Best places to visit in South America during COVID-19

Best Places to Visit in South America Right Now

If you're traveling in 2021, check which travel insurance covers COVID-19 (test and treatment abroad).

Last update: 6/5/2021

Are you looking for the best places to visit in South America right now? This updated guide includes all the information about the countries open to tourists in South America, along with current entry restrictions.

Many countries have opened for tourism, but if you’re dreaming of traveling to South America, keep reading because we are tracking all the South American borders to help you decide where to travel now.

We’re regularly updating this list of South American countries open for travel during COVID-19, so you’ll always find the latest information related to travel restrictions in South America here.

Map of Countries in South America reopening to tourists

You can check this map to see the best places to travel to in South America right now.

Countries in South America Placeholder
Countries in South America

Below, you’ll find the South America’s travel restrictions for each country. Keep in mind that some countries may have different entry requirements depending on the traveler’s nationality or origin.

You can also check our specific guides on:

Before we start, it’s a good time to point out the importance of travel insurance that covers COVID-19. I recommend this insurance no matter where you’re going, and several South American countries require it for tourists anyway.

Also, if a country required travelers to have a valid tourist visa before the COVID-19 pandemic, that rule still applies. You can check whether you need a visa to travel below.

Finally, remember that some countries may lock down after opening their borders to tourists. We have specific guides to all the South American countries open for travel so you can find the latest information about entry restrictions, quarantine and testing requirements, and curfews.

Best countries to visit in South America

These countries are rich in culture, history, and nature, and several of them have simple travel restrictions in place, so check out this list of the best places to travel to in South America right now.

1. Bolivia

Bolivia is one of the best countries to visit in South America due to its diverse landscape and fauna. Along with the beautiful Andes mountain range, you can visit the Uyuni Salt Flats. During the wet season, it creates amazing reflections of the sky, making it a popular spot for photographers.

Bolivia, the best places to visit in South America

1. Bolivia

If you want to get to know the culture of the country a little better, it is also worth visiting the capital city of La Paz, which is the highest city in the world. Also, don’t miss a visit to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake on the planet, located between Bolivia and Peru.

Moreover, as of September 14, 2020, Bolivia is one of the countries in South America open for travel without nationality restrictions.

Tourists must present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and submit a sworn declaration of their location of stay. International travelers must also have travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage.

All travelers must quarantine for at least 10 days from their arrival and take an RT-PCR test at their own expense on day 7 of their quarantine period.

For more detail, check our guide on Bolivia is open for travel.

2. Colombia

Colombia is a popular country for South American tourism, particularly for its biodiversity. It has the most endemic bird and orchid species in South America, as well as some gorgeous natural areas, like the island of San Andres and the Amazon jungle.

The city centers of Cali, Bogota, and Medellín are fun places to explore and take in some culture. One hour from Bogota is the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, one of the most popular attractions in the country. I also recommend visiting the colonial city of Cartagena if you enjoy history, and Tayrona National Park for some of the best beaches in South America.

Colombia, South America travel restrictions

2. Colombia

Colombia has been allowing tourists of almost all nationalities since September 19, 2020 and now it’s one of the best countries to travel to in South America.

All travelers must complete the Check-Mig form 24 hours before their trip and download the CoronApp mobile app. As of January 1st 2021, all travelers must have proof of a negative PCR test result from within 96 hours prior to boarding.

You can get more information on our guide on Colombia reopening for travel.

3. Peru

Peru is one of the top countries for South American tourism, thanks to its biodiversity and rich history of ancient cultures.

Take a journey to Cusco and Machu Picchu to witness the Incan and Pre-Colombian influences in the country. Or discover the mysterious Nazca Lines, which are massive geoglyphs in the southern Peruvian desert.

Peru, South America reopening

3. Peru

The country is home to mountains, volcanoes, cloud forests, and parts of the Amazon. You can condor-watch in Colca, one of the deepest canyons on earth, or enjoy authentic ceviche in the capital city of Lima.

As of November 2020, Peru is one of the best places to visit in South America.

Travelers must have proof of a negative RT-PCR test result or negative antigen test from within 72 hours of departure or a medical certificate of epidemiological discharge. They must also complete an online Sworn Statement of Health within 72 hours of departure.

