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South America

Fantastic beasts & mysterious histories: Best family activities in South America

South America cruises are a fantastic way to enjoy a taste of this diverse, adventure-packed continent – what can you and the family enjoy in Brazil, Peru and beyond?

Words by Triona McBride

South America cruise vacations take intrepid travelers the length of this amazing continent, with luxury lines offering thrilling pre- and post-cruise adventures to tack on to your trip to ensure you explore your destination in depth.

When planning a family trip, it’s always tempting to keep things simple. Two weeks all-inclusive at a beach, theme parks, or a short city break with convenient apartment accommodation.

These are all great trips, but travel is about discovery and exploration. To truly inspire and enlighten your tribe to the wonders of the world, civilisation, and nature, South America is unsurpassed.

Exploring via an all-inclusive luxury cruise means you can also enjoy all the ease, luxury, and entertainment of those simpler trips.

We’ve taken a look at some of the best family activities you can enjoy on South America cruises whether you opt for shore excursions with your cruise line or a cruise and stay getaway.


Piranha fishing

When you think of Brazil, you think of the colors and energy of Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana Beach and Carnival and these are all incredible invigorating experiences sure to capture the imagination of every visitor to South America.

Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer (above, left) are both breathtaking landmarks waiting to inspire young guests in Brazil’s premier city, but this rainforest nation is so much more than Rio.

The spectacular Iguazu Falls (above, right) are just a short flight from Brazil’s vibrant coast, and the world’s largest tropical wetlands of Pantanal offer trekking adventures to find fantastic beasts such as giant otters, caiman, capybara, marsh deer, toucans, anacondas, and jaguars. What could be more exciting to a nine-year-old than the prospect of piranha fishing?


Ancient cities

The fascinating and ancient city of Machu Picchu (above, left) in Peru sits at the top of many explorers’ bucket lists and the Inca Rail makes it easily accessible for all ages on South America cruises.

Picking up a luxury ticket means your tribe will be treated to a full meal in a glass-roofed cabin as you rise to encounter the mysterious and sacred Temple of the Sun.

Peru doesn’t end at Machu Picchu and the ancient Inca capital of Cusco is a beautiful Spanish colonial city. At weekends the centre is traffic-free creating a cosmopolitan playground which children can enjoy safely as parents relax and explore.

Long beaches filled with watersports, wildlife-filled nature reserves, and the highest navigable lake in the world are just the icing on the cake for this incredible and often overlooked South American nation.


Lovely beaches

Uruguay offers a chance to truly relax in one of the world’s safest countries for families and children.

A whopping 420 miles of coastline provides an endless selection of beautiful beaches, sleepy seaside towns and traditional fishing villages.

With South America cruises offering so many adventures and activities, the chance to ease away a day or night on the serene Atlantic coast of Uruguay will be welcomed by parents and children alike.


Horse riding

For active families, Chile is a paradise. Huge peaceful glaciers, dramatic mountain ranges, and nature-filled hiking trails mean the outdoor adventures never end on cruises to South America.

Chile isn’t all about the countryside either, and Santiago is considered one of the most child-friendly capital cities in the world.

Horseback rides are a must all across this long, thin country besides the mighty Pacific Ocean, and more adventures can be found through ziplining, snowboarding, volcano trekking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, skiing, biking or, for those who prefer something a little more elevated, scenic helicopter flights.

These are just snapshots of the family adventures available in South America’s biggest nations, parks, and cities.

Take the extra time to visit Ecuador and its Galapagos Islands, or the dramatic landscapes of Bolivia and Columbia on a South America cruise, and you have a journey no member of your family will ever forget.

Set Sail

Earth, Fire & Ice with Regent Seven Sea Cruises

Duration: 21 nights

Where: Lima, Peru | Lisco/Nazca Lines, Peru | Coquimbo, Chile | Santiago, Chile | Puerto Montt, Chile | Puerto Chacabuco, Chile | Laguna San Rafael, Chile | Punta Arenas, Chile | Ushuaia, Argentina | Port Stanley, Falkland Islands | Puerto Madryn, Argentina | Puneta del Este, Uruguay | Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ship: Seven Seas Splendor

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Published 06.29.23