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South America

Why Visit South America?

South America, the world’s fourth-largest continent, is a captivating land of unparalleled geographical diversity and cultural richness. South America is a study in contrasts. From vast coastal plains and the lush Amazon rainforest to the rugged Andes mountains and Atacama Desert, this continent has been a bastion for a fascinating range of cultures, peoples, and wildlife.

Some of the world’s most significant ancient cultures and civilizations made their home in South America, including the Inca, Aztec, and Maya. Colonization and cultural blending through the centuries created an intricate tapestry of traditions, flavors, and languages that make South America one of the most diverse regions of the world today.

By air
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How to Reach South America by Air

The most popular and efficient way to get to South America is by air. There are lots of international airports connected to major cities worldwide for easy and convenient travel.

Here’s how to get to South America by air from different parts of the world:

  • From North America: North American travelers can depart from major airports in cities like Toronto, Los Angeles, New York City, or Mexico City to reach South America’s most popular destinations on direct or connecting flights. You can find flights through American Airlines, LATAM Airlines, and Delta Air Lines to reach South America in 9-10+ hours on a direct flight, depending on your departure city and final destination.
  • From Europe: Frequent, daily flights operate between Europe and various South American cities, like Bogota, Colombia, São Paulo, Brazil, and Lima, Peru. Regular direct and connecting routes from major European cities like London, Paris, and Madrid make it easy to reach South America on airlines like British Airways, Iberia, and KLM. Direct flights take 7-10+ hours, depending on your departure and arrival city.
  • From Asia: Asia’s distance from South America means it’s a longer trip by plane, but connecting flights are regularly offered by airlines like LATAM Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Emirates from major hubs in Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Seoul. Connecting flights to South America may take 13-24+ hours, depending on your layover times and destination.
  • From Other International Locations: Air travel from Australia, Africa, and the Middle East to South America can be direct or connecting routes, depending on the airline and your South American destination. Nonstop flights from Australia may take 12-16+ hours, while nonstop and connecting flights from Africa can take 12-30+ hours.

Be sure to browse available flights during your preferred travel time in spring or fall to see what your options are (direct or connecting) for flights to South America. Your total flight time will vary based on your departure and arrival destination. You’ll generally find more open flight availability during the less-busy shoulder seasons.

How Long Is the Flight to South America?

The average flight time to South America can vary depending on the departure city, airline, and route. Here are approximate flight times from some of the most common origins:

  • Sydney, Australia: Approximately 17 hours 42 minutes
  • London, UK: About 11 hours 55 minutes
  • New York, USA: Around 8 hours 24 minutes

Please note that the availability of direct flights, airline choices, and specific routes can significantly affect these times.

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By road
How to Reach South America by Road

You can travel to South America by road by taking the Pan-American Highway (PAH) from North America through Central America. There’s a small section of the journey, the Darien Gap, that is impassable by car and requires you to ship your vehicle further down the highway into South America. You can make most of the journey all the way down to Panama, but to enter into Colombia, you’ll need to ship your car or arrange transportation.

By water
How to Reach South America by Water

Getting to South America by water is popular on cruise ships that travel along South America’s scenic coasts and islands and along the interior through the mighty Amazon River. Cruises depart from ports around places like Miami Los Angeles, London, and Cozumel, taking 14+ nights from most ports of call.

Norwegian, Oceania, Royal Caribbean, and Regent Seven Seas all offer South American cruises from various ports of call near and far.

AI Disclaimer Disclaimer: This page was created with help from AI | Reviewed by: Andrew Helling, Editor-in-Chief