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Best Adventure Vacations South America

Salt Flats By 4wd Bolivia

ECUADOR TRAVEL SHOW | Top Adventures in South America

4WD in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

The Bolivian salt flats are one of the most otherworldly places in Latin America. This white wilderness, spotted with occasional cactus-filled islands, is the planets largest salt flat. When the rains come, and a layer of water settles upon it, the whole area becomes a vast mirror. But thats not all, it also harbours volcanoes as well as caves filled with mummified bodies. Tours by 4WD typically last for a couple of days, and are worth it.

Where: Salar de Uyuni

When: Year-round

How: Book a tour in advance or just turn up at Uyuni its so close that you can pick something up on the day. Alternatively, Bolivian Milenaria run tours of the flats in style.

Volcano Hiking Costa Rica

Arenal volcano

As well as exploding with wildlife, Costa Rica is a country that erupts from the ground, too. Its volcano belt is protected by the Arenal Volcano National Park and, until a few years ago, the fire and brimstone here could still be regularly seen spouting from its namesake volcano. Even more interesting is some of the wildlife that can be encountered while hiking the many trails around the park, from cheeky capuchin monkeys and curious coati to arguably the countrys most sought-after bird, the resplendent quetzal.

Where: Arenal Volcano National Park

When: Dry season is between December and April but it can also be pretty hot during this time. April to July is a good time to visit, as a cooler compromise.

How: The parks trails can always be accessed independently, but a guide will help you to find the most exciting wildlife, with local tour op Jacamar Naturalist Tours running popular tours of the forest interior.

Explore Ecuador And The Amazon

Many travelers fly into Ecuador only to immediately board a tender for the Galapagos Islands. While the islands are a bucket list destination and have species found nowhere else on the planet, theres much to explore on the mainland, too. Adventures By Disney designed a 12-day trip for families that combines adventures in the Galapagos and the Ecuadorian Amazon. Activities include guided rainforest hikes where theres always a chance to spot sloths and a paddle down the Napo River to see the pink river dolphin.

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San Pedro De Atacama Chile

Active geysers, coloured lagoons and breathtaking salt flats make up the landscape surrounding San Pedro de Atacama.

It is one of the best adventure travel destinations in South America, especially if you enjoy mountain biking or sand boarding down the dunes.

You can also relax in one of the natural hot springs and visit the Atacama desertat night to experience the endless stargazing in the driest desert in the world.

Best Places To Visit In South America On A Budget

Adventure Tours South America

As a whole the continent of South America is budget friendly however the Galapagos Islands, Easter Island and the countries of Chile and Argentina are a lot more expensive.

The coolest places to visit in South America on a budget, include some of my favourites spots on the continent, including Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, Quito in Ecuador and Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia.

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Camping In The Bolivian Amazon

As humans, we live a relatively safe existence, so the only place I have ever felt vulnerable within my environment was while camping in Bolivias Amazon Rainforest.

As a slowly disappearing and iconic region, no visit to South America would ever be complete without a morning dip in a river teeming with caiman or fishing for piranha in an unstable boat for that evenings meal, followed a hike at night eerily watched by glowing eyes while a guide hacks at the scrub with a machete.

Then finish the day rudimentary tenting otherwise known as a plastic sheet thrown over a tree branch.

But a trip to the Amazon isnt all peril and risk, we also spent afternoons making jewelry with various seeds and alligator scales while listening to the deep yowls of howler monkeys, created temporary tattoos with jagua fruit and learned uses for Amazonian flora and fauna.

The Amazon can be accessed through nine South American countries, but Bolivia is arguably the cheapest and a two-night all-inclusive camping trip costs just B$900/US$130.

These trips can be extended up to a month if you wanted to become completely immersed in the Amazon way of life and learn to live entirely off the jungle.

The best time to visit the Bolivian Amazon is during the dry season and can be reached via Rurrenabaque, the frontier town access the Rainforest and the easiest place to book a camping tour.

