55 days in South America & Central America Itinerary

Make it your trip
1
Santiago, Chile
— 4 nights
Drive
2
Valparaiso, Chile
— 3 nights
Fly
3
Arequipa, Peru
— 1 night
Fly
4
Cusco, Peru
— 6 nights
Drive
5
Machu Picchu, Peru
— 2 nights
Fly
6
Bogota, Colombia
— 3 nights
Fly
7
Medellin, Colombia
— 3 nights
Fly
8
Cartagena, Colombia
— 3 nights
Fly
9
San Andres Island, Colombia
— 6 nights
Fly
10
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 6 nights
Drive
11
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Fly to San Jose, Shuttle to Manuel Antonio
12
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
Fly
13
Lima, Peru
— 4 nights
Fly
14
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
— 4 nights
Fly

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Santiago, Chile — 4 nights

City of the Island Hills

Santiago tourism thrives largely thanks to the city's big selection of cultural and entertainment options, including museums, theaters, restaurants, bars, and giant malls.
Santiago is known for shopping, sightseeing, and parks. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: take in the awesome beauty at San Cristóbal Hill, look for gifts at Patio Bellavista, admire the masterpieces at Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, and visit Barrio Bellavista.

For other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, read Santiago driving holiday app.

If you are flying in from Chile, the closest major aiport is Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) so you can drive to Valparaiso.
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Museums · Parks · Neighborhoods · Shopping

Valparaiso, Chile — 3 nights

Jewel of the Pacific

Navigating through a maze of colorful streets winding up and down steep hills remains an integral part of any Valparaiso tour.
Get out of town with these interesting Valparaiso side-trips: Vina Casas del Bosque (in Casablanca), Isla Negra (La Nave Imaginaria & Casa de Isla Negra) and Matetic Vineyards (in Lagunillas). There's more to do: examine the collection at La Sebastiana and take in the local highlights with Walking tours.

For more things to do, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Valparaiso trip website.

Traveling by car from Santiago to Valparaiso takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In November, daily temperatures in Valparaiso can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Tue) to allow time to fly to Arequipa.
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Wineries · Museums · Tours
Side Trips

Arequipa, Peru — 1 night

White City

In an area dominated three imposing volcanoes, Arequipa vacations allow visitors to admire well-preserved colonial architecture in a dramatic setting.
On the 30th (Wed), get engrossed in the history at Museo Santuarios Andinos, then see the interesting displays at Santa Catalina Monastery, and then make a trip to Plaza de Armas.

To see photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Arequipa trip planner.

You can fly from Valparaiso to Arequipa in 6 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Chile Standard Time (CLT) to Peru Standard Time (PET) is minus 1 hour. Traveling from Valparaiso in November, Arequipa is slightly colder at night with lows of 11°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Wed) to allow enough time to fly to Cusco.
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Museums

Cusco, Peru — 6 nights

Imperial City

Capital of the Inca Empire for three centuries, World Heritage-listed Cusco is now a major tourist destination, drawing nearly 2 million annual tourists with its well-preserved colonial architecture and proximity to Machu Picchu.
When in Cusco, make a side trip to see Pisac in Pisac, approximately Pisac away. On the 5th (Mon), spend a fun day on foot with Walking tours. Spend the 1st (Thu) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. There's still lots to do: delve into the distant past at Sacsayhuaman, contemplate the long history of Sacred Valley of the Incas, admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Precolombino, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Qorikancha.

To plan Cusco vacation without wasting time, ask Inspirock to design an itinerary.

Traveling by flight from Arequipa to Cusco takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In November in Cusco, expect temperatures between 26°C during the day and 8°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Tue) early enough to drive to Machu Picchu.
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Historic Sites · Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife
Side Trips

Machu Picchu, Peru — 2 nights

A symbol of the Incan civilization, the abandoned city of Machu Picchu represents a must-see on a Peru vacation.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Wed): indulge in some personalized pampering at Centro de Masajes Samay and then contemplate the long history of Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu. Keep things going the next day: delve into the distant past at Winay Wayna.

To see maps, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Machu Picchu online journey planner.

