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The 4 Best Countries to Visit in South America [updated 2024]

Are you planning a vacation to South America?

What are the top 4 best countries to visit in South America? Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru. There are others but these are our favourites.

What makes them favourites for us?

In Argentina travelling the scenic and exciting Patagonia route traversing in and out of Argentina and Chile. Bariloche in Argentina was a favourite destination.

Brazil – the Falls of course are exhilarating and then we also fell in love with the colonial town of Paraty. Rio was impressive especially staying in the Santa Teresa area with the colonial mansions, restaurants, cafes etc.

In Chile visiting Mendoza and Valparaiso whilst staying in Santiago were great side trips to do and both were very different from one another. Travelling the Patagonia route crisis crossing between Chile and Argentina – the scenery is outstanding and nothing like we have seen before.

Whilst Peru – Machu Picchu trekking for 4 days was such a highlight and a challenge. In Lima we stayed in the Miraflores area by the ocean. Lots of things to do there. A visit to Ollantaytambo is a must for those planning to visit Machu Picchu. You do need to give yourself some time to visit Peru we can recommend ideally spending 3 weeks in Peru.

We have spent time in other South American countries such as Ecuador and Uruguay but we didn’t get the same buzz and vibe as our favourite 4.

We are always asked what we think is the safest country in South America to visit. We always say Argentina is the safest.

The 2nd question we are always asked is what the cheapest country to visit in South America is? Colombia is the cheapest, but it also depends on how you travel and which country exchange rates you are using.

If you have time and you have visited South America’s popular destinations why not visit some of South America’s off-the-beaten-path travel destinations.

Worldwide travel has been our life since we left the comfort of our home back in Sydney Australia in 2013. We have stayed in hundreds of different types of accommodations, travelled to many cities and countries, undertaken many flights, tours and activities and written many articles to inspire others to do the same.

We don’t use a travel agency, I was a travel agent before I started blogging and commenced this journey,  so we book all our travels ourselves.  If you have any travel questions please feel free to reach out to us. We have used ‘moderate-priced accommodation’ throughout South America so that it won’t blow your travel budget.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases (if applicable).

We reveal some of our top international travel tips here for you.

These days there is such an abundance of cheap flights available you need to do your research carefully to avail yourself of the cheap tickets. Always check the fine print, what is included in your airfare, you may have to pay extra for luggage, seat selection and meals especially if it is a budget carrier.

We recommend starting your search using Skyscanner which is our ‘go-to’ travel site. They are also good for checking those last-minute travel deals.


We have sold up everything and now travel the world with only a carry-on and a day pack. Many won’t be able to do what we have done, but we would like to inspire you to see as much of the world that you can possibly see. If there is one tip that we can pass onto you, it is to pack light for your travels around South America.


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Iguazu Falls

In our  guide on South America we share with you our places to visit in South America:

  • where we stayed – frank reviews on each accommodation
  • our travel articles from that destination
  • our recommendations
  • travel tips and tricks
  • where to get cheap flights
  • frequently asked questions

Please bookmark our articles for future reference as we will be adding more places as we keep travelling this amazing planet of ours.

Related reading: Best Places To Visit in Patagonia

On our website, we also cover the following articles on South America:

Things to do in Manizales Colombia

Things to do outside Manizales Colombia

Ecuador Travel Guide for First Timers

Things to do in the Galapagos Islands

Contents hide

Visas for South America

You will also need to check whether you require visas.  We use iVisa for all our visa requirements.


South America Facts

  • South America is the 4th largest continent in size
  • There are 12 South American countries
  • There are 3 dependencies
  • Brazil is the largest country
  • Sao Paulo in Brazil is the largest city
  • The smallest country in South America is Suriname
  • The Amazon River is the longest river in South America
  • The highest mountain is in the Andes in Argentina – Aconcagua
  • The largest lake is Lake Titicaca which is shared between Peru and Bolivia
  • The Atacama Desert in Chile is the driest area in South America
  • Ushuaia is the southernmost city


We can’t stress enough the importance of taking out travel insurance as soon as you pay your first deposit on a tour, flight or accommodation.




