Traveler girl walking through fields in South America.

While a South America trip can mean vastly different things depending on where you go and how you choose to spend your time, one thing your visit should always be is memorable.

It is, after all, a continent that is filled with unforgettable experiences that you just can’t find anywhere else in the world.

From incredible architecture and captivating natural wonders to sensational cuisine and cultural marvels, holidays in South America really do have something to offer everyone, especially if you’re a young, fit and active person looking to make the most out of your journey.

If you’re in your 20s and you’re trying to figure out the best activities in the midst of all that’s available within these vast and diverse lands, then we can’t promise to cover everything here. After all, there’s simply too much to see and do, but here are a few ideas to get you started on planning that once-in-a lifetime itinerary.

1. Embark on an adventure with the Inca Trail

Many people think that this iconic hiking trail is all about the destination, and while the spellbinding and historic Machu Picchu is certainly worth the walk alone, there’s plenty else to see on the many paths that make up the beautiful Inca Trail.

Boasting magical cloud forests, breath-taking mountain passes and historic ruins, there are few places on earth that can capture the imagination quite like this unique Peruvian wonder.

Horses on the Inca Trail

2. Drive across Patagonia

As far south as South American holidays go, Patagonia is a natural marvel which stretches across Argentina and Chile. It comes complete with three oceans, an array of incredible wildlife, glaciers, a national park, scenic mountains and all kinds of outdoor adventures.

Speaking of which, what better way to explore a place as wonderfully wild as Patagonia than with the maximum freedom afforded to you with access to your own vehicle? In Patagonia – unlike many other countries where this choice is less available – self-drive holidays are a very popular option.

Laguna de Los Tres and mount Fitz Roy

3. Get beneath the waves with scuba diving

There’s actually no one best place for scuba diving in South America. Some people suggest that the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador are the finest setting for the activity, while others prefer Los Roques in Venezuela, Easter Island in Chile or Malpelo Island in Colombia, to give but a few examples.

The amount of variety available for underwater escapades on the continent is vast, meaning that there’s plenty suitable for all tastes and abilities above a basic level of fitness. Beneath the sea is truly another world waiting to be explored, full of spectacular sights that will stay with you forever.

Penguins in the Galapagos Islands

4. Discover the wonders of the Amazon rainforest

When it comes to taking a walk on the wild side, nothing quite compares to embarking on a trip deep into the jungles of the Amazon rainforest.

There’s perhaps no way of getting closer to nature than being surrounded by the sights, sounds and, of course, the flora and fauna that is brimming within the trees. It’s the exact kind of rough and tumble escape that is perfect for young adults looking for a holiday with a difference.

Amazon Rainforest

5. Visit the incredible Bolivia

We admit this is a little broader than our other examples, but we thought we would single out Bolivia as it’s all too often overlooked amongst the more famous South American destinations.

It might be less developed than many other parts of the continent – and there are difficulties which come with that – but this is one challenge that’s more than worth the effort. From the invigorating city of found within a volcano bowl in the clouds of the Andes, to the otherworldly Salar de Uyuni salt flats, Bolivia is a country with experiences you won’t want to miss out on.

La Paz aerial view, Bolivia.

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