South America is the 4th largest continent, and it can be difficult to visit all the highlights in South America if you only have a limited amount of time for vacation. Read on for best South America tour itineraries, listed by length of time. There is always a perfect South America tour itinerary for you, whether you have only have 3 days, 5 days, a week, or two weeks!
If You Have Only 3 Days:
With just 3 days of sightseeing in South America, it is best to focus your time in one city or one destination. Some of the top destinations include Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Machu Picchu in Peru, and Buenos Aires in Argentina.
1) With 3 days in Rio de Janeiro, you can see the Sugarloaf Mountain, the Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain, the world-famous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. You can also squeeze in a cruise of the Guanabara Bay, an off-road adventure safari through the Tijuca Forest, or getaway to Petropolis, the summer home of the former emperor of Brazil.
2) While it takes about a day to travel into the Peruvian cloud forest, Machu Picchu is well worth the trip. Fly into Lima, and then straight to Cusco. Spend the night in Cusco to acclimatize and explore the “Capital of the Incas,” then take the train to Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu. Then take the shuttle to the entrance of Machu Picchu. After spending the day exploring the stunning city in the sky, return by train to Cusco and spend the night. Return to Lima the next morning.
3) Spending 3 days in Buenos Aires won’t quite make you a real porteño (resident of Buenos Aires), but it will certainly help. Visit the barrios (neighborhoods) of San Telmo, Palermo, Puerto Madero, and Recoleta on a Buenos Aires city tour. Spend an evening enjoying a live tango dancing show and delicious steak dinner. Then spend some extra time exploring other parts of the city, such as the neighborhood of Tigre, on the Parana River delta.
If You Have Only 4-5 Days:
1) Visit Peru and do a Machu Picchu Tour in 4 or 5 days. Although it is possible to do a Machu Picchu tour in 3 days, it is highly recommended to spend at least 4 days visiting Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu itself. This way, you can take city tours of each destination and really learn about Peruvian history and the influence of the Inca Empire. See our suggested itinerary for a 4 day Machu Picchu Tour.
2) Take a Galapagos Cruise and see the islands that the researcher Charles Darwin called “a living laboratory.” Get up close to giant turtles, iguanas, migratory birds, fish, seals, and more wildlife on nature hikes, snorkeling, and on the cruise ship. See our suggested itinerary for a custom Galapagos cruise.
If You Have Only 7-8 Days:
1) Visit Argentina and Brazil on our Tango, Samba, Waterfalls tour. This vacation includes Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, the Iguassu Falls, and a spectacular train ride through the Atlantic Rainforest. See our suggested itinerary for a great Brazil and Argentina tour.
If You Have 13-14 Days:
1) The Essence of Peru Tour is a wonderful 15 day excursion around Peru, from Lima, Paracas Bay, Ballestas Islands, Nazca Lines, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, and Machu Picchu. Explore the Inca Empire, the dramatic landscapes of the Peruvian Andes, and more.
2) The Very Best of Argentina Tour is 13 days, and covers all the major highlights of Argentina. See Buenos Aires, Bariloche, Ushuaia, and the glaciers near El Calafate. See glaciers, penguins, whales, and amazing landscapes on this popular Argentina tour.
Remember, our best South America tour itineraries are all customizable. You can mix and match destinations to suit your travel style, budget, and time frame. Just contact us for a free quote!