Buenos Aires – Tango anyone?

One of the most popular tours in Buenos Aires is the Piazolla Tango Show with Dinner –


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Buenos Aires Hotels – Our Recommendation for an Apartment

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The studio apartment with balcony overlooking Buenos Aires

Name: Leonardo da Vinci Residences – Libertad 1224 Retiro Buenos Aires  Argentia

Why we chose it? The Leonardo da Vinci apartments had good reviews from Tripadvisor. The cost was definitely well within our budget for a studio apartment in a good location. We had a balcony, a small kitchen, cable TV, and air-conditioning and the Wi-Fi was fast and efficient in the building. They have 1 and 2-bedroom apartments as well. We felt as if we were staying in the heart of Paris, this area of Buenos Aires had that European feel.

What was around it?

There was a large supermarket approximately 10 minutes walk from the apartment. Coffee shops and restaurants were available locally but on Good Friday most were closed. There are several banks and ATMs available. Avenida Santa Fe is a block away and provided bus transportation to most areas.
We walked to all the major tourist sites and areas from here.

Leonardo da Vinci Residenceslatest deals

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.

For more Buenos Aires Hotel Options Click here

Things to do in Buenos Aires

One of the best places to visit in South America is Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina. There is so much variety in what to see and do in Buenos Aires we would recommend allowing at least a week to visit.

Buenos Aires Airport Transfers:

Ezeiza International Airport is the international airport serving Buenos Aires.  It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to travel into the city.

For details on transfer services from Buenos Aires International Airport to the city click here

Read More: Buenos Aires Free Walking Tour

Mendoza – wine anyone?

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Mendoza Hotels 

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The garden area of Chimbas Hostel

Name: Chimbas Hostel Cobos 92 & Acceso Este, Mendoza

Why we chose it?

We chose the Chimbas Hostel  Mendoza due to its ten-minute walk from the bus station. The reviews from Tripadvisor were positive and highly rated.

Facilities included a large kitchen, lounge and dining area, outdoor pool, BBQ facilities and a garden area to relax and dine in. The cost of the private room with a bathroom was within our budget. They provided breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

The Wi-Fi worked in the kitchen/dining/lounge area. There were also computers available for use.

The staff were very friendly and helpful and assisted in booking tours that they had available for guests.

We took advantage of two tours – Half-Day Wine  Tasting and a Horseback Ride to the Andes. Both tours were of a high standard and we would recommend them.

All areas of the Hostel were clean and tidy. Breakfast was pastries and coffee/tea.

What was around it?

Chimbas Hostel Mendoza is an approximate 30-minute pleasant walk into the City Centre where most of the restaurants are. There is a supermarket located a block away from the bus station which is a 10-minute walk from the Hostel. The ATMs are located at the bus station.

Check Out Availability and Prices here for Chimbas Hostel

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.

Where to stay in Mendoza

For more Mendoza Hotel options click here.

Top Things to do in Mendoza:


Mendoza Airport Transfers:

Mendoza’s airport is located 8km from the city.

For details of one-way transfers from Mendoza Airport click here.


Puerto Iguazu – a visit to the Falls is a ‘must see’ in Argentina

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Puerto Iguazu Hotels

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Swimming Pool area

Name: Iguassu Flower Garden in Puerto Iguazu Entre Rios 223, Puerto Iguazu

Why we chose it?

We struggled to find accommodation in Puerto Iguazu as it was the week leading up to Easter and most of the highly rated hostels were full.

Pro Tip:  If you plan to visit this side of the Falls book early to find the price and comfort that you expect.

Our Opinions:

We were slightly shocked on arrival as it seemed more like a car park motel, all walk areas concreted and a swimming pool with little ambience. We were greeted by the nicest owners you could ever meet.

