South America is one of the continents, which I desperately wanted to visit for many years. This desire of mine always took a back seat for one reason or another, but this changed. I finally reached the southern hemisphere spending 20 days in three different countries. The continent is so big, that this number of days is definitely not enough, but I finally chose Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
South America is one of the most varied places on earth. It is home to the Andes, the driest desert in the world Atacama, the river with the biggest drainage basin the Amazon, glaciers, incredible wild nature, huge plains, untouched beaches and etc. Every country in South America will offer you the possibility to enjoy the incredible natural sites and cultural traditions, unique for each region.
In the beginning it would be really hard to decide where to go and what you want to see. When I started planning I was focused on Patagonia, but besides that I wanted the trip to be a mixture of nature, scenery, history and culture. This was a trip that showed me a different way of life, cultural-historical heritage and the endless beauty of the magnificent nature there.
When planning your trip to South America the period of visit is really important. You need to take into account that the climate in different counties could vary. For example I had to go from the scorching sun in Rio de Janeiro to the windy snowy peaks of Patagonia.
Days 1-4: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is a good way to start your Latin-American adventure. This is the most visited city in Brazil and has all of the necessary conditions that make for a great vacation. The city is cosmopolite and home to some on the most famous beaches in the world – Copacabana and Ipanema, as well as one of the seven new wonders of the world – the statue of Christ the Redeemer. You can easily spend weeks here doing something different every day, but when here for a short period of time you can focus on the main sights. Don’t miss trying the traditional Caipirinha drink, taking a leisurely stroll in the Botanical garden or taking the lift to Sugarloaf Mountain from where you can get an amazing view. You need to definitely include a trip of the statue of Christ the Redeemer on your list as well.
Days 5-6: Iguazu Falls, Brazil and Argentina
With the exquisite waterfalls against a dense rainforest background, Iguazú Falls is one of the emblematic tourist destinations of South America. They are one of the most beautiful and phenomenal natural wonders of the world. No matter how much time you spend in South America, then Iguazú Falls needs to be a definite stop of your destination.
Days 7-9: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina is definitely not a country where you can see everything in just a few days or a week. The country has a fascinating history, and its capital Buenos Aires is a real focal point of culture, art, football, nightlife, charming parks, architecture etc. It is a city that has many faces and an important center in South America. It’s no accident it’s called “The Paris of South America”. The eclectic mixture of Latin-American atmosphere and European elegance makes this place one of the most captivating cities in South America.
Do not miss visiting the historical sites in the city like Plaza de Mayo with the Casa Rosada, Palace of the Argentine National Congress, Obelisco de Buenos Aires, Teatro Colón or one of the most beautiful bookstores in the whole world – El Ateneo. Take a walk on the famous Caminito Street in the colorful neighborhood of La Boca. The stadium of one of the most popular football clubs in South America, Boca Juniors, is located here.
Try the tastiest beef in the world combined with the most popular type of wine in the country – Malbec. Argentinians are incredibly passionate about food and you will be delighted for sure.
Days 10-12: El Chaltén, Argentina
El Chaltén is a small village, located about 220 km north of El Calafate. It’s a popular base for different expeditions, mountain treks and walks. It was named Argentina’s Trekking Capital. El Chaltén is a starting point for the popular peaks of Argentinian Patagonia – Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy and as well as the Torre Laguna and Laguna de los Tres.
Days 13-14: El Calafate, Argentina
El Calafate acts as a sort of hub in the Patagonia area. You can visit Perito Moreno Glacier and El Chaltén from here or directly travel to Chile. Set aside at least a day to visit the grand Perito Moreno Glacier. This is one of the main tourist attractions in Argentinian Patagonia and one of the most impressive ones in the whole country. The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in the Los Glaciares National Park and is famous for its incredible untouched beauty.
