Looking for a little Latin flavour? Check out the best sites for booking the ultimate South America tour.
Planning a trip on your own can be a bit daunting, so taking a tour is a much easier choice -- especially for those short on time.
But choosing the right tour company to take you on the trip you’re dreaming isn’t always simple.
Looking for a local experience? A lush, guided adventure? The mountain trek? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve taken a look through some of the most popular providers of South America tours for a low-to-mid budget. Many of them offer a range of tour types that cater to what sort of trip you’re looking for.
Check out the list of tour providers below, and find your perfect journey.
The award-winning, Canada-based tour company has been around for 25 years, offering small-group tours worldwide, but their roots began with Latin America adventures. They now cater to a whole range of travellers, and offers different tours based on level of luxury, age, ability and more.
- Choose from seven different trip styles including options for those looking for a real local experience, travelling with a family, volunteering opportunities or active holidays
- Great options for single travellers, as you have the option of a single supplement or being paired with another solo traveller of the same sex
- All guides are from the areas you’re touring, and they’re big on sustainable tourism options
Photo Credit: Instagramer/G Adventurer @vicmuir
Probably the first tour company that pops to mind for the 18 to 35-year-old traveller, Contiki offers a range of tour styles and lengths. They started off as mainly a European tour company, but over the last few years have expanded to cover other continents as well, including South America.
- Part of the Travel Corporation group, Contiki’s got a great reputation
- They’ve had more than 50 years’ touring experience
- Offer different tour styles to cater to different types of travellers
Photo Credit: Craig Howes
Designed to take travellers slightly off the beaten track, Geckos is another tour operator that gears toward the 20s and 30s crowd. The majority of their trips are only available to those aged 18-39, but they do offer select trips catering toward all ages groups as well.
- Great for the budget traveller, they offer affordable tours starting at less than $100 per day
- They’re designed for travellers, not tourists, and aim to provide more local experiences
- Guides are locals, so they really know the places they’re taking you
Selling a range of tours, flights, hotels, transport and just about anything else you can think of that's travel-related, STA Travel is a one-stop shop for student and youth travellers.
- Choose from a range of tour classes, from budget to luxury
- Compare tour options from companies like Contiki, G Adventures and Intrepid Travel
- Specialises in student and youth travel, so those who are still in school, working as teachers or younger than 26 may be eligible for additional savings
Photo Credit: Instagramer/Intrepid Traveller @herschelsupply
Another big player in the small-group tour sector, Intrepid also offers a bunch of different tour types geared toward a range of travellers. They’re an Australian company and try to give back to their touring destinations where they can. They founded The Intrepid Foundation in 2002, which supports about 40 grassroots organisations, plus they try and stay, eat and travel like locals whenever possible.
- Choose from 15 different tour “themes” including cultural breaks and expeditions to the more niche food adventures, cycling journeys and wildlife excursions
- They’ll often offer last-minute deals on last-minute departures
- Many tour options start at less than $100 per day
With almost 40 years of experience, Peregrine Adventures knows what they’re doing. While they may seem to be slightly higher priced than some of the other options, one of the great things about Peregrine is that they’re pretty much all inclusive. They’ll include most meals, sightseeing/entry fees and gratuities all in the initial price.
- An almost all-inclusive experience, with most things included in the price.
- Small-group experiences, capped at 16 people per tour
- You’ll stay in comfortable accommodation that’s still full of local character
See Peregrine's tours on TourRadar
Best South America budget tour companies:
- Geckos Adventures: All tours are geared toward budget-sensitive travellers.
- G Adventures: Yolo-style tours, and any tour with "on a shoestring" in it's name are among G Adventures most affordable options.
- Intrepid: Basix tours offer the best-value tour.
Best South America tour companies for young adults 18-30s:
- Geckos Adventures: All tours are geared toward 18-30 somethings, and students get 10% off bookings.
- Contiki: All Contiki tours are designed with the 18-30 something traveller in mind.
- G Adventures: With a range of different tour styles offered, G Adventures' Yolo tours are designed specifically for the 18-39 crowd
- Intrepid: While Intrepid doesn't have strict age limits its tours, the Basix tours are catered toward a younger traveller.
Need a flight to meet up with your South America tour?
LATAM Airlines, which is based in Chile, offers direct flights to Santiago and connections to most major cities in South America. Check out some of the destinations they offer flights to on the airline's website.