Iguassu Flower Garden Hotel accommodation ended up being one of the cleanest places we had stayed.  Breakfast was included. The WiFi worked better in the office and lounge area.

It was further out of town than we would have liked, but it was in a quiet and safe neighbourhood. It took about 30 minutes to walk into town there were lots of bars and restaurants.

What was around it?

Iguassu Flower Garden Hotel is located 25- 30 minutes from town where there are supermarkets, Banks, ATMs, restaurants and bars. The bus station provides regular transport to the Falls.

Iguassu Flower Garden Hotel’s latest deals here

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.

Where to stay in Puerto Iguazu

For more Puerto Iguazu hotel options click here

What to do in Puerto Iguazu:


Puerto Iguazu Airport Transfers

Puerto Iguazu Airport is approximately 20 minutes drive from the city.

Frequently Asked Questions on Travel To Argentina:

  1. Should I learn Spanish before I travel to Argentina? We have spent over 4 months in South America including Argentina.  We did take a 1-week course in Spanish in Quito Ecuador which certainly helped.  We have also used the app called Duolingo which gave us the basics.
  2. What side of the road do they drive on in Argentina? In Argentina, they drive on the right-hand side. You will need to have an International Drivers License if you want to hire a car. Low beam headlights should be kept on whilst driving during the day.
  3. Can I take USD with me or should I get some Argentinian Pesos? We take both with us when we travel.
  4. Are buses safe to take in Argentina? We have taken overnight buses as well as daytime buses in Argentina and they have all been very good. You just need to make sure that you keep your important travel documents on you when you travel at all times.
  5. How far in advance should I buy bus tickets? In the peak travel periods, we recommend that you buy your tickets in advance, especially on the Patagonia routes.
  6. Where can I see Tango in Buenos Aires? You can pre-book Tango shows with an optional dinner.  We came across a local Tango performance when walking around San Telmo.
  7. Is Argentina safe for travellers? We have travelled Argentina in 2013 and again in 2018 and have found that Argentina was safe as long as you take precautionary measures, as you would in every country that you visit these days.
  8. What is the voltage for Argentina? 220v.



Pro Tip: Foz do Iguacu – we recommend visiting both sides of the Falls

Foz do Iguacu Hotels

Swimming Pool and Chillout area

Name: Iguassu Guest House Iguassu Falls Rua Naipi 1019 Foz do Iguacu

Why we chose it?

Iguassu Guest House had good reviews on Tripadvisor. It was centrally located to restaurants, supermarkets and the secondary bus station that services the Falls. We booked a private double room with ensuite bathroom which came within our budget. Facilities included a swimming pool, a bar area, a well-equipped kitchen and a library and computer area.

What was it like?

Iguassu Guest House was very clean in all areas including kitchen, pool, bedrooms and bar area. The staff was excellent, friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable of the area and how to get across the border easily into Argentina.

The Wi-Fi worked in the bedrooms, reception and the bar area, but stronger signals definitely around the kitchen/reception area.

What was around it?

Iguassu Guest House is a five-minute walk to the Bus Station that provided transport to the Falls. Located next to the Bus Station is a large well-equipped supermarket. There were plenty of banks and ATMs in town and if you are a fan of Havaianas this is the place to buy them.

Check out the latest prices here for the Iguassu Guest House

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.

Where to stay in Foz do Iguacu

For the best hotels to stay in Foz do Iguacu check out the latest prices here

Foz do Iguacu Airport Details:

The airport is located approximately 30 minutes drive from the city.

Enjoy a half-day walking tour of the Brazilian side of the Falls – book your ticket here

From the Brazil side you can take a full-day tour of the falls as well as the Bird Park. A professional guide is included in the tour.


Paraty – beaches, colonial architecture and a relaxed vibe

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Paraty Hotel #1 Chill Inn Paraty Hostel & Posada


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Now called Chill Inn Paraty

Name: Misti Chill Hostel Paraty now called “Chill Inn Paraty Hostel & Posada Orlando Carpinelli 3 Pontal Paraty

Address: Orlando Carpinelli 3, Pontal, Paraty, Rio de Janeiro

Why we chose it?

