South America Tours

Most Australians travelling to South America visit more than one country on their holiday, crossing borders to get a true taste for the diversity this continent has to offer.
 
Where to start? There are numerous gateways in South America, the most common for Australians being Santiago and Buenos Aires. From there it will depend on what your style of travel is as to where you want to go.
 
What’s it like?  It is impossible to sum up South America in brief, it is a continent like no other, offering a variety of incredulous terrains, a host of differing cultures, a fascinating and unique range of wildlife, a gastronomic cuisine, an intriguing history and a range of adventure-filled activities. From snow-capped mountains to turquoise lakes, stark arid deserts, rainforest, vast salt flats, pampas grasslands, glaciers, volcanoes, spectacular coastline and waterfalls, the landscapes of South America are breathtaking. In complete contrast are bustling and vibrant cities such as Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Lima and Montevideo. Then there are fascinating colonial towns such as Cusco, Sucre, Quito, Cartagena and Colonia and the mining towns of Potosi and Ouro Preto. South America is steeped in history and culture and a South America tour could allow you to delve into the history of the Inca, Moche and Nazca civilisations or immerse yourself in the culture of the Quechua Indians or the Afro-Brazilian beat of Salvador. For food lovers, a gastronomic experience awaits, tempting you with mouth-watering Argentinian steaks or fresh seafood ceviche accompanied by a glass of fine Chilean or Argentinian wine. Put simply South America has it all, all you need to decide is what type of journey you are after, South America has it all.  
 
Getting there: For Australians visiting South America there are many ways to get there, the most popular is flying the southern route south via Auckland to Santiago/Buenos Aires. From the west there is also the option to go via Abu Dhabi in the middle east to Sao Paulo/Buenos Aires, or for those who want to do a bit of shopping on the way there are many options via Los Angeles in the USA and then dropping down into Lima or Quito It will depend on where you start and end your journey.
 
More information: Below we have shown you just a fraction of the options available for multi-country travel. Browse to get an idea of where you want to travel.
 
Still wondering? Contact us:  You are definitely better off giving us a call or dropping us a line and letting us do the hard work for you. 
 

The entire journey with Chimu Adventures was amazing! Our guides were great. The hotels were perfect. I couldn't think of going with any other travel company! - Ashharman

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Featured South America Trips & Deals

SAVE 15% ON STD  From AU$2,035*

Discover the highlights of two of South America's most amazing cities, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, including a trip to Iguazu Falls.

South America Tours

19 NIGHTS From 13,430

Discover South America's natural wonders & vivid cultures. Visit Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Rio de Janeiro, Cusco, Machu Piccu & the Amazon jungle.

7 NIGHTS From 1,885

A spectacular 8-day tour of South America’s high mountain region, from Bolivia to Peru. See vibrant locals, amazing scenery & remnants of the Inca culture.

12 NIGHTS From 12,530

Travel to the ancient Inca Ruins of Machu Picchu and explore the impressive nature & wildlife of the Galapagos Islands on a cruise during this 13-day trip.

10 NIGHTS From 3,195

Explore Mayan ruins set in dense rainforests & the Spanish colonial architecture. Enjoy hand-rolled cigars, vintage cars & dance in the best salsa clubs.

14 NIGHTS From 5,870

Discover the sites and sounds of colourful Mexico & Peru on this extensive 15-day trip. Explore Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Mexico city & Chichen Itza.

11 NIGHTS From 3,935

Marvel at the cascading beauty of Iguazu Falls, the famous sites of Rio de Janeiro and hidden histories of Cusco on this express tour of South America.

32 NIGHTS From 11,200

Want to travel in South America & fit in as much as possible? Take this 34 day journey around the continent, ticking off all the must-sees on the way.

15 NIGHTS From 6,725

Experience the mystical glaciers, sparkling lakes, wildlife & breath-taking scenery of both the Chilean & Argentinean Patagonia.

19 NIGHTS From 7,630

Visit Salta in Argentina & Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia - the real heart of South America & some of the most spectacular scenery in this great continent.

