• 30 July 2019

Looking for amazing day trips on your tour to South America? Step right up! We’ve gathered up 8 incredible experiences that are bound to leave you speechless. Each of these encounters taps into a unique aspect of South American life. From cowboys outside of Buenos Aires to boat trips on rushing waterfalls, each trip takes you right into the heart of the action. 

1. Go full-on cowboy on a gaucho ranch near Buenos Aires

Cowboys in Argentina? Why yes! This is cowboy country through and through. Take a day trip to a true blue estancia (ranch) with honest-to-goodness gauchos (Argentine cowboys) to see how they live out on the pampas (plains). The guest ranches that are located in this area are absolutely beautiful. The locals love entertaining and welcome guests with open arms. Visitors can look forward to folk dances and traditional barbecue (so delicious!). The cowboys will also be strutting their stuff, so get ready for some impressive lasso work and horseplay.  

Did you know? The gauchos of old were originally nomadic and from mixed European and Argentine descent. They were excellent horse soldiers. As such, they were a very important political force in the 18th and 19th centuries. They played a big role in overthrowing the government of Juan Martín de Pueyrredón. 

The Ranch and Gaucho Day Trip is available on these Expat Explore tours:

Authentic Cowboys (gaucho) in Argentina
Authentic Cowboys (gaucho) in Argentina
2. Venture into Paraguay with a local 

Travelling through South America, it can seem like a waste to venture close to countries that you don’t get to visit. A day trip to a country like Paraguay is a great way to make the most of your journey. This particular trip hits two high notes – a visit to Itaipu Dam and the famous shopping district of Ciudad del Este. Venture across the Friendship Bridge from Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, to Ciudad del Este in Paraguay.

Then make your way to Itaipu Dam on the Paraná River. This immense hydroelectric energy-generating structure is the largest in the world. In fact, it produces 90% of all the electricity used in Paraguay! Next up is a visit to busting Ciudad del Este. Shopping is huge in this part of Paraguay. It is the ideal place to visit some markets and pick up a few lovely keepsakes. Your guide will accompany you back to Brazil later in the afternoon. Please note that you may require a visa to enter Paraguay, depending on your country of origin.

Did you know? Paraguay is known for producing beautiful hand-crafted lace and cool cotton garments. Another lovely souvenir to take home is a guampa. This is the cup that is used to drink the national beverage, terere. If you buy a cup, remember to pick up some raw yerba mate tea as well. 

The Paraguay Day Trip (with local guide) is available on these Expat Explore tours:

Itaipu Dam (left) handmade crafts from the local market in Ciudad del Este (right)
Itaipu Dam (left)  and handmade crafts from the local market in Ciudad del Este (right)
3. Experience the Iguazu Falls from the Argentinian side

The Iguazu Falls are located on the border of Argentina and Brazil. Experiencing it from the Argentinian side is an awesome experience. There are plenty of walkways and viewpoints from which to gaze out on this incredible feat of nature. The park also has upper and lower tails to enjoy. Walking the Devil’s Throat section of falls you’ll get up close to with the might of the water. Watch as 1.5 million litres of water surge down every second, and even spot some wildlife along the way. Your journey will include a border crossing, the services of a local guide and entry to the Iguazú National Park. 

Did you know? The Iguazu Falls consist of 275+ separate falls. The most scenic of these a curved cataract is known as the Devil’s Throat. It features 14 falls dropping from more than 100 metres.

The Argentina Falls Day Trip is available on these Expat Explore tours:

The Iguazu Falls from the Argentina side
The Iguazu Falls from the Argentina side
4. Go on a day trip and grand adventure boat tour on the Iguazu Falls

Keen to take to the waters of the Iguazu Falls? It’s totally possible! Combine a day trip to the Iguazú National Park with the boat ride of a lifetime. Venture onto the trails and walkways of the park with a local guide. Then journey through the jungle on 4×4 trucks to Puerto Macuco. A boat cruise from here will take you to the very heart of the majestic falls. Get ready to get a little wet as you venture in between small rapids to make your way to the base of the gigantic San Martin waterfall. This adventure is quite rigorous. There will be stairs to climb and a hike to enjoy. If you judge yourself physically fit, it will be amazing! If you don’t feel that you will be able to keep up with the group, rather opt for the previously mentioned excursion.