We chose Chill Inn Paraty Hostel & Posada due to the location on the beach, their beach fronted breakfast restaurant and the availability of a double room with ensuite at the front of the building overlooking the beach area. The cost was a little high for our budget but the view was amazing. They provided breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

What was it like?

Chill Inn Hostel’s restaurant was very clean and well-maintained. The restaurant had a great menu and served very good food. All staff were helpful and knowledgeable and provided information on what can be seen in the area.

Chill Inn Hostel’s Wi-Fi worked in the bedroom and on the balcony. Stronger signals were received around the reception area below. We experienced occasional outages but as with many of the other locations we travelled to, simply turning the power and resetting the router improved performance.

What was around it?

At the main road on entry to Paraty is located a large supermarket, you can find smaller supermarkets close to the bus station. Paraty has plenty of available banks and ATMs. You will find great restaurants located in the old centre. The Bus Station provides services to the local villages and beaches and to major destinations such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Chill Inn Paraty Hostel & Posada check here for the latest deals

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.

One of the top travel tours in Paraty is a boat tour around the bay of Paraty and the islands.


Paraty Hotel #2 Le Gite D’Indaiatiba Paraty

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Pathway leading to waterfalls and cabins

Name:  Le Gite D’Indaiatiba Paraty – Rio Santos Highway (BR 101) Km558 Blackbird Paraty

Why we chose it? 

Le Gite D’Indaiatiba is situated approximately 16km away from Paraty in the Bocaino Mountains in the heart of the Atlantic Forest. We had a suite that overlooked the valley and the waterfall.  Breakfast was included.

Wifi was patchy at the best of times. As you are fairly isolated and really need a car we ate in the restaurant for lunch and dinner. The French-influenced menu and the quality of the food are of a very high standard.

What was it like? 

Valerie and Olivier owners of Le Gite D’Indaiatiba are amazing hosts and cater for all your needs. You become like a member of their family when you stay with them. The restaurant area and bedrooms are very clean and of a high standard. There is a pool and an amazing waterfall to experience when you need to cool down during the hot days. There is even a Helipad!

What was around it? 

There are no facilities close by as you are high up in the mountains. All the facilities that you require are back in Paraty.

Check out the latest deals here for Le Gite

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.

What To Do Around Paraty

A tour to ‘paradiseTrinidade Beach and the fishing village. You can snorkel in the natural beach whilst visiting 4 beautiful beaches of Paraty.


Paraty Hotel #3 Refron du Mar Pousada 

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Entrance to Renfron du Mar Party

Name: Refron du Mar Pousada  Rua Orlando Carpinelli 7 Paraty

Why we chose it?

Refron du Mar Pousada Paraty is located on Paraty’s main beach – Praia do Pontal. It is a 5-minute walk from the UNESCO World Heritage site of the colonial town.

We were keen to have some beach downtime. The reviews were in the high 8’s and the consistent feedback about the helpfulness of the staff was an attractive proposition. The cost fitted our budget after the high cost of Rio de Janeiro. The location was ideal for us. The accommodation was a double room with ensuite bathroom that included breakfast and Wi-Fi.

The Wifi worked better in the dining area.

What was it like?

The bedrooms and dining area were very clean and well maintained at Refron du Mar Pousada Paraty. The daily breakfast was buffet style and ample. Staff was helpful and knowledgeable.

We did have an issue with the security of our electronic gadgets one morning. We left an iPad on a table in the dining room for several minutes whilst going back to the room to retrieve the laptop to work on. We hadn’t noticed that the Ipad was missing until we were packing up our equipment. The only people who were in the room at that time were the family’s children. Cutting a long and complicated story short, the iPad was eventually found in the same room but not in the same location as it was originally. This taught us a lesson, not to leave anything unattended at all even for a few seconds.

What was around it?

There are restaurants available on the beach in front of Refron du Mar Pousada Paraty,  however, they close early around 7 pm.

