South America has plenty to offer adventurous families. PIPPA STRICKLAND reveals some options
Travelling in South America with kids will make unique and lifelong memories
South America might not be the first destination you consider exploring with kids, but with incredible wildlife experiences, fascinating historic sights and culture-drenched cities, it’s a continent that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Adventure travel companies are making it easier than ever to journey through this remarkable part of the world, with dedicated family trips designed specifically for youngsters. They include family-friendly hotels and cruise ships, kid-oriented activities, and just enough adventure to keep them enthralled, without schedules that are exhausting.
There’s nothing quite like discovering the world through the inquisitive eyes of a child and here are three travel companies making it happen in South America.
1. Chimu Adventures
Whether you want to spend a few days deep in the Amazon Jungle or hop between the wildlife-filled islands of the Galapagos, South America specialist Chimu Adventures offers a range of family-friendly options throughout the continent. Most of its tours can be adapted for kids of all ages, from short beach breaks in the Brazilian beach paradise of Fernando de Noronha to a luxury train excursion on Ecuador’s Tren Crucero and an action-packed journey through Patagonia’s stunning Lakes District.
Each of its family adventures comes with a Difficulty Rating, which will help you to determine if it’s right for your family, as well as highlighting if you’ll encounter high altitude conditions.
More information: chimuadventures.com
2. World Expeditions
Sydney-based company World Expeditions is a leader in small group adventure holidays, some of which are specifically tailored to kids. Their Family Adventures are designed for children aged between 8 and 12 years, although they do offer customised, private tours if you’re keen to explore South America with younger ones. You can either tailor an itinerary based on one of World Expeditions’ existing trips, or create a new one from scratch to suit your family’s needs.
The pace of the company’s family-friendly tours is slightly more relaxed than usual while still offering plenty of adventure. Think a week cycling, hiking and kayaking through the Galapagos Islands or exploring the UNESCO-listed ruins of Machu Picchu (without the four-day hike to get there!) Wildlife-loving families can head into the Amazon to search for monkeys, sloths and capybaras, while those after a cultural fix can meet the Uros people on the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca.
More information: worldexpeditions.com
3. Intrepid Travel
With a focus on cultural immersion and natural exploration, Intrepid is the largest small group adventure travel company in the world. It offers a dedicated family cruise through the Galapagos Islands and a land-based trip in Peru, which includes a few days in the Amazon Jungle, an exploration of historic Cusco and a visit to the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu.
The minimum age for its family-oriented trips is 5-years-old, or 10 years for its ‘teenager’ itineraries, which include a bit more active adventure. Keep in mind you will be travelling with three or four other like-minded families, which could be a positive or a negative, depending on your travel preference. If you want a more exclusive experience (or can’t find what you’re looking for on the website), Intrepid also offers tailor-made trips that can be done independently or with a local leader.
More information: intrepidtravel.com