South America is a fascinating continent to visit, here you can see remarkable ancient cultures, enjoy the atmosphere of the worlds best carnivals or relax on tropical beaches. One World 365 features hundreds of backpacking ideas, authentic holidays and activities in destinations throughout the continent. Travelling in South America will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life! View our travel guide, get advice on things to see and do, view budget travel tips and search experiences.
Find activities, experiences, travel packages, backpacking ideas, eco & adventure holidays in South America.
Get information, tips, itineraries and inspiration for visiting South America.
Would you like to go travelling or backpacking in South America? There are so many places you could visit but Machu Picchu is our number one attraction to see, other highlights include experiencing Carnival in Brazil, relaxing in Easter Island, Chile, visiting the Salt Flats in Bolivia, getting close to wildlife in the Galápagos Islands and exploring Patagonia.
There are so many things you can do when in South America, we recommend visiting Rio De Janeiro which is one of the most incredible cities in the world. We list short and long small group holidays with departures all year round.
If you are considering going travelling in South America then finance is always going to be a prime consideration. The importance of finding discount flights to destinations is of paramount importance where if you get to save money you will get to do as much as possible within a tight budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of flight operators around the globe offering low-cost alternatives to the expensive flights advertised by major airlines allowing you get away for a low cost.
Your budget is likely to have a big influence on what you do and where you visit in South America and you will need to research all destinations as some countries you can budget for around £10 per day whilst in other places like Brazil might a lot higher around £25 per day. Food and accommodation will be the biggest cost. Flights to South America can vary in price and we recommend booking well in advance to get the best deal. Before arrival ensure you have sufficient funds for your trip. Check that your credit and ATM cards are working and don’t forget to notify your bank about your upcoming adventure. Additionally obtain as much information as possible regarding bank charges and make sure an emergency fund is available for any unforeseen circumstances.
There is an established bus transport system connecting the whole of South America, thousands of travellers use this service every year and there are usually no problems or issues. You will usually need to be able to converse in Spanish to make a booking and also be independent when it comes to planning your itinerary. Be sure to pack books or some entertainment as most journeys last around 4 - 20 hours! Also we recommend aiming to arrive in destinations in the morning or afternoon, sometimes it can be difficult and dangerous arriving in a new place late at night or in the dark. When you arrive at a destination always try to get an official taxi, most places have a professional taxi rank and sometimes when people approach you for a lift you will usually get charged more or you might be put at risk.
To get the best value make sure you haggle at bus stations for the cheapest tickets, there are usually lots of companies competing and all will be willing to do business with you and offer you a discount to book with them. Also be wary of people approaching you at bus stations, this might sound pretty obvious but be wary if someone is close to your belongings or asks you to carry something. Some bus journeys are really long to be prepared, you might want to buy a blanket, pillow, food and drink. You might also want to wear a comfy pair of trousers instead of jeans, also carry valuables on you like your passport as you might need regular access on border crossing for example. You should always keep an eye on your belongings too, theft if a problem especially on public transport, as a tourist you are an easy target. You could also store other things in the main cargo section of the bus and make sure you have a good lock or cover for your bag / suitcase.
Check any vaccinations or medication you might need prior to departing, you could visit your local healthcare centre to have a chat to the travel nurse. If you need to take specific medication try to get a note from your doctor explaining what the medication and condition is. We recommend taking a first aid kit, tissues and wet wipes with you, not all public facilities have toilet paper and also you might need plasters or other healthcare things in emergencies. You should always carry condoms with you, you might meet another traveller or local people who takes your fancy and its best to be safe to avoid any contracting any illness or disease. You might also want to pack hand sanitizer, bug spray and water purification tablets.
There are all the normal safety warnings for example don't drink too much and wander around by yourself, its best to always be safe and travel with someone especially in foreign surrounding. Try not to flash valuables like a phone, laptop, tablet in public, be discreet, sometimes in countries like Bolivia for example your laptop might be worth more than local people earn in over a month and so it is an easy target. Some places in South America have people living really below the poverty line and sometimes this can be quite shocking to see, you should also be more aware of your surroundings and be aware of any warnings about crime. Some cities like Rio de Janeiro have favelas and really poor areas which should be avoided.
Generally you should always be more aware after dark too. Always use common sense, if you feel unconformable in a situation try to get out, and always try to let people know where you are going. You will find most local people will be extremely friendly but always be wary of people approaching you. If something seems to good to be true it usually is.
There are lots of horror stories which make you be put off by travelling in this continent but don't let these hold you back. Every country in the world has risks and South America doesn't have any specific risks to put you off. Always research countries to get informed about local customs and traditions, we hghly recommend trying to meet other people by chatting in hostels for example. Its safer, easier and usually more fun to travel in a group. If you don't feel safe in a dorm room ask to change, try to get a female only or mixed room.
Dress conservatively, walking around in a bikini for example is going to attract unwanted attention. We recommend avoid drinking alcohol, or just not drinking too much as sometimes this is the cause of a lot of problems. Be dubious of people offering you drinks too, even other travellers. South America is an amazing continent to travel in and we would advice visiting, it is very rare to hear or violence or similar things against female travellers but always chat to locals and travellers for advice.