The old town has many restaurants and bars available and it is lively at night, with shops opened and many people strolling around enjoying the weather and the atmosphere. There is a large supermarket at the entrance of the town on the main road in but a smaller one is available close to the Bus Station. There are also banks and ATMS dotted around town. The Bus Station provides local transport to the many beaches in the area and to the major destinations of Sao Paulo and Rio etc.

Refron du Mar Pousada Latest Deals

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.


For more hotels in Paraty click here

What is the Closest Airport to Paraty in Brazil

Paraty does not have a public airport.  The closest airports are with Rio de Janeiro (160 km) or Sao Paulo (182 km).

We travelled from Rio de Janeiro to Paraty by minibus. Click here for details on the shared private transfer.

Rio de Janeiro – top place to visit in Brazil

We spent over a week in Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately our hotel that we stayed in no longer exists since Covid hit.

Where to Stay in Rio De Janiero

There are different neighbourhoods to stay in and around Rio. Rio is expensive so you also need to know what are the best and safest neighbourhoods to stay in.

We chose the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa as it was known as the bohemian area of Rio, situated on a hill overlooking the city and full of restaurants, cafes and bars. It certainly lived up to its name and I would definitely stay there again. I just loved the vibe of the old colonial mansions which it is well known for.

For hotels in the Santa Teresa area read more here

Other areas that are recommended to stay in are:

The best beach area for hotels is Ipanema.

The best area for nightlife and beaches and if you are visiting for the first time is Copacabana.

To stay downtown I would consider Centro and Lapa. We felt that it may be a bit edgy when we visited but we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. There are a lot of restaurants in the area to try.

One of the top free things to do here is to visit the colourful Escadaria Selarón Steps.

Top Things to Do in Rio De Janeiro



Sao Paulo – one of the biggest cities we have ever visited

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Sao Paulo Accommodation

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Breakfast, kitchen and chill out garden area

Name: Hostel o de Casa Sao Paulo, Brazil R. Inacio Pereira da Rocha 385 Vila Madalena Sao Paulo

Why we chose it?

Our research had told us that Sao Paulo is a huge place and to choose your location wisely. Vila Madalena was centrally located and believed to be quite safe with good quality accommodation, restaurants and bars. Tripadvisor had given Hostel o de Casa Sao Paulo, Brazil a good review. A fellow traveller had also mentioned the hostel. The hostel was busy and on the first night, we could only get a double room with a shared bathroom which we took. The next two nights we moved into a double room with a bathroom.

Breakfast and Wi-Fi were included.

The Wifi worked better around the reception area where seats and bean bags were provided for the travellers.

What was it like?

The first room was clean but a bit on the dark side. The shared bathroom facilities were for all the dorms and rooms.
We felt that there could have been more undercover areas in the communal area.
The private bathroom was clean but the toilet seemed to be unattached to the floor, it moved from side to side when you were seated.
The staff at Hostel o de Casa Sao Paulo, Brazil was extremely friendly and helpful with what to see and do around the area.

What was around it?

Faria Lima Metro Station is approx. a 10-15 minute walk. We used the Metro to get to the Historical Downtown area and back from Avenue Paulista. We walked to Avenue Paulista which took us about an hour. There are many bars and restaurants in the surrounding streets and a supermarket about 3 blocks away.


Check out the latest deals here for O de Casa

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.

More Options On Where To Stay in Sao Paulo

Click here for more hotel options and deals


Top Things To Do in Sao Paulo


Sao Paulo Airport Transfer:

Sao Paulo’s airport is 25km from the city.

Book your Airport Transfer to the City here

Why not take a private City Tour of Sao Paulo with your own private guide and transport. A great way to get to know Sao Paulo.

