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Top Trip Memories
  • Hiking the final stretches of the Inca Trail to experience your first glimpse of ancient Machu Picchu, nestled high in the Peruvian Andes.
  • Walking in Darwin’s footsteps in the Galapagos as you amble within feet -- or inches -- of some of the world’s most amazing wildlife – from blue-footed boobies to penguins and frigate birds, sea lions to iguanas and giant tortoises.
  • Landing at Cape Horn at the tip of the continent on your small-ship expedition vessel, winds and weather permitting, to be greeted by the lone Chilean sentry stationed there.
  • Surveying a panorama of Rio de Janeiro, one of the most spectacularly situated cities anywhere, from atop Corcovado mountain.
  • Sampling the vintages in Chile’s beautiful wine country south of Santiago, while reminiscing over your stay in one of the country’s remarkable desert or mountain national parks.
  • Reveling in the power of Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls, which ranks with Africa’s Victoria Falls as one of the two greatest cascades on earth.
  • Cruising the Amazon on a small river vessel, keeping an eye (and ear) out for howler monkeys, sloths and pink dolphins.
  • Discovering one of the many colorful neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, the vibrant Argentine capital, while sipping a cappuccino at a chic cafe.
  • Journeying across the Pacific to visit remote Easter Island, home to the legendary multi-ton carved stone moai (statues), pondering the mystery of how they were moved across the island hundreds of years ago.
  • Immersing yourself in Spanish colonial history in Ecuador’s splendid high-altitude Andean cities of Quito and Cuenca.
  • Escaping the cold of a North American winter to soak up some sun in South America’s Southern Hemisphere summer.
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Tour Tips
  • Consider tours that take in more than one major site: combining trips to the Galapagos Islands with Machu Picchu, or an Amazon river cruise with Rio de Janeiro.
  • For touring the Amazon, look for travel providers that employ indigenous people among the guides – they’ll know the rainforests, local customs and folkways like no one else.
  • For Machu Picchu, keep in mind that there are tours for all levels of exertion and roughing it, ranging from short guided lodge-based hiking or train trips to multi-day camping trips.
  • If you like diversity, consider Ecuador – a small country that may pack more punch for its size than any other in the world: the Andes, Amazon, the Pacific, colonial cities, and the Galapagos.
  • Some Galapagos tours travel by small ship around the islands, while others are mostly land-based; boat trips will visit more islands.
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South America Travel Reviews & Ratings
4.7 out of 5

100%

recommend

10,512 Reviews

Excellent 7,399 Great 2,519 Average 18 Disappointing 4 Terrible 0

Rating Details

Value
4.7 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.7 Lodging
4.7 Transportation
4.7 Meals
4.7
Tour Reviews

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

5.0 August 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes We travelled on the "A" itinerary. An excellent holiday, above our
expectations. The boat (Cachalote), guide and the crew were superb. The chef
was innovative and produced fantastic meals. The wildlife was extremely
varied and very accessible on the walks and snorkeling sessions. All in all
a very professional and well organised trip.
Snorkeling close up with sea lions, turtles and rays. Turquoise seas and
deserted beaches. Wildlife round every corner - iguanas, giant tortoises,
albatross, boobies, frigate birds and pelicans. Walking on the most recent
lava flows. Travelling with the sails up.


Billy' was a very personable guide. His knowledge was encyclopedic. He lives
on the Islands, knows them very well, is very willing to share his
information, answer questions, and seems to know how to avoid the few other
tourist groups we came across. We could not fault him.


Travel light. You don't need much on the boat. It's warm/hot and T
shirts/shorts are the order of the day. The coldest bit was the air
conditioning on board! The sun is almost overhead so hat and long sleeves are
a good idea.
Good firm soled walking shoes/boots are essential due to the rough nature of
the lava terrain.


We loved the boat. It is beautifully maintained, polished wood everywhere
inside, and scrubbed decks outside. Obviously well loved. We were very sorry
to have to leave at the end of the holiday.


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Excellent Trek to one of the 7 wonders of the modern world!

The High Inca Trail

5.0 July 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes Truly an excellent 2 week holiday! 7 days spent in the Peruvian Andes- 4 days
trekking around Salcantay, 3 on the Inca trail, ending at the Sun Gate and
that picture postcard view of Machu Picchu. If you have entertained the
idea of doing this holiday, or a shorter version of the trek, I'd just book
it! You will certainly not be disappointed.
Difficult to choose just one but I would have to go with reaching the Sun
Gate and getting the first view of Machu Picchu. It really is an eye opener
and you definitely feel you have earned it after 7 days of quite challenging
trekking through the Andes.

