22 days in South America Itinerary

22 days in South America Itinerary

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Route & dates

22 days in South America Itinerary

Start: Chicago, United States
Fly:  10​h 15​min
1
Cartagena, Colombia
— 2 nights
Fly:  11​h
2
Santiago, Chile
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h 45​min
3
Buenos Aires, Argentina
— 2 nights
ferry:  2​h 15​min
4
Montevideo, Uruguay
— 2 nights
Fly:  5​h 45​min
5
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
— 1 night
Fly:  1​h 30​min
6
Porto Seguro, Brazil
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h 45​min
7
Itacare, Brazil
— 2 nights
+2
bus + taxi + Fly:  10​h 30​min
8
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
— 3 nights
Fly:  24​h
End: Chicago, United States

2
nights
Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena ©
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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sun): steep yourself in history at Walled City of Cartagena, then steep yourself in history at Plaza Santo Domingo, and then contemplate the long history of Torre del Reloj. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 16th (Mon): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Convent of Santa Cruz de la Popa, then head outdoors with Outdoor Activities, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver, and finally explore the historical opulence of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas.

To see photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Cartagena planner .

Chicago, USA to Cartagena is an approximately 10.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus. You'll lose 1 hour traveling from Chicago to Cartagena due to the time zone difference. Plan for warmer temperatures traveling from Chicago in December, with highs in Cartagena at 89°F and lows at 76°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Mon) early enough to travel to Santiago.

Things to do in Cartagena

Historic Sites Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Torre del Reloj ©
Torre del Reloj
Scuba & Snorkeling
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas ©
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

2
nights
Santiago, Chile

Santiago tourism thrives largely thanks to the city's big selection of cultural and entertainment options, including museums, theaters, restaurants, bars, and giant malls.
Step off the beaten path and head to River Rafting & Tubing and San Francisco Church. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Santuario de la Inmaculada Concepcion and Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos. Next up on the itinerary: take in the awesome beauty at San Cristóbal Hill, contemplate the long history of Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda y Plaza de la Ciudadania, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Iglesia de la Gratitud Nacional, and walk around Parque Araucano.

For where to stay, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Santiago trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Cartagena to Santiago by flight takes about 11 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. You'll lose 1 hour traveling from Cartagena to Santiago due to the time zone difference. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Thu) early enough to travel to Buenos Aires.

Things to do in Santiago

Parks Historic Sites Museums

Side Trip

River Rafting & Tubing
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Santuario de la Inmaculada Concepcion ©
San Cristóbal Hill ©
San Cristóbal Hill

2
nights
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Cultural capital of South America, Buenos Aires remains one of the largest cities on the continent, serving as a point of departure for exploring the rest of the country.
Start off your visit on the 20th (Fri): take in the architecture and atmosphere at Catedral Metropolitana, pause for some serene contemplation at Basilica del Santisimo Sacramento, then examine the collection at Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar, then admire the natural beauty at Parque 3 de Febrero, and finally admire the masterpieces at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Here are some ideas for day two: take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback, take a stroll through Palermo Soho, and then examine the collection at Museo River Plate.

For where to stay, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Buenos Aires route tool .

You can fly from Santiago to Buenos Aires in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Santiago to Buenos Aires, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. In December, daily temperatures in Buenos Aires can reach 83°F, while at night they dip to 68°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sat) to allow enough time to ride a ferry to Montevideo.

Things to do in Buenos Aires

Historic Sites Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Basilica del Santisimo Sacramento ©
Basilica del Santisimo Sacramento
Parque 3 de Febrero ©
Parque 3 de Febrero

2
nights
Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo ©
With a rich cultural scene and plenty of developed beaches, Montevideo vacations appeal to a growing number of visitors from around the world.
On the 22nd (Sun), take in the local highlights with Walking tours, ponder the world of politics at Palacio Legislativo, then pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de las Carmelitas, then see the interesting displays at Casa de Veraneo de Carlos Gardel en Malvin, and finally explore the historical opulence of Pittamiglio's Castle. On the next day, get great views at Mirador Panoramico de Montevideo, admire the masterpieces at Museo Torres Garcia, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Catedral de Montevideo, then see the interesting displays at 1972 Museum, and finally explore the world behind art at Palacio Taranco.

To see reviews, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Montevideo trip planning app .

You can ride a ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo in 2.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or take a bus. Plan for slightly colder nights when traveling from Buenos Aires in December since evenings lows in Montevideo dip to 62°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to travel to Rio de Janeiro.