Frequently Asked Questions on Travel To Brazil:

  1.  How safe is Brazil for tourists? Brazil is safe for travellers.  In large cities such as Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro ensure that you keep your belongings safe.  Brazil has a medium risk.
  2. When is the best time to travel to Brazil? Spring and Autumn are the best times to travel to Brazil. The rainy season is between December and February.
  3. What vaccinations should I have for travel to Brazil?  You can keep up to date with advice from the Travel Doctor.
  4. What is the voltage for Brazil? Check this website out with details and photos of electrical plugs used in Brazil.  There are two types depending on where you are.
  5. Is English spoken in Brazil? You may find English is spoken in Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro but most other areas Portuguese is spoken.
  6. Do I need to know some Portuguese? Yes, we recommend that you know some Portuguese.  We use the app Duolingo.
  7. Do I need a visa for Brazil? Visas are required for most countries.  Check this website for visa information.
  8. Is it safe to travel via bus throughout Brazil? Bus travel is safe as long as you are careful with your own travel documents, keep this on your body especially on overnight buses.
  9. How do you travel from Rio de Janeiro to Paraty? For details on bus transfers click here.



Related Reading:

Ecuador Travel Guide for First-Timers

Things to do in Manizales

Things to do outside Manizales

Galapagos Islands


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Santiago – the capital enjoy a few nights stay here

Santiago Hotel #1 Ventana Sur

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The relaxing pool area of Ventana Sur

Name: Ventana Sur Hostel, Santiago Claudio Arrau 0340 Providencia 7501288 Santiago

Why we chose it?

We wanted a hostel that was centrally located in an area that would be close to the major sites and within our budget. This was our first experience in a hostel and we were keen to engage with fellow travellers.

We checked the reviews for many Hostels in Santiago including Ventana Sur Hostel Santiago. Our wish list was for a hostel that was highly rated in either the highs 8‘s or 9’s.

Ventana Sur Hostel Santiago consistently had up-to-date comments mostly favourable describing the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. Ventana Sur turned out to be a safe, friendly and privately owned Hostel. Classical music greeted us on our entry into the large house, and Jason the English-speaking manager gently offered us information as first-timers to South America. We instantly felt at home as other travellers welcomed us into the fold.

We were taken to our private room overlooking the pool with a private bathroom (a mandatory prerequisite for our RTW travel conditions) unpacked our oversized soft-pack luggage and soon settled into the vibe of the Ventana Sur Hostel.

Ventana Sur Hostel features are a swimming pool and a gorgeous oasis terrace. Free Wi-Fi. A continental breakfast is daily served. Guests can cook their own meals in the communal kitchen and make use of the barbecue facilities. Rooms at Ventana Sur have individual lockers. Some of them feature balconies and private bathrooms. Sun lounge chairs are available by the pool and on the terrace. Bikes can be rented.

What was it like?

Ventana Sur Hostel Santiago areas including bedrooms, communal kitchen, lounge and swimming pool, were always well maintained, clean and tidy. Ivan, the owner, being hands-on daily, set the tone for the hostel. He and his staff were very friendly and helpful to all travellers providing information about where to travel to and how to get there with many suggestions from their personal experiences. Once a week Ivan puts on an evening BBQ for all travellers, this was an excellent way to make new friends and learn about travelling around South America.

The Wi-Fi was excellent, with fast speed and available in all communal areas and bedrooms.

What was around it? 

Ventana Sur Hostel Santiago is ideally located for the Santa Isabel Metro Station and the Bellavista neighbourhood is a 10-minute walk, with lovely affordable restaurants and shops close by to enjoy. There are plenty of ATMs and banking services readily available in the vicinity. There is a large supermarket and several mini-markets close by.

2018 Update: we tried to book Ventana Sur for 3 nights for December and accommodation was fully booked.  Our recommendation is to book well in advance.

Check out the latest deals for Ventana Sur Hostel

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.

Where to Stay in Santiago – Hotels

Want more information for hotels in and around Santiago Click here for the latest deals

What to Do in Santiago Chile on a day trip

One of the tours we enjoyed was a visit to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar for a day.