As well as MP, the scenery in general, is truly magnificent. There are
plenty of times when you'll want to stop and simply take in and admire your
surroundings. If you are lucky and get clear skies during the evening, you
should see the Milky Way.


Bruce was excellent! Very professional, caring and made sure he understood
the capabilities of the group. He has a passion to share his knowledge
about his country and it's history and gave very detailed, interesting
explanations when we stopped at archeological sites. He made every member of
the group feel welcome and brought us all together as a 'family' for the two
weeks we were together.

A special mention needs to go to Cesar, our second guide. Knowledgeable and
very likeable- along with Bruce he made sure all of our needs were catered
for and that we all finished the trek in one piece.

One final mention goes to the support team- cooks, wranglers and porters.
These guys are like machines! While you're struggling up and down the trail,
this team carries up to 25kg of equipment per person and make sure camp and
lunch spots are set up well before you arrive. Truly awesome.


Train for this trek and be prepared for the change in altitude, it really
does make a difference and you'll notice it when you reach the hotel in
Cusco.

As other reviewers have stated, pack for all seasons. At the highest camp
(4,200m), you will be very cold and temperatures will fall below zero. The
next day, you'll be in a valley and in temperatures above 20C. We were
fortunate not to get any rainfall but it is still a possibility.

Take a mixture of Peruvian Sols and US dollars, for use in Cusco.


Book it and enjoy it!


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Magical Machu Picchu

The High Inca Trail

5.0 July 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes Amazing hiking over the Salcantay pass to the magical Machu Picchu.
The anticipation of each turn the closer we got to the sun gate, and then the
first view of Machu Picchu was incredible


Wilmer, our leader was very knowledgable and relaxed with the group - good
fun


Take ear plugs! The frogs in camp 3 (might have been 4) are lovely but noisy,
and you may get need them for the hotel in Machu Picchu town (depends what
room you get)
Also allocate at least 50soles per meal (includes one drink and tips)
Food is amazing - there are great restaurants in Cusco, camp food -
incredible
Highly recommend green point in Cusco - it's vegan (I'm not) but they do a
very reasonable set menu (4 courses) for 15soles and food is amazing (5min
walk from hotel) - highly recommend


Last thing - hotel in Cusco - if you lose your phone charger, check the
bedside table drawers, mine was taken out of the wall and hidden away in
drawer for no reason at all- eventually found after emptying all bags, and
another guest over hearing complaint to reception (as same thing happened to
her)


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Classic Patagonia

Classic Patagonia Treks

5.0 July 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes This trip was fantastic! Even though we didn't see many of the most famous
views due to the cloud (there's always an element of luck where mountain
weather is involved) it was still an awe inspiring place. The mountain
scenery was dramatic and atmospheric in the mist and the lakes in Torres del
Paine were the most beautiful shades of blue and turquoise that changed in
the light. No two days of walking were the same, the landscape was varied and
we never tired of seeing another glacier or the condors soaring above us
again.
It would be impossible to pick just one! The mountains appearing and
disappearing through the mist in the French Valley was eerie and beautiful.
Seeing the lenticular clouds forming above Los Cuernos also sticks in the
mind. But I think my favourite moment was at the estancia when we hiked up to
a ridge where the condors nested and saw them soar beneath where we were
standing. I could've watched them all day! And the even without the condors
the view of Lago San Martin from the ridge was stunning.


Pepe was fantastic... His knowledge about the region was impressive and his
enthusiasm and passion for trekking were inspiring. He obviously spent a lot
of time making sure everything was organised for us and the trip ran
smoothly, though he did this so discretely it would've been easy not to
notice. Pepe made sure that everyone got what they wanted out of their trip,
whether that was to take it slow, soak in the scenery and take lots of
pictures, or to set a more challenging pace. And because we were always with
local guides no one was unaccompanied. But most importantly Pepe was
brilliant fun, we had a great laugh!


The packing instructions seemed a bit complex but you should take a holdall
or pack with all your gear, then when you go to Torres del Paine to do the
point to point trek you can leave this behind securely and only bring what
you need for the W-trek in a smaller back pack (~30L-40L capacity). Prepare
for all weathers and heed the advice to wear layers.


