South America Tours & Trips 2020
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
Rivers & Seas Visitied
Attractions & Cities Visited
Activities & Interests
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flight & Transport Inclusions
Stride Gives Back Stride Gives Back This trip visits a destination impacted by climate change. When you opt in to the Travelstride Gives Back program, we will donate 10% of our net revenue to organizations that help mitigate climate change in these destinations and across the globe. Learn more
- San Cristobal Hill (Santiago)
- Picturesque Bariloche
- Buenos Aires City Tour
- Tango Show (Buenos Aires)
- Iguassu Falls
- Sugar Loaf Mountain (Rio)
- Copacabana (Rio)
- Opt to trek the 1-Day Inca Trail, an excellent option for those wanting to experience trekking in Peru, but don’t want to do the full four days
- The giant desert inscriptions of the Nazca Lines are one of Peru's great unsolved mysteries. Scrutinise them up close on a viewing platform or from a bird's-eye-view on an optional flight
- Cusco is a great city to explore on foot. Enter a bygone era as you explore the ancient Incan ruins dotted all over the city
- A trip through Peru wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour around the ruins as well as plenty of free time to discover it on your own
- Spend a full day exploring the floating islands of Lake Titicaca and Taquile Island, with the chance to meet the local Uru people
- Discover Lima’s grand colonial facades, Spanish houses, endless culture and delicious cuisine during your free time in the Peruvian capital.
- Take the opportunity to board a scenic flight over the Nazca Lines – whether they’re the work of ancient civilizations or something more supernatural, it’s an incredible experience.
- Trek the Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail or take the scenic train route, no matter how you get there, the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu are a majestic destination.
- Explore Cusco, South America's oldest continuously inhabited city, with its ancient foundations and interesting blend of Inca and colonial influences.
- Experience the untouched world of the Amazon rainforest. Stroll along jungle trails on the lookout for monkeys, parrots, otters and caimans.
- It's delicious, diverse and hands-on. You’ll learn the secrets of ceviche, make your own Pisco sour, learn a few Andean cooking tips with a foodie in Cusco and eat empanadas straight from the wood-fired oven
- Pay a visit to a cacao farm and get involved in the whole process from planting to the final product. Enjoy a farm-cooked dinner and stay overnight on the family's plantation.
- Indulge in an optional tour and tasting at one of the Sacred Valley's first craft breweries. Whet your whistle with a pint of the fruity local IPA, the citrus tinged American pale ale, the caramel malts of the Ayrampo Roja red ale or the hearty chocolate notes of the imperial porter.
- Discover the breadth of Peruvian cuisine in all its rich and colourful history, from the rustic ‘pachamanca’ tradition to Lima’s world-class urban street food scene
- No trip to Peru is complete without seeing Machu Picchu, so you’ll spend a day exploring this magical metropolis of the Incas
- Old-world charm, rich history, exciting nightlife – evocative Havana is like nowhere else on Earth. See the difference between city and coastal life on a guided walking tour of the old capital.
- Take inspiration from the locals and mix things up with a bicycle-taxi tour of Camaguey – roll through the winding streets on two-wheels, visiting markets, plazas and an art gallery.
- Experience old-world charm in the colourful coastal town of Trinidad. Delve into the city’s sultry Latin rhythms with a salsa class and enjoy plenty of free time for seaside relaxation.
- Receive a fascinating insight into the rise and fall of the charismatic and highly celebrated Cuban revolutionary – Che Guevara – at his mausoleum and museum in Santa Clara.
- With its vibrant music scene and Afro-Cuban roots, sultry Santiago de Cuba is a great place to bust out some moves and hit the dance floor with the locals.
- Explore the cobbled alleys of Cartagena, a World Heritage-listed town that combines Caribbean splendour with irresistible old-world charm.
- Embark on a spectacular guided hike through the Cocora Valley, home to hummingbirds and the world's tallest palm trees.
- Spend a couple of days learning about the world's favourite bean during a stay on a traditional coffee estancia deep in Colombia's coffee country.
- Discover the new face of Medellin – an arts and culture haven that’s bursting with trendy cafes, epic views and the best nightlife in Colombia – salsa anyone?
- Try your hand at tejo, Colombia’s explosive national sport (think bocce with gunpowder!). Join your group on this fun activity in Salento, made better with a free beer in hand.
- Discover the breadth of Peru's diverse heritage, from the gorgeous Spanish colonial architecture of Lima to the Aymara and Quechuan Indian cultures of Puno
- Marvel at the mother of all Inca cities, magical Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins and free time to explore on your own
- Enjoy plenty of time in gorgeous Cusco, the perfect place to launch into further outdoor adventures, or simply relax and take in mountain views
- The floating reed islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca are astounding in concept, construction, and history. Take a boat tour on the world's highest navigable lake and stay with a local family there
- Get your blood pumping as you scale Sierra Negra Volcano during an epic hike, then cool off with a swim in the perfect waters of Isla Isabela’s beaches.
- Many come to Isla Santa Cruz just for the giant tortoises. Get up close and personal with these enormous animals as they drag themselves through the sand.
- Learn about the unique habits of the marine iguana. This dinosaur-like little creature has an iridescent sheen and is only found on the Galapagos Islands.
- Birdwatching at the Galapagos is quite an experience. Watch the aerobatic routines of blue-footed boobies and the death defying stunts of the frigate birds as they whizz through the air.
- This Lonely Planet Experience combines plenty of must-try activities and islands with generous mounts of free time, so you can explore the Galapagos at your own pace.
