South America has so much to offer, and even with this South America travel itinerary covering one to three months, you will still only be scratching the surface.
South America is a captivating continent with diverse landscapes, vibrant cultures, and breathtaking natural wonders. From the majestic Andes Mountains to the lush Amazon rainforest, there is no shortage of awe-inspiring destinations to explore. In this travel itinerary, we will guide you through the best places to visit during your one to three-month journey.
We spent nearly six months exploring South America and found more than one new favorite place. We are already planning a trip back to this incredible continent and hope these itineraries will help you plan your next trip, too!
We’ll cover the best South America travel itinerary for one to three months, tips for traveling South America as a couple, transportation in South America, cost of travel in South America, and more!
This post is all about the ideal South America travel itinerary for one, two, or three months of travel.
Planning Your Trip
Before embarking on your South American adventure, it’s essential to do some research and plan accordingly. Consider the best time to visit each country, as weather conditions can vary significantly across the continent. Remember, South America is in the southern hemisphere which means winter falls from June – September, and summer is from December – March, the opposite of the northern hemisphere. We would recommend the spring or fall seasons to avoid crowds and have the best opportunity for mild weather.
Don’t forget to check major holidays that may impact your travel. The majority of South America is Catholic, so the largest celebrations of the year revolve around Carnival and Easter. Travel is often more expensive during these holidays and sells out far in advance.
Are you covered for your next trip? Whether you’re planning a quick weekend getaway or a long-term adventure, SafetyWing has you covered. From medical emergencies to lost luggage, they’ll take care of it all. Plus, they even offer emergency response and natural disaster coverage – pretty cool, huh?
South America Packing List
With an itinerary of one to three months, you’ll need to plan for various weather throughout your trip. You never know when a cold front or a massive rainstorm is going to blow through. Be sure to prepare the appropriate attire for each destination, from cities to deserts to beach towns and the jungle.
If you are planning on spending one to three months in South America, check out our complete South America packing list to ensure you don’t forget a thing!
South america transportation
When planning a one to three-month trip to South America, you’ll likely be traveling to more than just one destination.
Flights are a convenient way to cover long distances between countries or major cities, allowing you to save time and reach your destinations quickly. Domestic flights within South American countries are often affordable, helping you hop between different regions efficiently.
Although not as extensive as in other continents, trains can offer scenic journeys in certain countries like Peru and Ecuador. Buses are a popular choice for budget travelers (especially in Ecuador and Peru), offering an extensive network that connects cities and towns and is surprisingly comfortable. They are an excellent option for shorter distances, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy the landscapes along the way.
Additionally, boat trips and cruises can provide unique experiences, especially in the Amazon River or the Galapagos Islands.
South America Trip Cost
Luckily, South America has a wide range of travel options from budget-conscious to mid-range (us!) to the ultimate luxury. Hostels are popular in South America and are a great option for budget travelers. They usually have private rooms (with private bathrooms) for a lower rate than some hotels – a good option for couples! And please, eat the street food! It’s amazingly good and cheap.
Since we traveled to South America for nearly six months, we took the average of one month and broke it down for you below. We spent XX per month for two people, changing cities every 3-7 days. That averages XX per day or XX per day per person. South America is far more affordable than European travel, even during peak season, and more expensive than a similar trip to Southeast Asia.
💰 Average cost per month in South America:
Avg per month:
$XX for 2 people
Avg per day:
$XX per day for 2 people
Europe > South America > Southeast Asia
South America Travel Itinerary:
Now, let’s delve into the exciting part – the itineraries! We have prepared sample itineraries for different trip durations: one month, two months, and three months. These itineraries include a mix of popular tourist destinations and off-the-beaten-path gems, ensuring a well-rounded and unforgettable experience in South America.
1 Month Itinerary in South America
If you have one month to explore South America, here’s a suggested itinerary that will allow you to experience the highlights of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. This one-month itinerary will give you a taste of the diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant cultures that South America has to offer.
- Peru – 2 weeks
- Ecuador – 1 week
- Colombia – 1 week
Peru (2 weeks)
Start your journey in Peru, a country known for its rich history and breathtaking landscapes. There are often great deals for flights from the US to Lima. Check out Faredrop to find the best deals without all the work.
Spend your first few days in Lima, the capital city, exploring its vibrant neighborhoods and sampling delicious Peruvian cuisine. From Lima, head south to Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Immerse yourself in the ancient Incan culture as you visit the Sacred Valley and hike the famous Inca Trail, or enjoy the scenic train ride to reach the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. Be sure to spend some time acclimating to the altitude in Cusco before visiting Machu Picchu.
