Holidays to South America: an Overview

South America is a destination on the up thanks to an enticing blend of fascinating people, places and pastimes and a new found place in the public consciousness. Whatever you are looking for we will have a spot-on suggestion. Want breathtaking landscapes? We can advise on some that may render your jaw well and truly dropped, such as the pampas of Argentina or the glaciers of Patagonia in Chile.

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Saskia and Will are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

The Original Travel Americas team know an almost swotty amount about the continent after living and travelling there over the past decade


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We can arrange tailor-made adventures into the remote Amazon rainforest, or mountaineering with expert guides in the Andes and diving in the Galapagos Islands. Wildlife nuts can even travel to a secret spot that we know deep in the Pantanal wetlands in Brazil to spot jaguars in the wild.

Also in Brazil, and away from actual animals, party animals have to visit Rio and Buzios, while Ecuador is also gaining a great reputation as a hip hangout beach destination as well.

From buff beach bods to history buffs, the various - invariably spectacular - cities and symbols of the Incas and the Nazca, South America's great indigenous peoples, at places such as Machu Picchu are the stuff of every bucket list.

And then there's the food, in our books always a reason to travel. Carnivores need to roam around Argentina learning about the endless ways to cook perfect steaks, while Peruvian cuisine, and ceviche in particularly, are the culinary craze du jour. Elsewhere Chilean and Argentinian wines are coming on strong and coffiends need to sample Colombia's finest beans.

Have we missed anything? Lots, but not as much as you'll be missing out on if you never visit South America.


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Top picks for South America

Pisac Market

Pisac Market

Machu Picchu

In addition to the beautiful sweeping landscape and strong Incan heritage and archaeology of the Sacred Valley region, this is also a good place to enjoy colourful indigenous markets.

What to do

Horses Grazing Beneath the Andes

Chile

South America

Imagine a country where all the world’s climatic and topographical variations are represented in a thin ribbon of land and you have Chile.

Where to go

Kayak Paraty

Kayaking from Paraty

Rio, Buzios, Paraty & the Costa Verde

Hundreds of islands with unspoiled tropical wilderness lie just off shore of the Costa Verde and the best way to explore them is by kayak.

What to do

Pikaia Lodge Exterior

Pikaia Lodge

Galapagos Archipelago

For the eco-traveller looking to escape, Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz Island provides an ideal base from which to explore the spectacular Galapagos Islands. Sitting on top of an extinct volcanic crater, the environmentally friendly lodge boasts expansive views of the Galapagos National Park.

Where to stay

Helicopter ride

Helicopter ride

Iguacu Falls

Silence the arguments over whether it’s the Argentinian or the Brazilian side of the falls that affords the best view, and see the whole lot from the air in a thrilling helicopter ride.

What to do

Colombia

Colombia

South America

Fast recovering from a severe image problem, Colombia is once more one of South America’s most vibrant countries.

Where to go

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Sugarloaf & Corcovado mountains

Rio, Buzios, Paraty & the Costa Verde

The iconic mountains that appear in any self-respecting shot of Rio both offer superb panoramic views of the city, its bays and beaches.

What to do

Belmond Hotel Monasterio

Belmond Hotel Monasterio

Cusco

Originally built in 1592 on the site of the Inca Amaru Kuala Palace, the building was a monastery up until 1995, when it was converted into a hotel.

Where to stay

Atemporal

Atemporal

Lima

The team behind Atemporal have coined the term 'hotelito' to define this boutique bolthole, located in the heart of Miraflores.

Where to stay

Aria Amazon on the Amazon River

Aria Amazon

The Peruvian Amazon

The Aria Amazon is THE way to explore the beautiful and intriguing river views of the Peruvian Amazon, while reclining in the lap of luxury.

Where to stay

Dining Cart on the Belmond Andean Explorer

Belmond Andean Explorer

Cusco

The Belmond Andean Explorer, set to launch in May 2017, is South America’s first ever luxury sleeper train. Departing from Cusco and making stops at Puna, Cola Canyon and Arequipa (a UNESCO listed world heritage site) the train traverses the Andes in serious style.

Where to stay

Whale, Brazil

Whale watching, Florianopolis

Southern Brazil

Escaping the harsh winter, the whales migrate northwards in search of warmer and calmer waters in which to reproduce and nurse their young calves.

What to do

 Finch Bay Hotel

Finch Bay Hotel

Galapagos Archipelago

Named after Darwin's famous finches that are abundant in the area, this is an eco-hotel located on Santa Cruz Island, in the centre of the Galápagos archipelago.

Where to stay

Brazil

Brazil

South America

Indisputably the ‘in’ country on earth right now, and somewhere that we at Original Travel can’t get enough of.

Where to go

Uruguay

Uruguay

South America

The secret is sneaking out, but Uruguay is still a hugely under-rated destination.

Where to go

Horse Riding, Argentina

Riding in Southern Patagonia

Southern Patagonia

Although El Chalten is known for its superb hiking and mountain climbing, its pristine wild scenery also lends itself perfectly to some spectacular riding.

What to do

Samba Lessons

Samba

Rio, Buzios, Paraty & the Costa Verde

Characterized by its great diversity, the origins of Brazil’s music lie in its AmerIndian, Portuguese and African roots, and today it is firmly embedded into the Brazilian way of life.

What to do

1 day Inca Trail

1 day Inca Trail

Machu Picchu

Hike a section of the Inca Trail from a point known as Kilometre 104, because of its location on the road between Cusco and Machu Picchu.

What to do

Peru

Peru

South America

The scenery is striking in its diversity, from plunging canyons to soaring mountains, lush rainforests to arid Altiplano.

Where to go

Rio Carnival

Rio Carnival

Rio, Buzios, Paraty & the Costa Verde

The most outrageous and spectacular festivities take place in Rio, whose world-famous Carnival and its associated musicians, dancers, floats and parades have become so large that they all take place in the purpose-built sambodrome building, with entries and seating tightly controlled and pre-allocated.

What to do

Santa Cruz II, Ecuador & The Galapgos

Santa Cruz II

Galapagos Archipelago

Santa Cruz II is a 71 metre vessel spread out over five decks that seamlessly navigates the Galapagos Archipelago, island by island.

Where to stay

Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba exterior at night

Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba

The Sacred Valley

In the formidable foothills of the Andes lies The Scared Valley, which once formed the heart of the Inca Empire. Built among the area’s picturesque villages and colonial towns, the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba Hotel is set in a destination rich in history and charm.

Where to stay

Tutabel

Tutabel

Bahia

This chic yet bohemian boutique hotel sits in a beautiful beach side location near the historic fishing village of Trancoso and its authentic Brazilian atmosphere is apparent, and amplified, through the use of open spaces, outdoor lounges and colourful decor.

Where to stay

A Sally Lightfoot Crab

Ecuador & the Galapagos

South America

Nobody comes back disappointed from the Galapagos, but don't neglect the rest of this fascinating country

Where to go

We had such a brilliant experience booking through you and really appreciated all of your advice and support.

Stella

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