Let us take you on a fascinating journey through South America. We’ve created an awesome list of 12 activities you can do to visit South America from the comfort of your home.
While we spent almost 6 months travelling through South America, we couldn’t possibly see it all. But it was enough time to appreciate and fall in love with the beauty of the continent and want to see more in the future.
You’ll get transported to South America, and let’s be honest; you will want to visit once it’s safe to do so.
Dive in and choose whatever’s your jam, we cover:
- Movies & documentaries (with links where to see them!)
- our own adventure videos
- real-life stories from our travels
- inspiring books
- South American recipes
- our favourite Latino playlist
- and resource to learn Spanish the fun way!
*In the spirit of full disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, we receive a small commission at no extra costs to you. We appreciate your support!
1. Get in the mood of South America
To get an idea of what adventuring in South America is all about, I highly suggest watching these documentaries.They give great insight into the nature and culture of South American countries.
Top Gear: Bolivia Special
Top Gear is a British car show, and once in a while, the three hilarious presenters venture out of the UK on a road trip.
Their journey of the Bolivia Special begins in the jungle with no road. If you only want to see one documentary to have loads of fun, see breathtaking locations, and real danger, choose Top Gear!
Get a taste here / Watch the documentary (Episode 6)
Top Gear: Patagonia Special
Yes, I’ve included Top Gear show again, we’re huge fans. This time, Jeremy, Richard, and Hammond went to explore Patagonia in Chile and Argentina.
This Special had an unfortunate turn of events when even their BBC crew was scared. Nevertheless, the BBC production and epic landscapes with a lot of humour didn’t disappoint.
Get a taste here / Watch part 1 & 2
180 Degrees South
How a modern time adventurer follows a journey from 1968 of his heroes: Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Chilean Patagonia.
If you’re not familiar with these names, anything you will read or watch about them is guaranteed to provide an infinite inspiration to enjoy the world and life itself.
Watch the trailer / Watch the movie (also available on Vudu)
On route 7 into the heart of Patagonia
A documentary about one of our favourite places in the world – Carretera Austral in Chile. It’s now part of the newly formed Route of Parks, an epic route through 17 national parks in Chile. Watch it, and you’ll see why we would return in a heartbeat.
Patagonia! A Majestic Unknown Land In South America
Documenting the life of sea lions, seals, and penguins, all of which you can easily see if you visit South America. You can also watch our video below: Swimming with sea lions in Peru.
2. See a real-life adventure
Touching the Void
An absolutely staggering documentary that impacted me like nothing I’ve seen before. It’s the most thrilling survival story you will ever see about two friends climbing in Peruvian Andes. Be prepared to be pulled into the action instantly, get goosebumps, and even shed some tears!
Watch the trailer / Watch the movie (free)
If you’re not ready for a heart-pumping action of Touching the Void, here are some of our videos from South America, from cute wildlife to thrilling adventures and backpacking trips.
With a lot of downtimes these days, Michal is creating even more videos from our South American trip. Stay tuned and visit our YouTube channel for more.
101 Adventure quotes for inspiration
3. Bake delicious pastry
Sweet fritter sticks dipped in chocolate, or dulce de leche are to die for. Churros can be found all over South America. They’re delicious, cheap, fulfilling, and easy to snag on the market or food stands on the street.
The best thing is, you can make them at home with just a few ingredients you probably already have.
Check out this recipe for amazing Churros and let me know if you became another Churro addict.
If you’re in Canada, delicious Churros are sold in Mucho Burrito or check with your local Mexican restaurant.
4. Get lost in a book about South America
A selection of the best books about South America – thrilling stories and reads with a hint of cultural learning.
Life and Death in the Andes
If you only read one book about South America, make it this one. It contains stories about people of South America – Che Guevara and Indigenous people living on floating islands, for example, and also important historical events.
You’ll truly understand the continent after reading this book. It’s beautifully written, you won’t be able to put it down until you finish.
The Last Days of the Incas
Same author as the previous book, The Last Days of the Incas tells a story of the Inca Empire’s fall. I consider it a must read for anyone visiting Peru, you’ll appreciate the culture and historical sites immensely.
This Thing of Darkness
Phenomenal novel about the voyage of the Beagle, charting the coast of South America. It chronicles life of a young captain Robert FitzRoy and his companion Charles Darwin and goes into a great detail about the hardships of sailing and exploration. Great read if you like adventure and history.
Turn right at Machu Picchu
Take a journey to the Sacred Valley of the Incas through author’s adventurous trek. It’s a fun read with relevant historical highlights included. It gives a great insight to Peruvian culture if you’re planning to visit.
Short Walks from Bogotá: Journeys in the new Colombia
If the only thing you can recall about Colombia is Pablo Escobar and cocaine, this book will open your eyes. It explains not only Colombia’s recent history but offers insights from locals and their point of view.
44 interesting facts about Colombia
Walking the Amazon: 860 Days. One Step at a Time.
A truly fascinating and inspiring story of Ed Stafford, the first man to walk the entire length of the Amazon River. Nominated for several Adventure of the Year prizes, his efforts were also recognized by Guinness Book of Records.
You’ll read about one of the most dangerous expeditions in the world as he fought with deadly animals and negotiated with hostile tribes. Listen to his Ted talk to get a taste of the dangerous and successful accomplishment.
This was one of the first books I’ve read about South America and what sparked my interest about the continent.
