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]
Arequipa to Machu Picchu Peru tour

Arequipa to Machu Picchu Peru tour

A grand tour of Peru

From £2988 21 days ex flights
South America tour, coast to coast

South America tour, coast to coast

Epic discovery journey across South America

From £2998 19 days ex flights
Chile adventure vacation

Chile adventure vacation

Chile's best: the Atacama Desert, Lake District and Patagonia

From US $3905 13 Days ex flights
Galapagos & Amazon wildlife vacation, Ecuador

Galapagos & Amazon wildlife vacation, Ecuador

The ultimate wildlife trip to the Amazon and Galapagos

From US $6190 16 Days ex flights
Colombia holiday, tailor made

Colombia vacation, tailor made

Amazing Colombia from Caribbean to Amazon, tailor made

From 1920 27 Days ex flights
Galapagos activity & wildlife vacation, land based

Galapagos activity & wildlife vacation, land based

Tailor-made land-based activity vacation in Galapagos

From £4240 10 Days ex flights
Peru walking tour, Inca trail, titicaca and Nazca

Peru walking tour, Inca trail, titicaca and Nazca

Taste Peru's diverse landscapes and fascinating culture

From US $2755 15 Days ex flights
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