Things to do in Montevideo

Museums Tours Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
1972 Museum ©
1972 Museum
Iglesia de las Carmelitas ©
Iglesia de las Carmelitas
Castillo Pittamiglio ©
Castillo Pittamiglio

1
night
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro ©
Bustling with samba music and all-night street parties, no city encapsulates the spirit of Brazil better than Rio de Janeiro.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Tue): appreciate the history behind Corcovado Christ the Redeemer, steep yourself in history at Parque Lage, and then take in the awesome beauty at Pao de Acucar. On the 25th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: enjoy the sand and surf at Copacabana Beach, enjoy the sand and surf at Pedra do Arpoador, then enjoy the sand and surf at Praia de Ipanema, and finally take in nature's colorful creations at Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro.

To see photos, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Rio de Janeiro trip planner .

Traveling by flight from Montevideo to Rio de Janeiro takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Prepare for a bit warmer weather when traveling from Montevideo in December: high temperatures in Rio de Janeiro hover around 87°F and lows are around 74°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) so you can catch the flight to Porto Seguro.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Copacabana Beach ©
Copacabana Beach
Praia de Ipanema
Praia de Ipanema
Bondinho  Pao de Acucar ©
Bondinho Pao de Acucar

3
nights
Porto Seguro, Brazil

Porto Seguro ©
In a sense, Porto Seguro is where Brazil as a country began, marking the spot where Portuguese explorers first arrived in the 16th century.
You'll get in some beach time at Taipe Beach and Coroa Vermelha Beach. Escape the urban bustle at Muta Beach and Recife de Fora. There's lots more to do: don't miss a visit to Largo da Ajuda, enjoy the sand and surf at Taperapua Beach, and pause for some serene contemplation at Capela de Nossa Senhora da Ajuda.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Porto Seguro day trip website .

Fly from Rio de Janeiro to Porto Seguro in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In December in Porto Seguro, expect temperatures between 83°F during the day and 72°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Itacare.

Things to do in Porto Seguro

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Coroa Vermelha Beach
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Muta Beach ©
Muta Beach
Praia de Taipe ©
Praia de Taipe
Coroa Vermelha Beach ©
Coroa Vermelha Beach

2
nights
Itacare, Brazil

Itacare ©
Most visitors remember their Itacare vacation by the area's wide beaches, lapped by breakers ideal for both experienced surfers and novice wave riders still perfecting their skills.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Sun): enjoy the sand and surf at Itacarezinho Beach and then enjoy the sand and surf at Jeribucacu Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: kick back and relax at Praia da Tiririca and then kick back and relax at Prainha Beach.

For reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Itacare online trip planner .

Traveling by car from Porto Seguro to Itacare takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of flight and shuttle. In December in Itacare, expect temperatures between 84°F during the day and 74°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) early enough to travel to Fernando de Noronha.

Things to do in Itacare

Outdoors Beaches Parks
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Jeribucacu Beach ©
Jeribucacu Beach
Prainha Beach ©
Prainha Beach
Praia da Tiririca ©
Praia da Tiririca

3
nights
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Fernando de Noronha ©
With 21 lush islands scattered among pristine waters in the Atlantic Ocean, a Fernando de Noronha holiday is well worth the effort it takes to get there.
We've included these beaches for you: Baia do Sancho and Porto de Santo Antonio Beach. Get in touch with nature at Baia dos Porcos and Projeto TAMAR Fernando de Noronha - Patrocínio PETROBRAS. Next up on the itinerary: enjoy the sand and surf at Praia do Cachorro, stroll through Baia dos Golfinhos, enjoy breathtaking views from Forte Sao Pedro do Boldro, and see the sky in a new way at Aulas de Energia – Espaco Usina Solar Fernando de Noronha.

To find other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Fernando de Noronha visit planning site .

Do a combination of shuttle and flight from Itacare to Fernando de Noronha in 10.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight. The time zone changes from Brasilia Time (BRT) to Fernando de Noronha Time (FNT), which is usually a 1 hour difference. In December, plan for daily highs up to 86°F, and evening lows to 77°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Fernando de Noronha

Outdoors Beaches Parks
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 3:
Highlights from your plan
Praia do Cachorro ©
Praia do Cachorro
Fernado de Noronha Island
Fernado de Noronha Island
Porto de Santo Antonio Beach ©
Porto de Santo Antonio Beach

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