On arrival in Peru, all travelers must quarantine for 14 days, unless they take an antigen test on arrival and receive a negative result, in which case they will not have to quarantine.

For more information, check our guide on “Is Peru open for travel?.

4. Ecuador

Ecuador may be small, but it’s one of the best countries to travel to in South America. The three principal cities of Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca each have something special to offer. And, as the name suggests, Ecuador is where you can see the “middle of the world.”

Ecuador, South America open to tourists

4. Ecuador

The natural wonders in this country are world-renown and well worth seeing. Check out the endangered species in the Galapagos Islands and hike the Cotopaxi volcano. Other popular spots include Sangay National Park, Chimborazo, and the beaches of Esmeralda, Montañita, and Salinas.

Moreover, as of August 16, 2020, Ecuador is a country in South America open for travel without nationality restrictions.

All travelers must have a negative RT-PCR or antigen test result that was obtained within 3 days of their arrival in Ecuador or a certificate of vaccination for COVID-19. They must also complete a Health Declaration Form.

You can find more information on our guide on Ecuador opening for tourism.

5. Guyana

Guyana may be underrated, but it’s one of the best places to visit in South America if you want to get off the beaten path. Some of the top tourist attractions here include Stabroek Market, Providence Stadium, and St. George’s Cathedral, which was built in 1899. Guyana is also home to the Demerara Harbour Bridge, the world’s fourth-longest floating bridge.

You can also trek through the rainforest or explore the beautiful natural areas of Kaieteur Falls and Shell Beach.

Guyana, where can you travel in South America now

5. Guyana

As of October 12, 2020, Guyana is one of the countries in South America open for tourists regardless of nationality.

All travelers must submit a negative PCR test result taken within seven days of their trip and complete a Passenger Locator Form up to 24 hours before arrival. If they had the test 4-7 days before their arrival, they’ll have to repeat the test at the airport and quarantine until the results come in.

For more information, check the official Guyana tourism website.

6. Brazil

As the largest country on the continent, Brazil is one of the best places to travel to in South America. It boasts beautiful beaches and the impressive Amazon Rainforest. To get your nature fix, check out the Iguaçu Falls and the natural caverns in Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul.

São Paulo is a gorgeous city full of culture, museums, and nightlife. Another thing you can’t miss is the Carnival celebration in Rio de Janeiro, although it’s cancelled due to COVID-19. This is why we recommend waiting until the pandemic is over, so you can enjoy this country to the fullness.

Brazil, where can I travel in South America

6. Brazil

However, if you still want to visit Brazil, as of July 30, 2020, it became another country open to tourists in South America without nationality restrictions if you travel by air.

Brazil doesn’t require a PCR test or quarantine but recommends a 15-day self-isolation period for travelers with COVID-19 symptoms. Also, tourists must obtain COVID-19 travel insurance, like this one.

For more information, check the Government of Brazil’s official website.

7. Chile

ALERT: The Chilean government has decided to close the borders as of April 1, 2021 due to an increase in COVID cases in the country. At the moment only Chilean citizens and residents can enter the country.

If you’re looking for a place in South America open to tourists, consider Chile! It’s one of the safest countries on the continent, and it’s a popular destination for its extreme landscapes.

You can visit the Atacama Desert in the north or one of the natural parks in Patagonia, the southern part of the country. Valparaíso on the coast is another beautiful city.

Chile, South American borders

7. Chile

Santiago de Chile is a metropolitan wonderland of culture, food, and architecture, such as the Casa Colorada. If you can fly to Easter Island, you can see the moai, the giant stone statues built by the Rapa Nui people.

The good news is that on November 23, 2020, Chile became another country in South America opening to tourists, but only through the Santiago International Airport.

All travelers must have proof of a negative PCR test that was taken within 72 hours of boarding. They must also complete an online Affidavit for Travelers form within 48 hours of boarding.

All travelers will also have to quarantine for 10 days from their arrival in Chile and complete a tracking form, which they will receive by email, for 14 days.

For more information, check our guide on “Is Chile open for travel?.

These are the South American countries open for travel right now, but this list is constantly changing as the pandemic progresses. Be sure to check back before your next trip, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments, and I’ll help you out!

Safe travels!

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COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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