- Witness Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier and listen to the thundering ice cracking on this 30-km-long ice beast – one of the few glaciers left that isn’t shrinking.
- Spend three days camped among the peaks of Chilean Patagonia, a true back-to-nature and a great opportunity for a true digital detox.
- Trek past the most beautiful waterfalls and glaciers of Torres del Paine National Park with your guide, and spot wildlife like guanacos and rhea birds along the way.
- Spot sea lions paying along rocky shores, waddling penguins and plenty of flying seabirds during a day cruise through the Beagle Channel, the gateway to the Antarctic.
- Begin and end your trip with time in elegant Buenos Aires, the perfect place to reconnect with the urban world after a remote adventure in the wild.
- Get acquainted with the beautiful churches and graceful boulevards of Quito, Ecuador's capital
- The Galapagos Islands played a profound role in forming Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. Explore the islands on this in-depth adventure, coming face-to-face with some of the most extraordinary wildlife on earth
- Get your blood pumping as you scale a volcano on Isabela Island, get up close and personal with giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island. These nearly extinct creatures are one of the greatest drawcards to the Galapagos
- This is a land based Galapagos trip, we use locally owned hotels on the islands. On this trip you will have more opportunities to interact with the locals as opposed to staying on a boat.
- This trip gives both trekkers and non-trekkers the chance to visit Machu Picchu with Inca Trail*, Quarry Trail and train options.
- Travel through the Sacred Valley - known for its steep and soaring scenery, its mystical significance for the Inca and the indigenous cultures that still reside here.
- Explore the greatest icon of ancient South America, Machu Picchu on a guided tour.
- Explore Cusco, South America's oldest continuously inhabited city. The city has ancient foundations, an interesting blend of Incan and colonial influences, and seemingly endless things to do and see.
- *Please note that the Inca Trail trekking route is currently closed until further notice due to the pandemic.Quarry Trail and train option are still available
- Tour Peru's enthralling capital with a guide, checking out its majestic colonial architecture and colossal cathedrals. There's nothing quite like being shown around by a local
- Venture deep into the Amazon Jungle with your local, multilingual guides and encounter magnificent fauna, flora and wildlife in their natural habitat
- Enjoy a day out on tranquil Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable body of water, and explore the floating islands crafted by the indigenous Uru locals
- In the early hours of the morning, soak up a sublime sunrise from the gates of Machu Picchu. Afterwards, take a guided tour of the ruins and explore the area in your own time
- Peru is a world-class culinary destination. Feast on the nation's favourite dish of ceviche in gastronomic Lima and sip on a pisco sour
- Enjoy plenty of free time in Cusco to discover the city's colonial and Incan architecture
- This trip takes you to the heart of Ecuador's Amazon Basin. Set in the remote rainforest, Sacha Lodge is a haven for nature lovers, birdwatchers, scientists and adventure seekers
- Caiman, otters, sloths, hoatzin, monkeys, capybaras, anacondas... the Amazon is home to some of the most diverse wildlife on Earth
- As well as comfortable accommodation and luxurious meals, your expert guides will enhance your experience with their unique knowledge of the Amazon
- Explore the rainforest on various jungle treks, canopy walks and dugout canoe safaris, or relax in a hammock at the lodge. It's up to you to customise how active you'd like this trip to be
- Choose you own adventure on your way to the mother of all Inca cities – magical Machu Picchu. Test yourself on the challenging Classic Inca or Inca Quarry trails, or take the train for a more leisurely experience.
- Marvel at the evergreen splendour of the untouched Amazon. Explore rainforest trails with a local guide, looking out for wildlife and medicinal plants, and stay in a tranquil jungle lodge overnight.
- Head on a guided stroll through charming Cusco with your local leader, where Inca temples and Spanish cathedrals line the cobblestone streets – Peru’s true cultural and historic centre.
- Sleep in a mud-brick hut on the shore of vast, ancient Lake Titicaca during a homestay in a traditional Andean community, and visit the floating reed islands of Uros with your small group.
- Finish up in the eclectic and hectic La Paz, where indigenous Aymara or Quechua traditions are flourishing in contemporary Bolivia – a living example of the resilient traditional communities of South America.
- Buenos Aires offers an eclectic mix of European, Cosmopolitan and Latin flavours, as well as a booming cultural and nightlife scene. Explore the neighbourhoods of this lively, confident city on a full-day tour with a local guide
- Look for rainbows in the mist of the mighty Iguazu Falls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides, and visit a local indigenous community
- Gaze over the dazzling city, mountains and bay of Rio de Janeiro from the foot of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue
- Favelas may sit alongside mansions, but in the heaving metropolis of Rio, everyone’s invited to the party. Immerse yourself in Brazilian culture, dance and music
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Top South America Experiences
Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru and getting your first glimpse of ancient Machu Picchu high in the Peruvian Andes.
Walking in Darwin’s footsteps in the Galápagos Islands’ observing some of the world’s most amazing wildlife – from blue-footed boobies to frigate birds, sea lions to giant tortoises.
Sampling the vintages in Chile’s beautiful wine country.
Wandering around the vibrant city of Buenos Aires
Taking a river cruise on the Amazon, keeping an eye (and ear) out for howler monkeys, sloths and pink dolphins.
Exploring the Atacama Desert
Reveling in the power of Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls, which ranks with Africa’s Victoria Falls as one of the two greatest waterfalls on earth.
Visiting the city of Cartagena, touring the old fortress, and Spanish colonial inspired city.
Surveying a panorama of Rio de Janeiro from atop Corcovado mountain.
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