Destinations

Articles On South America

What To Do in South America – Plan The Trip of a Lifetime

Posted on Wed, 28 Jun 2017

Planning a South America adventure can be a tad challenging. In a continent brimming with exceptional attractions and an eclectic mix of destinations, knowing where to even start planning can easily bring one to despair. But chill right out! Wondering what to do in South America once you get there? Wonder no more! We present to you the top highlights …

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Best Flights to South America from the UK

Posted on Wed, 21 Jun 2017

South America has always been reasonably accessible from the UK but over the past year a number of new routes have been added to the main flight schedules meaning there’s never been a better time to travel there. Below we look at some of the key flights you can take from the UK and the various pros and cons of each …

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Inca Trail Packing Guide

Posted on Thu, 08 Jun 2017

Tackling the challenge of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a lifelong dream for many. Yet packing for it can soon turn into a nightmare. With weight regulations, fluctuations in temperatures and the conundrums that arise from having to hike for days in remote and mountainous landscapes, not to mention the fact that you’ll probably be traveling elsewhere either …

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The best time to travel to South America

Posted on Fri, 10 Mar 2017

It sounds like a simple question but “When is the best time to travel to South America?” depends on a huge number of factors. Consider for example that Brazil itself is a similar size to Australia or continental USA and you start to have an appreciation of how large the South America continent actually is. Obviously within this vast continent …

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What is a hacienda? And why you should stay in one

Posted on Tue, 07 Mar 2017

Start planning for a trip to South America and you’ll no doubt be recommended to stay in a hacienda by anyone who’s been. Some will call it the South America equivalent of a homestay but a hacienda is so much more than just a simple accommodation choice. What exactly is a hacienda, you ask? Well, why not come visit and …

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South America Guide: How to Keep Safe & Travel Smart

Posted on Sat, 04 Mar 2017

Worried about keeping safe while travelling through South America? Don’t be! Our South America Guide: How to Keep Safe and Travel Smart is that go-to guide you need to ensure your next stint to the most exciting and rewarding continent on the planet, will go down as your best travel experience to date. Just How Safe is South America for …

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10 Fascinating Facts About the Andes Mountains

Posted on Wed, 01 Mar 2017

The Andes Mountains is the mountainous spine which dramatically dissects South America in two from north to south, crossing seven countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The continent’s most magnificent natural attraction stretches for over 7,500km – from Venezuela all the way to Patagonia – and has spawned, in one way or another, the continent’s incredible natural …

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Why Is The Amazon So Important?

Posted on Mon, 12 Dec 2016

The Amazon rainforest is a wondrous and beautiful place, full of mighty rivers and lush green trees. But, beneath its glossy green exterior, it’s working hard to provide the world with countless benefits. Without the Amazon the entire world’s climates would be thrown off, the atmosphere would be polluted with billions of tonnes of CO2, 10% of the world’s biodiversity …

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How Does South America Celebrate Christmas?

Posted on Tue, 29 Nov 2016

Christmas is a wonderful time to visit South America. Not only do you get the priceless chance to escape the stresses of the holiday season at home, but you’ll also get the chance to experience a whole new part of the world in what is arguably the most special time of year. And Christmas in South America, a fervently traditional …

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The Mysteries of The Amazon River

Posted on Sun, 02 Oct 2016

We have all heard about the mighty Amazon River, however there is still a lot of mystery surrounding this natural wonder. From it’s sheer length, majestic surrounding forests, rich and terrifying biodiversity, and unusual scientific history, this is definitely one of the most interesting rivers in the world. This is why we have put together this list of 10 mysteries of …

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South America Reviews

All Chimu Adventures' clients are given the opportunity to review their trip once they return home. These reviews are administered by a third party and as such are unfiltered by Chimu Adventures.

