If you want to see and make the most of South America but have limited time, then a tour is definitely the way to go. But with so many options out there, how can you know which is best for you? Read on to find out the best South America tours and the places you don't want to miss!
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Are you thinking of planning a trip to South America in the future? There are so many wonderful places to visit and sights to see, but deciding where to start can sometimes feel overwhelming.
One way to ensure you see everything you want is to go on tours. But which tours should you choose? Fear not; we're here to help!
Since South America includes 12 countries and some territories, we won't be able to touch on every available tour company or experience. However, hopefully, we'll still be able to give you some inspiration for your next trip!
Which is the best country to visit in South America?
Since there are so many countries in South America, you have some choices to make about where to visit. There's something for everyone in South America, and while we don't think you can rank which country is the best, we still want to give you some ideas!
If you're looking to celebrate Carnival, or head to the site of the 2016 Olympics, Brazil is the place for you. Maybe you've always wanted to visit Machu Picchu and see the famous llamas of Peru? Or perhaps Ecuador has always been on your bucket list, with its close proximity to the Galapagos Islands. You can also visit Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, and so much more!
South America Tour Packages
If you're looking for a tour of South America organized from start to finish, you can explore using tour companies that do this for you. These can either be tours for solo travelers or with a group of other travelers.
An organized tour is a great option if you're looking to sit back and relax when it comes to trip planning. These companies will put everything together for you, and then you can join in for the ride!
If this sounds like your kind of travel, here are some great tour options for South America!
1. G-Adventures Tours
Whether you're looking for short day trips or long excursions, G Adventures offers ample tours covering several destinations in South America.
G Adventures has different styles of tours and even includes vaccinated tours if you're looking to be extra safe during covid.
While they have a fair number of different tours, we'd recommend you start your search with the following tours:
- If you're looking to explore Inca history in Peru, G Adventures has a perfect eight-day trip that takes you from Lima to Cusco. It's a small group but given a level four in physical rating, so it is a more demanding walking tour.
- For a lighter physical level exploration of Peru, try the five-day Peruvian Coast: Seafood, Sandboarding & Dune Buggies trip. Or even a three-day Lima to Lima walking tour!
- What about the Galapagos, I hear you ask! Fear not, they have some budget-friendly Galapagos tours as well. For a seven-day tour, check out the Galapagos Express Adventure: Wilderness & Wildlife in Ecuador tour.
If you've never toured with G Adventures and want to know more before booking, you can read our thoughts about this travel company in our review here!
2. Intrepid Peru Tours
If you're keen on traveling with a company that focuses on making a positive impact in the destinations they visit, Intrepid might just be for you!
Intrepid's shortest trips are seven days and tend to focus on one country, but you can also explore their tailormade options to personalize your itinerary a little more.
Here's our top pick Intrepid tour in South America:
- For a seven-day trek of Peru, check out Intrepid's Inca Trail Express from Lima. It's rated 4/5 for physical activity but will take you along the Inca Trail from Lima to Cusco, with a stop at Machu Picchu along the way.
Check out our review of Intrepid here.
3. EF Go Ahead Tours
If you're headed to Ecuador or Peru, EF Go Ahead Tours offers a handful of 8 to 16-day tours.
With EF Go Ahead Tours, you'll have a tour guide assigned to your group, and your accommodation and meals are included in the price of the tour. If this sounds good to you, we'd recommend you check out this tour:
- EF Go Ahead Tours only offers one under ten-day trip in Peru, and that's their week in Peru: Lima, Cuzco & Machu Picchu tour. The trip is eight days, but it will take you to all the must-see sights in those areas of Peru.
Before you book, read our comprehensive review of their services here.
Organized group tours tend to run a steeper price tag, so you'll want to pencil out what all is included if you've got a set budget. In some cases, they can be of better value than trying to do it all yourself.
But while guided group tours can be a great way to travel, sometimes you want to get around on your own and at your own pace. If you're thinking of traveling around South America this way, here are some recommendations for resources you can use to find tours wherever you travel!
4. GetYourGuide Tours
If you're headed to Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, or Uruguay, GetYourGuide is an excellent site to use to find activities and tours in your chosen destination.
GetYourGuide offers entry tickets to top sights but also half-day, full-day, and multi-day tours that you can join to explore more in-depth than you might've been able to do on your own.
Whether you want to do a four-day Inca Trail Trek, a sightseeing bus tour, a coffee tour in Medellin, or anything in between, you'll have ample choices.
If you want to know more, we've reviewed GetYourGuide here!
5. Viator Tours
We've talked about Viator on our blog before, and that's because they're a great resource for finding fun, unique experiences and tours during your travels. A visit to South America is no exception.
You can find walking tours, full-day tours, paragliding adventures, and entry tickets to top attractions across the continent on Viator.
Several of their tours are likely to sell out, so if you're considering using Viator for your South American travels, be sure to book in advance!
6. Local hostel tours!
If you're staying in a hostel, chances are they have a walking tour you can join, or know a good walking tour you can go on to familiarize yourself with the area.
These walking tours are often free or at a reduced cost, although you should always tip at the end of the free tour.
Walking tours are great for hearing about the city from a local, learning the secret spots, and meeting fellow travelers.
What is the best month to visit South America?
Depending on what you want to do while in South America, there are different months in which it is best to travel.
Overall, the general consensus is that the best time to travel to South America is between September and November. This is when the seasons are changing from spring to summer, so you're likely to find nicer weather. That being said, South America is a continent that's perfect for visiting year-round.
For cheaper options, consider visiting during spring or autumn but do remember that in the Southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed from the Northern hemisphere! Also, keep in mind that the further you get from the equator, the more stark the differences between the four seasons will be!
Next stop, South America!
Whether you join a group tour, go on your own individual adventure or a mix of the two, there are ample opportunities to explore South America. Either way, you'll need a plan to make the most of your trip. That's why we created Pilot!
Pilot is your brand-new travel planner that helps you discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere. Make the planning experience more fun by collaborating with your travel buddies! Pilot makes it fun and easy to share and relive your favorite travel memories with many useful features!
Did we mention that it's completely free? Try it out now!