Days 15-17: Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine National Park,Chile
Take a bus to Puerto Natales in Chile. There is nothing to do here, but it’s an exit point to the Torres del Paine National Park. If you do not have to possibility to stay overnight on park territory, then Puerto Natales is your only option. In two days you will have the option to take a walk and enjoy this incredibly beautiful park. Torres del Paine National Park is a biosphere natural preserve with incredible flora and fauna. The scenery is amazing – gorgeous steep mountains, turquoise lakes, huge glaciers and cascading waterfalls. The nature here is wild and untouched, the place is ideal for trekking despite the strong winds. Don’t miss hiking to the breathtaking granite peaks, which tower over the glacier lake. It is considered to be one the greatest day hikes in the world.
With its mind-blowing natural beauty Torres del Paine ranks amongst the most grandiose parks not only in Patagonia, but the world.
Day 18: Punta Arenas, Chile
If you want to leave Puerto Natales – you have only two options – either come back to Argentina or catch a bus to Punta Arenas. Punta Arenas is the most southern city in Chile located right across the Strait of Magellan. It is known as an exit point to the Antarctic. This is why the climate here is so unpredictable. Walk along the coast line of the city and in the central part where the Monumento Hernando de Magallanes is located.
Days 19-20: Santiago, Chile
Santiago is the capital and the biggest city in Chile. The city is definitely not as beautiful as the other big Latin-American cities, but if you have time don’t miss out on checking out the center.
Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, sleep in Rio de Janeiro
Day 2: Explore Rio de Janeiro, sleep in Rio de Janeiro
Day 3: Explore Rio de Janeiro, sleep in Rio de Janeiro
Day 4: Explore Rio de Janeiro, sleep in Rio de Janeiro
Day 5: Fly to Foz do Iguaçu, explore Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side and Parque das Aves, bus to Puerto Iguazu, sleep in Puerto Iguazu
Day 6: Explore the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls, sleep in Puerto Iguazu
Day 7: Fly to Buenos Aires, explore the city, sleep in Buenos Aires
Day 8: Explore Buenos Aires, sleep in Buenos Aires
Day 9: Explore Buenos Aires, sleep in Buenos Aires
Day 10: Fly to El Calafate, bus to El Chaltén, hiking to Cerro Torre, sleep in El Chaltén
Day 11: Hiking to Laguna de Los Tres, Fitz Roy, sleep in El Chaltén
Day 12: Hiking to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, sleep in El Chaltén
Day 13: Bus to El Calafate, sleep in El Calafate
Day 14: Visit Perito Moreno Glacier, sleep in El Calafate
Day 15: Bus to Puerto Natales, explore Puerto Natales, sleep in Puerto Natales
Day 16: Explore Torres del Paine
Day 17: Explore Torres del Paine
Day 18: Bus to Punta Arenas, explore Punta Arenas, sleep in Punta Arenas
Day 19: Fly to Santiago, explore Santiago, sleep in Santiago
Day 20: Fly to Rome, Italy
Day 21: Fly home/back to Bulgaria
In such a short period of time the fastest way to visit more places is by plane. In South America distances can be enormous and internal flights expensive. Plan your flights ahead, to get them for a lower price.
- LATAM Airlines – Rio de Janeiro – Foz do Iguaçu – € 38.43
- LATAM Airlines – Puerto Iguazu – Buenos Aires – € 53.94
- LATAM Airlines – Buenos Aires – El Calafate – € 79.07
- JetSMART Airlines – Punta Arenas – Santiago – € 28.00
- Bus – El Calafate – El Chaltén – El Calafate – € 46.49
- Bus – El Calafate – Perito Moreno Glacier – El Calafate – € 18.59
- Bus – El Calafate – Puerto Natales – € 18.59
- Bus – Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine (х 2) – € 32.99
- Bus – Puerto Natales – Punta Arenas – € 10.55
*Bear in mind that prices can differ from the ones stated here, these were calculated using the Revolut daily conversion rate tool. Flight tickets do not include luggage, seat preferences and additional extras.