No trip to Santiago is complete without seeing the colourful confection of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Let your guide organize transport and activities on a hassle-free excursion that gives a comprehensive introduction to some UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

You can read about our tour to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar here

Top Things To Do in Santiago Chile


Santiago Airport Transfers:

The airport is located 17km from the city.

From Santiago Airport to City by private transfer click here.

Read More: Free Walking Tour Santiago

Frequently Asked Questions on Travel To Chile:

  1.  Is travel to Chile dangerous? As in most places in South America travel is generally safe.  Scams and theft are common in most large cities, be aware of where you are wandering through as you would in most cities of the world.
  2. When is the best time to travel to Chile? The weather varies from the North of the country to the South of the country. Autumn and Spring are mild.  The south of the country can experience severe winters. Summer in Santiago, the capital, can be very hot, humid and at times smoggy.
  3. Do I have to pay a Reciprocity Fee on arrival into Chile? There is a fee for travellers from the USA, Australia, Canada and Mexico when they arrive at Santiago Airport.  The fee is valid for the life of their passport.
  4. Do I need vaccinations to enter Chile? If you are visiting Easter Island you will need a yellow fever vaccination all other parts of Chile just make sure your normal vaccinations are up to date such as  tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis A and B.
  5. Can I drink the water in Chile? You can drink the water from the tap.  Local water does have a high mineral content and can upset stomachs.  If this is the case revert to bottled water.
  6. What is the voltage in Chile? 220V.


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Cusco – colonial architecture, high altitude and gastronomic delights

 One of Peru’s most popular tours from Cusco is the amazing Rainbow Mountain in the region of Vinincunca. You will hike along the Andes, encountering beautiful scenery of the mountains and surrounding glaciers.

Cusco Hotels

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Calming garden areas with views over Cusco

Name: Hotel Tikawasi, Cusco – Calle Tandapata No 491 Esq 7 Angelitos 01 Cusco

**Note new name change as of 2016 – Tikawasi Casa Boutique Hotel**

Why we chose it?

After reading good reviews from TripAdvisor we chose Hotel Tikawasi. The location in the San Blas area of Cusco was important for us as it was close to many restaurants, bars and also the location of our travel agency for the Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu. There were many sites close by and the main square is a few blocks walking distance.

The accommodation was affordable and in our budget with breakfast and Wifi included. There were great views from the kitchen area to enjoy the sunset. There was also a great garden area to chill in.

What was it like? 

The bedrooms were comfortable and clean with nice warm bedding. The upper floor area was the breakfast area where you can enjoy panoramic views across Cusco and amazing sunsets.

The garden was a wonderful respite and oasis to chill out, gather strength from the altitude and doze in the warm sunshine whilst listening to the wildlife.

The staff were excellent, very knowledgeable and friendly and willing to assist in anything that you require. The bedrooms were cleaned daily and the external areas well maintained.

The Wifi worked better in the kitchen, reception area as well as on the landing outside the bedrooms in the main building.

What was around it? 

Close by are many restaurants and bars. Supermarkets are down the hill a few blocks away. There is an ATM a block away which we had a security issue with so we would recommend you walk the distance to the main street and use the banks and ATMs there so not to compromise yourself. The many sights of Cusco are within walking distance.

Check Out Availability and Prices here for Tika Wasi

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.

Where to stay in Cusco – More Hotels

For more hotel options in Cusco click here.

What To Do in Cusco

  1.  Full-Day Tour To Rainbow Mountain
  2.  Sacred Valley Tour With Lunch
  3.  Machu Picchu Official Entrance Ticket
  4.  Half-Day Tour with Visits To Four Ruins
  5.  Cusco 6-Hour Sites Walking Tour
  6. Moray and Salt Mines Quad Bike Tour – Explore the salt mines of Maras and the Inca archaeological site of Moray by Quad Bike on a thrilling tour from Cusco. Marvel at the natural salt ponds used to obtain salt for many centuries, and much more.


The airport is located 5.5km from the city.

For one-way transfers from Airport to Hotel or Hotel to Airport click here.

