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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

10,711 Reviews

Excellent 7,648 Great 2,600 Average 41 Disappointing 9 Terrible 1

Rating Details

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

Best trip of our life!

Peru Adventure Tour

5.0 June 2017 Kuoda Travel Recommend: Yes This was our first time using a travel company and they set the bar really high! Every single thing was taken care of for us including (but not limited to) hotels, transportation, food, guides, drivers, pictures and on and on. We are so appreciative of the amazing care they showed us, and would recommend them as highly as possible. You will not be disappointed! They not only arranged all of these experiences but on our departure from Cusco, the owner Meri, came to meet us in person. If you are looking to travel in Peru, do not hesitate to use Kuoda Travel. Read more

Perfect trip to Peru & Machu Picchu

Peru Adventure Tour

5.0 June 2017 Kuoda Travel Recommend: Yes This letter is long overdue as both Kris & I need to thank you and the Kuoda team for such a wonderful experience in Peru. We sincerely appreciate you taking time out of your day to meet us at the airport and we enjoyed our time spent with the extended team at Kuoda.
Foremost I must say that I was a little reluctant to participate in a guided tour of Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas in Peru. My wife and I were splurging on this trip for our 10 year wedding anniversary and it was worth every penny. Neither of us had been to Peru before nor do we speak Spanish and your team provided excellent guidance along the way to navigate the flights, day trips and help us better understand Peruvian culture and history. We very much appreciated having your team available either in person or over the phone for when we had questions about our trip (great example was our hiking permits for day two in Machu Picchu and your team getting back to us immediately at our hotel).
We owe a special thanks to Jenny for dialing in the perfectly planned trip for us. She worked closely with Kris to tailor the hiking that we enjoy and nailed it with the Huchuy Cusco hike.

The restaurant recommendations were amazing and we loved the food and atmosphere of each unique place particularly those around Cusco. We were able to see so much of Peru & Machu Picchu in a short time period and our trip wouldn’t have been nearly as enjoyable without her expert planning.
I also cannot say enough good things about Eyner and the quality time we spent with him at Machu Picchu, Cusco and throughout our journey. It’s apparent on meeting him that he’s passionate about Quechua culture and eager to share its history. He was extremely patient with answering our many and frequent questions. Eyner navigated us through the crowds in the sacred valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco and we sincerely appreciated hearing is personal experiences and perspectives at each unique location.

He was also deft at adjusting the trip on the fly and connected us with a local silversmith in Cusco, much to Kris’ joy. The long day hike up Huchuy Cusco was extremely special and we are thankful for this unique trip with Eyner. Kuoda is very fortunate to have him as a member of the team.

Again a huge muchas gracias to you and the Kuoda team for exceeding our expectations and delivering on the perfect anniversary trip to Peru & Machu Picchu. We have such fond memories that will last a lifetime and we look forward to our next adventure with your team.
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Ann Fisher

Essential Peru

3.0 May 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes I knew about the long coach journeys and early starts - but I did find the travel more tiring than I expected .
Flying over the Nazca Lines was amazing
Also going to the floating reed islands on lake Titicaca and watching The Condors flying in the Colca Canyon

Diana was an excellent tour leader- first aider, kitchen assistant - she did everything she could to make the trip go smoothly

Really think if the really long and frequent travel days are right for you

Despite the long travel days, this was an interesting and varied trip

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Amazing Gringo Adventure

Essential Peru

5.0 May 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes Utterly eyeball blowing. So much to see you do not want to miss a thing The scenery is stunning. I did not realise Peru was so diverse. From massive sand dunes and dry desert to impenetrable cloud forest. Yes there were long drives and really early starts but how else can you experience the variety of sights and activities.
Obviously Machu Picchu does not disappoint and the island stay is enlightening but sand boarding was so fun and I was impressed by the Nazca lines.

Aleks was great. He loves his country is knowledgeable and took really great care of us. We ate every evening as a group being taken to different restaurants.It makes the whole experience enriching.

Do the optional excursions such as sand buggies, sacred valley and star gazing. We opted not to fly over Nazca lines as view from tower was good and I was worried about air sickness but those who did it loved it.The high altitude does slow you down so be prepared for taking longer to get anywhere. The sungate walk is a must at Machu Picchu and stay til chucking out time as you have the site to yourself. Meals were cheaper than I expected so we did not spend as much as I had budgeted for,which was great. It was cold in Cusco and on Lake Titicaca especially at night so warm clothes needed. Trip notes are accurate so take their advice.

Just enjoy. After this trip you can say you have seen the best and most of Peru.

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Touring Peru

Essential Peru

5.0 May 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes Never a dull day, so much to see. Even on the chill out days we took on the optional tours just to maximize the experience. It's a great place and the areas are so diverse from the coast, desert, mountains to the cloud forest.
There were lots of them but the build up was all about summiting with Macchu Picchu, initially disappointing, too many people, too many clouds totally obscuring the view and it rained. That was the morning in the afternoon the crowds cleared out, the skies also cleared so we had sunshine and Macchu Picchu to ourselves, well almost, it certainly felt like that.

Aleks was a great guide, he kept everything on track, what more do you need from a guide?

Before taking Essential Peru on please consider the following:
- It is no holiday, early starts, different location every night and loads of places to visit really mean there is little rest time.
- It's a very big country which means many miles to cover which clearly means you will spend a lot of hours on the bus
- Much of the trip is at altitudes most of us do not regularly experience, you maybe fit and will no doubt acclimatize but nonetheless any exertion will be hard work, so bear that in mind.
- When the sun comes out it is fierce so make sure you have plenty of lotion.
- The ATMs generally work but we found a lot of them to have a S400 limit which only equates to £100. You can change up Sterling but US dollars are the preferred currency.

The food is good and the Pisco Sours are tasty. It's also cheaper than we expected, we actually overbudgeted by about £500.

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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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