The Ultimate South American Itinerary For An Unforgettable Cultural Experience

By James Fenton

November 25, 2019 at 2:34pm



You've done all the talking and now it's time to plan.

South America seems to be the continent on everybody's bucket list and anyone who's been there will tell you what a life-changing experience it is.

You usually read about the same places in the travel books so we've put together an itinerary that mixes the most famous spots and activities with some lesser-known experiences to tick off your list.

Grab a few friends, a significant other or just yourself and get the trip of a lifetime underway!

We guarantee you'll come out richer on the other side.

Go to a tango show in Buenos Aires

And we don't mean the big orange lad from the soft drink ads. Get your trip off to a flyer with some authentic Argentinian culture at the home of the tango.

Take a day trip to Tigre


A short train journey from the capital of Argentina, take a peaceful stroll alongside the canal and satisfy your taste buds at the food market.

Don't forget to feast your eyes on the Municipal Museum of Art, an exquisite example of architecture to rival the iconic buildings of Rome.

Hop on the ferry to Montevideo

In terms of time taken, the Buquebus from Buenos Aires to the Uruguayan capital is much the same as taking the ferry from Dublin to Hollyhead.

Spend a day or two exploring the many historic monuments. Don't pack too much as a lot of hostels in Buenos Aires will allow you to leave your bags behind for a few days. Be sure to ask first!

Cycle the cobbled paths of Colonia Del Sacramento

You can't visit Uruguay and not take a trip to this charming little coastal city. Make sure to scale the old lighthouse for some decent photo ops.

Don't be alarmed at the number of stray dogs roaming the streets. They're harmless and much-loved members of the community!

Tour the vineyards of Mendoza


Back in Argentina, make your way to one of the country's foremost wine production areas and take a bike tour of the vineyards.

A great way to meet new people over a few afternoon glasses of vino.

Look down on Santiago from San Cristobal Hill

Take in Chile's bustling capital city alongside a statue of the Virgin Mary herself.

Take a walking tour in Valparaíso

Regularly referred to as a 'beautiful mess', the colourful Chilean city is the home of famed poet Pablo Neruda. Take a tour of his zany coastal home (his other one is in Santiago) and learn how he wined and dined his cultured friends.

Take a walking tour up and down the many steps of this truly unique city. Not to be missed.

Gaze at the stars in San Pedro De Atacama


Stay a few days in Chile's desert region and wonder at the vast night sky without the distraction of street lights or neon signs. Late-night tours are generally offered in English, Spanish and French.

To pass the time before the sun goes down, try your hand at sandboarding under the watchful eye of trained professionals.

Finally, don't miss out on a tour of the nearby caves.

Marvel at the Salt Flats of Uyuni

Regular car tours of Bolivia's expansive Salar go from this small, authentic Bolivian town. While it has its charms it's really just a base for one of the most unforgettable parts of your trip.

You may have had your fill of Bolivian food at this stage so be sure to call into the Minuteman pizza place for a delicious taste of home (or the United States... close enough).

Take a cable car to the top of La Paz

Check out the highest highs of the world's highest capital city.

Live like royalty at Lake Titicaca


Something we covered before in this article. Loosen your purse strings for a night or two and stay at the majestic Las Olas resort in Copacabana on the Bolivian side of the famous lake. Not to be confused with its Brazilian namesake.

Rest in the picturesque city of Cusco

Your Peruvian base before you tackle the behemoth that is Machu Picchu. Wander the streets and have a pint in Paddy's, the world's highest Irish pub.

Reflect on it all at Machu Picchu

We couldn't do a South American itinerary without including it. Watch the sun rise and become one with your spiritual side at the lost city of the Inca civilisation.

Whether you take a four-day trek, a week long trek, or go directly as part of a tour from Cusco, it's sure to be one of the most memorable experiences of your whole trip.

If we were to produce an Earth brochure for aliens, Machu Picchu would be on the cover.

Take a thrilling dune buggy ride in Huacachina

Balance out the peace you found at the summit of Machu Picchu by holding on tight during a white-knuckle ride through a desert oasis.


Reacquaint yourself with the ocean in Lima

It will probably have been a few weeks since you've seen the coast. Breathe in the sea air and enjoy some well-earned rest in Peru's foody-friendly capital.