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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

5,708 Reviews

  • Excellent 3,943
  • Great 1,350
  • 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

G Adventures allows me to travel like a local and experience things I would never get on a big coach tour

Volcano Adventure – San José to Antigua

5.0
March 2017
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
G Adventures allows me to travel like a local and experience things I would never get on a big coach tour. It gives me the chance to have a little adventure with the security of knowing I have an on hand expert to help if anything were to go wrong or just to assist with anything I might want to see or do. It is a perfect mix of "group touring" and the flexibility that you usually only get with independent travel. Being only my second trip with G, I don't have a lot to compare it to but loved it just as much as my first experience with the company last year. As a travel agent, it's really important to me to have found a company that really believes in what they do especially when it comes to sustainable travel. But also one that really believes in their people. I can see this all through your marketing but I feel it out on the road as well.
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Excellent the whole trip ran smoothly which was a combination of the excellent organisation and knowledge of the tour leaders and a great group of people who respected each other and the tour leaders, so no one was ever late for meetings or departures

Peru Panorama

4.0
March 2017
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
Excellent - the whole trip ran smoothly which was a combination of the excellent organisation and knowledge of the tour leaders and a great group of people who respected each other and the tour leaders, so no one was ever late for meetings or departures. I would highly recommend the tour and G Adventures. The only point I would make is about the tipping. Raul did always say this was optional but I think everyone felt obliged to tip and in fairness the tips were always well deserved. But all the tips add up (-120/130) - this should be highlighted in your brochure to allow people to budget it into their costs/ spending money - it was a hidden cost which took some people by surprise.
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Lovely island and well organised tour

Cuba: La Isla Grande

3.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
I travelled with my wife and we both reach 70 this year. Hitherto we have travelled independently through many countries around the world. We have discussed the merits of a small group tour as we get older. We decided on this trip quite late and rather than rush my preparation we decided to trial the Exodus offering.
The Exodus itinerary was well laid out but even with this mental preparation we found the amount of coach travel in the first days of the trip quite daunting. Travelling independently we would probably have taken 3 weeks on this itinerary. There was no location that we would have wanted to miss and the tour leader was excellent in outlining the history, politics, economics and geography of each place visited, Often accompanied by a rum punch! The hotels were a mixed bag - we would have been happier with more homestays at the Casa Particulares and thoroughly enjoyed the 2 we visited. Food was middling but far the best was to be found in the small "pop up" restaurants to which our tour leader introduced us.
Other members of the party were a mixed bunch and easy to get on with. Even so, where possible we tended to eat independently although the majority were happy to eat as a group. For us, the inevitable downside of group travel was the limitations imposed by timings that required 18 people to gather, travel and do things at broadly the same time. We've learned that we're not quite ready for this type of holiday. But when we are I suspect that it will be Exodus to whom we return.
I'm not sure that we were "inspired" at any stage. We did particularly enjoy discovering the political history of Cuba from a Cuban perspective. In this our tour leader was particularly effective.

Very good

Think hard about the balance between the difficulty of arranging independent travel and the inevitable constraints of collective arrangements in a small group.

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Discover Chile

Discover Chile

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Excellent place to visit
The Torres Del Paine national park. We were fortunate enough to arrive with good weather and could see the range in all its glory.
Easter Island whilst expensive is worth the trip, the island is beautiful and the Moais amazing.
In all honesty the places visited as a whole were fantastic.

Alex was great, he was always there when we or any of the group needed him. In every place we visited he smoothed the way and ensured we all enjoyed it.

As other travellers have noted there are some long days. I am sure some of this could be changed with different flying times etc. but you do lose a lot of time on buses and in airports. Be prepared for some stunning scenery and don't get caught out with the different climates at each area that is visited.

Chile is a great place, the people are friendly and in some respects its like stepping back in time. Be aware that dollars are the currency of choice in the Rio Serrano Hotel (or credit card). We never had any problems changing money except in Easter Island. If you decide to do the extension be aware that there are ATM's but no money changing facilities and that some of the restaurants are shut on a Sunday.

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Discover chile

Discover Chile

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
It was an excellent holiday and Alex was a very good guide and went out of his way to make us all comfortable.
There were such contrasting landscapes it is difficult to decide on one, but perhaps on reflection I would have liked to have done more trecking in Patagonia. Also it was not apparent from the trip notes that the best sight of the glaciers is from a boat and not from a landbased viewpointso I am glad I took the zodiac.

As said before Alex was excellent but ought to ask for insurance details - my first Exodus trip when this wasn't done

Yes on the way from Punta Arenas to to Puerto Natales there is one cafe and loo stop where one gets charged for the toilet. Go to the shop on the right with the blue roof, which had an indoor loo and only charged 200 pesos, whereas the one on the left has an outside loo very dilapidated and charged 300!

There was one day when we could take a cable lift to go up and down. It is cheaper if you are over 65 but Alex didn't seem to know this. Also he didn't forewarn us of the likely charges, so if you are like me and only take out for the day the money you are going to spend you could get caught out. Also it was not apparent that the hotel in Torres Del Paine much preferred receiving US dollars, so I was annoyed that I had converted dollars to pesos when in the Lake District! This should have been explained more carefully.

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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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