Countryside Escapes in South America
When hectic days become hectic weeks, there’s nothing quite like getting away from it all in the countryside. Being surrounded by nature is undoubtedly good for the soul, giving you the fresh air to breathe and space to unwind that, sometimes, our modern lives don’t allow. Countryside escapes in South America are particularly special, and there’s such a wealth of different landscapes and scenery across the continent that you really are spoilt for choice. Whether retreating to somewhere tropical or coastal, in the highlands or the lowlands, South America has you covered for when you need that restorative break in nature. Here are a few of our favourite countryside escapes in South America.
Sacred Valley, Peru
The Sacred Valley certainly lives up to its name, as this is a charming bucolic corner of Peru that was deemed sacrosanct by the Inca, who thrived here centuries ago. The fabled landscapes are a picturesque confection of undulating peaks, fertile meadows and life-giving rivers, complemented with traditional rural towns and villages as well as ancient archaeological sites that are impressive to behold. Here, you can visit local markets, women’s cooperatives, pre-Columbian salt ponds, and Inca fortresses and temples, no less. Then there’s plenty of adventure to be had too, from white-water rafting to mountain biking, plus a wealth of boutique countryside lodges to choose from. Not to mention, of course, the chance to explore Machu Picchu too!
Cossetted in the highlands of northern Ecuador, Otavalo is the epitome of authentic countryside escapes in South America. The town itself plays host to one of the continent’s most cherished markets, held in the Plaza de los Ponchos with a rainbow of handicrafts, fruits and vegetables on show. After you’ve picked up some souvenirs and basked in the market atmosphere, heading out to the verdant rural surrounds is a must. Stay at a hacienda hotel for an intimate experience of the region, exploring the hills, lakes, waterfalls and valleys on horseback, before returning to tuck in to delectable Andean cuisine, all the while learning all about life in the Ecuadorian highlands.
Lake District, Argentina and Chile
The Lake District has long served as a quiet, peaceful retreat for Chileans and Argentineans alike, and it’s no wonder why. A sprawling region in northern Patagonia, the Lake District is brimming with mountains, rivers, forests, and yes – lots of lakes! This backdrop was made for action-packed activities, such as white-water rafting, kayaking, biking and kayaking, but it’s also perfect for moments of pure relaxation. Therefore, whether staying in a characterful boutique B&B or a luxe spa hotel, be sure to allocate plenty of time for unwinding on al fresco terraces, savouring a long lunch or picnic, and simply drinking in the stunning views.
The Coffee Region, Colombia
Lush, picturesque and undulating, Colombia’s Coffee Region really is a soul-soothing place to rest and recoup for a few days. Clearly, it is named after the aromatic coffee bean which grows in abundance here, thanks to a tropical climate and just the right type of soil. If you’re into your coffee, then a tour around one or two of the plantations here is an absolute must, where you can see how the plant is picked, dried, and transformed into an excellent cup of coffee. But that’s not all that this region has to offer – it’s also a delight to walk through the Cocora Valley, distinctive for its tall wax palm trees, or relax in a traditional finca with views of the green expanse unfolding before you. What’s more, you could opt for a more challenging hike through Los Nevados National Park, admire the colourful streets of Salento, or soak up the friendly atmosphere that this region is known for.
Chiloé is a Patagonian island in Chile that’s proud of its unique heritage and culture, shaped by storybook myths and legends that make it a curious destination indeed. What’s more, the little fishing communities, traditional shipbuilding villages, 17th-century Jesuit churches, and towns awash with palafitos – wooden homes propped up on stilts – are particular to Chiloé, and fascinating to behold. All of this makes for a delightful countryside escape in South America, particularly since the island is shaped by rolling pastures, tangles of native forest, wetlands rich in wildlife, and rugged, dramatic coasts, protected by otherworldly powers and mythical figures, according to the locals.
Feeling inspired to hot-foot it to the countryside? Start planning your South American escape using our trip-building tool. You can handpick the hotels and activities you want, adjust the durations depending on how long you want to stay in each place, and have fun in the process! Surtrek is always at hand to help out. Call us on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to an expert, and Discover Your South America with Surtrek!