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15 Bucket List Activities to do in South America

We've been running trips in South America for over a decade now and this has given us plenty of time to come up with the ultimate South America bucket list – made up of adventures in the places we know and love the most; Peru, Patagonia, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Our South America adventure tours are packed with a raft of physical activities, showcasing a culture that is rich in history and amazing food, with exceptional service interwoven amongst some of the most incredible views on the planet. Seeing the world from your tour bus window is not the way we roll, which is why we've selected 15 of our favourite activities to do in South America. Activities that will allow you to embrace, experience and enjoy all that this amazing continent has to offer You may have previously created your own bucket list, however we're confident to say that you'll be needing a second list after seeing these 15 Bucket List Activities to do in South America!

1. Soak up the sun on Amantani Island, Peru

locals amantani island

Relaxing on the reed islands of Lake Titicaca, on board the 'Chinchilla' trip

2. Admire the views of Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia

perito moreno glacier patagonia

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia - on board the 'Condor' trip

3. Get stuck in traffic in the Galapagos Islands

traffic galapagos

Giant tortoise on a hiking trail in the Galapagos Islands, spotted on the 'Tortuga' trip

4. Meet the Peruvian locals

meet locals peru

We'll always find time to engage with the locals on of our adventures

5. Explore the Molodon Caves, in Puerto Natales, Patagonia

molodon caves puerto natales

See the Molodon Caves in Puerto Natales on board the 'Condor' trip

6. Scale a waterfall in Ecuador

waterfall jungle peru

Scale a waterfall in Ecuador on board our 'Tapir' trip

7. Explore an ancient Inca tunnel

incan tunnel cave peru

Hike the Inca Trail on our 'Jaguar' trip in Peru

8. Cycle through Andean Villages and La Raya Pass, Peru

biking peru

Cycle La Raya Pass on our Peru adventure tours

9. Hike to the Grey Glacier in Patagonia

glacier hike patagonia

Hiking on Grey Glacier on the 'Condor' trip in Patagonia

10. Boat ride into the Amazon Jungle

boat journey peru amazon jungle

Boat ride into the Amazon Jungle on our Peru adventure tours

11. Sea Kayak around Isabela Bay, Galapagos Islands

kayaking galapagos

Sea kayak the Galapagos Islands on our 'Tortuga' and 'Iguana' trips

12. Explore Machu Picchu, Peru

machu picchu peru

Explore Machu Picchu, Peru, on all of our Peru adventure tours

13. Hike to Sierra Negra Volcano, Isabela Island

sierra negra volcano

Standing on Sierra Negra Volcana, Isabela Island on board our 'Tortuga' trip in the Galapagos Islands

14. Hike the multi-day 'W' trek in the Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia

w trek patagonia

Hike the 'W' trek on our 'Condor' trip in Patagonia

15. Meet the furry locals on the Lares Trail

furry locals inca trail

Meet the local wildlife on Peru's Lares Trail on board our 'Jaguar' trip

Related Trips:

  • Jaguar Ultimate Peru Adventure

    • 10 Days
    • Peru
    • US$3999

    4.50 out of 5 (from 1964 reviews)


    The ‘Jaguar’ is our most action-packed multi-activity trip in Peru. It captures everything this beautiful country has to offer, from the towering peaks of the Andes down to the steamy depths of the Amazon jungle. You’ll have a blast in this land of geographical and cultural extremes! We start our trip in the heart of the Inca empire where we explore fortresses and surrounding valleys, hike over stunning mountain passes to Machu Picchu, cycle into the Sacred Valley of the Incas and view Amazon wildlife up close. The variety of activities and landscapes on this trip will give you a Peruvian adventure like no other – and an experience you’ll never forget!

    For a great way to see Lake Titicaca and the Bolivian salt flats too, combine this trip with our Titicaca and Bolivia 'Chinchilla' - chat to our team to learn how! 

