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14th February, 2020

Crafting your South American bucket list

As the fourth largest of the world’s continents, it’s perhaps no surprise that South America plays host to so many bucket-list worthy destinations and experiences. Covering an area of 6.89 million square miles, the continent is home to 12 sovereign countries – each offering visitors a truly unique experience. From the hustle and bustle of its street-art strewn cities to some of the planet’s most famous jungle expanses, South America has something to offer each and every traveller looking to carve out their own adventure.

With so much on offer, the list of once-in-a-lifetime experiences is expansive. Whether you want to get up close and personal with cultural traditions or lose yourself in the vastness of the great outdoors, South America has a seemingly endless array of bucket list experiences to choose from. If you’re working on your own bucket list, we’ve put together five of our favourite South American experiences to help get you started.

See Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

Christ The Redeemer watches over Rio

Perhaps one of the most instantly recognisable landmarks in South America, Christ the Redeemer is a magnificent statue of Jesus which sits atop Mount Corcovado. Keeping a watchful eye over the city of Rio de Janeiro below, Christ the Redeemer stands at 98ft tall, with its outstretched arms reaching 92ft wide. Finished in 1931, the statue is clad in a mosaic of tiny triangular tiles and sits on a platform at the top of the mountain. As the largest Art Deco sculpture in the world, it’s easy to see why it’s become such a draw for visitors from across the globe.

Once you’ve marvelled at the wonder that is Christ the Redeemer, don’t forget to head to Rio’s Copacabana Beach; enjoy a Caipirinha or two as you take in the long stretch of pristine beach, with mountains, nature, and the bustle of the city all around you.

Stay in an Amazonian eco lodge, Brazil

An aerial view of the Amazon River in Brazil

If you’ve always wanted to lose yourself in the depths of the Amazon, now’s your chance. Take a walk on the wild side and wonder in an authentic rainforest experience, with a stay in an Amazon eco lodge. Whether you fancy taking a dip in the river, spotting indigenous wildlife, or simply listening to the sounds of the jungle around you, there’s no better way to do so than by heading away from the tourist hubs and stepping into nature.

We’re thrilled to offer an eco-lodge excursion as part of our incredible South America: A Grand Voyage tour, departing in January 2021. Over one night and two days, guests will leave Spirit of Discovery and embark on a small boat for a trip to the eco park. The tour includes a jungle walk, fishing trip and a visit to a local home, with expert guides on hand to explain the jungle’s ecosystem, point out varieties of plants, and even give pointers on survival techniques. It’s a truly unique experience, and one you’ll never forget!

Experience the magic of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The bluefooted booby calls the Galapagos Islands home

The biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands is famous across the world; it did, after all, play a part in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. If you’re an animal-lover then a visit to the Galapagos archipelago is sure to feature on your ideal South American itinerary – with magical wildlife around every corner. Keep an eye out for giant tortoises, marine iguana, sea lions and famous Galapagos birds. Wildlife aside, the pristine landscapes of the island chain are a sight to behold all on their own, and each island carries its own special charm. Take to the crystal-clear waters on a diving trip to explore the underwater world, or enjoy a visit to one of the islands’ volcanoes.

Don’t forget to take a trip to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, where you can see how scientists are still learning about the Galapagos Islands to this day. Find out more about visiting the Galapagos Islands in our recent blog.

See an Argentine tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina

It takes two to tango, as you’ll discover in Buenos Aires

While the natural wonders of the South American continent are undoubtedly one of its major draws, the cities are just as spectacular. Buenos Aires, the capital of and largest city in Argentina, is a truly cosmopolitan wonderland, and perfect if you fancy enjoying a slice of its vibrant culture. As the tango capital of the world, you can’t pay a visit without dusting off your dancing shoes. Whether you fancy joining in at a milonga, an informal tango party, enjoying some street tango in La Boca, or taking in a professional tango show, there’s no better way to become immersed in the vibe of the South American people. Plus, with Argentina being one of the top Malbec producers in the world, you can enjoy a delicious glass of red while soaking up the rhythm.

Step back in time at Machu Picchu, Peru

Awe inspiring Machu Picchu

The Incan citadel of Machu Picchu is undoubtedly one of the most mysterious destinations on the planet. Nestled high in the Andes, Machu Picchu features prominently on almost every traveller’s bucket list – and for good reason. As one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, it’s sometimes surprising to hear that Machu Picchu remained relatively hidden from the world until the 20th century, although its popularity since has more than made up for lost time.

A tour of nearby Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as Machu Picchu features among our incredible overland tours during our South America: A Grand Voyage cruise. Over three nights and four days, guests will get to enjoy a day exploring this remarkable ancient site, set against the stunning backdrop of the snow-capped Andes, as well as a full-day exploring Cusco, the heartland of the Incan Empire. Taking in the Incan ruins of Koricancha, Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puca Pucara and Tambomachay, it’s the perfect way to see all that the region has to offer.

Embarking on a bucket-list worthy adventure

Can’t decide what to include on your South America bucket list? Well, maybe you don’t have to choose. Our South America: A Grand Voyage cruise takes in all of the continent’s best sights in one amazing adventure, spanning 83 nights. Departing from Southampton in January 2021 aboard our Spirit of Discovery ship, it’s an adventure of a lifetime – covering samba-filled cities, ancient landscapes, and everything in between.

To find out more, or to book your cabin, get in touch with a member of our team today.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.