Travel Tips

Published on July 16th, 2017 | by Mark Chesnut


Top 10 Family Travel Experiences in South America

With its diverse cultures, dramatic scenery and exotic wildlife, South America is an ideal place to create a memorable family vacation. This vast region — which spans more than 6,800 square miles and ranges from sunny Caribbean beaches to glacier-lined waterways — has lots of excitement for kids of all ages. Parents and grandparents will find lots to love, too.

With expert guidance from the folks at Coddiwomple Journeys, a tour operator that specializes in customized, experiential trips in South America, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 family experiences in the region. Coddiwomple Journeys — our amazing new sponsor partner — offers an array of South America vacation itineraries, and can easily customize to fit each traveler’s interests and budget — making it even easier to put together the kind of experiences that will thrill families looking for multigenerational fun.

Here are the top 10 things to do for families in South America:

1. Learning to tango in Buenos Aires: This evocative Argentinean music and dance, which originated in the late 19th century, has emerged as one of the nation’s most iconic cultural traditions. And children can be unexpectedly good at mastering the intricate steps. Tango classes are easy to include as part of customizable tours like Coddiwomple’s Best of Argentina itinerary.

2. Living the Gaucho life in Argentina: Kids can enjoy the exciting rural lifestyle of Argentina’s legendary cowboys, the gauchos, as they spend a day on an authentic estancia (ranch), learning from the experts about horsemanship and other activities. Coddiwomple’s Best of Argentina itinerary combines this with a visit to stunning Iguazu Falls, and can be tailored to fit each family’s unique interests and budget.

3. Cycling through Chile’s Colchagua Valley: This scenic region, which lies conveniently close to the capital city of Santiago, is known for its excellent wines as well as its diverse outdoor activities. As parents savor the local varietals, kids can enjoy guided, easy hikes and cycling excursions, as well as horseback riding. It’s a great option for families that join Coddiwomple’s Fine Wines Great Cities of Argentina and Chile itinerary — and since the tours are customizable, it’s easy to combine experiences that will please all family members.

4. Floating above the Atacama Desert in a hot-air balloon: Chile’s otherworldly Atacama Desert is even more picturesque from the sky, and older kids will be wowed as they take off for a sunrise balloon ride. Families can tailor Coddiwomple’s Explore Central & Northern Chile package to include this and other unforgettable, only-in-the-desert excitement, as well as to fit various budgets.

5. Exploring volcanoes in Ecuador: This compact South American nation is home to breathtaking geography that will surely make a lasting impression on young explorers. Families can visit the world’s highest volcano, Cotopaxi, as well as Quilotoa Crater Lake, a lagoon at the top of the Quilotoa volcano. With Coddiwomple’s Andean Adventure & Culture itinerary, families can also interact with locals who still practice centuries-old traditions, and choose other activities to fit their interests perfectly.

It's easy to meet wildlife up close on the Galapagos Islands.

It’s easy to meet wildlife up close on the Galapagos Islands.

6. Walking and swimming with Galapagos Islands wildlife: It’s hard to find a kid who doesn’t get excited about animals at some point in their life. And there’s no better place to encourage that enthusiasm than the Galapagos Islands, the Ecuadorean archipelago where children can get unbelievably close to wildlife including giant tortoises, seals, blue-footed boobies and iguanas, to name a few. Coddiwomple’s Galapagos Islands itinerary, led by expert guides and easily customizable, is an ideal add-on to other Ecuador tours as well.

7. Wandering the ruins of Machu Picchu: This 15th-century Inca site may seem exotic and far removed from modern life, but the quick flight from Lima to historic Cusco, and luxurious train ride to the ruins, make it a comfortable trip for families. Kids will be amazed at what they see upon arrival, and will likely make good use of their cell phone cameras trying to capture Machu Picchu’s majesty. It’s a must-see stop on Coddiwomple’s Sacred Peru itinerary, and the company works with each guest to create the perfect experience at various price points.

8. Conversing with Incan descendants on the floating islands of Uros: Interacting with locals is an enriching experience for children of all ages, and the spectacular scenery of these floating islands — which just happen to be Lake Titicaca’s top attraction — provides an unforgettable backdrop. Coddiwomple’s Sacred Peru tour includes plenty of time for this one-of-a-kind experience, and allows the option to add even more activities based on personal interests and budget.

9. Spotting rare animals at Ecuador’s El Cajas National Park: Another great spot for animal lovers, this 70,000-acre refuge is a rewarding place for kids to test their skills at spotting wildlife including llamas, spectacled bears, pumas and birds like Andean condors, toucans and hummingbirds. The Andean Adventure & Culture itinerary, which Coddiwomple has designed to highlight some of Ecuador’s most interesting mountainous regions, includes the services of expert nature guides, and provides the opportunity for families to choose the activities and sites that are of greatest interest.

10. Investigating the mysteries of Easter Island. The exact meaning and origin of the Moai, 900 monumental statues that dot Easter Island, may never be fully known. But kids will have a great time learning possible explanations during guided Easter Island tours offered by Coddiwomple — and the customizable itinerary assures that every family member will have the best possible bucket-list experience.

About the Sponsor: Coddiwomple Journeys was built on a simple philosophy: to provide highly experiential trips with opportunities to deep dive into the local culture and heritage, by designing unique experiences for the discerning traveler. The emphasis is to ensure that the experience remains enriching and real.

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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