Dinosaurs, gauchos, skiing, climbing and some of the most intriguing living creatures on our planet.
South America and families go together like Paddington Bear and marmalade.
Whether your family has a streak of adventure running through its DNA, prefer getting excitement from history and culture… or have a super eclectic mix of it all. You might be ‘loco’ not to look South for the family trip of a lifetime.
There is a romance to the Argentinian Tango and the Argentinian Cowboy that is undeniable. From pretty, historical Salta in the north to the ranchlands of Tafí del Valle in the Tucumán province where everyone can play cowboy and the virgin beaches of the Rio Negro this country is made for family travel.
Argentinian’s Valed Peninsula will bring you within touching distance of Magellanic penguins, elephant seals, and southern sea lions. Travelers may also spot endangered right whales, killer whales, and several dolphin species that frequent the protected coves and beaches.
The center of South America with borders to Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, and Argentina. From the Salar de Uyuni (the world’s largest salt flat) to dinosaur tourism, Bolivia is something of a rare gem.
In La Paz, the world’s highest and longest extensive cable car network is still growing. The architecture of Sucre is stunning and the Valle de la Luna mesmerizing. If you are fascinated by the macabre, you can swing by the Witches Market where black magic is for sale, and shrunken skulls, dried animal fetuses, feathers, frogs, and more may be observed.
The Pampas is also an excellent alternative to a full commitment to the Brazilian Amazon.
Take a bike tour of Rio and the cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain. The Emerald Coast offers laid back beach life for the entire family. See the Devil’s Throat of Iguazú Falls and cruise the Amazon.
Chile is easy to visit with a well-developed infrastructure running the gamut of a vast country. Taking the highlights from the top down there is the iconic Atacama Desert with geysers, sandboard down dunes, pink flamingos of salt flats and incredible astronomy tours in an area practically devoid of manmade light.
Central Chile is home to the Laja Falls, the Nevados de Chillán resort if you fancy skiing on volcanoes and glaciers and the secret Playa Ramuntcho beach. The country also shares a corner of Patagonia where a family can explore fjords, glacial lakes share incredible natural beauty with temperate rainforests and wildlife.
Santiago is a great city to visit with children… and the most adventurous families can fly to Easter Island for a magnetic and mysterious island vibe.
A small country that is easy to navigate it is home to the Galápagos Islands, one of the world’s highest active volcanoes (consider exploring by horseback rather than foot), the Andes, the Amazon and the adventure center of Baños where zip lining and bungee jumping have to jostle for attention with natural hot springs and waterfalls.
Also, 1,000 miles of Pacific beaches (including the most beautiful beach in the world at Playa los Frailes) and a capital city with a daring cable car ride, incredible history, and fabulous food.
Galápagos cruises cater to children. Museums and attraction almost always provide for humans of all ages and tourism fees are frequently waived for kids everywhere.
In the home of Paddington Brown the family will be endlessly entertained with exciting train rides, world-famous Machu Picchu – surprisingly easy to do with kids, treehouse style accommodation or sleeping while suspended from the side of a cliff in a glass bubble.
Lima is a very kid-friendly city with beautiful parks that are safe to run around in.
If you want to step it up, take the family to Cusco which resembles a real-life entertainment park with history layered on top of more history. Paddleboard with flamingos in Paracas National Reserve, cruise to Ballestas Islands, sandboard the highest sand dune fields in South America or visit families living on hand-made floating islands in the highest navigable lake in the world.
Super safe with a long coastline dotted with sleepy surf towns and fabulous beaches. It’s all about beach culture and is a perfect retreat for a surf crazy family who loves the coast.
South American countries that are not currently great for family travel
Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras or Northern Mexico.
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