Things to do in South America

Things to do in South America


Our top activities in South America

Tantalising trekking

The Inca Trail is one of the world's great hikes, taking trekkers through extraordinary high-altitude Andean scenery via mountain passes, Quechua villages, Alpine tundra and humid cloud forests. There are several routes to choose from; the 43km classic route is usually completed in four or five days. Most of the trail follows original Incan stone paths, and leads to the "Sun Gate" – the most dramatic entry point to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.
For something just as rugged but dramatically different, hit Patagonia's wilderness: the granite towers of Torres del Paine or jagged peaks of the Fitzroy Range; multi-day treks adorned with fantastic glaciers; off-the-radar treks in Aysén and Tierra del Fuego (next stop: Antarctica).
Alternatively, consider forest hikes to the waterfalls of central Chile's Radal Siete Tazas National Park or the volcanic landscape around Nevados de Chillan (with hot springs to ease any aches), or explore the Lake Districts of either Chile or Argentina, where trails wind through lush alpine valleys and along pristine rivers. And if you're visiting Iguazu Falls, explore its surrounding forest trails.

A wild continent

Close to four million species live within Brazil’s borders alone, making it the world's most bio-diverse nation. Hit the Pantanal, the wondrous wetland where 700 species of bird and 100 mammals hang out unobscured by jungle as in the Amazon.
Ecuador's phenomenal habitat diversity has wildlife to match: vicuñas and condors in the Andes; cloud forest birdlife; howler monkeys, sloths and anacondas in the Amazon; whales off the mainland; sea lions, iguanas and tortoises in the Galápagos. Peru's amazing species include giant otters, spectacled bears and pink river dolphins – along with 1,800 birds, the second highest of any country in the world.
Hemmed by the Andes, Pacific and Atacama desert, Chile hosts unique mammals like the pudu (pygmy deer) and colo-colo wildcat, alongside puma, king penguins, dolphins, giant blue whales plus soft-furred vicuna. Twitchers can spot gorgeous hummingbirds.

Be a culture vulture (or,
better, a culture condor)

Brazil alone has over 220 indigenous groups, complemented by African slave descendants and more willing global immigrants, each adding their traditions to a fantastic cultural stew. The Andean highlands are home to Aymara and Inca-descended Quechua, while Chile's Chinchorro mummies date back 7,000 years. Everywhere, colonial architecture recalls an Iberian influx. And on remote Easter Island, the Rapa Nui's brooding statues are among mankind's most potent icons.

Extend your reach...

Why stick to one brilliant country when there's another quite different but equally brilliant one next door? If you can make the time, South America amply rewards crossing borders for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to taste as much as you can of the continent's feast for mind and senses. Pair Brazil with Argentina, or contrast Chile's modernity with Bolivia's rustic awesomeness. Galapagos, meanwhile, is a different world to its parent country Ecuador.
Photo credits: [A wild continent : Joseph C Boone] [Be a culture vulture (or, better, a culture condor) : McKay Savage] [Extend your reach...: seretide]
Patagonia small group vacation

Patagonia small group vacation

Explore Patagonia's National Parks by foot and small-ship.

From US $3995 11 Days ex flights
South America overland tour

South America overland tour

A cross-continental South America adventure

From US $6349 45 Days ex flights
Peru highlights tour, Inca trail, Titicaca and Nazca

Peru highlights tour, Inca trail, Titicaca and Nazca

Taste Peru's diverse landscapes and fascinating culture

From US $2835 15 Days ex flights
Peru tour, tailor made

Peru tour, tailor made

Explore Peru & the Amazon

From US $1835 18 Days ex flights
Tour of Patagonia, El Calafate & Torres del Paine

Tour of Patagonia, El Calafate & Torres del Paine

Patagonia's best - Torres del Paine and Perito Moreno Glacier.

From US $620 5 Days ex flights
Peru and Galapagos vacation

Peru and Galapagos vacation

An inspirational tour combining Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos

From £4918 15 days ex flights
Peru small group tour, Southern Peru

Peru small group tour, Southern Peru

Journey through south Peru, the heartland of the Inca Empire

From £2698 14 days ex flights
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