Luxury South American vacations are available in some of the most sophisticated and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Chief among these are beautiful Rio de Janeiro, with its signature Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue; Buenos Aires, home of Evita Peron and the sultry tango; and Santiago, gateway to the vineyards of prestigious Chile wineries. These cities all boast five-star hotels that rank among the finest in the world. If you are looking for luxury trips to South America that stay in the best of these, you may want to choose the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio, an Orient-Express property that has been welcoming the rich and famous since 1923; the lavish Park Tower in Buenos Aires; or the elegant San Cristobal Tower in Santiago.
In addition to fine hotels in these major cities, you can find many world-class properties in other areas frequented by tourists on their own luxury vacations. The wine country of Chile is a good example of places to enjoy luxury trips to South America in smaller cities and in beautiful countryside. The most visited region is located in the river valleys around the capital of Santiago, and is home to the Concha y Toro Winery, one of Chile's most respected labels and the first winery in the world to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. For luxury South America travel in this region, you might look for some of the charming boutique hotels located in the coastal city of Valparaiso that has been a popular vacation spot for the wealthy of Santiago for decades.
Just north of Valparaiso is the popular beach resort of Vina del Mar where you will find a number of deluxe resort complexes perfect for luxury beach vacations, including the Hotel Sheraton Miramar. More luxury trips to South America that involve beaches can be found in and around Rio de Janeiro, a city that is almost synonymous with beaches. Here you will find iconic and world-famous Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beach, among several others. Outside of Buenos Aires is ranch and horse country—home of the Pampas and the gauchos. It's possible to enjoy luxury South America travel in this region to some of the ranches (estancias), which are generally family run and provide the kind of comfort and service you can expect from high-end bed and breakfast inns. In addition to the personalized service and cultural interaction, you can go horseback riding, learn to play polo with professionals, and enjoy a typical ranch barbecue.
Some luxury South America travel can be done on a boat. There are a number of deluxe river cruise ships that offer Brazilian Amazon tours, and have lovely cabins and staterooms, and many of the amenities that you might find on river cruise ships in more developed Europe. There are many very beautiful ships and yachts that offer Galapagos cruises among the unique Pacific islands off the coast of Ecuador. Luxury South American vacations are possible on small luxurious yachts accommodating as few as two to 20 passengers or larger ships holding 100 to 150 passengers. The size of the ships is kept small because regulations for visiting this fragile ecosystem limit the number of people who can land on an island at one time.
While the visit to the world's southernmost continent requires a measure of physical fitness and tolerance of cold weather, there are some luxury ships that make this cruise from the port of Ushuaia off the tip of Tierra del Fuego. Or you can choose luxury South American vacations onboard Pacific Ocean cruises that often start on other continents and make port calls at the major cities already mentioned, as well as at Montevideo Uruguay and Puerto Montt Chile. Those ships that visit Chilean ports often also cruise along the breathtaking fjords of Patagonia in five-star comfort.