2 Weeks In South America: 3 Itineraries

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South America is a must-visit because of its jungles, mountainscapes, beaches, history, food, and activities, among other things. It is a massive continent with many sights and things to discover. That’s why I narrowed the itineraries to one to two countries each so you could maximise your stay here.

There are 12 countries that makeup South America. This includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guayana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, and a French colony of French Guiana.

On my first trip to South America, I only managed to see Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. So, in my second 2 weeks in South America trip, I visited new places such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile. It was tight, but it was possible. I have more places to see in this region in the future.


4 images - Uyuni salt flat, sugarloaf of Rio de Janeiro, Machu Picchu Citadel, and glacier lake in Patagonia - 2 Weeks In South America Itinerary

Before booking or finalising your travel arrangements, the information below will help you visualise the trip’s look. You can decide when is the most suitable time for you to go, which countries to combine, and cost of a 14-day trip in South America.

You should also check out our packing list for a 2-week trip.

When is the best time to travel to South America

It’s hard to tell the specific perfect time since South America is such a massive region, and many countries sit on the Andes mountain range. But to give you an idea, here are some information:

  • Andean Countries (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia): May to September offers clear skies and milder temperatures, ideal for trekking and exploring the Andes.
  • Brazil and the Amazon: June to October is the dry season, providing excellent wildlife spotting opportunities and less humidity.
  • Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay): December to March is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, making it ideal for Patagonia and other southern destinations.
  • Beach Destinations: December to February is the peak season for beaches across the continent.

Are 2 weeks enough for South America

Not really, because this continent is really big and many countries sit on top or hillside of the Andes Mountain. This means that land travel takes a long time.

However, if you plan well and choose to correct countries to combine (if you want to see more than one country), you can make enjoyable travel itinerary and make the most out of your time there.

For example, I once spent two weeks in South America and visited northern Brazil and Colombia. It was ideal because the flight between the cities I chose are around 6 hours.

How to get around

Buses are the most affordable way to get around South Africa, but they could also be the slowest since many roads go through the mountainside. The flights are pretty affordable, and many airports in major cities or popular destinations exist. This is an excellent choice for speed and comfort.

Uber is a popular ride-hailing app throughout South America, but in some parts, such as Colombia, it can be sketchy. Other apps include inDriver, Cabify, and Beat.

Language and currency

There are various currencies throughout South America; most countries have their own local currency. But you should be able to exchange or even pay with major currencies such as USD, Euro, and GBP in tourist services such as hotel and tour agencies.

You must carry cash at all times. ATMs are available almost anywhere, but paying at a restaurant or store, usually in cash, is preferred.

When it comes to language, Spanish is the main language, except in Brazil, where Portuguese is the primary language. Communicating in English can be a hit-and-miss. In countries such as Peru and Chile, but in Colombia, Spanish is quite handy.

Visa and Yellow Fever/COVID-19Card

Each country has different visa policies. However, if your passport is from first-world countries such as US, Canada, EU, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, you can receive a visa for free in South America or apply for an evisa or visa on arrival.

The duration also varies between 30 days to 180 days. Please do your research about visas for each country that you’re visiting to make sure you can enter and travel in those places with no hassle.

Many countries in Latin America will lask for a yellow fever card. Make sure you have been vaccinated at least 10 days before you arrive and get your vaccination card. The same applies to the COVID-19 vaccination card. Some countries will ask for it, others won’t – best to have it ready.

What is the average cost for 2 weeks in South America

This can vary a lot, especially if you plan to travel by air from one country to another. Domestic flights cost in South America are pretty decent. But once you fly internationally, the ticket price can spike up.

Plus, each country has massive differences when it comes to cost. For example, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil are pretty affordable. But then Chile and Argentina are on the pricey side.

On average, though, 2 weeks in South America should cost you around $1,400. You can make it a bit more affordable if you’re a backpacker and plan to sleep in the dorm rooms. For that shoestring budget, you can bring it down to $900.

