5 virtual reality tours of South America… for keeping your wanderlust dreams alive


Though travel may not be an option in these times of coronavirus, the situation doesn’t prevent us from knowing the world from isolation in our homes. Even if you’re bored of lockdown strolls in the local park, you can still explore several South American destinations with just a click.

On several virtual mini-tours, you can get to know these sites’ landscapes, wildlife, and other amazing attractions. And while these can’t be visited physically today, they will, nonetheless, be waiting for you in the months ahead.

1. Galapagos Islands

For more than 125 years, National Geographic researchers, explorers, writers, and photographers have brought the world to its members and readers. Through coverage of their expeditions, they share their passion and their insider’s perspective.

On their virtual 360° tour of the Galapagos Islands (the archipelago situated off the coast of Ecuador), NatGeo takes you to this isolated haven of biodiversity that’s home to a dazzling array of birds, reptiles, fish, flora, and mammals that you won’t find anywhere else – as Charles Darwin himself well noted.

Go snorkeling with sea lions, soak up the sun alongside basking marine iguanas, and marvel at the natural beauty of an extraordinary Galapagos Islands cruise!

2. The Amazon

Explore the earth’s largest tract of tropical rainforest – the Amazon. A visit here is possible thanks to Conservation International, a nonprofit group that created this immersive, fully narrated, 360° virtual reality video.

Traveling to the Amazon, you’ll end the tour with a deeper understanding of why the rainforest is so crucial to humankind’s survival.

3. Patagonia (Chile/Argentina)

The wind-worn plains of Argentina’s Patagonia region are as wild and rugged as can be, so exploring them on foot, on horseback (or now virtually) is a total joy. You’ll be greeted with views of cloud-wreathed mountains, the grassy steppe unfolding for mile upon mile and indigenous forests that stand in clusters as if they were bracing the cold together.

In an immersive video tour created by the Guardian, viewers can explore the varied landscape of the protected Parque Patagonia, passing turquoise rapids, a rainbow and a pack of guanacos roaming the plains.

4. Machu Picchu (Peru)

Hang out with the VagaBrothers as they take you on a 360° whirlwind adventure to the legendary “Lost City of the Inca.”

No trip to Peru would be complete without witnessing this one and only destination – Peru’s long-term tourist attraction that regularly ranks as the world’s best travel experience. A truly incredible ancient wonder, Machu Picchu is without comparison or equal, and has provided life-long fascination and endless intrigue for generations.

Led by a pair of informative and entertaining adventurers, this virtual tour of the “Lost City” provides you with not only a real step back in time and glimpse into a long-forgotten world.

5. Iguazu Falls (Brazil/Argentina)

A highlight of any trip to Brazil — and indeed South America more widely — the Iguazu Falls are a mighty marvel to behold. This is Mother Nature at her most powerful, as dozens of tributaries from the main Iguazu River converge in unforgettably spectacular fashion at the ominously named “Devil’s Throat,” a genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness.

On a virtual tour of this natural wonder, Go Ahead Tours takes you to both the Brazilian and Argentine sides of the Iguazu River, where no less than 275 separate drops make up the falls, a 1.8-mile-wide crescent of cascading water gushing over forested cliff edges, some standing up to 90 yards high. This adds up to a good 2-minute introduction to a truly great natural experience.

>While COVID-19 continues to take its toll, hopefully these tours will at least moderate the cabin fever we’ll all be experiencing over this period. In the meantime, stay safe and keep dreaming..!!

Alfonso Tandazo is President and CEO at Surtrek Tour Operator. Surtrek Tour Operator is a well-established firm, specializing in custom-designed luxury tours in Ecuador, the Galapagos and throughout the rest of South America.

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Comments (4)

  1. Ed Wilson says:

    I’ve seen some blog posts elsewhere about these virtual tours for places in the UK but hadn’t really thought about it being a worldwide thing. These sound amazing, I especially like the sound of touring the Galapagos Islands (somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time now). The Amazon tour is an interesting one because that sounds quite well rounded, so rather than just taking a gander at what’s there the narration gives it more of an educational feel which is really appealing. Just imagine if you could do these virtual tours with one of those VR headsets, now that would be the icing on the cake. Thanks for sharing these, they’ll certainly fill some time and satisfy a little wanderlust.

  2. Jeff G says:

    An inspirational piece to keep my wanderlust going, especially with the pictures. I’ve still not got myself to South America so this post has given me plenty to dream about.

  3. Travis says:

    Ah, Machu Picchu. It’s always been on my list of places to see. I love the history of this place and all the mystery that comes with it. I find it all fascinating and have vowed that one day I will get to see this place. A virtual tour is the next best thing though, given that we aren’t able to go out. I am afraid that I’ve totally given up on any trips at least for this year and in turn, have stopped planning or even researching. But just recently been curious to know if there are improvements, or at least a hint of good things. to come, for the travel industry. I guess I really have to content a little bit longer with virtual tours for now.

  4. R. Washington says:

    This is a great idea for some people but not really for me. I couldn’t fully enjoy looking at a beautiful place, seeing it in 360 degrees, and knowing that you’re still just home using a device. It wouldn’t be satisfying enough to curb my wanderlust. It would just make me want to go out more. It’s like, you can see it but never fully experience it, like when you’re dreaming then suddenly you wake up in the reality that you’re just home, standing there in the middle of the house. My dreams are always alive no matter what happens, and the longer I wait here, being locked out of the beautiful world, the more I want to go out of the house and travel till my pockets are empty. But then, I also live in a reality where this might not be possible for a while.

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