Plan the Perfect 4-week Trip Around South America

by on 22nd August, 2022

A picture of South America travellers, Andean Trails

South America is a vast destination with so many attractions. Often, the question is how to fit in as much as possible — such as 4 weeks in South America.

We have a quarter of a century of experience putting together the logistics for top tours and making dream trip ideas a reality. Ask us the best time to go, where to land, how to maximise travel time, and where to build in some downtime, and we’ll help.

We want everyone to enjoy the continent as much as we do. That’s why we’ve put together several itinerary suggestions for up to four weeks in South America, including a required budget guide.

Four weeks in South America may be beyond many people’s time and budget allowance. These flexible itineraries are mere outlines to inspire, and we can mould them to suit your travel style and tastes.

Read our perfect four-week trips around South America. Get in touch, and we can start planning your trip, too.


Four Weeks in South America by Kathy Jarvis

Andean Trails’ founder Kathy has picked beautiful Patagonia for her four-week tour. Make sure you pack enough memory cards to capture all the beautiful surroundings.


Guanaco posing Torres del Paine, Chile, Patagonia


Day 1:  Arrive in Santiago, Chile

Day 2:  Explore Santiago

Day 3: Fly to Puerto Montt and explore the Chilean Lake District

Days 4-8: Hike, bike and kayak around volcanoes and lake

Day 8:  Fly to Balmaceda and self-drive through Aysen

Days 9-13: Marble Caves, Terra Luna Hotel

Day 14: Arrive at Villa O’Higgins.

Day 15: Trek and boat crossing from Chile into Argentina to El Chalten

Day 17: Explore El Chalten and Fitz Roy National Park

Day 21: Visit Perito Moreno glacier

Day 22: Travel to Paine W for Paine W trek (self-guided or group), or Paine Circuit

Day 28/29: Ends with a flight back to Santiago.


Marble caves, Lake General Carrera, Patagonia, Chile


Trip Highlights: Lakes, snow-capped mountains, marble caves, trekking

Who’s it for?: Hikers, independent and adventurous travellers, active families, wilderness lovers

Required budget (without flights): USD 6,500pp upwards

Best time to go: October to April

Where to land: Santiago, Chile


Four Weeks in South America by Kat Dougal

Kat is a huge fan of Ecuador and the Galapagos (Bolivia, Colombia, and more) and has designed a ‘see-it-all’ itinerary.

Ecuador is like South America in miniature; you’ll experience everything from Amazon to high mountains to the unique Galapagos Islands. Travel times are generally short (1-3 hours) between highlights.

Canoe arriving at Napo lodge, Napo, Ecuador


Day 1:  Arrive in Quito

Day 2: Explore historic Quito

Days 3-5: Discover north Ecuador’s lakes, volcanoes, and estancias

Days 6-8: Cloudforest and wildlife at Maquipucuña

Days 9-12: Explore the Amazon rainforest

Day 13: Travel to Hacienda Porvenir

Day 14: Horse ride or walk near Cotopaxi

Day 15-16: Quilotoa lagoon and Black Sheep Inn

Day 17: Baños

Days 18-22: Travel overland to coastal Guayaquil, visiting Chimborazo, Ingapirca Inca ruins, Cuenca and Cajas National Park

Day 23: Fly to Galapagos for 5-8 day cruise or land-based trip

Day 28-31: Fly home

Quito Cotopaxi Ecuador


Trip Highlights: Wildlife, rainforest, culture, volcanoes, and Galapagos Islands

Who’s it for?: Everyone from children to wildlife enthusiasts to culture freaks

Required budget (without flights): USD 5,000pp upwards + Galapagos at USD 2,000-10,000pp, depending on boat or hotels used.

Best time to go: Year round

Where to land: Quito, Ecuador


Four Weeks in South America by Tom Shearman

Tom has gone for a mix of countries that all share borders in the Central Andes. This itinerary is packed with culture, history, snow-capped mountains and treks, plus a chance to see some of the clearest night skies in the world.



Day 1: Arrive in Lima

Day 2: Museums and fine dining

Day 3:  Fly to Cusco, city tour

Day 4: Sacred Valley tour

Day 5: Four-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Day 10: Relax in Cusco

Day 11: Amazon Rainforest of Manu or Tambopata

Day 15: Return to Cusco

Day 16: First class train to Puno, for Lake Titicaca

Day 17-18: Explore Lake Titicaca

Day 19: Bus from Peru to La Paz in Bolivia

Day 20: La Paz city tour

Day 21: Fly to Uyuni Salt Flats tour

Day 24: Cross the border into Chile for the Atacama Desert

Day 25-28: Explore the area — stargazing, geysers, hot springs with 3 to 5* hotels

Day 29: Fly to Santiago, ends

Machu Picchu Inca site Peru


Trip Highlights: Culture, history, Incas, mountains, trains, stars, and deserts

Who’s it for?: Culture lovers, fine diners, hikers, and explorers of remote places

Required budget (without flights): USD 8,000pp upwards

Best time to go: Year-round (Inca Trail closed in February)

Where to land: Lima, Peru. This tour can also be run in reverse, starting in Chile.


More Ideas For South America

Of course, there is a panoply of ways to spend four weeks in South America. Here are some more ideas for traveller types:

Hikers: Head to Huaraz in Peru, acclimatise on the Santa Cruz trek (4 days), then undertake any number of 8-14 day hikes like the Huayhuash. End with a visit to Gocta waterfall and Kuelap ruins.

Bikers: Some flying is required between Colombia’s road options, Peru’s Single Track biking and some more leisurely stuff in Chile.

Off-the-beaten-trackers: Start in Paraguay, then explore Argentina’s Pantanal at Irupe, ending with Iguazu Falls and Buenos Aires.



The Perfect 4 Weeks In South America

There are a few ways to spend four weeks in South America — and we didn’t even mention Antarctica or Guyana.

The continent’s excellent flight connections mean it’s perfectly possible to combine Galapagos in the north with Patagonia in the south.

For many people, a holiday to South America is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it’s essential to get it right.

Make the most of our knowledge. Get in touch for ideas and outline itineraries tailored to your exact needs. Our simple-to-follow outlines will help you get to grips with travel times, logistics, and what to expect on arrival.

Join a group, travel independently, or mix it up. Here at Andean Trails, we’re delighted to talk to people excited about visiting South America. Contact us for more.

Santa Lucia Cloudforest Lodge Ecuador



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