An insightful guide to one-of-a-kind travel experiences in South America. We believe South America is one of the most unforgettable places on earth – and we want you to help you fall in love with the continent just like we have. In this post you will find our suggestions of the best places and experiences to visit in South America.
When it comes to South America, there are so many places to visit and so many experiences to live. We´ve build a “10 amazing experiences trips” that I want to share with you, trusting it will inspire you, your family, your partner or your friends, to look beyond the classic and go a bit off the beaten track. Hope you enjoy!
1. Best Places and Experiences to Visit in South America: Galapagos
Nature lovers come from all corners of the globe to experience the Galapagos Islands, an exciting wildlife encounter set in the Pacific Ocean in the coast of Ecuador.
Either you choose to explore the islands on a cruise or stay at a lodge (or both!) this intact area of the world preserves all kinds of natural attractions; Explore the different islands teeming with unique wildlife and pristine waters. The Galapagos is the only place to see giant tortoises in the wild in the white sandy beaches or just swimming near you. You can also see the famous Hammerhead sharks and of course playful lovely sea lions just as to mention some of the species out there. After a close encounter with the natural beauties and exploration of different islands, rest your wearied head at the lodge or the luxury cruise. The cruises offer a pleasant time on board, featuring more than simple cabins but also comfort and excellent food.
Check our South America Luxury lifetime exploration that includes one perfect cruise option.
2. Best Places and Experiences to Visit in South America : Amazon River and Paradise jungle experience
What better way to explore the Amazon River than boarding a cruise?
The price is all-inclusive, just unpack once and these small ships will take you to places that don’t even have access by land.
Explore the beautiful Amazon River and just dazzle yourself with the most amazing biodiversity in the globe!
The Amazon River makes its way along 3 countries, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Being the second longest river in the world definitely exploring the Amazon should put the River cruise at the top of your travel list. Countless species of animals to observe, the deep forest, the peaceful beach and the tarry sky … it seems that we´ve reached the paradise.
3. Best Places and Experiences to Visit in South America : Antarctic Odyssey, ice and ice my friend
More beautiful than you can imagine, nothing compares to the ‘frozen continent’. A vast, white wilderness; Antarctica is spectacular when it comes to elemental forces.
This is a land of extremes. Extreme cold-extreme-remoteness-extreme weather. But there’s nothing quite like Antarctica to make you embrace life fully – the craggy beauty of a huge glacier, or the magnificence of a humpback whale, promise to take your breath away.
Unsurprisingly, a cruise has got to be the best way to embrace all that Antarctica has to offer. Seeing the continent from both land and ocean offers different perspectives. The Antarctic Treaty is what keeps this place frozen in time – the abundant wildlife and little evidence of man is heartening to witness. There’s nothing like exploring a place nearly completely free of humankind to make you feel more alive.
Can you imagine camping in the Antarctica? Well that is a part of our popular itinerary “Antarctica & Patagonia”. Check it out!
4. Best Places and Experiences to Visit in South America : Patagonia Ranch experience
The landscapes in Patagonia are some of the most diverse you’ll find in South America. The Deep South, or call it the ‘End of the World’ – the very tip of the whole American continent. The views and wildlife really are something to write home about. Hikers and walkers are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful walking trails in this part of the county. One hidden spot is a stay in a Patagonic Ranch or Estancia where you can explore its beautiful corners and discover its flora and fauna or simply enjoy a horse ride or bike tour, attend to sheep shearing and equestrian demonstrations. Of course, enjoy a typical Patagonian lunch with delicious lamb and others Argentinean cut meats accompanied by fine Argentine wines. And definitely include in your itinerary a trek on the Perito Moreno Glacier.
Have you ever walked over a millenary glacier? We invite you to take a look at this Experience to stay at a ranch and trek the Perito Moreno.
5. Best Places and Experiences to Visit in South America : Santiago de Chile for foodies & wine lovers
For those that love to discover where the world’s best wines are made, Chile is a delight. Wine has been ingrained in Chilean culture for hundreds of years – humble casks were placed on every table at dinner time; and the clink of two glasses often led to long, languid conversations by firelight. And it’s the essence of this wine culture that makes the reds taste so rich and the whites taste so crisp. An afternoon of wine tasting in the Casablanca Valley, near Santiago, leaves a warm glow.
