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Our Guide to Family Travel in South America

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Niarra Travel

Nothing broadens minds and expands horizons like exploring the world. Doing it as a family and sharing in the discovery of different cultures, ways of life and the incredible beauty of nature will do all that, as well as replenish your soul, the collective experience forging new familial bonds and connections. South America is one of the best places on the planet to head for in search of this all out adventure together.

Huge, varied and exciting, South America is a voyage of discovery, a land where you can learn with all your senses, a place best explored by doing and experiencing. Epic landscapes - from towering Andean peaks and golden beaches to wildlife-packed rainforest and otherworldly desert, to name just a few - filled with a rich history and colourful culture, offer a vast array of activities and adventures that will suit every member of the family.

Also easy to navigate and enthusiastically family-oriented, family travel in South America is an obvious choice. So, what are you waiting for?

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Landscapes

Epic. That’s the only word you really need to describe South America’s variety of landscapes. And while they are spectacular to look at, it’s the exploring of them that makes family travel in South America so fantastic.

Who could resist hiking on the slopes of Ecuador’s Cotopaxi, mapping the stars in Chile’s Atacama Desert, hopping on a horse and galloping with the gauchos on Argentina’s pampas grasslands, canoeing quietly through the waterways of Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest to spot something furry – trust us, not even the surliest teenager!

Many of South America’s landscapes are under threat, but there are plenty of wonderful rewilding and conservation projects across the region that give families the opportunity to discover, learn and give back and there is no more rewarding way to spend quality time together.

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Wildlife

A continent that is home to the Amazon Rainforest, the Pantanal and the Galapagos Islands is bound to have some awe-inspiring wildlife viewing opportunities. From the copious camelids and whales of Patagonia to the jaguars and macaws of the Amazon, every landscape, ecosystem and habitat across the region has an astounding array of creatures that call it home, and while they may be difficult to spot, looking for them is at least half the fun.

Head to the Galapagos for liveaboard expeditions (or try a land-based approach if you have younger children), exploring the islands and their surrounding waters to see some of the world’s most unique animals.

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The natural abundance and biodiversity of Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands and the Amazon offer a veritable bonanza of colourful creatures for those who safari through it. A remote ecolodge in the rainforest is a real adventure, and is a great way to expose children and adults alike to the beauty of nature and how to care for it.

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Culture

Richly reflected across its language, music, architecture, food and much more, South America’s culture is a vibrant potion, formed by a mix of indigenous, European and African influences, that will snare you with its unique and irresistible rhythms.

While there is plenty that travellers will find familiar as they delve into daily life across the continent, there is a whole lot more that will test world views and open eyes. The whole family can experience the iconic gaucho culture of Argentina and Uruguay, staying on an estancia on the pampas and living the life for a few days, or discover how to survive high in the Andes Mountains, where past civilisations once thrived.

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It is, though, indigenous communities and cultures, like the Mapuche people of Chile, the Quechua of Ecuador or any of the Amazon rainforest communities that are so enriching for family travel in South America, highlighting to young minds that there is a vast world outside their own, in which people have different priorities and can live low-tech lives.

History

A bloody history formed the continent we know and love today, and there are still plenty of historical sites and experiences across the region that tell tales of plundering and treachery that will fascinate the whole family.

Before Columbus, South America was a land of complex, standalone civilisations; the sites that remain, like Machu Picchu in Peru and Ingapirca in Ecuador stand as monuments to their ingenuity and skill, and are a thrill to explore.

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The arrival of Conquistadors, European immigrants and African slaves reshaped the culture and also the land, best seen in the beautiful, European-esque colonial towns and cities, like Montevideo in Uruguay and Quito in Ecuador. With quaint cobbled streets to wander and timeless architectural gems to admire, they offer an atmospheric step back in time.

Add visits to local and national museums to hear the tales of both the conquerors and the conquered, to contextualise events and learn lessons from a turbulent past.

Beaches

An important aspect of any family travel in South America is a bit of down time, and where better to enjoy it than on a glorious, golden-sand beach? While parents may enjoy time simply relaxing in the sunshine, there are still plenty of things for the kids to do, like learning to surf or snorkelling.

The beaches of Uruguay and Brazil are particularly gorgeous with plenty of watersports options, while the Pacific waters off Ecuador’s beaches are teeming with life waiting to be discovered.

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If you are looking to plan a family trip to South America that combines ultimate comfort and luxury with meaningful adventure, contact our expert travel team on +44 (0) 20 3821 5994 (UK), +1 (833) 215 9353 (US) or at explore@niarratravel.com and start creating your unforgettable Latin American family experience today.

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