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Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Top South American Destinations to Visit this Year

A handful of countries in South America have been moving up on our Good Trip index this year. So we've picked out the top 4 countries for the best trip in South America.

To help make travelling responsibly less of a hassle, we pulled together seven of the definitive country-level indices that cover the main ethical issues UK holidaymakers told us were important to them when deciding where to go on holiday.

Sustainable travel. Human rights, with a separate index for both women's rights and LGBTQI+ rights. Press freedom. Animal welfare. And wellbeing and quality of life in the country.

Check out the top 4 places for a good trip in South America.

The Holiday Extras Good Trip Index

Leave only footprints and take only photos by picking destinations you can visit sustainably and responsibly.

Have a good trip



Ecuador is like South America in miniature, with a little bit of everything that we associate with this diverse continent, from dense jungles to ancient ruins and delicious food.

The eastern chunk of the country is covered by the Amazon Rainforest, home to incredibly rich and unique wildlife and plenty of opportunities for adventure. Canoe along the river and its tributaries, learn about the indigenous communities that call the area home and see how many rare animals you can spot.

If it's rare animals you're after, then the Galapagos Islands are the place to go. This volcanic archipelago is one of the most unique and diverse destinations for wildlife in the world, home to giant tortoises, marine iguanas and the iconic blue-footed booby.

For ancient history, head to the Inca ruins of Ingapirca. The vast walls and terraces encircle the temple of the sun which was used hundreds of years ago to chart the paths of the stars.


Atacama Desert

Chile has some incredibly varied geography all wedged between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. From the desolate peaks of the Andes to the fertile vineyards of the Central Valley.

Also, if you like dry things, Chile is home to the Atacama Desert which is known as the driest place on earth. Some parts of the desert are so arid that no life can survive, which has led to some comparisons to Mars. It's quite an eerie place, with desolate ruins from long-gone indigenous tribes coupled with more recent ghost towns that date from the 1940s. The desert has concentrations of nitrate, or saltpetre, which gave it a bit of a gold boom during the 20th century. But the towns that sprang up around the mines have since been abandoned to the dust and dunes.

Heading south from there you've got the Chilean Lake District, where snow-crested mountains slope into vibrant green foothills and pristine glacial lakes. It's a popular spot for hiking, fishing or white-water rafting.


Iguazu Falls

Among its most famous exports are the tango and wine, and incredible football talent like Maradona and Messi. Buenos Aires, affectionately known as the Paris of South America, is an intoxicating mix of European and Latin American influences with some incredible architecture and a vibrant culture. And it's a great place to start your Argentinian adventure.

You've also got stunning natural wonders like the Iguazu Falls, where the Iguazu river forms a natural border between Argentina and Brazil. 80 metres high and with a diameter of 2,700 metres it's a spectacular site to behold as 30 million litres of water thunder over the edge every second.

Then there's the famous Patagonia region which covers the southern portion of the Andes mountains, where the slopes give way to vast plains, glaciers and fjords.


Amazon, Uruguay

Our top place for a good trip in South America is Uruguay. It scored highest out of all South American countries and had a top score for LGBTQI+ travel. This makes it the most gay-friendly country in South America – according to our data at least.

Visitors can expect a fusion of European, African and indigenous cultures in charming colonial towns, along with beautiful beaches and dramatic plains and plenty of national parks. The country has a big focus on environmental sustainability too, with a huge chunk of its energy coming from wind and solar power.

The country is also incredibly rich in colonial history with the capital, Montevideo, having an incredibly rich concentration of old buildings and streets that are a delight to get lost in.

Punta de Este on the country's south-eastern coast is an ideal destination for first-time travellers, boasting fancy resorts, an energetic nightlife and absolutely gorgeous sandy beaches.