Argentina, one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America, is blessed with a bevy of travel opportunities scattered throughout the expansive country. While the country is most famous for its gauchos, its wines, its unbelievable BBQ asados and, of course, the tango, the country has much more to offer.
Although there are a number of popular points of entry to the country, the vast majority of visitors to Argentina will arrive at Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport, which makes the capital city, known as the Paris of South America, the ideal place to begin any trip in the country. Visitors to Buenos Aires will get to know the city’s rich historical and cultural legacy with visits to some of the city’s main touristic highlights with our always-popular Classic City Tour, although some free time to immerse in all that Buenos Aires has to offer on your own is also highly recommended.
There is much more to Argentina beyond just Buenos Aires, however. The great Argentinian territory truly has something to offer all types of travelers. Argentina’s Northeast is home to the spectacular Iguazu Falls which feature 275 individual water falls. Iguazu Falls are the largest falls in the world and are shared by Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
Argentina’s Northwest is home to Salta and Jujuy. Visitors to the area will enjoy wonderful views of the area’s desert-like landscapes, the famous Humahuaca Gorge, some remnants of the Inca Empire and much more. Though not necessarily on the main tourist routes, Salta offers visitors old world charm in a modern city setting and is most definitely worth the visit.
Heading south, Mendoza is another popular stop along the tourist route and is home to epicenter of Argentina’s Wine Country. Set at the foothills of the majestic Andes Mountains, Mendoza offers an eclectic mix of wine, art and culture mixed with the natural beauty of the surrounding areas.
Still farther south, Argentina’s Lake Region awaits visitors in Bariloche. Bariloche, a lakeside city on the shores of the Nahuel Huapi Lake, draws tourists in year round. In the winter, the city transforms into one of Argentina’s most popular ski destinations while the summer brings plenty of opportunities to discover the unique flora and fauna of the area with nature-oriented tours.
One of Argentina’s most popular regions, Patagonia, is located south of Bariloche. The three main cities, Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia and El Calafate, each offer their own unique attractions. Puerto Madryn, located near the Valdes Peninsula, offers visitors the opportunity to observe a variety of marine wildlife including marine birds, sea lions, penguin colonies and the southern right whale while Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, is popular thanks to its unique sceneries, Tierra del Fuego National Park and as a stepping off point for a variety of cruises to Chile and to the Antarctic. El Calafate, the most popular city in Patagonia, is the gateway to Argentina’s Los Glaciares (Glaciers) National Park, home to the Perito Moreno, Upsala, Onelli and Spegazzini Glaciers.
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Bolivia, though definitely on the road less travelled, has a plethora of exciting and authentic tourism opportunities to offer visitors to the country. Bolivia is a major draw to those visitors looking for a genuine taste of the local history and culture in a country with plenty to offer including majestic sceneries and astounding natural beauty, a number of Inca and Pre-Inca sites as well as a rich colonial and pre-colonial history.
Starting in La Paz, the country’s capital, guests will encounter a dichotomy of traditional and modern juxtaposed in the high mountains of the Andes. The capital is well worth a visit on its own but also serves as jumping off point to other areas. Located directly south of La Paz, a popular destination from the capital is the Uyuni Salt Flats. Guests can also combine excursions and overnight visits to the salt flats with longer itineraries to Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake and the birthplace of the Inca Empire.
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Please Note: The above tour can easily be combined with services in Peru, combining through Lake Titicaca.
As can be expected from the largest country on the continent, Brazil has a great deal to offer visitors. From the magic of Rio de Janeiro, the country’s most popular tourist destination, to the natural beauty of Iguassu Falls, the Pantanal Wetlands and Brazil’s Amazon Jungle, there is truly a little something for everyone to enjoy.
Rio de Janeiro, the Cidade Maravilhosa, or the Marvelous City, as it has become known, is the epicenter of Brazilian tourism and for good reason. This vibrant city has plenty of beaches including world-famous Copacabana and Ipanema, the Sugar Loaf and Corcovado Mountains, emblems of Rio, and much more to offer visitors. Combining a stay in Rio de Janeiro with a visit to Iguassu Falls, the largest falls in the world with 275 individual falls, creates the perfect introductory tour package in Brazil.
Located on Brazil’s East Coast, Salvador, the capital of Bahia and the first capital of Brazil, is the epicenter of Afro-Brazilian culture and a great city for history buffs and culture enthusiasts. Salvador’s upper city features the bustling historic Pelourinho District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the former center of Salvador during the Portuguese colonial period, while the lower city features wide beaches and a more relaxed atmosphere.
South of Rio de Janeiro and south of Sao Paulo, visitors will find the state of Parana featuring the largest stretch of protected Atlantic Rainforest in the world. Using the capital of the state, Curitiba, as a starting point, visitors to the area can dive right into the Atlantic Rainforest’s ecosystem with an unbelievable train ride to the coast on the Serra Verde Express. The coastal fishing villages, nearby islands and protected wildlife reserves offer plenty of opportunities for adventure and to kick back and relax.
