As a vast place with a huge diversity of cultures, flora, fauna and geography, South America offers everything to the prospective traveler. As a result, pinning down your one month South America itinerary might feel like a bit of a headache, particularly when faced with so many options.
But planning a South America itinerary doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking; instead, take inspiration from this suggested route for a month of traveling in this continent.
South America itinerary days one to three: Brazil
Río de Janeiro
Land in one of the continent’s most vibrant and lively cities, Rio de Janeiro. Take the train up to the city’s most memorable landmark, the Christ the Redeemer statue that looks out across the entire area, including looming Sugarloaf Mountain and the gleaming waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Foz de Iguaçu
Hop onto a short internal flight across to Foz de Iguacú on the Brazilian side of the crashing waters of Iguazu Falls. Book a tour and cross over to the Argentine town, Puerto Iguazu, for even closer views.
South America itinerary days four to eleven: Argentina
A quick domestic flight will have you in Argentina’s cultural capital Buenos Aires. Explore this elegant city’s venerable neighborhoods, dine on malbec and juicy steaks in the arty Palermo district and even take a day trip out of the city to any one of the popular local towns, such as Tigre and San Antonio de Alerce.
A short plane journey and you’re arriving in the Patagonian Lake District, where Bariloche, a Swiss-inspired town set to the watery backdrop of Lake Nahuel Huapi, is a perfect spot for an active few days.
Hike, canoe and even scuba dive on one of the region’s surprising variety of top quality adventure tours and enjoy cozy evenings dining in comfortable restaurants and sampling the region’s renowned craft beer.
El Calafate and El Chaltén
Argentina’s hiking capital and star attraction are another short flight away: arrive in El Calafate Airport and book a tour to nearby Glacier Perito Moreno.
A few hours’ drive lies El Chaltén, a town close to the looming spires of Monte Fitz Roy. Embark on a day hike up to Laguna de Los Tres for the most sensational photograph opportunities.
South America itinerary days twelve to twenty: Chile
Torres del Paine National Park
Cross by bus into neighboring Chile, where the soaring peaks of Torres del Paine National Park can be visited with the ‘W’ trek, a four-day hike stopping at some of Patagonia’s most incredible sights.
Punta Arenas and the fjords
A few hours’ drive away lies the harbor city of Punta Arenas, a colorful collection of houses set against the dramatic background of the Magellan Straits. Here, board a five-day expedition cruise to venture into southern Patagonia’s most inaccessible recesses: Cape Horn, Alberto de Agostini National Park, the Chilean fjords, Isla Magdalena and the Beagle Channel.
South America itinerary day twenty-one: Argentina
Disembark at the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia and learn about the area’s history in a local museum or take a trip into Tierra del Fuego National Park, one of Argentina’s wildest protected spaces.
South America itinerary day twenty-two to twenty-eight: Chile
Fly to the Chilean capital and explore this modern city, where fine dining and landmarks such as Cerro Santa Lucia and Plaza de Armas are excellent spots for people watching. Spend a day touring Chile’s renowned vineyards along the Ruta del Vino in the Colchagua Valley, an up-and-coming wine region full of rich and peppery carménère and delectable dining on sun-drenched terraces.
San Pedro de Atacama
A short internal flight brings you to San Pedro de Atacama, the town situated in the middle of the world’s driest desert, the Atacama. From here, book a tour to see the region’s highlights, including the Valley of the Moon and the beautiful saline lakes of Laguna Chaxa and Laguna Cejar.
Return to Santiago where it’s easy to jump on a plane to Easter Island, the tiny volcanic island 1,289-miles (2,075km) west of Chile. Visitors can expect to see the legacy of its former inhabitants, the 900 moai statues that were carved in between the 13th-16th centuries and learn about the Birdman Cult, one of the most intriguing parts of the island’s history.
Return to Santiago and your flight back home.