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 $1,377
CAD $1,669
AUD $1,764
EUR €1,275
GBP £995
NZD $1,885
ZAR R22,490
CHF FR1,410
Book trip
Colonial Colombia 9
USD $1,566
CAD $1,705
AUD $1,831
EUR €1,255
GBP £940
NZD $1,975
ZAR R16,884
CHF FR1,300
Book trip
Classic Peru 9
USD $1,885
CAD $2,290
AUD $2,421
EUR €1,745
GBP £1,370
NZD $2,601
ZAR R30,870
CHF FR1,935
Book trip
Ecuador on a shoestring 8
USD $621
CAD $756
AUD $885
EUR €575
GBP £450
NZD $950
ZAR R10,155
CHF FR635
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 $2,695
CAD $3,276
AUD $3,460
EUR €2,495
GBP £1,960
NZD $3,721
ZAR R44,125
CHF FR2,765
Book trip
Buenos Aires to Rio Unplugged 17
USD $2,398
CAD $2,803
AUD $3,275
EUR €2,315
GBP £1,700
NZD $3,520
ZAR R30,800
CHF FR2,370
Book trip
Discover Bolivia & Argentina 20
USD $2,871
CAD $3,298
AUD $3,845
EUR €2,585
GBP £1,990
NZD $4,085
ZAR R35,740
CHF FR2,645
Book trip
Patagonia Wilderness 15
USD $4,270
CAD $4,675
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 $4,170
CAD $5,068
AUD $5,352
EUR €3,852
GBP £3,031
NZD $6,031
ZAR R68,023
CHF FR4,259
Book trip
La Paz to Buenos Aires 21
USD $1,760
CAD $2,344
AUD $2,327
EUR €1,576
GBP £1,190
NZD $2,508
ZAR R23,989
CHF FR1,755
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 $5,430
CAD $6,598
AUD $7,030
NZD $7,489
GBP £3,951
EUR €5,007
ZAR R88,623
CHF FR5,549
Book trip
Amazing South America 47
USD $5,683
CAD $6,282
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 $5,251
CAD $5,796
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 $5,022
CAD $5,548
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 $2,832
CAD $3,715
AUD $3,922
EUR €2,546
GBP £1,960
NZD $4,217
ZAR R45,059
CHF FR2,827
Book trip
Lima to Buenos Aires 42
USD $4,326
CAD $5,762
AUD $5,748
EUR €3,885
GBP £2,932
NZD $6,181
ZAR R57,352
CHF FR4,142
Book trip
Lima to Rio 60
USD $6,114
CAD $8,153
AUD $8,128
EUR €5,492
GBP £4,145
NZD $8,739
ZAR R79,004
CHF FR5,709
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