South America has a wide variety of landscapes, so it should come as no surprise that the Islands in South America also offer an abundance of contrasts. Whether you prefer a luxurious beach resort and warm Caribbean waters or favor the more remote and historical island, the Islands in South America are sure to entertain any traveler.
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of nearly 40 volcanic islands, the most popular including Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. The Galapagos were made famous by Charles Darwin, who in 1835 went to observe the animals and was inspired to write the theory of evolution. The Galapagos Islands are the perfect destination to see fauna and flora. The most remarkable animal is the Galapagos Giant Tortoise, who can live up to 100 years and weight up to 400 kg.
Things to do: To make the most of your Galapagos experience, we recommend going on a 3 or 4 nights cruise, allowing you to visit more of the islands, including the remote and untouched regions.
Getting there: There are year-round flights from Quito or Guayaquil (2.5-hour flight).
This mythical island made famous by its statues (Moais) built by the Rapa Nui people, is said to be one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Disconnect from your ordinary life and discover the ancient culture that developed in the most isolated place on Earth. The island is about 3800 km west of the Chilean coast.
Things to do: Visit the main sites like Anakena beach or Tangata Mantu Ceremonial Center. Enjoy the sunset or sunrise on the island as it illuminates the Moais statues. Go on daily hikes, bike rides and/or cruise along the coast and learn about the myths and legends of the island.
Recommended Lodges: The lodges on the island offer full-service amenities including meals, transfers, tours, and excursions. Upon arrival, your guide will work with you to plan your daily trips based on your preferences.
Getting There: Take a 5.5-hour flight (operated by LAN) from Santiago de Chile to Hanga Roa, the capital of the island.
When one thinks about Chiloe, one pictures its wooden colored houses and churches, the hospitality of its people, the Chilotes, and the myths and legends of witchcraft, ghost ships and forest gnomes.
Getting There: From Puerto Montt, it takes about 3-hours to reach Ancud, from there it takes another 1.5-hours to reach Castro. From there take a ferry to the island. There is also the possibility to take a cruise from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales (Patagonia) where you will cruise past the highlights around Chiloe Island. LAN Airlines also offers flights from Santiago to Chiloe making it more feasible for travelers who have limited time to explore the island. I recommend visiting the island during the summer months from November to April.
You will find no motor vehicles on the remote island of Ilha Grande, creating a unique and relaxing experience. Ilha Grande is 150 km from Rio de Janeiro. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings, from the beaches to the dense contrasting forest.
Things to do: Some beach highlights include Lopez Mendes beach, Dois Rios beach (where the two rivers meet), or Saco do Ceu Cove – definitely a sight to see at night, the stars reflect in the water illuminating the sea, this is sure to create a memorable experience for anyone.
Recommended Hotels: There is a range of different Pousadas and Brazilian-style Bed & Breakfast hotels available on the island. They each have their own charming features and offer a more authentic experience for travelers.
- Pousada Recreio da Praia 5* Hotel
- Pousada Caicara 4* + Hotel
- Pousada Tagomago 4* Hotel
- Pousada Naturalia 3* Hotel
Getting there: From Rio de Janeiro take a 2.5-hour transfer to Angra dos Reis where you will catch a ferry to Ilha Grande.
This remote island is close to Puno and ideal for a more adventurous traveler looking for an authentic day trip from Puno. Experience Lake Titicaca off the beaten path, far from the touristic masses. On your way to Isla Suasi, make sure to visit the Uros and Taquile Islands to see the floating reed islands. These artificial islands were originally built by the Uros people, and to this day are still inhabited by the Uru people.
- Libertador Lake Titicaca 5* Hotel
- Casa Andina Private Collection4* + Hotel
- Sonesta Posadas del Inca 4* Hotel
- Casa Andina Classic Tikarani 3* Hotel
How to get there: From Puno, take a quick boat ride to Isla Suasi.
Tinhare Island is reachable by catamaran, boat or small plane. Morro do Sao Paulo is the most famous beach on the island. Spend a few days at a Brazil Beach Resort on this tropical island enjoying the warm waters, beautiful beaches, delicious foods, fun culture and luxurious accommodations.
Things to do:. Morro do Sao Paulo is a great destination for those interested in the beach and nightlife.
- Villa Guaiamu Bahia Resort
- Patachocas 5* Hotel
- Pousada Minha Louca Paixao 4* + Hotel
- Villa Guaiamu 3* Hotel
How to get there: You can reach the island by plane or boat from Salvador. Make sure to spend a few days in Salvador first and visit the Pelourinho.
San Andres is a coral Colombian island located in the Carribean sea about 800km from the Colombian coast. This is the ideal island for scuba divers seeking to explore the coral reefs.
Things to do: Go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters, relax on the beach and enjoy spectacular seafood dishes.
- Casa Harb 5* Hotel
- Royal Decameron Marazul 4* + Hotel
- Decameron San Luis 4* Hotel
- Cocoplum Beach Hote 3* Hotel
How to get there: From Bogota, there are daily 2-hours flights to the island, or from Cartagena take a 1.5-hour direct flight.