For luxury trip in this region, it’s best to plan to spend $2,500 and up to $4,000 where you can stay in luxury hotels and dine at premium restaurants. These budgets are for a single person. You can save a bit in accommodation if you share it with a travel partner.

Other basic travel tips

When you’re sure of the dates and destinations, book your hotel in advance to enjoy plenty of options and grab the best deals. Domestic flights and buses can be book last minute, unless you’re visiting during peak season which is between November to February, secure your tickets in advance.


Click the icon on the top right to enlarge the map. Credit: map data: Google


I created three itineraries for 2 weeks in South America. There are travel plans for first-time visitors to South America, a country full of adventures, and an itinerary for those who want to travel slower. You can also mix and match these countries depending on your trip preference.

The activities each country offers and the best sights to see are mentioned here to decide which ones you want to go to. You can definitely create your own travel itinerary once you have some ideas about which places are near one another and the type of activities you want to d.o

Gringo Trail

The Gringo Trail is a popular travel route in South America frequented by backpackers and tourists, primarily from Western countries. It generally includes must-see destinations such as Cusco and Machu Picchu in Peru, La Paz in Bolivia, and Quito in Ecuador, often extending to Colombia, Chile, and Argentina, encompassing attractions like the Amazon Rainforest, the Salt Flats, and historical Inca sites.

Covering the entirety of the Gringo Trail in two weeks is unrealistic due to its vastness and rich experiences. However, you can choose a section of the trail to explore more thoroughly within this timeframe. For example, focusing on Peru and Bolivia would allow you to experience the Andes, Machu Picchu, and the Salt Flats without being too rushed.

Itinerary #1: First-time (Peru and Brazil)

The first itinerary for your 2 weeks in South America consists of the countries with the most popular tourist attractions in this region; Peru and Brazil.

Peru is a megadiverse country with various habitats, including arid plains, mountain peaks, and rainforests. Because of its rich biodiversity, Peru has many amazing animal species, such as alpacas and llamas.

Conversely, Brazil is the largest country in South America and Latin America and the seventh most populous globally. There are many world-famous landmarks in Brazil, including Christ the Redeemer, located among the most popular destinations in South America, Rio de Janeiro. Aside from that, Brazil is also well-known for its diverse cities, beaches, rainforests, and of course, football, with both Pele and Neymar being born there.

Both of these countries are perfect for people who love nature and history as both of these countries are filled with well-preserved historical structures. They also have tons of activities for adrenaline junkies, which will be tackled in later paragraphs.

If you want to spend time only in Peru or only in Brazil, you can do that too. We have 2 weeks in Peru and 2 weeks in Brazil itineraries.

2 images -Machu Picchu and Sugarloaf mountain

Lima and Huaraz for 3 days

Lima is the capital and the largest city in Peru. Lima has tons of museums, galleries, and buzzing nightlife. It also has an extensive gastronomy, so there will be something to eat for everyone.

Huaraz is the capital of Peru’s Ancash region and is monikered as the “Switzerland of the South”. Due to the visible mountain peaks, even from the city’s centre. The distance between Lima and Huaraz is 251 miles and must be travelled by land. The most common transportation modes to Huaraz are by bus or driving.

Cusco and Machu Picchu for 4 days

Cusco is a city in Southeastern Peru near the Andes Mountains range. It is the capital of the Inca Empire and is declared a UNESCO world heritage site. It is a must to stay at Cusco first, as there are so many sights to see, and you must acclimate.

Depending on your time, you can either do the Inca Trail hike, which takes 2-4 days, or a day trip to Machu Picchu by train.

Machu Pichu is an Inca citadel in Southern Peru and is often called the Lost City of Incas. It was voted one of the World’s New Seven Wonders in 2007. Unfortunately, there is no direct route from Lima to Machu Pichu. You need to go to Cusco first; you can have multiple options.

From Lima, you can either take a bus to Cusco or board a flight. The bus will take nearly 30 hours, so it’s best to fly. There are non-stop flights between these two cities. It will take 1 hr and 30 minutes, and there are nearly 20 flights a day.