Traveling by car from Cusco to Machu Picchu takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and train; or take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Thu) to allow time for the flight to Bogota.
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Historic Sites · Spas

Bogota, Colombia — 3 nights

Athens of South America

Colombia's heart and soul, Bogota has earned the nickname "Athens of South America" thanks to its abundance of universities, libraries, and lower-level schools.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Bogota: Centro de Memoria El Cuartico (in Valledupar) and Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira (in Zipaquira). The adventure continues: stroll through Monserrate, admire the masterpieces at Museo Botero del Banco de la Republica, see the interesting displays at Museo Nacional de Colombia, and browse the fresh offerings at Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao.

To see other places to visit, maps, photos, and tourist information, read our Bogota online route builder.

Fly from Machu Picchu to Bogota in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of car and bus. In December, daytime highs in Bogota are 22°C, while nighttime lows are 9°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sun) so you can catch the flight to Medellin.
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Historic Sites · Museums · Tours · Parks
Side Trips

Medellin, Colombia — 3 nights

City of the Eternal Spring

Nestled between rising hills in a narrow valley, Medellin serves as an energetic melting pot of people from all socio-economic classes.
On the 13th (Tue), spend a fun day on foot with Walking tours. There's still lots to do: see Off-Road Tours, examine the collection at Toucan Coffee Museum, take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, and indulge in some culinary diversions at a local gastronomic tour.

To find reviews, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Medellin trip itinerary planner.

You can fly from Bogota to Medellin in 2.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. In December, Medellin is somewhat warmer than Bogota - with highs of 32°C and lows of 20°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Wed) so you can catch the flight to Cartagena.
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Tours · Outdoors · Museums

Cartagena, Colombia — 3 nights

City of Heroes

The site of the continent's first Spanish colony, Cartagena retains much of its colonial flavor thanks to a World Heritage-listed old town, encircled by old walls and protected by imposing fortresses.
Cartagena is known for historic sites, sightseeing, and museums. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: contemplate the long history of Walled City of Cartagena, pause for some serene contemplation at Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver, make a trip to Plaza Santo Domingo, and discover the deep blue sea with Caribe Colombiano Diving.

For where to stay, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Cartagena vacation planning tool.

Getting from Medellin to Cartagena by flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Prepare for a bit warmer weather when traveling from Medellin in December: high temperatures in Cartagena hover around 37°C and lows are around 28°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Sat) to allow enough time to fly to San Andres Island.
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Historic Sites · Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours
Side Trip

San Andres Island, Colombia — 6 nights

The coral San Andres Island boasts a rich colonial history, exotic beaches, and a laidback, tropical lifestyle.
San Andres Island is known for nature, wildlife, and parks. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: discover the deep blue sea with Scuba San Andres Dive Shop, tour the pleasant surroundings at Bahia del Cove, step off the mainland to explore Johnny Cay, and enjoy the sand and surf at Bahia Cocoplum.

To find maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our San Andres Island trip planner.

Fly from Cartagena to San Andres Island in 3 hours. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in December, and nighttime lows around 29°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri) to allow time to fly to La Fortuna de San Carlos.
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Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Nature

La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica — 6 nights

Set against the backdrop of the imposing Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos offers visitors a chance to explore diverse natural landscapes and sample some delicious local produce.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, and parks. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, gain a rich perspective with a tour of cultural highlights, head outdoors with Outdoor Activities, and stroll around Bogarin Trail.

For where to stay, photos, maps, and tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

Traveling by flight from San Andres Island to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 8.5 hours. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from San Andres Island to La Fortuna de San Carlos due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Tamarindo.
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Parks · Nature · Tours · Outdoors
Side Trip

Tamarindo, Costa Rica — 4 nights

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tamarindo: Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste), Playa Conchal (Garra de Leon Golf Course & Playa Conchal) and Cafe Tio Leo (in Liberia). The adventure continues: get in on the family fun at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, relax and rejuvenate at Tamarindo Massage & Myofascial Release Techniques, get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach.