Contributed by Emma, The Travel Natural

Hiking In Los Glaciares National Park

Glaciers around the world are mostly shrinking. The ones in Patagonia, on the other hand, are still growing. A place to see them is Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With trails suited for families with kids as well as hard-core hikers and climbers, this park offers opportunities for everybody who enjoys the outdoors. Go for a short walk to enjoy a good view of Fitz Roys pinnacles.

Hoist your rucksack and set out for a multiple-day hike to Cerro Azul and tent at designated campgrounds in beech forests. Do you like a technically challenging mountain? Climb the Fitz Roy or Cerro Torre.

Add a predawn hike to Laguna de Los Tres for the ultimate sunrise, and bring a thermos to Lagune Torre to sip your coffee while watching how chunks of ice break off the glacier.

The town of El Chaltén is the perfect hiking hub for this area. Here you can stock up on food, or buy hiking gear and camping equipment.

Go in November-April, when its summer in the Southern Hemisphere but note that it can get very busy in January and February.

Contributed by Karin-Marijke, Landcruising Adventure

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Tour The Countryside By Bicycle

Whether youre speeding through the mountains of Colombia, bombing down a volcano in Ecuador, or pedaling from vineyard to vineyard in Argentina, be sure to set aside a day or two for touring South America by bicycle. Tours are abundant and cater to all tastes and skill levels. Colombian Bike Junkies operates out of Medellin and San Gil and offers a wide variety of tours.

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South America Vacation Packages Highlights

The Best Bits: South America
  • Belize: Sail the Caribbean waters and swim and dive in beautiful secluded spots.
  • Chile: Sip wine in Casablanca Valley and take a walking tour of Valparaiso
  • Adventure: Start your adventure in tropical Costa Rica and rent a bike or opt to learn the salsa in Antigua.
  • Mexico: Stroll the streets of Mexico City and savour local cuisine.
  • Peru: Shop in Cuzco’s artisan market and explore the impressive Pisac ruins.
  • Galapagos: Swim alongside sea turtles and snorkel in clear blue waters.
  • Bolivia: Learn about the infamous coca plant and marvel at the barren Andean Desert.
  • Inca: Head to the Sacred Valley and view Ollantaytambo ruins.

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Salar De Uyuni Bolivia

Sixteen thousand years ago, this area in the south of Bolivia was a high altitude salt lake.

The water has since evaporated, leaving a unique and unforgettable landscape of flat white salt as far as the eye can see.

Dotted somewhere in the middle of the twelve thousand square metres of salt, lies Incahuasi â a rock island covered in hundreds of flowering cacti, an unmissable spot on a trip to Bolivia.

Strangely unique, thereâs not many places I could visit over and over again but Iâd happily return to Salar de Uyuni during the rainy season to capture the mirror image reflections on these salt flats.

Salar de Uyuni is the worldâs largest salt flat and best visited on the popular three day tour from Uyuni or San Pedro de Atacama.

During the multi day trip you will visit several lakes including one of the best places to visit in Latin America, Laguna Colorada.

Hiking The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

As one of the most famous hikes in South America, the classic 4-day Inca Trail trek is an experience that should not be missed on a trip to Peru.

Its a challenging journey where hikers face thin air due to high elevation, steep ascents and descents on stone steps and a narrow path that hugs the edge of a mountain on one side and overlooks a steep valley on the other. Definitely heart-pumping!

As tough as the hike can be, the incredible Inca ruins along the trail, and the reward of Machu Picchu on the final day will make you forget about the difficulties along the way .

The most popular time to hike the Inca Trail is from June-August, but May and September generally bring dry, sunny weather and fewer crowds.

The Inca Trail can only be hiked with a licensed tour operator and most companies supply porters to carry the sleeping tents, cooking equipment, and food. All you need to worry about is enjoying the scenery and making it to camp each night.

