South America offers a delightful vacation for the whole family with its unique destinations and amazing natural wonders. South America offers diverse landscape and unique sights, as well as some exotic and rare flora and fauna. It is a learning trip for the children and an enlightening one for the adults who can learn about the amazing culture and civilization that has been in existence here. You can also look forward to warm cultural offerings, delicious and wide-ranging cuisines, and friendly and welcoming local inhabitants.
Here is a selection from a vast list of historic, natural, traditional and modern destinations in South America which the whole family can enjoy.
Best family travel destinations in South America- Family friendly tours in South America
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
This archipelago of 18 major islands is known for the amazing species of marine animals. This inspired Charles Darwin to put forth his Theory of Evolution. It is located about 900 km off the coast of Ecuador. The islands were formed by volcanic activity, and are still being formed. Some of the unique creatures include giant tortoises, and iguanas. The Galapagos Islands were recognized as the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site for its pristine environment and the amazing marine life it supports.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is a must-see sight of South America however this is not recommended for families with younger children. Machu Picchu represents the magnificent ancient civilization and architecture of the Incas civilization, which thrived before the Spanish came and conquered them to establish their settlements. It lies in the Peruvian side of the Andes Mountain range, and was the capital palace of Incas. It was built as a fortress with polished stone masonry work that has survived till today. It was also a religious place of the Incas where they performed human sacrifices. Trekking along the Inca trail is a great tourist attraction.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This city of Brazil is one of the most popular destinations for families as from sightseeing to outdoor activities, there is something for everyone. Rio de Janeiro was the venue for the 2016 Olympics, and Maracana Stadium is one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world. The city is known for its Carnival. Samba is the most popular dance. Whole family can marvel at the Christ, the Redeemer statue. There are beautiful beaches like the Copacabana. The city has National Library, Museum, and Municipal Theatre, all of which are legendary institutions worth a visit.
Cartagena, founded by the Spanish in 1533, was named after Cartagena in Spain. It was the center of politics and the economy during Spain’s colonial domination of South America. Today Cartagena is a major modern city with rich colonial heritage. It is considered the most beautiful city of Columbia, with its colonial charm of cobbled streets and Italian style architecture as well as its museums and art galleries. In the past, it was a city associated with the Pirates of the Caribbean; today the city has friendly atmosphere with open air cafes and horse drawn carriages. There are several sandy beaches around to explore and enjoy.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Torres del Paine National Park is one of Chile’s largest and most visited parks and ranks fifth most beautiful places in the world. The spectacular sight of three peaks dominating the landscape in the Paine Mountains is awesome. The park has glaciers, rivers, forest and steppes which are vast grasslands. Trekking is a favorite activity here as well as fly-fishing, kayaking and ice-hiking. The park is home to several endangered animal species.
Easter Island, Chile
Visiting Easter Island with family gives more time for staying together as it is the most remote inhabited island in the world. It should be visited with family because this island is one of the most alluring sacred sites on Earth. Around 900 centuries-old monolithic stone statues of human face, called moai, are scattered all over the island. There are wonderful white sand beaches. Tourists can enjoy water sports such as bodysurfing, surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling. The island harbors amazing marine life.
Salvador, also known as just Salvador da Bahia, was founded by the Portuguese in 1548. It is Brazil’s third largest city and one of the oldest colonial cities in South America. It was also the first slave port where slaves from Africa were traded. At Pelourinho, the center of the old city, slaves were tied to poles to be sold. The African heritage can be seen in the local population, culture and cuisine. It also holds the world’s largest annual Carnival celebration.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is the heart and soul of Argentina, and the most visited city in South America for its architecture and rich cultural life. With 17 million people, Buenos Aires, in terms of population, is the fourth largest city in South America. It is located on the Rio de la Plata on the Argentinian coast. In this city, the area of Recoleta is known for its historical heritage. The Recoleta Cemetery is the most famous attraction in the city, where the legendary Eva Peron is buried. The popular dance Tango, is said to have originated here.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets located off the northeast coast of Brazil. It has the most magnificent unspoilt beaches. The main island, which is 7.1-square-miles, has been declared a marine national park, and a limited number of tourists are allowed to visit. Ot has jagged rocky cliffs, cascading waterfalls and natural pools. The crystal blue waters replete with corals are full of colorful fishes, turtles and dolphins. It offers a joyful time for the whole family who can swim, dive and snorkel in the beautiful waters.
Bariloche, also known as San Carlos de Bariloche, in Argentina’s Patagonia region in the Andes, is a renowned ski destination. It is situated in the foothills of the Andes, on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake. It is located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park. This peaceful region is like a magical place full of crystal lakes, forests and mountains. Tourists can enjoy a boat ride in the lakes or a picnic in the vast green meadows, apart from skiing in the mountains. The town while offering nightclubs and gourmet cuisines; hosts several music festivals, art exhibitions, expositions and conventions. It has Swiss alpine-style architecture and is also known for its chocolates.
South America is full of surprises and natural wonders. However, many places are remote and the travel time to reach these destinations is too much for a family with small children. Moreover, these destinations have been picked where whole family can enjoy, especially for the kids, who can have an amazingly memorable vacation.