Rated 1 out of 5 by from Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil The itinerary was just wonderful. We saw all and more of what we had imagined. Chimu's MO of using local agents or subsidiaries worked really well - we had the beenift of our own space as well as meeting plenty of people on the various city tours etc.
Date published: 2015-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great value. All we requested in our time and pric Guides and hotels were great. Most tours were just the two of us but other larger groups were enjoyable. Agency was contactable, even finding and returning to hotel a jacket left on the bus. Follow up calls checked all was ok.Our only pproblem was due to a late add-on and limited time causing altitude sickness at Puno because of lack of acclimatisation. Machu Piccu was wonderful with plenty of time with and without the guide. Much better than the other large groups we saw.
Date published: 2014-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just Amazing!! Antarctica - Brilliant! MS Expedition and its crew were fantastic - food was never ending & cooked superbly. Nothing to fault. So amazing to see life without buildings, cars & pollution. The place makes you fell insignificant!!!! Am planning another trip! Peru - Cusco was fantastic. We arrived to see the last day of the festival so had colourful costumes, music & fun! Machu Picchu was beyond expectations. Fantastic local guide. Easter Island - Amazing. So interesting, especially the quarry with the Moai. Would recommend this location to anyone All in all, a trip of a lifetime!
Date published: 2015-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from South America - northern half Our tour was organised by Chimu Adventures and was excellent. In 5 weeks we saw Santiago, Valparaiso, Galapagos Islands for 5 days (needed 8 days), back to Quito for a couple of days (meant we had no problem with altitude), then Puno/Cusco/Machu Picchu/ Sacred Valley for about 6 days, then a boat on the Amazon for 4 days, over to Iguassu Falls, Rio, then Sao Paulo for a relative's wedding. Full comments sent to travel agent. Only wouldn't recommend Mabu Thermas & Resort Hotel at Iguassu - all other hotels great. Guides great.
Date published: 2014-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 6 weeks in South America We had a fantastic time in South America. Everything went smoothly and the guides organised by Chimu were fantastic, especially Diego who was our guide in Ecuador from a Chimu affiliated company called Latin Trails. We spent a week on Yolita 2 in the Galapagos covering the western and central islands itinerary and 3 days at La Selva Amazon lodge and would highly recommend both. Things we would change in hindsight: More time in the Amazon More time in the sacred valley, Peru An extra day at the amazing Iguassu falls (we only had 2 days there) Less time in Lima
Date published: 2016-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sth America & Mexico. Espectacular I recently toured Peru, Buenos Aires, Iguazu, Rio & Mexico City with Chimu. The service, itinerary timetable and attention to detail were first rate. As a first time tourist to South America they provided great peace of mind that everything was organised and I was kept informed throughout. On my trip Chimu management and staff went above and beyond when I had a minor incident (unrelated to tour itinerary). I will always remember this support and would warmly recommend Chimu to anyone looking to book one of their many adventure tours.
Date published: 2015-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacular South America Brazil Argentina and Peru were all different but all spectacular.
Date published: 2016-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Trip, very different from our other trips. Great trip but quite exhausting when added to our trip to Antarctica. Knowing how to speak more Spanish would have been good but Brazilians speak their own dialect of Portugese so that would not have been a help there. Chimu organised transfers and small tours so that was all well done. We thought this was the best way to do a trip around countries that speak a language we do not understand and we were correct. Peru was actually the most interesting and different of the four countries we visited. Flying LAN all the way around was great, easy to organize flights and luggage limits.
Date published: 2016-03-02
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Country Information

How to travel to South America

Posted on Thu, 25 Aug 2016

Unsurprisingly it’s something I’m often asked – where should I go and how should I travel to South America? I guess the answer can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like. What I mean by that is that people like to approach their travel planning in different ways and so I’m going to provide a range of answers …

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12 Dazzling UNESCO-listed Attractions in South America

Posted on Thu, 18 Aug 2016

The Top UNESCO-listed Attractions in South America are a spellbinding collection of historical, cultural and natural wonders. Combined, they represent all that is so revered about this continent: from the amazing wilderness brimming with unique wildlife to all the ancient cultures that have shaped human evolution on our planet. Include a few or all on your next South America journey …

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The Rich and Quirky History of South America

Posted on Tue, 16 Aug 2016

South America has a lot in common with Europe, which dates back to the colonial era in the 15th century. There are some great stories and there is so much to explore in South America, while many people don’t know too much about the history. Read some of the quirky stories Chad Carey (Co-founder of Chimu Adventures) tells about the …

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Tip-Top Seasonal Dressing Guide for South America

Posted on Mon, 06 Jun 2016

Packing the right clothing for a cross-continental jaunt through South America is arguably one of the most daunting tasks you’ll face. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy Seasonal Dressing Guide for South America. Because figuring out what you should pack, what you should ditch, and what you should definitely not leave home without, can be mighty confusing to the uninitiated. Whether …

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Must see destinations in South America

Posted on Fri, 20 May 2016

It’s hard to cover every nook and cranny when you are travelling to one of the largest continents on the planet, that’s why we’ve put together a list of must see destinations in South America. A vast place with ecosystems ranging from the driest desert in the world, to snow-capped peaks to the might Amazon river. Must see destinations in …

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Wildlife in South America

Posted on Wed, 11 May 2016

The wildlife in South America is arguably the most varied on the entire planet. If not for culture and historical highlights alone, then at the very least for breathtaking nature and an array of utterly unique wildlife. The land of glaciers and tropical rainforests, vertiginous mountains and outstanding beaches, is home to a kaleidoscope of endemic wildlife. Most of it …

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Top 10 Restaurants in South America

Posted on Fri, 23 Oct 2015

South America has plenty of culinary delights to offer diners everywhere. Looking for the best restaurants? Here’s our top 10: (not in any order) 1. D.O.M. Photocredit: The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

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Frequently Asked Questions

What money do they use in South America ?