One of the best things to do in Peru is the 4 days 3 night Machu Picchu Trek. For details of the tour click here. You must book at least 6 months in advance.

Read More:

What to do, see and eat in Cusco

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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Lima – the seaside capital of Peru

Hotels in Lima

Our travel tip is to stay in the seaside area around Miraflores.  There are lots of restaurants to choose from and you can organise tours from here.

For more hotel options for Lima click here

What to do in Lima

One of the best things to do in Lima is a 4-hour city tour. During the tour you can visit the Catacombs, the oldest cemetery in the Americas as well as visit the city of the Kings and Queens.

  1.  Tour to visit the Temple of Pachacamac
  2.  Half-Day Colonial and Modern Lima Tour
  3.  Peruvian Paso Horse Show With Lunch


Lima Airport Transfers

The Airport is located 21 km from Miraflores.

Transfers available from the Airport to the Miraflores area click here


We recommend visiting Ollantaytambo to acclimatise to the altitude as well as practise climbing the Inca ruins.

It is a wonderful place to visit, great restaurants and bars, especially around the plaza.

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Ollantaytambo Hotels

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Garden area

Name: Tikawasi Valley, Calle La Convencion Ollantaytambo

Why we chose it?

Tikawasi Valley Hotel is located a few minutes from the main square of Ollantaytambo and in easy reach of major archaeological sites, restaurants and bars. It was within our budget range and had good reviews from TripAdvisor. The Hotel has a garden area, free Wi-Fi and daily breakfast. We had a private room with an ensuite.

What was it like? 

It was an amazing robust-built Hotel nestled in the foothills of the Ollantaytambo mountain range. The hotel is literally within walking distance to the major sites and ideal for us to gain our fitness for the pending Inca Trek. The rooms were amazing, the fittings excellent, the bedding firm and warm, with heating, provided at no extra cost.

A basic cooked breakfast was provided with fruit, cereal and coffee and tea. Soft drinks and beer were available at mini-market prices. All areas of the hotel were very clean and well-maintained. The staff were friendly and helpful in activities in the surrounding area.

Wi-Fi was available but worked better downstairs in the reception and one part of the garden area that was closest to the router.

What was around it?

Mini markets, ATM, restaurants and bars all were located around the main square.

Click here for the latest deals for Hotel Tikawasi Valley

Read the latest Tripadvisor Reviews.

Hotels in Ollantaytambo

For more hotel options for Ollantaytambo click here

Frequently Asked Questions on Travel To Peru:

  1.  Is Peru safe to travel to? As in all large cities around the world, you will need to beware of scams and thieves.  The same applies to Lima and Cusco.
  2. Do you need to book in advance to trek Machu Picchu? Yes, you do currently you will need to book 6 months in advance.  There are only a certain number of people allowed on the trek at one time.  There is also a restriction if you travel by train to Machu Picchu – alloted time slots much be reserved in advance.
  3. Will I suffer from altitude sickness? Some do and some don’t.  You can drink Cocoa tea to assist.
  4. Do I need vaccinations for travel to Peru? Check with your local doctor. The Travel Doctor has some good advice click here for details.
  5. Can you drink the water in Peru? No, you can’t, we recommend that you drink bottled water.
  6. What is the voltage in Peru? 220V.
  7. Can I travel from Cusco to Puno by bus? Yes, you can click here for more details.
  8. Should I purchase plane tickets in advance for Peru? For travel to Peru, we would recommend that you book your air tickets in advance, especially during peak holiday periods and the summer months.
  9.  Should I tip in Peru? We got caught out taking photographs of the ladies with the llamas in Cusco and wish we had a Tipping In Peru guide before we left. We were given tipping information before we started our Machu Picchu Trek but it is definitely a question that is raised in every country we have travelled to.


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Final words:

We hope you have enjoyed our article on where to go in South America in our 4 best countries to visit.

There is so much more to visit in South America? Do you have a favourite South American country?







Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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