Brazil is also home to a number of diverse ecosystems which provide fantastic wildlife observation. The Pantanal Wetlands and the Amazon Jungle offer some of the best eco-tours in the world with the best opportunities for wildlife observation in the country. Tour packages typically include transportation, accommodation, all meals and guided tours/excursions into the Brazilian wilderness.
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Please Note: Please inquire about other destinations in Brazil or about combining with services in Argentina.
Chile is not only the narrowest country in South America, it is also the longest. As a result, Chile boasts incredible diversity in its natural resources and tourist destinations ranging from the driest desert in the world in the country’s Northern Territory all the way to the glaciers of Southern Patagonia.
Santiago, the country’s capital, sits comfortably between the Andes Mountains on its eastern border and the heart of Chile’s wine region to the west and is the perfect starting point for most visitors to the country. Chile’s historical center and its proximity to nearby attractions including ski resorts (only active in the winter), the wine valleys, Viña del Mar beach resort and the bohemian capital of the country, Valparaiso, draw thousands of visitors in every year.
Chile’s Northern Territory is dominated by the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert. Home to a number of historical, archaeological and ecological sites, this seldom visited area of Chile has much to offer its visitors. Most packages include accommodation, transportation and daily guided excursions in the desert lead by expert local guides. The Atacama is well worth the trip and can be combined with services in Bolivia and in Argentina.
South of Santiago, visitors will find Chile’s Lake Region. Known for its natural beauty and national parks, some have compared Chile’s Lake Region to a hybrid version of Alberta’s Banff National Park. Volcanoes and unique flora and fauna, however, give the Lake Region its own distinctive identity. Visitors can also board the Andean Crossing ferries and cross the great mountain chain by land and boat to reach Bariloche, Argentina; a great way to combine Chile and Argentina.
Farther south, visitors to Chile will find the country’s Southern Patagonia Region. Home to the Chilean Fjords and Glaciers –in addition to a variety of National Parks – this area offers plenty of adventure and soft-adventure opportunities. In addition to land-based tour packages, visitors may choose from a couple of cruise itineraries traveling through the country’s fjord channels or all the way south and around the tip of Argentina to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia.
Off of Chile's coast and in the South Pacific, Easter Island can be found. The mysterious island is home to the world-famous ahuas and moais, the Easter Island heads. The island boasts a number of archaeological and anthropological attractions and is well worth the long flight from the mainland.
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Please Note: Please inquire about combining our Chile tours with services in Argentina or other neighboring countries.
Colombia has only recently come to the forefront of the tourism industry in South America. The country’s recent political turmoil and instability have managed to turn most potential visitors away, something the government of Colombia has tackled head on. Today, the country is perfectly safe to visit with plenty to offer its guests.
The capital, Bogota, is rich in history and boasts a number of important museums and historical attractions, such as Simon Bolivar’s home. Great hotel options and delicious gastronomy combine with great shopping opportunities to attract tourists with a number of interests.
Colombia produces some of the best coffee in the world – something which tourists to the country take advantage of by visiting the fertile coffee growing region with great fervor. A couple of nights are necessary to take in a tour of a coffee plantation or two in addition to visiting the Cocora National Park and other nearby attractions.
Cartagena, located on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, is a popular historic attraction which also boasts great weather and popular beaches. The former colonial capital is featured prominently in the history of the country and of the Spanish Colonial era in the Americas. Today, visitors can explore the city’s historic center or hop on a boat for a visit to the nearby Rosario Islands or just relax on the beach. The city offers great dining and a variety of fantastic accommodation options.
The San Andres Archipelago, actually located east of Nicaragua in Central America, is one of Colombia’s best beach destinations with excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities as well as a variety of hotel accommodation options. This is a good extension to any package in Colombia.
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Ecuador, one of the most popular destinations in South America, is chock-full of tourism opportunities, despite its status as the second smallest country in South America. Ecuador boasts a truly diverse landscape within its small borders including coastal regions, high-mountains and volcanoes in the Andes, and the Amazon rainforest. Just off the coast of Ecuador are the Galapagos Islands, a wildlife and nature enthusiast’s utopia and the country’s most popular tourist destination.
Quito, the country’s capital, boasts one of the best kept historic centers in the Americas, and is well worth exploring for a couple of days. The city also serves as an ideal home base for visiting some of the nearby areas including the town of Otavalo and its indigenous market, the Mindo Cloud Forest, the Bomboli Cloud Forest as well as the Cotopaxi Volcano and Cotopaxi National Park.