Each country has its own currency with US Dollars being readily exchangeable throughout most of South America and accepted in many large hotels, top-end restaurants, supermarkets and major stores. Argentina - Argentinian Peso (ARS) Bolivia - Boliviano (BOB) Brazil - Brazilian Real (BRL) Chile - Chilean Peso (CLP) Colombia - Colombian Peso (COP) Ecuador - US Dollar (USD) French Guiana - Euro (EUR) Guyana - Guyana Dollar (GYD) Peru - Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) Suriname - Suriname Dollar (SRD) Uruguay - Uruguayan Peso (UYU) Venezuela - Bolivar (VEF) Please check websites such as www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for up to date exchange rates prior to your departure.

What language do they speak in South America?

Portuguese and Spanish are the primary languages of South America. The majority of South Americans speak Portuguese but most South American countries are Spanish-speaking. English is spoken in Guyana, Dutch and Indonesian in Suriname and French in French Guiana.

What is the religion of South Americans?

Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion in South America. In the Andes and lowland South America, shamanism and animism are common.

Do I need to be fit to go to South America ?

The level of fitness needed will depend on the South America tour that you choose to take in terms of countries to be visited and the types of activities to be included in your itinerary. Many parts of South America are at altitudes above 2000 metres, where there is a risk of altitude sickness. Altitude sickness effects everyone differently and usually has nothing to do with your general fitness level, but we highly recommend acclimatizing at altitude before taking strenuous treks or walks.

Is it safe to travel in South America?

Most South American countries have now recognized that tourism plays an important part in their economies and governments have taken great steps in the last few years to change South America’s poor security image. You will find a strong police presence in the towns, cities and sites most frequently visited by tourists. To minimise security risks we recommend the following: - do not show any outward signs of wealth or wear expensive jewellery - keep your valuables in your hotel in safety deposit boxes - keep any valuables that you must carry with you hidden, as pickpockets can be present in crowded areas and around tourist areas - use only taxis with official identification - avoid going on your own to remote areas/ruins where tourists would not be expected to go - always keep your day pack and camera close to you and never leave them unattended

Do I need a visa to travel to South America ?

Visas are required by some nationalities for travel to certain South American countries. Please refer to the detailed information on the specific countries that you plan to travel through for visa requirements.

How long do I need to travel to South America ?

You could spend anything from a few days to several months travelling in South America, depending on whether you plan to focus on just one country, or maybe just one experience such as the Inca Trail. Or whether you plan to encompass several countries in your South America travels. Chimu Adventures offers itineraries to suit every time frame.

How much should I budget for daily in South America?

South America can vary greatly in terms of prices in each country. Our South America tours include breakfast daily and many other meals may also be included in your itinerary. As a rough guide for additional spending money based on having moderately-priced lunches and dinners and buying a few souvenirs at local markets, we suggest the following budgets: 15-25 USD per day - Bolivia 20-30 USD per day - Peru, Ecuador, Colombia 25-35 USD per day - Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela 30-40 USD per day - Chile 35-45 USD per day - Brazil 30-50 USD per day - The Guianas

Do I need to get vaccinations for South America?

We recommend that you visit your doctor or a traveller’s medical centre for current information specific to those countries that you will be travelling through. As a general guide we recommend the following: - Yellow Fever – Especially for jungle areas - Hepatitis – Both A and B (twinrix) - Typhoid - Diphtheria - Cholera - Rabies - Tetanus

What kind of power adaptor plug do I need for South America ?

Most countries in South America use the European style outlet which contains 110v. Please visit the below link for more information on each country: http://electricaloutlet.org/

What should I pack to travel in South America?

What you need to pack will depend on when and where you plan on travelling and on the activities that you plan to include whilst on your South America tour. The following should act as a useful checklist of essential items: • Passport, photocopy of passport & spare passport photos • Travel Insurance documents • Air tickets and itinerary • Foreign Currency (US$) and/or debit/credit cards, traveller’s cheques • Money belt • Small daypack • Basic first aid kit • High UVA sun block • Sunglasses & sunhat • Mosquito spray & insect repellent • Comfortable walking shoes/boots • Sandals • Long sleeve tops and trousers • Light-weight clothing • Warm clothing (depending on itinerary and time of year) • Camera with spare battery and memory cards • Security code padlock • Adaptor • Small torch