Did you know? The falls form part of two national parks, Iguacu on the Argentinian side and Iguaza on the Brazilian side. Both of these parks and the waterfall itself has been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

The Argentina Falls Great Adventure Boat Tour is available on these Expat Explore tours:

Travellers enjoying the boat tour at the Iguazu Falls
Travellers enjoying the boat tour at the Iguazu Falls
5. Get an insider look at Rio’s best-loved attractions

Locals always know how to do it best, don’t they? Enjoy a jam-packed day trip of all of Rio de Janeiro’s best-loved attractions that carry the locals’ seal of approval. Encounter the mind-boggling Museum of Tomorrow. See the largest mural in the world in person. Visit inspiring churches like Sao Bento Monastery and La Candelaria. Sit down to lunch at a local eatery. Afterwards, make your way to Rio’s opera house and national library (the 8th largest in the world!). Round it all off with a trip up Sugarloaf Mountain. From here you can get a good eyeful of Copacabana, the famous Christ the Redeemer statue and Rio’s famous beaches. 

Did you know? The Christ the Redeemer statue was elected one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007, alongside masterpieces like the Roman Colosseum and the Taj Mahal. 

The Rio Plus Optional Day Trip is available on these Expat Explore tours:

Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro
6. Spend a full day exploring mystical Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu in the Sacred Valley of Peru is one of those evergreen South American destinations that brings a sparkle to even the most seasoned traveller’s eye. Situated on top of a mountain in the Peruvian Andes, very little is known about the true origins of this mystical place. Myths and legends abound, of course. It is said, for instance, that the entire city was constructed without the use of wheels. It might also have been a major religious site of the Inca civilisation. The truth lies obscured in the course of history. 

Still, a visit to this vast ruins complex is something that touches the soul. Join a knowledgeable guide and make your way through the UNESCO World Heritage Site at a slow and steady pace. The excursion includes transport, transfers and permits. Please note that you will have to journey by bus, train and on foot to make it to Machu Picchu. There is a fair amount of walking involved at high altitude, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. 

Did you know? To ensure that the site remains in top condition, only a limited amount of permits are issued to visitors per day. These sell out months in advance. As such it is very important to book your Machu Picchu day trip as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment. 

The Machu Picchu Day Trip is available on these Expat Explore tours:

Machu Picchu ruins
Machu Picchu ruins
7. Visit the Ballestas Islands and fly over the Nazca Lines

The Ballestas Islands off the coast of the beautiful Paracas peninsula in Peru is a marine-life hotspot. Here you are likely to encounter everything from blue-footed booby birds to Humboldt penguins and awe-inspiring sea lions. A two-hour boat trip takes you there and back. Afterwards, board a flight over the Nazca Desert in southern Peru to view another must-see South American attraction from above. The famous Nazca Lines are mysterious geoglyphs in the shapes of animals like monkeys, hummingbirds and spiders. The origins of this UNESCO World Heritage are once again shrouded in mystery and that is exactly what makes this site so appealing! 

The Nazca Lines and Ballestas Island Day Trip is available on these Expat Explore tours:

The Paracas Candelabra prehistoric geoglyph
8. Visit the mysterious Tiwanaku pre-Inca ruins

Tiwanaku is the collective remnants of a once prosperous ancient city in western Bolivia. The ruin complex is dominated by the majestic Akapana pyramid and a semi-subterranean temple with carved images of human heads. Your trip includes a 90-minute drive through the highlands of Aymara. The half-day visit at the ruins, which date back to 1200BC, includes all transfers, entrance fees and a knowledgeable English-speaking guide. Aside from the temples, monoliths, and pyramid, there are also two museum structures. Here you can learn more about the ancient civilisation’s pottery, stonework and culture. 

The Tiwanaku Archaeological Site Visit is available on these Expat Explore tours:

Kalasasaya Temple nearby Tiwanaku
Kalasasaya Temple nearby Tiwanaku


There you have it – 8 amazing South American day trips that will leave you speechless. Feeling a little twinge of wanderlust there? We don’t blame you! Make this the year to make your travel dreams come true. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult when you journey with the right team. Contact us today, to build these into your Expat Explore South America tour!

Questions & Comments




  1. Adelina Colozo says:

    Please confirm the final cost in Canadian dollars of the following optionals of the Chile Bolivia Peru explorer:
    Tiwanaku Archaeological Site
    Stargazing tour in Chile
    Cusco Dinner and dance show
    Nazca lines and Ballestas island day trip Peru.

    This will allow us to choose which ones we would like and be included in the booking cost.
    Thank you.

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Adelina

      Thank you for your message, I have checked all the Optionals Prices you have requested, please see the options listed below

      Tiwanaku Archaeological Site 75 CAD per person
      Stargazing tour in Chile 65 CAD per person
      Cusco Dinner and dance show 35 CAD per person
      Nazca lines and Ballestas island day trip Peru. 515 CAD per person

      We look forward to travelling with you.