Holiday Hot List: Top South American Destinations for 2018

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At Surtrek, we believe that South America is an infinitely enchanting continent which every traveller should visit – no matter what the year! But we agree with travel experts, such as Lonely Planet, National Geographic and the Guardian, that there are some real highlights in 2018 to provide yet more reasons to come and discover our amazing continent of South America. Read on to find out which destinations have been deemed ‘must-see’ for 2018…


Everyone is talking about Chile in 2018, and we have to say that it deserves a top spot on any travel bucket list! Chile is always a fantastic country to visit, though 2018 is a particularly special time for Chilenos – as it marks the 200-year anniversary of independence, and opportunities to join in the celebration will be aplenty! What’s more, 2018 sees the launch of the ‘Route of Parks’, connecting Patagonia’s national parks and reserves – 17 of which are all new – from Puerto Montt to Tierra del Fuego, offering unbeatable access to the region’s wild and wonderful landscapes. Need another excuse? It’s the 25th anniversary of the Santiago a Mil festival this January, one of the continent’s biggest theatre and dance celebrations.

The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Cast off the mainland of Ecuador, some 600 miles from the coast, the Galapagos Islands are a wonder to behold with their volcanic terrain and out-of-this-world flora and fauna. In 2018, the archipelago commemorates 50 years as a national park, and the 40th year as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, indicating its revered status as one of the world’s greatest destinations. Discover the islands for yourself to see why many have followed in the path of Charles Darwin, seeking out the unusual and miraculous wildlife that thrive on these remote outcrops, carefully protected and preserved by local communities to ensure that its legend lives on.

Surtrek, the Galapagos 

Quito, Ecuador

Whether you’re venturing to the Galapagos Islands or not, don’t miss the chance to spend time in Ecuador’s capital: Quito. Grazing the clouds and ringed by snow-dusted volcanoes, Quito’s backdrop is as picturesque as they come, but within the city itself you can find a beautifully ornate Old Town dating back to the 16th century, which in 2018 celebrates its 40th year as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, it was the first ever city to be bestowed with this prestigious label. Stroll through the wonderfully preserved warren of colonial facades, pretty plazas, churches and monuments, including the majestic Catedral Metropolitana de Quito which, from January 2018, is opening its rooftop to the public so that visitors can gaze out over the city from this privileged perch, previously only accessed by the priests themselves.

Surtrek, Quito 

Bahia, Brazil

Brazil is bursting with reasons to visit, from wildlife-watching in the Pantanal Wetlands and Amazon Rainforest, to exciting cities and dazzling coastline; to name just a few. In particular, now is a great time to visit Bahia, as ever since Salvador (the state capital) hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2014, this gorgeous colonial city has had a significant boost, all the while making visits to the country’s verdant interior more accessible. After soaking up Afro-Brazilian culture in Salvador itself, head inland to discover the awe-inspiring greenery of the Chapada Diamantina National Park, laced with secluded waterfalls, and hit the swathes of white beaches to round off an unforgettable Bahian adventure.

Bahia folklore, Brazil

Blumar, “Blumar”

Jujuy and Salta, Argentina

Tipped by National Geographic as one of the top places to visit in 2018, Jujuy and Salta – in northwest Argentina – are brimming with some of the most photogenic landscapes in Argentina. Keen photographers will revel in the mind-blowing scenery at destinations like the Quebrada de Humahuaca, striped in brilliant hues of rock that have been moulded as such over thousands of years. We agree that northwest Argentina is well worthy of making your travel list for 2018, and recommend that you combine visits to its many gorges and rock formations with a jaunt in Cafayate, for wine tours through this irresistible terroir where Torrontes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec grapes grant Cafayate the reputation it deserves.


Feeling inspired? Why not build your trip to ChileArgentina, Ecuador and the Galapagos with Discover Your South America; we are currently adding Brazil to our Discover Your South America trip-builder, but you can still call our experts on 1 866 978 7398 (US/Canada) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to start planning your vacation today!

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