Trail permits are limited to 500 each day so treks sell out many months, even up to a year in advance, especially during high-season.

Contributed by Rhonda, Travel Yes Please

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Ride A Speed Boat Into A Raging Waterfall

A trip to Iguazu Falls on the Argentina-Brazil border is a thrill in and of itself few things in this world are more impressive than the power of a waterfall thats nearly 3 kilometers wide and up to 82 meters tall. If you want to get the full experience, though, I suggest paying a little extra for a speed boat ridestraight into the base of the falls. From the Argentinian side of the falls, you can book a Nautical Adventure tour which lasts a mere 12 minutes, but allows you to get intimate with the falls in a whole new way. In the summer months its also the perfect way to cool off from the sticky jungle heat.

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Ski South America: Welcome To Skiing The Andes Mountains

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Snowboarding and skiing the Andes Mountains during the Northern Hemisphere summer is one of the worlds most awe-inspiring experiences and a must-do on any powder hounds bucket list.

As the longest mountain range with the second-highest peaks on the planet, the Andes provide not only an adventure of a lifetime, but reverse seasons that allow northerners to escape the hot days of summer and keep the Endless Winter alive.

While Latin America is home to 20 countries , only 2 countries host ski resorts worth visiting: Argentina and Chile. Bolivia and Peru ski resorts are no longer in existence, but do host some major high alpine ski mountaineering opportunities. Weve chosen to focus this guidebook around the best snow sport destinations and ski resorts in Argentina and Chile.

Top South America ski resort destinations are often ranked as some of the worlds best ski resorts. Destinations vary from local, seat-of-the-pants snow sports operations to internationally renowned, world-class ski resorts and winter sports destinations with high-end accommodation and a modern lift infrastructure.

Pro Skier & PowderQuest Guest Coach

Chapter 2

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See Falkland Islands’ Residents

There is a place where penguins outnumber people by the hundred-thousands. If youre an avid birder and this adorable species is on your list, Intrepid Travels Falkland Islands cruise is the trip of your life. Downside? Its 33 days so its a bit of a commitment but remember: secluded beaches with thousands of penguins. The cruise sets sail from South Americas southernmost tip of Ushuaia, Argentina and journeys to some of the most remote islands on the planet.

Cruise Down The Amazon

Call us cliché, but cruising down one of the worlds longest riversthe Amazon, second only to the Nile, snakes over 4,000 miles through South Americas tropical rainforestsis truly a once-on-a-lifetime experience. On a riverboat with , guests get the royal treatment. Onboard, that means fresh-pressed passion fruit and mango juices, nightly turndown, a serene spa, and shoe-cleaning services after every hike. Off-board, its naturalist-led excursions into the jungle to spot boa constrictors, squirrel monkeys, and sloths swim with pink river dolphins and get blessed by local shamans. Fair warning, though: get ready to go completely off the grid.

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Trekking To The Clouds Argentina

Train to the Clouds

Salta is the gateway to Andean Argentina, with its food and culture having more in common with Bolivia and Peru than European-styled Buenos Aires. Take time to wander the sleepy streets of this pretty, colonial city, then strike out to explore the mountains and volcanoes of the Andes. The famous Tren a las Nubes can be taken to its vertigo-inducing viaduct, but its better to explore the mountains on foot.

Where: Salta

How:Argentina Trails run excellent hiking trips up into the Andes.

Mountain Bike Tours From Antigua Guatemala


Cycling the streets of Antigua

The faithfully preserved colonial town of Antigua is the launch pad for some of the continents best mountain-biking. Ride through Maya villages, learning about their culture and traditions over three-day trips, enjoying heart-stopping views of Guatemalas puffing volcanoes along the way and enjoying some thigh-busting ascents and gnarly descents. Finish with a tour of a cooperative coffee plantation the cyclists favourite brew.

Where: Antigua

When: Year-round

How: Cycle tours, including plantation stops, can be booked through the locally based Old Town Outfitters.