Rio de Janeiro for 4 days

Rio de Janeiro is among the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Part of the city was also declared a world heritage site. It is well-known for its natural scenic views, biodiversity, samba, bossa nova, beaches, and carnival, perfect for those fond of music, dancing, and festivals.

There are tons of other world-famous tourist spots here aside from Christ the Redeemer, including Sugarloaf, Tijuca National Park, and Jardim Botanico. You’ll find Copacabana, Ipanema, and Prainha Beach for those fond of the beach.

You must fly from Cusco to Rio de Janeiro. The travel time is around 12 hours and usually has two stops.

Sao Paulo for 2 days

Another famous city and the most populous in Brazil is Sao Paolo. It is renowned for its gastronomy, architecture, parks, museums, and skyscrapers. If you stay for two weeks in South America, it would be advisable to stay in Sao Paolo for at least 2 days.

Some tourist attractions here are Museu de Arte, Football Museum, Ibirapuera Park, Avenida Paulista, Teatro Municipal, Museo de Arte Contemporanea, and more.

You can fly between Rio de Janeiro, which will take 1 hr and 15 mins. Flights leave at least 15 times a day between these two cities. You can save some money by taking a 6-hour bus ride.

You can take a flight home or to your net destination from here since Sao Paulo has an international airport.

Itinerary #2: Patagonia Adventure (Argentina)

I first learned about Patagonia when I watched a Korean travel show entitled Traveler, and I was very much elated by what I saw. Picturesque fields and mountains capped with snow that very much look like they are shot straight out of a movie. That’s what interested me in including this place on my bucket list, and you should too when spending 2 weeks in South America.

Patagonia is a geographical region located at the southern end of South America, governed by Chile and Argentina.

Now, we’re going to focus on the part that is located in Argentina. Patagonia is an escape from modern society, perfect for nature lovers, photographers, adventure seekers, and way finders alike.

The cities listed below are the most famous ones, as they have abundant wildlife and numerous hiking trails that vary in difficulty level. You can also camp here and watch the night sky full of stars with your family, friends, or loved ones.

2 images - El Calafate ice sheet and Patagonia snowcapped mountain

Buenos Aires for 2 days

Buenos Aires is well-known for its rich cultural life and eclectic architecture. Your stay here could be used in preparation for your trip, but there are still a couple of sights to see here, so we’ll never stray far for you to have your needed rest before the challenging hikes.

Some of the city’s tourist attractions include Plaza de Mayo, Casa Rosada, Caminito Street Museum, Recoleta Cemetery and Museums, The Colon Theater, and more.

El Chaltén for 4 days

To start off your adventurous journey during your 2 weeks in South America, you can head straight to the quaint backpacking town of El Chalten. It is actually the trekking capital of Argentina, meaning multiple hikes can be done here in various durations.

One of the most famous hiking trails can be found at Cerro Fitz Roy and Laguna dos Tres. Believe it or not, you can also hike to glaciers here, one of which is Glacier Huemul. Those not fond of trekking also offer river rafting, boat trips, and horseback riding, among others.

Perito Moreno Glacier for 4 days

One of the most famous glaciers here is the Perito Moreno Glacier. I still remember on the show that I watched that there are times when some parts of the glacier fall off, and it’s one of the natural events that the tourists wait for. Aside from that, there are also multiple trails here, and they offer mini trekking sessions that require advanced reservations.

A bus ride to reach Perito Moreno from El Chalten is the most recommended option. The travel duration is more than five hours. You can also drive or ride a taxi.

Itinerary #3: Peru and Bolivia

Peru is home to several cultures from medieval and ancient periods. It has one of the longest histories of civilisation in any country, so it is filled to the brim with historical artefacts and establishments. Aside from that, it is also famous for dune hiking, the Rainbow Mountains, Nazca Lines, and Amazon Jungle.