TIP: 3 alternatives to buying new books
- Listen to audiobooks on Amazon for free with 30-day Audible Trial
- Buy a used book on Amazon for a lower price
- Browse books or audiobooks in your local library
5. Learn about the culture & heritage
To truly understand each country and the whole continent, these documentaries are the basics. They’ll make you think about the bigger picture way beyond the tourist path.
I’ve been fascinated by the documentary about mysterious Mount Roraima for years before I made my dream to visit come true. I’m pretty sure some of these documentaries will do the same for you.
La Montaña del Misterio
Story of a “Mysterious mountain,” the oldest place on Earth, in southern Venezuela. This place has taken our breaths away more than any other country in the world. Turn on the English subtitles, and you’ll be amazed by the tallest waterfall on Earth, Indians living in the jungle, and much more.
Peru: Wild Shepherdess
An amazing documentary following an indigenous Peruvian family living in high altitudes of the Andes and how they make a living from raising alpacas connecting to the modern alpaca farming.
The incredible British shepherdess tells the story of alpaca’s importance in Peru. We’ve seen alpacas and llamas all over South America, and this documentary opened my eyes to the importance of this indigenous heritage.
Lost Kingdoms of South America
An incredible documentary series of an archaeologist discovering the forgotten truths of the South American continent, its people, culture and landscape. In four episodes, you’ll see different places in Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia. Even if you’re not a history geek, it’s worth a watch.
Watch episode 1 / Watch episode 2 / Watch episode 3 / Watch episode 4
Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul
An introductory into the Peruvian Ayahuasca tradition. Many travellers choose to visit Peruvian jungle to drink a mysterious psychedelic tea under the shaman’s watch.
I’ve read that Ayahuasca was scientifically proven to have a beneficial effect on well-being and spiritual growth. It was fascinating to watch people’s different experiences.
Watch the trailer / Watch the movie (free)
Puma Lion of the Andes
A National Geographic documentary about fascinating pumas, an animal nobody wishes to meet in real life.
6. Read stories for inspiration
Last minute decisions and spontaneous trips led to many unexpected experiences we’ll never forget. It was hard to choose just a few but I believe these will inspire you or make you laugh.
7. Cook a meal inspired by South American cuisine
If you like Mexican burritos, you will enjoy Venezuelan arepas as they’re also made of corn. You’ll find arepas in Colombia and Venezuela in every food stand or restaurant with any filling you can imagine.
It’s a form of bread in some Latin countries. They remind me of delicious Salvadoran pupusas. Watch how easy it is to make arepas and enjoy a little taste of South America in your home.
If you’re a foodie, here’s an endless inspiration for you: 100 most popular dishes in South America.
8. Learn Spanish the fun way
Learning Spanish is incredibly easy. Probably (almost) nobody likes to drill the grammar from the books. That’s when great apps like Memrise or Duolingo come in.
They were built on a simple principle – learn the language the fun way. Once you hear, read and type to the app, and your knowledge grows, so does the flower you’re virtually watering every time you repeat the phrases. That’s what I call a fun way to learn!
From the very first lesson, you’ll start learning conversational phrases. It made a significant difference on our South American trip that I was using Memrise for months before departure.
Even without using Spanish in the real world, I bet you would love to know what your favourite Latino song is about. Personally, I’m proud to learn what they sing in Despacito without using google translator.
9. Make a delicious drink
Let’s jazz it up a little.
With warm temperatures outside and more boredom from being stuck inside, how about you try something new?
We highly recommend a mouth-watering summer drink Pisco Sour. It’s a typical drink of Peruvian and Chilean cuisine. Pisco is base liquor that you can find in your supermarket or liquor store (or by a pre-made Pisco Sour mix). And the sour part comes from citrus juice.
You’ll need just a few ingredients (the secret to the deliciousness is 3:1:1 ratio):
- Lime juice
- Simple syrup (mix equal part of sugar and water, then dissolve in a saucepan)
- Egg white
- Ice cubes/crushed ice
Shake in a blender or mason jar with a lid. For extra fancy taste, serve in chilled glasses over fresh ice and decorate with Angostura bitters.
Pisco Sour is so iconic in Peru that they have a day named after it – “Día Nacional del Pisco Sour” (National Pisco Sour Day) celebrated on the first Saturday of February.
Pisco Sour also pairs very well with the next step.
10. Dance your feet off at Salsa night
Grab your Pisco Sour or any drink you love, and let’s get dancing.
Latino songs are incredibly powerful. No matter what you listen to, your hips will start to move, and next thing you know, you’re dancing and can’t stop. Despacito by Luis Fonsi or Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony is a great way to start, and YouTube keeps giving you more Latino suggestions.
Or you can use our favourite Latino playlist on Youtube.
Have a Salsa night, a dance party in the morning or dance all day!
11. Watch an adventure movie
Whether you like movies based on true events or just a fiction in a beautiful South American setting, I’ve got you covered.
The Motorcycle Diaries
A classic travel movie that probably anyone visiting South America have seen. Road trip of two friends whose freedom led to many unexpected events throughout their journey is what traveling is really all about.
Watch the trailer / Watch the movie
(or alternatively here)
Embrace of the Serpent
An award winning and truly unique story of a shaman from the jungle and scientists searching for a healing plant.
Watch the trailer / Watch the movie
(also available on Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube movies)
There are too many great movies so we have a separate blog post you can check out:
30 Best outdoor movies and adventure documentaries
12. Plan your South American adventure
Have you enjoyed the journey through South America? Are you ready to plan your own adventure?
Start here and hit us up if you have any questions.
¡Disfrutes! (Enjoy ?)
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