The Best South American Tours

South American tours are great way to explore the unique places on this stunning continent. I was lucky enough to tour most of the most famous so have written about them for you!

When people ask me questions about my gap year they always pinpoint the tours I went on before I answer. So there is a good chance that people will do the same for you. So hopefully the info in this section of our site will help you decide on what South America tours you want to do.

The Inca trail

The Inca trail is without a doubt the most famous of the South American tours and one of the most famous tours in the world. Trekking through the sacred valley for 4 days before reaching the pinnacle site of Machu Picchu is truly amazing. It can be tough at times but it was well worth the effort once we had reached our final destination at the end of each day. Sitting in a hammock with a beer is not a bad way to end a day where you have just walked for 8 hours.

I am not good enough at writing unfortunately to describe how amazed I was when I got my first glimpse of the ancient ruins as the first rays of light shone over the lush mountains at 6am.

Machu Picchu in April 2009
Machu Picchu in April 2009

This South American tour is an unforgettable experience and I hope you have chance to visit yourself.

The Bolivian Salt Flats

The tour of the Bolivian Salt Flats was the most incredible thing I did during my gap year and was my favourite of all the South American tours.

The 4 day tour from the arid Atacama in Tupiza, passing the peaks of the Andes and ending at the breath taking salt flats will be a trip of a life time.

We were shocked by the contrast in landscapes as the trip progresses. It is hard to believe that in such short distances the land can change so much.

Bolivian Salt Flats
Bolivian Salt Flats

I have put together some more detailed information on our salt flat tour page.

The Favela tour at Rociñha in Rio

The favela tour in Rociñha, Rio, is a very interesting tour and you will learn a lot about the culture and diversity in this beautiful city.

Rociñha is located in the heart of Rio and is built on the side of a mountain in unbelievable fashion. I was amazed that the buildings have managed not to fall down!

Rociñha, Rio De Janeiero
Rociñha, Rio De Janeiero

The journey begins with an exciting motorbike ride to the top of the hill, which will give you an adrenaline rush as you weave between cars and buses. Then once you have reached the top, your guide will explain a bit about the history and rules you must abide by and you will walk down through the favela.

Find out more about the favela tour at Rociñha here

Amazon Travel Tours

South American tours would not be complete unless there was one of the Amazon rainforest included. It will be a great experience for you and your fellow travel buddies to explore nature at its greatest. You will be as far off the beaten track as possible and will see things that you will never have even thought existed before.

Unfortunately, I did not manage to get as far north as I would have liked so did not make it to the Amazon Rainforest. So I interviewed one of my best mates Millie. She spent a few nights in the jungle after cycling down the death road in Bolivia. I was told that it was incredible to be enclosed by such natural surroundings. As we both live in London it is as far away from what we are used to as it could possibly be. The animals, the fauna, the breath of fresh air was simply amazing

Amazon River
Amazon River

For more info and to find out what Millie had to say about the Amazon Travel Tour click here

The Death Road Bolivia

The death road Bolivia is one of the most famous South America Tours. It is a hot spot for travellers searching for an adrenaline rush. You will get a chance to view the incredible scenery covering the altiplano, mountains and the jungle below. There are many tour operators offering their services but as safety is of paramount importance, be sure to go with a reputable company. A recommendation from your hostel may be a good place to start.

This really is a tour that is getting a lot of publicity and is for the thrill seekers among you. It is not used any more by motorists, well at least a lot less, as another much safer road is now in operation. This has led way for extreme sports tour companies to offer this fantastic tour.

Death Road Bolivia
Death Road Bolivia

For some more details for the Bolivia Death Road click here

Tours to the Lost City in Colombia

The trek to the Lost City of the Ciudad Perdida may not be the most famous of the South American tours, but it is surely up there with the best of them. This is a 6 day tour that will take you through the rainforest into the jungle, through rivers, over mountains and up a thousand steps to the final stop point.

The Lost City is found in the Sierra Nevada region in Colombia. The amazing thing about this unbelievable place is that it was actually created 650 years before Machu Picchu in 100AD! During the Spanish conquest it was thought that it was abandoned and was "lost" off all maps until a group of local treasure hunters stumbled across the stepping stones in the side of the mountain in 1972. They then followed these steps until they reached La Ciudad Perdida.

Jonnie and Rich at the Lost City
Jonnie and Rich at the Lost City, 2009

The lost city tour in Colombia is the tour that got away. I did not make it to Colombia on my gap year so this is definitely one for the future. My best mates Rich and Jonnie did though, so I have spent a few hours talking with them about it. They have got me very excited for when the time comes.

"This is a hidden gem that not many people know about. It is far less commercial than the Inca Trail and maybe the most imperssive trek I have ever done" Rich

"I couldn't believe that any South American Tour could be better than the Inca trail but this one topped the lot" Jonnie

For more info about The Lost City and to find out what Jonnie and Rich had to say then click here