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South America Travel Guide, Tours & Things to Do

Planning a South American escape? Get inspired on the Top Oz Tours and Travel Ideas website. We go way beyond Oz! Our South America travel guide is packed with tips for getting the most from your trip.

South America travel guide
South America travel guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

From epic natural landscapes and amazing wildlife, to a rich diversity of cultures and cuisines — there’s a lot to love about travelling to South America.

In fact, the possibilities are endless and a holiday spent exploring the region’s twelve conterminous countries can be anything you want it to be!

City slickers can delve into daily life in some of the most cosmopolitan metropolises on the planet, including gleaming Santiago in Chile, Argentina’s architecturally alluring Buenos Aires, impossibly photogenic Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and the hugely historic Colombian capital Bogota.

South America tours

South America Tours, Activities & Attractions

Nature lovers will want to immerse themselves in the beauty of the fabled Amazon, plunging Iguazu Falls, the lunar-like Atacama Desert, enigmatic Easter Island, and the glorious Galapagos. The latter offers unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities, including the chance to see marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, and dainty Galapagos finches.

History buffs can set off in search of lost cities and civilisations. You’ll never forget your first view of Tiwanaku in Bolivia, Lima’s sprawling Pachacamac, or the majestic mountain-top citadel of Machu Picchu — its true purpose forever lost in time.

South America travel guide
South America travel guide: Machu Picchu, Peru

Culture vultures will love exploring South America’s many museums and galleries, including the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago, Sao Paulo’s Pinacoteca do Estado (one of the top arts facilities in Latin America), the contemporary Museo del Barro in the Paraguayan capital Asuncion, and Buenos Aires’ Museo Evita — dedicated to maintaining the memory of Eva Peron.

Top ten things to do in South America

And finally, for foodies, South America delivers a truly delicious mix of cuisines. Historical influences have played a huge role in shaping modern tastes, but many Indigenous culinary traditions live on. Wherever you travel, cooking classes are a fun and low cost way to get a true taste of local life.

Use this South America guide to access destination information, and find tours and guided experiences. Enjoy your holiday!

Chile Tours & Experiences

Save $100pp on South America Multi-Day Tours

South America travel tips

1. Only got a limited amount of time to get to know a new city? Our Big Five City Guides can help. We break each destination down into culture, history, dining, shopping and relaxation must-sees and dos. Access our city guides here.

2. Check the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website for travel advisories about your chosen destination.

3. There are huge variations in climate across South America and also within specific regions. Seasons correspond with Australia but check the average temperatures and rainfall carefully for all destinations you’ll visit. It’s best to pack for all eventualities!

South America travel guide
South America travel guide: Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

4. South America is a vast continent and unless you are on an extended overland tour you will probably end up doing a lot of air travel in a relatively short space of time. It can sometimes feel like you are spending your entire trip in airports! Don’t underestimate how tiring this can be. Check your proposed itinerary carefully and decide how much air travel you can manage comfortably during your trip.

5. Check with your doctor regarding immunisations for South America and pack a comprehensive First Aid kit. Some medications may be difficult to obtain in remote areas. Generally the standard of food hygiene across the South American continent is very good, but as always, exercise caution. If you choose to eat at roadside stalls or markets, check the general standard of cleanliness and that a supply of clean water is present. As always, freshly cooked is best.

South America travel guide
South America travel guide: Lima, Peru

6. When travelling to mountainous destinations like Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca in Peru, or La Paz in Bolivia, allow time to acclimatise to the higher altitude. Altitude sickness is fairly common and in some cases can require medical treatment. Consult your doctor prior to the trip about the various treatments available. Take things easy for the first day or two. Move slowly, consume small meals and drink plenty of water.

7. South America offers a fabulously historic and cultural travel experience — and exploring local towns and villages will be an absolute highlight of your trip. Observe all local customs and always show respect for religious institutions and monuments. Remember that people are likely to be much more conservative in remote areas than they are in the bigger cities and towns. A friendly smile will always work wonders, even if there is a language barrier.

South America travel guide
South America travel guide: Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

8. While travelling in South America, be open to experiences but always be aware of your surroundings and personal safety, particularly in large crowds. Avoid travelling on your own by taxi, or on foot in isolated neighbourhoods at night. Abductions and muggings are not uncommon. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Trust your intuition!

South America travel essentials

You can book many aspects of your holiday on the Top Oz Tours & Travel Ideas website, including flights, hotels, car hire, travel insurance, and more. When you purchase a product or service using the following links from our partners, we receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay, and it enables us to continue to provide readers with amazing travel inspiration.


Compare airlines, flights, and fares in one place with They don’t charge any credit card fees and you can always see exactly what you’re paying for in the price breakdown. You can book one-way, round-trip, and multi-city flights, and change your travel dates with ease when you opt for a flexible ticket option (an additional cost applies). It all adds up to a great flight! Search for flights with


If you’re looking for a great deal on your next hotel or homestay, look no further than Their mission is to make travel affordable and accessible to more people, and to deliver seamless accommodation experiences that complement your holiday. Search for hotels and homestays with

Car hire

Discover Cars is an award-winning (World Travel Awards) car rental comparison website, which helps customers find, compare, and hire cars at the most competitive prices globally. You’ll get access to meticulously maintained cars, 4WDs, and minibuses from the world’s leading brands, and at the best possible price. Search for hire cars with Discover Cars

Campervans & motorhomes

Make Jucy your first choice for campervan and motorhome hire. Since 2001, this progressive company has had a vision to be world-famous for enabling experience seekers to discover happiness on the road. The Jucy crew live and breathe their core values of passion, pride, family, and fun, and these values influence every one of their interactions with customers. They’re ready to help you find ‘your happy’! Search for campervans and motorhomes with Jucy

Day tours & experiences

Search and book day tours, guided experiences, and attraction tickets and passes worldwide with Top Oz Tours and Viator. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book through us, and you’ll have access to the widest choice of activities and most competitive prices. Browse day tours and experiences

Multi-day tours & trips

Travelling on an extended tour with a local guide is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the destination of your choice. Top Oz Tours has joined forced with Tour Radar to bring you a fabulous range of multi-day tours and trips from the world’s leading operators. Travel with like minded people and get the best possible price on the holiday of your dreams. Browse multi-day tours and trips

Travel insurance

World Nomads aims to be a part of every traveller’s journey by providing a reassuring range of travel insurance services. Travellers can buy insurance, extend their policy, and claim online, 24/7, on the road or from home. Travel insurance benefits include coverage for emergency medical and evacuation or repatriation, lost baggage, trip cancellation, and more than 150 adventure activities. Get an insurance costing from World Nomads

Do you have any tips to add to our South America travel guide? We would love to hear from you. Please send us a message.

The information contained in this guide is general in nature and does not constitute professional advice in any way. We make every effort to ensure this content is accurate, but we do not guarantee it. You should do your own research and seek the advice of professionals before acting or relying on any of the information provided in this guide.

Additional images: Bigstock


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