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Snowboarding Down The Steep Slopes Of Portillo

A two-hour journey from the capital Santiago, Portillo is the best winter sports resort in Chile. The dramatic yellow hotel at the base of the valley is one of the most iconic places to stay in South America, with a lovely open-air hot tub to enjoy after a day on the slopes.

The terrain here is challenging and steep, meaning it is best suited for intermediate and experienced boarders, with some particularly rewarding routes for the best boarders. The steep slopes also mean that there are plenty of high-speed thrills to be enjoyed here too.

Take A Trip Into The Atlantic Forest Of Alto Parana Paraguay

These beautiful forests cover the area around the Iguazu Falls, the most powerful waterfall in South America that sits on the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Take a trip through the forest from Ciudad del Este to experience some fantastic hiking through the canopy and maybe even spot some wildlife.

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Train To Machu Picchu In Peru

Who it’s for: Families who want to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The ancient city of Machu Picchu high in the Peruvian Andes is high on many adult travelers’ bucket lists, but it’s an easily attainable adventure trip for families, too. A well-established train and bus route up into the lush green mountains makes it easy to ascend up to the Lost City of the Incas. The Inca Rail is especially great for kidsspring for the luxury option and you’ll receive a full meal on the scenic glassed-ceiling ride! Once up top, you’ll encounter spectacular views, the sacred Temple of the Sun, and a llama or two, too. Hiring a private guide will add dimension to the ruins and help kids picture the civilization that existed in this arcadia. Round out a trip to Peru with a stay by the beaches of Lima in the Miraflores neighborhood where colorful hang gliders fill the sky.

Ideal age range: Although it’s easy to reach the entrance to Machu Picchu, once you arrive there’s a lot of walking and climbing because of this, the trip is best for kids who don’t need a stroller and have some stamina, ages 6 and up.

Know before you go: Both Machu Picchu and the neighboring city of Cusco are at high altitudes , so make sure to keep you and the kids hydrated and plan on slowly acclimating to the area. Note that you’ll receive a visa when you arrive in the country yellow fever vaccinations are recommended, but not required.

Cotopaxi Volcano National Park Ecuador

A Guide To The Best Family Vacation South America â With ...

The Cotopaxi Volcano National Park, located south of Quito, is the second largest national park in Ecuador. Three volcanoes are located within the park the Cotopaxi, Ruminawi, and Sincholagua volcanoes. It is possible to hike the Cotopaxi volcano but the hike is quite strenuous so this is only recommended with older kids. However, many tour companies also offer horseback riding tours through the park which is a great option for all ages.

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Top 8 Adventures In South America

Want to go to the perfect place to enjoy exciting adventures? Looking for varied landscapes so that you can partake in all the different kinds of adventure that each landscape has to offer? Then head on over to the continent of South America.

With everything from tropical rain-forests, arid deserts, high mountains and endless plains, South America has it all. Here is our pick of the top 8 amazing adventures in South America.

Travel on the Death Road, Bolivia

The Death Road is a 41-mile stretch of gravel-covered dirt track that connects the capital city of La Paz to Coroico, a city northeast of La Paz. The infamous route is estimated to claim the lives of around 200 people a year, a figure that led to its ominous name and the designation as the most dangerous road in the world.

Even though the road is accessible by cars, buses and lorries, the road has only recently gained popularity among thrill-seeking tourists. Mountain biking and backpacking hikes are the most popular activities along this deadly road. The route incorporates a nearly 12,000-foot descent complete with tight, hairpin bends almost all without the safety of guard rails. This is the ultimate in fate-tempting adventure.

Adventure activities in Patagonia, Argentina/Chile

Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

Climbing Volcanoes, Ecuador

Whitewater Rafting, Argentina

Snorkeling in the Galápagos, Ecuador

Trek to the Lost City, Colombia

Stay safe and enjoy your adventures!!

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