I was initially worried about joining the group on my own but after the first
evening any worry I had was forgotten. We all got on well and everyone was
really inclusive. Finally, although all the local guides who joined us for
certain parts of the trip were fantastic, Sarah and Camilla who were our
guides in Torres Del Paine were particularly fantastic! Much like Pepe they
were enthusiastic both about the place they worked and about Treking. And
they were brilliant fun.


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Patagonia Trekking 7/11/15 - 21/11/15

Classic Patagonia Treks

5.0 July 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes It was an excellent holiday
A good group, excellent leaders & we were fortunate with the weather
The weather is very variable & is part of the Patagonian experience - high
winds are the norm
The lenticular clouds forming in the high winds
The final 2 nights at the Estancia Condor, away from the crowds was great


Xavier was excellent, as were the local guides


Check out direct BA flights Heathrow to Buenos Aires, as better than the
Group flight with Air Europa which stops in Madrid


Packing was very complicated. Almost every day you had to consider how to
minimise the weight.
We went to an excellent steak restaurant in Buenos Aires on the day of
arrival, but I felt it would have been better if we had caught the earlier
flight back from Calafete & eaten at this restaurant on the LAST night
As it was, we arrived late & most people did not go out, so the tour rather
petered out


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See all reviews for South America Top Operators & Trips
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South America Trips & Tour Advice

While much of South America may speak Spanish or Portuguese, the continent is remarkably diverse – possessing world-class cities, vast areas of rainforest, beach-laden coastlines, fascinating indigenous cultures, rich stores of wildlife, archaeological and historical treasures, and some of the world’s most intriguing islands.

All this is in a continent just two-thirds the size of North America, with 12 independent countries. Travel providers focus primarily on Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, and, more recently, Colombia, though Bolivia, Venezuela, Uruguay and Paraguay are also home to considerable natural and cultural attractions.

Brazil's Riches 

Brazil alone is nearly half the size of the entire continent, so between visits to the Amazon region, including the city of Manaus – where you’ll find a 19th century-era opera house that rivaled the finest in Italy – as well as Rio de Janeiro, the Spanish-African fusion city of Salvador de Bahia, and Iguazu Falls, it can easily fill a two-week or more tour by itself. A river cruise on the Amazon and a visit to the cosmopolitan city of Rio make for an almost perfect combination -- and contrast – of isolation and urbanity.

Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina can also easily be destinations unto themselves, or can be combined with each other on longer tours. Ecuador, about the size of Colorado, features not just the Andes Mountains, but exotic jungle lodges in Amazon headwaters, the Pacific coast, the splendid Spanish colonial cities of Quito and Cuenca, the market town of Otavalo, and – far out into the ocean – the Galapagos Islands.

Peru, just south of Ecuador, is best known for Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan city, and Cusco, the Incan capital, but also is the source of the Amazon and shares Lake Titicaca, known for its artificial islands, with Bolivia. Both Ecuador and Peru have rich indigenous cultures, and combined Galapagos and Machu Picchu tours allow you to experience both a natural and man-made world wonder in the same bucketlist-filling trip.

Surprising Chile

Chile proves one of South America’s greatest surprises. While it receives less publicity than some of its neighbors, it also offers some of the most remarkable landscapes on earth. The world’s driest desert, the Atacama, is here, as is a lovely lake country and remote, mountainous Patagonia, where you can trace Charles Darwin’s voyages aboard a small expedition-style ship and perhaps even land on Cape Horn.

Argentina is best known for trendy Buenos Aires, one of the great South American capitals, but also shares Patagonia with Chile and has its own wine regions. Ushaia, at the southern tip of the country, is a key embarkation point for expeditions to Antarctica, and the Falkland Islands, off the Argentine coast, are frequent stops on small-ship expeditions.

Still not sure where to go or how to get there? Let Stride help you sort it all out. You’ll find travel operators who offer all degrees of luxury (or roughing it), price level, group size, itinerary and more. And soon you’ll be saying hola! or ola! to your next South American adventure.

Related Guides 

Countries: 

EcuadorPeruBrazilChileColombiaGuyanaArgentinaPatagoniaBolivia, Venezuela, Uruguay

Attractions: 

Galapagos Island, Ecuador; Amazon River, Brazil; Amazon Rainforest, Brazil; Machu Picchu, Peru; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cusco, Peru; Cartagena, Colombia; Iguazu Falls, Brazil & Many More

Top Activities: 

Wildlife SightseeingNature SightseeingRuins & Archaeology SightseeingHiking

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