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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

99%

recommend

2,478 Reviews

  • Excellent 2,190
  • Great 815
  • Average 69
  • Disappointing 12
  • Terrible 1

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.7
  • Guide
    4.7
  • Activities
    4.7
  • Lodging
    4.7
  • Transportation
    4.7
  • Meals
    4.7

Tour Reviews

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Wonderful trip, really. I had planned to walk the trail for a few years but was worried about my level of fitness. It was fine however. Others in the group struggled more but even those with no experience of walking at all managed to complete the trail and were well supported by our tour guide.
Hard to say, it was just amazing. The last night of camping on the trail was in a high camp over looking ruins and with the most amazing views and changing skies....
Reaching the top of dead widows pass felt like such an achievement and the view was stunning. I might have shed the odd tear but don't tell anyone......

Great guy. I think its a very difficult trip to arrange given the different levels of fitness of people on it however he was supportive and fun to have around.

The trail itself was quite cold so make sure you take layers. You are, of course, limited in what can be taken on the trail itself so make sure you have light weight cold weather clothes. Walking poles are absolutely essential as coming down from Dead Widows pass is murder on the knees!
Take a blow up cushion too as they weren't provided with the sleeping bags.
If you have your own inflatable sleeping mat, consider taking it along. The ones provided were not very reliable and its very cold if they deflate on you overnight.....

Can't quite believe how good the food was on the trail. The chef and his staff are miracle workers.....
Take the flight over the Nascar lines, you really can't see them otherwise and you will likely only go once....

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Galapagos, in Darwin's Footsteps - Amazing!

Galapagos, In Darwin's Footsteps 2017

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This was to be our "holiday of a lifetime" - I was slightly concerned it might not live up to my expectations as I had wanted to visit Galapagos for many years. However I was not disappointed! Every day I thought it couldn't get any better, but it did. The wildlife was all fantastic. I didn't expect to do so much snorkelling, but it meant we were swimming with turtles, sealions, sharks and many colourful fishes :)
Highlights for me were Floreana (especially meeting the Wittmer family), camping and walking up Sierra Negra, and swimming with turtles.

Fabian was excellent! He pulled a very diverse group of people together and made sure no-one was left out. His knowledge of the islands and the wildlife was great.

Read the book "Floreana" by Wittmer before you visit the Island of Floreana. It is a fascinating story and you will look at the island in a different light!
Buy a wildlife guide book before you go. I expected there to be a wider choice of guides on the islands, but there is in fact very little choice.

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5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
I travelled in november 2016 to the galapagos. I had a great trip. There were fourteen in the group. It was a mixture of couples and singles. The days were spent either travelling by boat , swimming/ snorkelling . Or some walking. The snorkelling was amazing. It was more difficult than i had anticipated. The snorkelling at kicker rock was really cold and not for the faint hearted. The walking was easy. It was very dry and dusty on the hike. It wouldn't have taken much rain for the trail to become very muddy.
Loved all the snorkelling. My favourites were santa fe and floreana. There was a mix up with bookings - at the end of the trip we went to santa fe instead of bartholome.

Fabian was knowledgable and very patient. There were also galapagos guides who were good. You just had to turn up and everything happened.

I took my own snorkel and mask. I was glad i did as i could make sure it fitted properly before i went. You can hire them though. The water was cold and some days you did need a wet suit. I hired one. For the hike i had walking boots and a walking pole. I carried the pole like an ornament most of time. However i think it could get very muddy on the trail. If it is muddy, A walking pole would be handy. The trail down to the suphur mine was steep.
You don't need to buy much water. All the hotels had water fountains with filtered water.
Souvenirs were more expensive than i thought they would be. I waited until santa cruz to buy things. I got a few bits from darwin research centre.
The bus ride from the airport to the hotel can take ages. Sometimes the traffic was horrendous.

No

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Galapagos in Darwins footsteps

Galapagos, In Darwin's Footsteps 2017

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
A few days spent on each of four slightly different islands allowing you to see lots of wildlife and some interesting geological features.
Snorkelling with sea turtles ( never seen so many) rays and sea lions and the trek up to the rim of Sierra Negra. View of the caldera was amazing.

Fabian was very knowledgeable , had a great sense of humour and the patience of a saint.

With hindsight I wouldn't have bothered to take my own snorkel gear - there was plenty available to hire .

A trip to Galapagos had been on my bucket list for years - I'm not a good sea traveller so opted for this land based trip - it didn't disappoint.

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Galapagos In Darwin' Steps

Galapagos, In Darwin's Footsteps 2017

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Simply the best trip I have ever been on. I did not want to come home! The leader made everything happen with no hitches - and encouragement for a slightly trepidatious snorkeller! As for the Galapagos - Wow! I think that that the trip, being landbased, allowed us to experience so much more, meet more locals and eat local food and just soak up the atmosphere - on the beaches or in the bar!!
Two inspirational moments - playing with the sea lions in the surf and snorkelling with turtles.

Our Leader was fantastic - ensured all arrangements just happened, was passionate, deeply knowledgeable and inspirational about The Galapagos, found us great places to eat and was encouraging and caring on the more difficult parts of the trip.

Take a reasonable camera, an underwater camera and lots of memory power. The sea was surprisingly cold - a wet suit would be a great addition to the packing.

When can I go back?

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


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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