The 7 Best Islands in South America
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The 7 Best Islands in South America

6 min read

Mar 25, 2016

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By Charlotte Lebouvier

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Last updated on October 20th, 2020 at 09:00 am

Islands in South America

South America has a wide variety of landscapes, so it should come as no surprise that the Islands in South America also offer an abundance of contrasts.  Whether you prefer a luxurious beach resort and warm Caribbean waters or favor the more remote and historical island, the Islands in South America are sure to entertain any traveler.

1. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

scenic island on galpagos

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of nearly 40 volcanic islands, the most popular including Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. The islands were made famous by Charles Darwin, who in 1835 went to observe the animals and was inspired to write the theory of evolution. This is the perfect destination to see fauna and flora. The most remarkable animal is the Galapagos Giant Tortoise, who can live up to 100 years and weigh up to 400 kg.

Things to do in the Galapagos

To make the most of your Galapagos tour, we recommend going on a 3 or 4 nights cruise, allowing you to visit more of the islands, including the remote and untouched regions.

Recommended Galapagos Cruises

How to Get to the Galapagos

There are year-round flights from Quito or Guayaquil (2.5-hour flight).

2. Easter Island, Chile

Maoi heads at Easter Island during sunset

One of the most popular islands in South America is Easter Island. This mythical island made famous by its statues (Moais) built by the Rapa Nui people, is said to be one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Disconnect from your ordinary life and discover the ancient culture that developed in the most isolated place on Earth.  The island is about 3800 km west of the Chilean coast.

Things to do on Easter Island

Visit the main sites like Anakena beach or Tangata Mantu Ceremonial Center. Enjoy the sunset or sunrise on the island as it illuminates the Moais statues. Go on daily hikes, bike rides, and/or cruise along the coast and learn about the myths and legends of the island.

Recommended Easter Island Tours

Easter Island is easily combinable with other destinations in Chile or other mysterious sites like Machu Picchu.

How to Get to Easter Island

Take a 5.5-hour flight (operated by LAN) from Santiago de Chile to Hanga Roa, the capital of the island. Read More about Places to Stay in Easter Island

3. Chiloe Island, Chile

houses on stilts in chiloe island

When one thinks about Chiloe, one pictures its wooden colored houses and churches, the hospitality of its people, the Chilotes, and the myths and legends of witchcraft, ghost ships, and forest gnomes.

Things to do on Chiloe Island

Visit Castro, its Palafitos, its church, Dalcahue, and Ancud to see the 16 churches declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Recommended Chiloe Island Tours

How to Get to Chiloe Island

From Puerto Montt, it takes about 3-hours to reach Ancud, from there it takes another 1.5-hours to reach Castro. From there take a ferry to the island. There is also the possibility to take a cruise from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales (Patagonia) where you will cruise past the highlights around Chiloe Island. LAN Airlines also offers flights from Santiago to Chiloe making it more feasible for travelers who have limited time to explore the island. We recommend visiting the island during the summer months from November to April.

4. Ilha Grande, Brazil

Ilha Grande beach with unique bent palm tree

You will find no motor vehicles on the remote island of Ilha Grande, creating a unique and relaxing experience. Ilha Grande is 150 km from Rio de Janeiro. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings, from the beaches to the dense contrasting forest.

Things to do in Ilha Grande

Some beach highlights include Lopez Mendes beach, Dois Rios beach (where the two rivers meet), or Saco do Ceu Cove. It is definitely a sight to see at night, the stars reflect in the water illuminating the sea, this is sure to create a memorable experience for anyone.

Recommended Ilha Grande Tours

How to Get to Ilha Grande

From Rio de Janeiro take a 2.5-hour transfer to Angra dos Reis where you will catch a ferry to Ilha Grande.

5. Isla Suasi, Peru

 Isla Suasi landscape and lake shore

Isla Suasi is one of the most underrated islands in South America. This remote island is close to Puno and ideal for a more adventurous traveler looking for an authentic day trip from Puno. Experience Lake Titicaca off the beaten path, far from the touristic masses. On your way to Isla Suasi, make sure to visit the Uros and Taquile Islands to see the floating reed islands. These artificial islands were originally built by the Uros people, and to this day are still inhabited by the Uru people.

Things to do in Isla Suasi

Relax and enjoy the peacefulness of Lake Titicaca from this remote island far from the tourist masses.  Hike around the island and go on a boat ride along the lake.

Recommended Isla Suasi Tours

How to Get to Isla Suasi

From Puno, take a quick boat ride to Isla Suasi. Read More Information about Isla Suasi Adventures

6. Tinhare Island, Brazil

remote, palm-shaded beach in Colombia

Tinhare Island is reachable by catamaran, boat, or small plane. Morro do Sao Paulo is the most famous beach on the island. Spend a few days at a Brazil Beach Resort on this tropical island enjoying the warm waters, beautiful beaches, delicious foods, fun culture, and luxurious accommodations.

Things to do on Tinhare Island

Morro do Sao Paulo is a great destination for those interested in the beach and nightlife.

Recommended Tinhare Resorts

How to Get to Tinhare Island

You can reach the island by plane or boat from Salvador. Make sure to spend a few days in Salvador first and visit the Pelourinho.See more Brazil Beach Tours.

7. San Andres, Colombia

Last on our list of the best islands in South America is San Andres. San Andres is a coral Colombian island located in the Caribbean sea about 800km from the Colombian coast. This is the ideal island for scuba divers seeking to explore the coral reefs.

Things to do in San Andres

Go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters, relax on the beach, and enjoy spectacular seafood dishes.

Recommended San Andres Hotels

How to Get to San Andres

From Bogota, there are daily 2-hours flights to the island, or from Cartagena take a 1.5-hour direct flight.Read More About Beautiful Colombia Beach Destinations

Ready to visit the islands of South America?

Whether you’re looking for the perfect beach getaway or a place to do outdoor activities, we know the best islands in South America for you. Contact an expert today!

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Last updated on October 20th, 2020 at 09:00 am

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