After exploring Cusco and Machu Picchu, venture into the Amazon rainforest for a unique wildlife experience through the town of Iquitos. Take a boat ride along the Amazon River, hike through the dense jungle, and spot exotic wildlife such as monkeys, colorful birds, and elusive jaguars.
Top Activities in Peru
Ecuador (1 week)
Next, fly to Ecuador, a country known for its incredible biodiversity and stunning landscapes. Start your Ecuadorian adventure in Quito, the capital city nestled high in the Andes Mountains. Explore the historic center a UNESCO World Heritage site, and take in panoramic views of the city from the TelefériQo cable car. Don’t forget to check off “straddle the equator” from your bucket list!
From Quito, head to the iconic Galapagos Islands, where you can snorkel with sea turtles, spot unique wildlife like marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies and witness the ongoing process of evolution in action.
Top Activities in Ecuador
Colombia (1 week)
Finish your South American adventure in Colombia, a country known for its vibrant culture, stunning Caribbean beaches, and colorful cities. Start in Medellín and explore this town, once fraught with violence, now transformed into a vibrant, colorful neighborhood.
End your journey in Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most beautiful colonial cities in the Americas. Explore its charming streets, visit the imposing Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, and relax on the white sandy beaches of the nearby Rosario Islands.
Top Activities in Colombia
2 Month Itinerary in South America
If you have two months to explore South America, you can embark on an incredible journey through diverse and captivating destinations. We’ll be building off our first itinerary for one month in South America by adding a week to Colombia so you can dive even deeper into the local culture and we’ll add two weeks in a new country, Brazil!
This two-month itinerary will allow you to experience the highlights of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil, offering a diverse range of landscapes, cultures, and experiences.
- Peru – 2 weeks
- Ecuador – 1 week
- Colombia – 2 weeks
- Brazil – 2 weeks
Colombia (1 more week - 2 weeks)
Since you’ll be traveling longer, I recommend slowing down your travel and adding a few more off-the-beaten-path stops to Colombia. From Medellín, you can rent a car (be sure to get an automatic, the hills are crazy!), and drive to both Guatapé and Jardín. In Guatapé, you can try street empanadas, see the most colorful homes, and climb an enormous rock. One of our favorite towns ever is Jardín. You can walk the whole town, enjoy the lively evening atmosphere in the square, and prop up your chair to sip on Colombian coffee or some magical chai tea.
want a free Notion itinerary template?
Plan the perfect trip all in one place with this free Notion Travel Itinerary Template. Just enter your info below to join our weekly newsletter and get it sent straight to your inbox!
+ Brazil (2 weeks)
Wrap up your two-month adventure in Brazil, a country of immense natural beauty and vibrant energy. Spend two weeks exploring the iconic city of Rio de Janeiro, relaxing on the stunning beaches of Florianópolis, and experiencing the power of Iguazu Falls. Rio is spectacular; be sure to enjoy the beach at Copacabana, see another World Wonder – Christ the Redeemer, and take the cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Top Activities in Brazil
3 Month Itinerary in South America
If you have three months to explore South America, there is a ton you can see. You’ll want to add a few weeks to countries you are already visiting on your one or two-month itineraries to dive into the culture. And we’ll add a few more countries with even more diverse foods, sights, and people.
This three-month itinerary will allow you to experience the highlights of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, offering a diverse range of landscapes, cultures, and experiences.
- Peru – 3 weeks
- Ecuador – 1 week
- Colombia – 2 weeks
- Brazil – 2 weeks
- Argentina – 3 weeks
- Chile – 1 week
Peru (1 more week - 3 weeks)
Start your adventure in Peru, but this time we’ll add another week so you have time to explore Huacachina and Arequipa. Peru is such a diverse country and with this three-week itinerary, you’ll get the big city of Lima, the mountains in Cusco, the unforgettable Machu Picchu, a desert oasis in Huacachina, the colonial town of Arequipa, and the Amazon jungle from Iquitos.
+ Argentina (3 weeks)
In Argentina, spend a week exploring the vibrant streets of Buenos Aires, known for its tango culture and historic architecture. You’ll also get to head out to the grasslands and enjoy a wellness retreat in cowboy country in San Antonio de Areco, just outside of Buenos Aires. Enjoy some southern hemisphere beach time in Cariló and then take a week to explore the magic of Patagonia.
Top Activities in Argentina
+ Chile (1 week)
Somehow, your three months in South America are almost up and last up we have one last country, Chile. This country has so much to offer but after three months of traveling around the continent, we recommend taking your last week to soak up all the magic of the vibrant city of Santiago.
- Santiago – 7 nights