On the other hand, Bolivia is well-known for its many mountains, alpacas, salt flats, frilly dresses, and bowler hats. These countries are perfect for explorers with an appetite for the historical journey, nature, and adventure.

Check our 2 weeks in Bolivia itinerary if you prefer to only explore that area.

2 images - Huaraz glacial lake and flamingoes in Uyuni

Lima and Huaraz for 3 days

If you stay for 14 days in South America, planning to spend at least three days in Lima and Huaraz is advisable. Aside from the Nazca lines, some of the most exciting things to do in Lima include visiting its historical centre, the Peruvian Catacombs, Huaca Pucllana, and Parque del Amor. They also have tons of surfing spots and offer Mirabus tours.l

A couple of must-visit locations in Huaraz are Laguna 69, Pastouri Glacier, and Nevado Mateo Summit. You can also hike the Santa Cruz trail, but it takes 4 days to do so, and the Huayhuash trail takes 10 days to do so.

Cusco and Machu Picchu for 4 days

Cusco is the oldest consistently inhabited city in the Americas, and the old Inca City’s ruins became the foundation of Spanish architecture. Some must-see places include Sacsayhuaman, Plaza de Amras, and Museo Inca.

Machu Picchu, also known as the sacred valley, is well-known for the House of the High Priest, the Central Gate, Intihuatana, the Inca Drawbridge, Principal Temple, and the Royal Tomb, among others. There are a couple of ways to get to Machu Picchu from Lima, including by plane, by Peru hop bus, or trekking via Ollantaytambo.

Arequipa 2 days

Arequipa has one of the world’s deepest canyons and is dominated by volcanoes. That’s why there are numerous thermal pools here. Aside from that, its cuisine and historical sights are something that you wouldn’t want to leave. Some tourist attractions here include Colca Canyon, Santa Catalina Convent, Arequipa Museums, and Historical Center. They also offer many activities, such as horseback riding, trekking, mountain biking, and walking tours.

Personally, I flew to reach Arequipa from Cusco as it is the fastest and only takes more than two hours. Other options include driving, riding the train and bus, which has a travel time of 10 hours and covers a distance of 501 km.

La Paz for 3 days

La Paz is Bolivia’s capital and the world’s highest capital city, as it sits in a valley in the Andes mountains. This place is filled with museums, churches, and artefacts from the pre-conquest era. Some places to visit here are Urban Rush Bolivia, Mi Teleferico, Valley of the Moon, WMDR Yungas Road, National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore, and more.

They also offer city walking tours, death road biking tours, food, wine, and beer tours. The most recommended option to reach La Paz from Arequipa is by bus, which takes 13 hours. Other options include driving and flying.

Uyuni for 2 days

Uyuni is a town in Southwest Bolivia well-known worldwide for its salt flats and the Incahuasi Island. On its salt flat alone, you could ride a bicycle, make barbecues, stargaze, or wait for the sunrise or sunset, which is a thing that I also always wanted to do. Aside from the activities on the salt flat, you could also climb the Tunupa Volcano.

The most recommended option to reach Uyuni from La Paz is flying, which takes almost three hours. Other options include driving or riding a bus which is the cheapest option and lasts for 9 hours. It covers a distance of 540 km.


Lima, Peru

  • Міrаflоrеѕ Аrеа
  • Рlауа Маkаhа
  • Fаrо Lа Маrіnа
  • Рuntа Rоquіtаѕ
  • Ѕwіm wіth wіld ѕеа lіоn аt Раlоmіnо Іѕlаndѕ – bооk а tоur
  • Lаrсо Мuѕеum
  • Рlаzа Dе Аrmаѕ Dе Lіmа
  • Реruvіаn Fооd Тоur
  • Раrk оf thе Rеѕеrvе / Сіrсuіtо Маgісо dеl Аguа
  • Раrquе dеl Аmоr
  • Нuаса Рuсllаnа
  • Lа Rоѕа Nаutіса
  • Раrасаѕ аnd Нuасасhіnа

