Eric Stoen of Travel Babbo travels to South America every year, both with and without his kids. We asked him why others should look south for their next vacation. 

South America

Long before I had kids, I took my first trip to South America, traveling throughout Peru with a friend, and doing the four-day hike to Machu Picchu. I feel in love with Peru and wanted to see more of the continent. Since then I’ve visited Argentina and Chile many times, as well as Brazil, Ecuador, Uruguay and Colombia, and I have Bolivia on my list for this year.

I’ve been recommending South America for family vacations for years. We’ve found travel there to be easy with kids, and coming from the US, there’s virtually no jet lag — important if you want to head down for a one-week school vacation. But why specifically would I recommend South American travel?

The Islands

The Galapagos should be on everyone’s travel list. We loved the animals (of course) and the sheer diversity of the islands. But include Easter Island in your travels as well. Beyond the iconic Moai statues, Easter Island has a fun Polynesian feel — sort of a cross between Hawaii and Tahiti.

South America - The Galapagos are diverse - and stunning!

The Galapagos are diverse – and stunning!

South America - The famous Moai of Easter Island, at Tongariki

The famous Moai of Easter Island, at Tongariki

South America - Hanga Roa, Easter Island at sunset is perfect

Hanga Roa, Easter Island at sunset is perfect

The Cities

For me, South American cities are about street food and cafes, public art, markets and cobblestones. Yes, there are large cities, but within those cities there are always charming places to stay and be a pedestrian. As capitals go I love Santiago, Quito and Montevideo. But Cartagena, Colonia and San Pedro de Atacama are even more inviting.

South America - Walking around Cartagena, Colombia

Walking around Cartagena, Colombia

South America - San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

South America - The central square in Manaus, Brazil

The central square in Manaus, Brazil

South America - Colonia, Uruguay

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

South America - The La Boca area of Buenos Aires, Argentina

The colorful La Boca area of Buenos Aires, Argentina

South America - The Church and Monastery of St. Francis in Quito, Ecuador

The Church and Monastery of St. Francis in Quito, Ecuador

The Outdoors

We seem to hike everywhere we go in South America. We’ve also kayaked, snorkeled, rafted and cycled. And then there are the natural wonders like Iguazu Falls, on the border of Argentina and Brazil (we visited the Argentine side) and the animals everywhere.

South America - Hiking in Chilean Patagonia

Hiking in Chilean Patagonia

South America - Photographing in stunning La Yesera, in Quebrada de las Conchas, Argentina

Photographing in stunning La Yesera, in Quebrada de las Conchas, Argentina

South America - Cycling in Argentinian Patagonia (with sheep)

Cycling in Argentinian Patagonia (with sheep)

South America - On a boat on the Rio Preto, in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest. Perfect reflections!

On a boat on the Rio Preto, in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest. Perfect reflections!

South America - Chile's Atacama Desert

Chile’s Atacama Desert

The Remote Lodges

We’ve loved our stays at remote lodges throughout South America — places in stunning settings where all activities and meals are organized by the lodges. And I’m always searching for new destinations, so please comment below if you know of other amazing family-friendly properties.

South America - Ecuador's Mashpi Lodge

Ecuador’s Mashpi Lodge

South America - Tierra Patagonia in southern Chile

Tierra Patagonia in southern Chile

South America - Mirante do Gavião in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest

Mirante do Gavião in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest

So what are you waiting for? Book a trip to South America today. It’s an absolutely amazing continent, with so much to see and do. And have an empanada for me when you’re there!

Eric Stoen of Travel Babbo is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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