Take a look at our Culinary & wine experience at Casablanca and Colchagua valleys
6. Best Places & Experiences to Visit in South America : Polo with the “Argies”.
Chances are you’ve heard of Buenos Aires – known as the ‘Paris of South America’, the city’s leafy boulevards and plazas full of tango dancers tend to charm visitors from the moment they arrive. Buenos Aires will always hold a pretty special place for us, too –I was born here and I am a “Porteña” (porteño girl); we’re lucky enough to have our offices based in Palermo neighborhood, a part of the city known for its beautiful Green Spaces as well as its vibrant and bohemian restaurants and cafes. But there’s so much more to Argentina than this famous city. Polo its actually huge in Argentina and we welcome you to learn and play as well as enjoy this thrilling lifestyle sport.
7. Best Places and Experiences to Visit in South America : Wine route & Mallmann in Mendoza
One of our favorite ways to unwind is a weekend away at a cozy boutique lodge in Mendoza, overlooking the Andes Mountains – Malbec wine at night and horse riding during the day, bliss!
The Mendoza Wine Country is world renowned for its exquisite wineries, wines and foods. Deciding to stay at one of the charm and luxurious lodges overlooking the Andes and the wineries is the best idea.
A must visit is the Vines Resort where you must dine at the restaurant of the internationally known chef Francis Mallmann to taste the regional dishes where the stars are the argentine meat and the simplicity of the unique chef.
Dreaming of patchwork vineyards? We have designed the perfect wine experience in Mendoza .
8. Best Places and Experiences to Visit in South America : Flavors of Brazil
Few countries drum up the same color, energy and ‘Joi de Vivre’ as Brazil. From the pink dolphins and scarlet macaws of the Amazon to the rhythm-filled metropolis of Rio de Janeiro.
It’s one of the world’s most captivating countries and you will love your Brazil Vacation. Add in a love for Festas (festivals), music and dancing, and Brazil offers visitors an experience that’s impossible to find anywhere else. Still there’s so much more to Brazil than Carnival and Copacabana beach! One of the most fascinating aspects of the rich Brazilian culture is its cuisine. Just as the Brazilian people, typical Brazilian dishes are the product of diverse cultural influences: Indian, African, Portuguese, Italian, German, and Arabic. The creative fusion of these gastronomic traditions gives its varied and colorful Brazilian cuisine, with unique flavors in the world character.
Enjoy the perfect Brazilian Cooking Class with a visit to the local Mercado Municipal and Tastes of São Paulo at one of the city’s street fairs. Why not learn about the gastronomy of Salvador da Bahia where the eclectic heritage is reflected. Here the culinary traditions brought by Portuguese settlers were mixed with the flavors of African ethnicities that arrives during the period of slavery and with the ancient customs of the natives of the region.
9. Best Places and Experiences to Visit in South America : Pantanal Photo Safari.
The Pantanal is the largest tropical wetland area in the world. Known as the ‘Brazilian Savannah’, rare and unique animals like the river otter and marsh deer can be seen here. Staying at an Eco Lodge is the way to go.
A Pantanal Photo Safari is a huge opportunity to be acquainted with the Pantanal wild life and to capture amazing photographs. Knowledgeable guides will take you to the most likely spots, where the animals nest, where they drink, rest, hunt, or simply play with the youngsters. Jaguar, Panthera onca, is a big cat, a feline in the Panthera genus. Is the only Panthera found in the Americas; the jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest and most powerful feline in the Western Hemisphere.
Reaching the famous Park “Encontro das Águas”, which houses a high concentration of jaguars; we go in search of these “kings of the jungle” along the coast of the river.
10. Best Places and Experiences to Visit in South America : Wine and cheese tasting in Uruguay.
Looking for more of those authentic, ‘not made for tourists’ moments on your South American holiday? Then add Uruguay to your itinerary.
Its excellent geographic location has led Uruguay to become consolidated as a privileged producer of wines with international standards of quality, not only in the region but also in the world, in the last few years. Its vineyards lay between the 30th and 35th parallels south, just like in Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand, whose grapes and labels are known worldwide. In addition to the extraordinary knowledge and human quality of those who make Uruguayan wine, the climate and the soil have managed a perfect combination for real treasures like Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon, Malbec and Tannat grapes to be granted international awards in the latest contests and encounters on this specialty. There is no doubt that the mixture of these factors turn Uruguay into an ideal destination for lovers of good wine.
You can appreciate the Historic Colonia del Sacramento, see the wineries in Carmelo, taste the cheeses of Uruguay and relax in Punta del Este trendy beach.
Want to learn more: read the “Uruguay wineland exploration experience” that we have designed.
Finally, how and where to start your South American experience?
Drop us a line and tell us what your dreams are! Our team will craft the itinerary around your interests and your own travel style.
Its essential to start planning in advance (at least 8-10 months before) because it allows us to offer the best lodges, experienced guides and of course, be able to plan and design with time so you can be sure that you are getting the best of your time in South America.
Maria Barciela, Co-Founder of Across South America.