To see traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo vacation planner.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tamarindo in 4 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Tamarindo can reach 32°C, while at night they dip to 32°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Manuel Antonio.
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Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife · Beaches
Side Trips

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica — 5 nights

The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Venture out of the city with trips to Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge (in Uvita) and Jaco (Royal Butterflies & Canyoning & Rappelling Tours). There's much more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, take in the local highlights with Walking tours, and see Off-Road Tours.

For maps, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio road trip tool.

You can do a combination of flight and shuttle from Tamarindo to Manuel Antonio in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 7th (Sat) to allow time for the flight to Lima.
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Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks
Side Trips

Lima, Peru — 4 nights

City of the Kings

Founded in 1535 by Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro, Lima represents an interesting blend of modern attractions and preserved colonial architecture, much of it clustered in the World Heritage-listed city center.
Lima is known for museums, parks, and historic sites. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: admire the local landmark of Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor), browse the exhibits of Museo Convento San Francisco y Catacumbas, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at San Pedro Church (Iglesia de San Pedro), and take an in-depth tour of Museo Larco.

To see traveler tips, photos, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Lima trip maker website.

You can fly from Manuel Antonio to Lima in 9.5 hours. You'll lose 1 hour traveling from Manuel Antonio to Lima due to the time zone difference. In January, plan for daily highs up to 31°C, and evening lows to 24°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Wed) to allow time to fly to San Pedro de Atacama.
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Historic Sites · Tours · Museums · Neighborhoods
Side Trip

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile — 4 nights

Major archeological sites and a renowned museum remain the big draws in San Pedro de Atacama tourism, appealing to visitors interested in learning more about South America's pre-Columbian cultures.
Step out of San Pedro de Atacama to go to Antofagasta and see Salar de Atacama, which is approximately 1h 30 min away. And it doesn't end there: take in the natural beauty of Geyser del Tatio, head outdoors with Outdoor Activities, take in the dramatic natural features at Valle De La Luna, and delve into the distant past at Pukara de Quitor.

Start your trip to San Pedro de Atacama by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

Getting from Lima to San Pedro de Atacama by flight takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Lima to San Pedro de Atacama, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Expect cooler evenings in San Pedro de Atacama when traveling from Lima in January, with lows around 8°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sun) so you can fly back home.
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Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours
Side Trip

Chile travel guide

4.3
Landmarks · Parks · Specialty Museums
Land of Poets
Squeezed between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, geographically diverse Chile is a long, thin stretch of land encompassing some of the world's driest deserts in the north, and some of its largest glacial fields in the south. Though most Chile holidays include some form of adventure in the vast wilderness areas, the country also contains charming cities providing plenty of urban things to do and see. Many tours of Chile include at least a brief visit to the country's lush wine regions, where backyard vineyards compete with sprawling estates producing some of the world's most respected whites and reds.
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Peru travel guide

4.6
Historic Sites · Parks · Landmarks
Land of the Incas
In a country renowned for its pre-Columbian archeological sites, no Peru vacation would be complete without an adrenaline-inducing hike to Machu Picchu, World Heritage-listed symbol of the once-mighty Incan Empire. Aside from visiting these spectacular ruins set against the backdrop of photogenic mountain peaks, most holidays in Peru also include an exploration of the country's pretty cities, boasting well-preserved colonial architecture and a slew of modern buildings housing fine museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants. Ideal for active vacationers, Peru trips are also tailor-made for gourmands, as the country's eclectic cuisine blends tasty influences from Africa, Asia, and Europe.
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Colombia travel guide

4.2
Historic Sites · Landmarks · Specialty Museums
Diverse in terms of landscapes, climates, and cultures, Colombia remains one of South America's least explored tourist destinations, overshadowed by its more popular southern neighbors. Combining the best of what the continent has to offer, a vacation in Colombia allows you to blend outdoor adventures with tours of picture-perfect cobblestoned towns dating back to the colonial era. Tourists on a Colombia holiday can easily hop from sun-kissed coastal spots to the hilly coffee-growing region, where thriving plantations quickly give way to a landscape of snow-covered volcanic peaks and the paramo--alpine ecosystems sheltering some of the rarest plants growing above the continuous forest line.
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Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.
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