From Quito, visitors board a short flight over the Andes to the town of Coca, gateway to Ecuador Amazon Jungle. Here, visitors have a number of tour packages to choose from, including numerous first rate jungle lodges and river cruises. Tour packages are designed to optimize visitors’ exposure to Amazon Jungle with transportation, accommodation, meals and daily guided excursions in the rainforest included.
Ecuador’s Avenue of the Volcanos, running along the spine of the Andes from Quito to the southern colonial town of Cuenca, is also well worth dedicating some time to and provides the best opportunities to truly get to know the Ecuadorian high mountain terrain and culture with stops in small towns, 100 year old haciendas, unique train rides and archaeological remains all included with the typical tour package. Cuenca itself is an important tourist draw as the country’s third largest city. Despite its size, Cuenca maintains its small town colonial feel and invites tourists in to discover its quaint beauty and colonial past.
The number one destination for visitors to Ecuador are the Galapagos Islands, and for good reason. The Galapagos Islands, isolated in the Pacific Ocean, form one enormous National Park and protected area and are home to a number of marine and land flora and fauna. Visitors can choose between stay-put hotel accommodation packages, island hopping tours or one of the more traditional Galapagos Cruise packages. Avid divers may even choose diving-specific cruises. The Galapagos Islands are a truly a paradise for nature lovers and soft-adventure enthusiasts and are strongly recommended for anyone considering a trip to Ecuador.
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Peru, most famously known as the Land of the Incas, is truly a privileged destination boasting a plethora of tourist attractions. From the coast to the high mountains of the Andes, Peru offers something for everyone with plenty of opportunities for those interested in history, culture, archaeology, nature, adventure and soft-adventure tours.
The country mixes ancient cultures and a rich colonial tradition with a modern feel, especially in the capital city, Lima. Lima, the most common entry point to the country, offers visitors the opportunity to dive into Peru’s colonial past in the city’s historic center. The city also boasts excellent accommodation options and some of South America’s best cuisine.
The most popular tourist spot in Peru has to be Cusco and Machu Picchu. Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire of Tahuantinsuyo, is the Archaeological Capital of the Americas, and for good reason. Inca walls still line the streets in Cusco while the nearby ruins provide guests with an initial taste of Inca archaeology! From Cusco, visitors can explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas, home to quaint indigenous villages and important Inca archaeological remains, before continuing on to Machu Picchu. Cusco and the Sacred Valley are also the starting points for a number of treks to Machu Picchu, some of the most popular adventure tours on the continent.
Beyond Cusco and Machu Picchu, however, Peru also offers incredible ecotourism opportunities in the Amazon Jungle with access from both the northern town of Iquitos, and Puerto Maldonado, located just a short flight from Cusco. Close to 20% of the world’s birds and 10% of the world’s reptiles all live in Peru, not to mention larger mammals. Peru has converted 13% of its territory in Protected Natural Areas, most of which are in the Amazon, the most bio-diverse place on earth. Tours typically include transportation, lodge accommodation, meals and daily excursions in the Amazon.
Puno and Lake Titicaca are other important tourist destinations in Peru. Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, bridges Peru and Bolivia and serves as a great connector for tours including both countries. Lake Titicaca is also considered to be the birthplace of the Inca culture, according to ancient Inca lore.
Arequipa, known as the White City thanks to the color of the buildings in the colonial center, is an interesting historical stop and also serves as jumping off point for excursions and overnight trips to the Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world.
South of Lima, visitors can enjoy life on the coast with excellent accommodation options in Paracas. From Paracas, visitors can fly over the mysterious Nazca Lines, strange rock formations in the shape of numerous animals that can only be seen from the air. The Nazca Lines are named after the pre-Inca culture that is believed to have constructed the formations.
Peru’s tourism market is rapidly expanding north of Lima with the relatively recent discovery of the tomb of the Lord of Sipan, an ancient ruler and warlord of the pre-Inca Moche culture. Tour packages are typically archaeologically centric and include time in the coastal cities of Chiclayo and Trujillo.
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Although security concerns continue to plague the Venezuelan tourism market, the country offers a number of adventure and soft adventure tourism opportunities with excellent beaches on Margarita Island and the Los Roques Archipelago. Treks to Mount Roraima, the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, are a truly an out of this world experience though not on the common tourist circuit.
Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, is the main point of entry to the country and serves as a jumping off point to other regions. One of the most popular destinations in the country is Canaima National Park, a lush jungle region bordering Brazil and Guyana in the country’s southeastern border and a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to the tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls. Tours typically include jungle accommodation, guided eco-based tours and excursions in the jungle as well as a jungle hike to the Angel Falls lookout point. Flights to the falls are also available, pending weather restrictions.
Visitors can choose to end their stay in the country, relaxing on one of Venezuela’s popular beaches on Margarita Island or in Los Roques Archipelago.
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