Huaraz, Peru

  • Рuntа Unіоn
  • Lаgunа 69
  • Lаgunа Сhuruр
  • Lаgunа Раrоn
  • Book a tour that covers all these places

Cusco and Machu Picchu, Peru

Arequipa, Peru

  • Еl Міѕti – 5,800 m (19,000 ft)
  • Соlса Саnуоn – 1-day hike or 2-day hike or a 3-day hike
  • Мuѕео Ѕаntuаrіоѕ Аndіnоѕ
  • Іglеѕіа dе lа Соmраnіа
  • Јuаnіtа
  • Рlаzа Dе Аrmаѕ – уеѕ, thеrе’ѕ оnе іn Аrеquіра tоо
  • Ѕаn Саmіlо Маrkеt
  • Моnаѕtеrіо dе Ѕаntа Саtаlіnа
  • Аrеquіра Сіtу Тоur

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Christ the Redeemer
  • Sugarloaf Mountain
  • Ipanema
  • Tijuca National Park
  • Jardim Botanico
  • Maracana
  • Sao Bento

Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • Museo de Arte
  • Parque do Ibirapuera
  • Museo de Futbol
  • Avenida Paulista
  • Beco do Batman
  • Mosterio de Sao Bento

La Paz, Bolivia

Uyuni, Bolivia

Buenos Aires, Argentina

El Chalten, Argentina

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina


Love to try out different cuisines? South America might share a few things, but when it comes to food, as you travel around you’ll see various versions of empanadas. Here’s a list to of dishes, desserts, and drinks to try while you are exploring South America for two weeks.

  • Empanadas – pastry filled with meat, cheese, vegetables
  • Humitas – traditional dish from the Andean region made with fresh corn dough
  • Churrasco – grilled steak dish that is popular throughout South America
  • Arepas – staple food in Colombia and Venezuela
  • Lomo saltado – popular Peruvian dish made with stir-fried beef
  • Feijoada – hearty stew from Brazil
  • Asado – type of barbecue that is popular in Argentina and Uruguay
  • Ceviche – popular seafood dish
  • Brigadeiro – popular chocolate truffle dessert from Brazil
  • Alfajores – traditional dessert from Argentina and Peru made with two shortbread
  • Tres leches cake – sponge cake
  • Churros – fried pastry dough
  • Dulce de leche – caramel-like sauce
  • Quesillo – creamy custard
  • Cocadas – traditional coconut candy
  • Mazamorra morada – sweet purple corn pudding
  • Arroz con leche – sweet rice pudding
  • Mate – traditional drink from Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay steeped from mate leaves
  • Caipirinha – cocktail from Brazil
  • Pisco sour – cocktail from Peru and Chile
  • Chicha – fermented corn drink
  • Horchata – sweet, milky drink made with ground nuts
  • Canelazo – warm, spiced drink
  • Açai juice – popular antioxidant-rich juice
  • Guaraná – carbonated soft drink from Brazil
  • Limonada de coco coconut water drink with lime from Colombia
3 images - empanaad, arepas, and asado


Lima, Peru

Huaraz, Peru


Machu Picchu, Peru

Arequipa, Peru

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Sao Paulo, Brazil

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La Paz, Bolivia

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Uyuni, Bolivia

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

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El Chalten, Argentina

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Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

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14 days in South America isn’t exactly enough to explore everything that it has to offer. You can, however, see the best among the best in each country, and that’s why our itineraries are focused on two countries so that you’ll have a week to explore each country.

In these itineraries, you could explore Machu Picchu, some parts of Patagonia, the remnants of the Incan Empire, and the world-famous salt flats, and even have an Amazon adventure. Two weeks of going through these places will surely be an adventure of a lifetime.


Embark on a two-week South American adventure: Explore the Amazon rainforest, trek to Machu Picchu, and marvel at Iguazu Falls. Experience vibrant cities, diverse cultures, and breathtaking landscapes across this dynamic and captivating continent. via @twoweektraveller