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Central & South America Holidays
To call South America a continent of contrasts is an understatement: you can enjoy high altitude trekking in Peru, Bolivia or Chile, relax on the iconic beaches of Rio de Janeiro, explore the glaciers and ice-fields of Patagonia, search out the rare and wonderful wildlife of the Amazon, wander through the cobbled streets of colonial cities or discover the ancient cities of the Incas. On top of that you can try out some world class cuisine in Brazil or Argentina and move to the irrepressible rhythms of some the continent’s music – salsa, tango, merengue, samba and others.Â Â
South America is the world’s fourth largest continent in terms of landmass and fifth in population. Home to twelve distinctly different sovereign states - Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, Suriname, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile - it also encompasses French Guiana, the Falklands Islands, the Lesser Antilles as well as Trinidad and Tobago.
As a traveller to this vast and varied continent you are spoilt for choice, with a huge range of natural wonders, historical sights, astounding wildlife and pulsating local life to fit into your itinerary. Many start with the better known destinations - Peru, Argentina, Ecuador or Brazil – but can’t resist coming back for more, with visits to lesser known countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia or Guyana.
Combining extraordinary wildlife, impressive mountain landscapes, colonial cities and beautiful coastline, Ecuador with its off-shore islands, the Galapagos, perhaps best sum up all the continent has to offer.
Brazil is sometimes described as a continent within one country, with immense swathes of rainforest, some of the best beaches in the world, vibrant local cultures with markets and festivals which you can easily immerse yourself into, along with the astounding wildlife of the Amazon and the Pantanal. The Iguazu Falls, separating Brazil from Argentina, are widely agreed to be the most spectacular waterfalls in the world.
Peru has long been a favourite for travellers with Explore: over the years thousands have trekked the four day Inca Trail to the ruined mountaintop city of Machu Picchu, one of the iconic ancient sites not just of South America, but of the world.
Far away in the south you can experience the stark beauty and blue-ice glaciers of Patagonia. Straddling both Chile and Argentina, this region is one of our planet’s most magnificent wilderness areas.
Every traveller has to visit South America at least once, but your main challenge is to decide where to begin: with so much choice on offer it’s not easy to pick which country to explore first.
Peru (23 Tours)
Since Hiram Bingham, the American explorer, described Machu Picchu as a “wonderland”, the fabled Inca city has...
Argentina (19 Tours)
Argentina is immense, intense and dramatic. Wherever you go, the contrasts are breathtaking. From the dry deserts of...
Ecuador (15 Tours)
The phrase ‘small is beautiful’ could have been coined specifically with Ecuador in mind. By South American...
Cuba (10 Tours)
In city centres, from Havana to Santiago, ramshackle streets are lined with decaying colonial mansions and art deco...
Costa Rica (9 Tours)
For tropical paradise, beach life and a sense of adventure Costa Rica is hard to beat. This country may be tiny but...
Chile (8 Tours)
With an almost comical geographical shape and virtually every climate imaginable, this beautiful, memorable corner of...
Guatemala (8 Tours)
Guatemala has a monopoly on colour – from the red lava tongues of the volcanoes in the Western Highlands to the...
Nicaragua (5 Tours)
For such a tiny country, there’s a lot to see and do in Nicaragua. Fortunately, road communication in the Pacific...
Belize (4 Tours)
Belize was created when Itzamná the creator god of the Maya took the best bits of Central America and put them all...
Bolivia (4 Tours)
Bolivia is weird. Everything about this land-locked country in the heart of the continent is out of the ordinary....
Honduras (4 Tours)
Sliced, spliced and spread across a mountainous interior, Honduras is a pleasantly challenging surprise. In the heart...
Brazil (3 Tours)
There are few countries as beautiful and vibrant as Brazil with nature so exuberant and people so welcoming....
Mexico (3 Tours)
Mexico’s astounding array of options can excite, entice, or even overwhelm many first-time visitors. Grand colonial...
Colombia (2 Tours)
Colombia is currently going through a wonderful transformation. After years of daunting, negatives headlines plaguing...
Panama (2 Tours)
Many first-time visitors to Panama are astounded at how much there is to see and do. For such a tiny country, it...
Venezuela (2 Tours)
Venezuela is where the Andes meet the Caribbean. The Orinoco river separates great plains from the table-top...
Dominica (1 Tour)
Not to be confused with the much larger Dominican Republic, the island of Dominica lies in the Lesser Antilles region...
El Salvador (1 Tour)
There are some compelling reasons why you should visit El Salvador: dramatic volcanic landscapes, blue-green lagoons...
Guyana (1 Tour)
Guyana’s coastal region is dominated by a mixture of Calypso music, Dutch drainage systems, Hindu temples, rice and...
Martinique (1 Tour)
Martinique at first glance is a piece of France transported to the tropics, where language and customs have adapted...
St.Lucia (1 Tour)
Suriname (1 Tour)
The Republic of Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana) is the smallest independent country in South America. Situated in...