  • Condor Patagonia Hiking Adventure

    • 14 Days
    • Patagonia
    • US$6299

    4.52 out of 5 (from 901 reviews)


    Southern Patagonia, for hikers in particular, is always near the top of the bucket list. Immense craggy mountain ranges erupt straight up from colossal boulder fields, vast rivers of ice calve into deep blue lakes, and its intricate coastline is strewn with uncharted fiords and inlets. It’s the type of scenery that leaves an indelible impression in your memory – one that photos will never quite manage to replicate. On the ‘Condor’, you’ll visit some of the most amazing places on Earth, by foot, kayak, bike and boat. You’ll enjoy incredible views as you hike in the Fitz Roy area of Argentina, trek in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, bike near Laguna del Desierto and sea kayak amongst icebergs on Grey Lake. If you have a passion for the outdoors, then the ‘Condor’ is the trip for you! Combine the 'Condor' with the 14-day 'Puma' for the ultimate Patagonia Adventure (8-day option available).

  • Puma Northern Patagonia Explorer

    • 14 Days
    • Patagonia
    • US$5999

    4.63 out of 5 (from 8 reviews)


    Like its southern counterpart, Northern Patagonia is rich in wild landscapes, where nature rules the roost. Exploring Northern Patagonia, you'll develop a new-found respect for the pioneers, who found passages over the immense Andes Mountains, across fiords and through huge temperate rainforests. Luckily, these days, nestled in the renownded parks and reserves, there's comfortable lodgings - making for the perfect combination of adventure by day and relaxation by night. For the ultimate Patagonia experience, combine this trip with our 14-day 'Condor' (10 and 8-day options available).

  • Tortuga Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure

    • 10 Days
    • Galapagos And Ecuador
    • From US$4999

    4.55 out of 5 (from 1325 reviews)


    The 'Tortuga' is a fantastic way to discover several of the Galapagos Islands, especially for landlubbers. In a relaxed and active manner, you’ll snorkel, dive, hike and cycle, and cruise between the multitude of stunning islands in our comfortable dive boat, the ‘Pacific’ while staying on dry land each night. Starting with a short flight to San Cristobal Island, highlights of this incredible trip include snorkelling with turtles, rays and tame reef sharks, kayaking in a beautiful calm bay and hiking up an island volcano with one of the largest active calderas in the world. You’ll get up close to some of the most intriguing and docile wildlife on the planet, with visits to tortoise breeding grounds and iguana colonies, and even sharing the beach with inquisitive sea lions. We explore amazing lava tunnels, cycle through local townships and learn the mysterious history of Floreana Island.

  • Iguana Peru and Galapagos Explorer

    • 13 Days
    • Peru
    • From US$7599

    4.49 out of 5 (from 78 reviews)


    Our 13-day ‘Iguana’ trip has been a long time in the making. Inside two weeks, you’ll experience the absolute best that Peru and the Galapagos Islands have to offer. You’ll travel in comfort and style, get off the beaten track, stay in fantastic locally owned accommodations, meet the locals and experience some of the world’s most iconic landscapes and monuments - all in typical Active Adventures style of course. You’ll cycle into the Sacred valley of the Incas, hike the Huchuy Qosqo Trail, experience Machu Picchu and explore the wonders of Cuzco. And that’s just Peru! After flights north to Quito, you’ll head to the Galapagos Islands where you’ll snorkel with seals, hike around one of the world’s largest volcanic craters, sea kayak near Isabela Island, get up close to all manner of wild creatures and relax on isolated beaches. If you’re only likely to visit this part of South America once in your life, we’ll make sure it’s a trip that you never forget.

  • Alpaca Peru Lodge to Lodge Trek

    • 10 Days
    • Peru
    • US$5399

    The ‘Alpaca’ is 10 days of bucket list hikes and cultural sites in Peru. It captures everything this beautiful country has to offer, from the towering peaks of the Andes and Machu Picchu, down to the thriving town of Aguas Calientes (meaning ‘hot waters’ or ‘hot springs’), once a small railway workers’ camp.

    You’ll have a blast in this land of geographical and cultural wonders. We start our trip in the heart of the Inca empire where we explore fortresses and surrounding valleys. We’ll hike over stunning mountain passes from lodge to lodge, and on to Machu Picchu via a short version of the Inca Trail. The variety of landscapes on this trip will give you a Peruvian adventure like no other – and an experience you’ll never forget!

    For a great way to see Lake Titicaca and the Bolivian salt flats too, combine this trip with our Titicaca and Bolivia 'Chinchilla' - chat to our team to learn how!

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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