
CHF FR2,545
Book trip
Patagonia Wilderness 15
USD $4,570
CAD $5,350
AUD $5,615
EUR €3,850
GBP £2,910
NZD $6,160
ZAR R52,775
CHF FR3,940
Book trip
Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure 17
USD $5,605
CAD $6,463
AUD $6,781
EUR €4,753
GBP £3,501
NZD $7,423
ZAR R63,781
CHF FR4,866
Book trip
La Paz to Buenos Aires 21
USD $2,030
CAD $2,419
AUD $2,534
EUR €1,774
GBP £1,303
NZD $2,726
ZAR R23,742
CHF FR1,920
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 $6,830
CAD $7,910
AUD $8,304
EUR €5,868
GBP £4,301
NZD $9,103
ZAR R78,081
CHF FR6,003
Book trip
Amazing South America 47
USD $5,208
CAD $5,808
AUD $6,096
EUR €4,304
GBP £3,160
NZD $6,552
ZAR R57,300
CHF FR4,404
Book trip
Bolivia, Argentina & Peru Adventure 40
USD $5,455
CAD $6,195
AUD $6,515
EUR €4,595
GBP £3,380
NZD $7,145
ZAR R61,255
CHF FR4,695
Book trip
Bolivia to Brazil Explorer 36
USD $5,530
CAD $6,165
AUD $6,470
EUR €4,570
GBP £3,355
NZD $7,095
ZAR R60,830
CHF FR4,680
Book trip
Buenos Aires to Santiago via Ushuaia 34
USD $3,360
CAD $3,978
AUD $4,172
EUR €2,919
GBP £2,152
NZD $4,490
ZAR R39,060
CHF FR3,186
Book trip
lima to buenos aires 42
USD $4,680
CAD $5,581
AUD $5,854
EUR €4,107
GBP £3,006
NZD $6,293
ZAR R54,827
CHF FR4,421
Book trip
Lima to Rio 60
USD $6,770
CAD $8,078
AUD $8,469
EUR €5,939
GBP £4,350
NZD $9,114
ZAR R77,737
CHF FR6,271
Book trip
Delve into South America 21
USD $5,144
CAD $5,644
AUD $5,536
EUR €3,420
GBP £3,008
NZD $6,164
ZAR R55,416
CHF FR4,136
Book trip
South America Traverse 27
USD $7,987
CAD $8,766
AUD $8,599
EUR €5,310
GBP £4,671
NZD $9,576
ZAR R86,062
CHF FR6,426
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