Brightly coloured exotic wildlife, thundering waterfalls, volcanoes, deserts, tropical rainforests, ancient Mayan ruins swathed in jungle, lost Incan cities, glaciers and white-sand beaches that lead into crystal clear waters... this samba-fuelled continent of the globedelivers more kicks than the Argentine tango.
With its exciting lure of natural wonders, beaches and well, just life, South America oozes excitement. On an escorted tour to South America, dance the night away at a tango hall in Argentina, stand at the foot of Christ the Redeemer and sip coconut water on Copacobana in Brazil, stare into the mouth of Devil's Throat at Icuazu Falls, experience glaciers and desert in one hit in Chile, stand on the equator at Ecuador, take in colonial architecture in Uruguay, or discover the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu, in Peru.
A huge range of escorted tours are available to South America, often combining two or three countries allowing visitors to take in the best that the continent has to offer. All packages include return UK flights, a full touring itinerary both on and off the beaten track, a tour manager plus local guides, good quality accommodation with porterage and some meals.
The beauty of travelling as part of an escorted tour is that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in foreign lands. However, to help you have an enjoyable holiday in South America, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
It is always advisable to check with your GP or the National Travel Health Network and Centre website to see whether you are recommended to have vaccinations or preventive medical measures prior to travelling to South America. Some countries will insist you have had certain vaccines before visiting so it is always wise to check. Malaria tablets may also be needed for certain areas (Iguazu Falls for example is a low risk area).
Travel Insurance is extremely important and you should always have adequate insurance which will cover you should you fall ill and need treatment whilst abroad. In extreme cases you may need additional funds to pay for medical treatment and repatriation should it become necessary. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
Emergency services and contact numbers vary by country and are as follows:
Argentina: Dial 107 or 911
Brazil: Dial 192
Chile: Dial 131
Colombia: Dial 123
Ecuador: Dial 131 or 911
Peru: 225 4040 (Lima - Alerta Med)
Although we do not like to pre-empt problems whilst you are away, here at Door2Tour we believe it's important for you to stay vigilant at all times when exploring places with which you are unfamiliar.
When visiting South America it is important that you remain alert to the risks of crime. Tourists are sometimes seen as easy targets, so where possible keep your valuables in the hotel safe and avoid carrying large quantities of cash or wearing expensive jewellery. One of our most valuable tips is to purchase a money wallet (a flat, zippable wallet that you can wear around your waist underneath your clothes) before you travel, which you can find online (try the gapyeartravelstore.com). It's the safest way for you to carry your valuables without the risk of them being stolen.
As with the UK, never leave drinks unattended nor accept them from strangers. Be aware that alcoholic beverages in foreign countries can be stronger than in the UK, so it is wise to know your limits.
Women especially should avoid walking around after dark and never leave the safety your travel group. To be on the safe side, check the individual countries you are visiting to get a better idea of crime levels and things to look out for prior to departing for your holiday.
Local Laws and Customs
Countries in South America will have different local laws and customs, so it is wise to check the individual countries for more information. See below for the full list.
Drug crime is a problem in many countries in South America and so you should avoid getting involved in any way with any drug related offence.
It is important to check the entry requirements for the country/ies you intend to visit when visiting South America because different countries will all have different guidelines and passport validity requirements. It is important to check these varying entry requirements before leaving for your holiday by viewing individual country pages on the site.
Any other nationality looking to visit South American countries must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
View South America in a larger map
From sultry tango on the streets of Buenos Aires to the glaciers of Patagonia and the thundering power of Iguazu Falls, Argentina is a pleasure to the senses. Take in stunning wildlife at the Tierra del Fuego National Park on the country's southernmost tip, be dwarfed by the ever-shifting Perito Moreno Glacier or head to the vineyards of Mendoza with its backdrop of the Andes. Add to that some of the best steak and wine on the planet and you'll understand why escorted tours to Argentina are so appealing.
From white-sand beaches to passion-packed football matches, there's something about Brazil that makes it magnetic. When you wind up in Rio you'll feel like you've made it. From the gritty favelas (never enter one without an escorted and approved guide) to the showmanship on Copacobana and Ipanema beaches, to the unbelievable sunset at Sugarloaf Mountain with Christ the Redeemer up ahead, you won't fail to be disappointed with this amazing city or country.
With its alpacas, delicious native ceviche (raw, melt-in-the-mouth fish) and unrivalled Incan history, Peru has a completely different feel to its South American counterparts. There's a more spiritual feel here and one of the most likely places to feel it is at Machu Picchu, the Lost Incan City and World Wonder perched 2,430 meters above sea level in the Peruvian Andes. The moment you see it is a moment you'll never forget and almost all escorted tours will include it on the agenda. Elsewhere, experience a slice of traditional Peru with the reed homes of Lake Titicaca, take in the amazing Colca Canyon or sip a pint at the highest Irish pub in the world in Cusco.
From deserts to glaciers, Chile is a country of sheer diversity. You could be marvelling at landscape resembling the moon one day in the Atacama Desert and spotting Andean Condor, Chilean Flamingo and Pumas in the magnificent Torres del Paine National Park the next. This country might be thin, but things to do here certainly aren't thin on the ground.
Aside from standing on the Equator at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Quito, the main reason for escorted tours to Ecuador is the Galapagos Islands. With 13 main islands abundant with wildlife from giant tortoises and penguins to red marine iguanas and whales, it's easy to see why Charles Darwin used them as the base for his studies.