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Travel experiences

Crafting your South American bucket list

14th May, 2022

South America is a truly incredible destination to explore, playing host to a vast array of bucket-list experiences. From the hustle and bustle of its iconic cities to some of the planet’s most remarkable natural wonders, this sublime continent has something to offer each and every traveller.

With so much to discover, the list of once-in-a-lifetime experiences seems endless, whether you want to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Rio de Janeiro, wonder at the impressive beauty of Iguazu Falls or delve into the ancient mysteries of enigmatic Machu Picchu. We’ve put together our top five South American experiences which can all be enjoyed from Spirit of Adventure, as she embarks on a voyage of a lifetime in 2023…

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.

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  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 American Explorer cruise. 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 and Sacsayhuaman, it’s the perfect way to see all that the region has to offer.

Fall in love with Iguazu Falls

Picture yourself at Iguazu Falls

Experience the immensity of Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world, located at the northern tip of Argentina, bordering Brazil. Formed as a result of a volcanic eruption, the falls cover an area of 2.7 kilometres wide and consist of some 275 spectacular waterfalls. The falls are located at the heart of Iguazu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to a subtropical rainforest teeming with incredible flora and fauna. No trip to South America is complete without visiting this awe-inspiring natural wonder.

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 American Explorer cruise takes in all of the continent’s best sights in one amazing adventure, spanning 78 nights. Sailing from Portsmouth in January 2023 aboard Spirit of Adventure, 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.