South America and Antarctica travel in April
April is an exceptional month to tour South America: the northern half of the continent is diving headfirst into spring whilst, in the south, the autumn is showing its colourful splendour. If Easter happens to be in April then you’ll have to take that into account (busiest and most expensive travel week of the year) but, outside of Semana Santa, April really is the best shoulder month. Along with September, April offers the best of it all: an ideal climate (almost) all over the continent, smaller crowds, lower prices and, primarily, that perfect month for extensive, multi-country tours of South America.
Travel here in April and compromise is the very last thing you’ll need to do.
A swift April overview to give you an idea of what you can expect:
- Patagonia’s foliage is putting on a show of epic proportions this month and whilst many refugios start closing down, meaning multi-day hikes are really difficult to arrange, there’s still SO much to see and do here
- The Central Andes are open for business! This is a perfect month to hike the Inca Trail in Peru and visit Lake Titicaca or, really, any destination in both Peru and Bolivia
- Nourishing rains are refuelling the Amazon River – fancy a river cruise in the most beautiful jungle on earth? Book it for April, when high water levels mean your meanderings can be extensive
- If you’re planning on spending a few days sightseeing in any of the major capitals, the time is just right: the summer sizzle is long gone but the July and August crowds are still a long way off
- Is hiking your thing? Aside from the central Andes, around Cusco, consider exploring northern Peru and that marvellous Cordillera Blanca at this time of year. There’s still snow in the mountains, the waterfalls and rivers are raging and it is just simply an incredible time to discover this mountain range way off the gringo trail
- The dry season starts in earnest in the Galapagos Islands, which means calmer seas, clearer skies and greater visibility for snorkelling and diving. There may still be some rains but they shouldn’t hinder your explorations much. Come meet all the unique creatures who call this place home!
- Antarctica cruises are closed off for the season – unless you’re a King Penguin, you cannot travel to Antarctica this month as winter is fast approaching. And, if you are…what on earth are you doing reading this blog?!
Best City Escapes in April
If you’ve been to Cusco, you’ll know that this is a city that’s worth its weight in Inca gold: stunning and enticing in its own right, let alone the fact that it’s the base town for Machu Picchu visits. Drier than March but warmer than June, April is quite the spicy pickle for Cusco – tasty, satisfying and rewarding.
Autumn in Buenos Aires is a dream, as temperatures remain cool enough to allow for extensive sightseeing on foot (which really is the best way to see it all) and the city’s most beautiful parks are shrouded in a kaleidoscope of colours. The days are a little shorter and evenings cooler (but not cold, a light jacket for an al fresco dinner is all you’ll need) and besides, considering you’ll probably spend your nights soaking up tango shows in traditional bars and restaurants, that certainly shouldn’t dampen your plans. We find BA in April to be evocative, romantic and just plain delightful.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
We’d never dare say that January and February are not good months to visit Rio especially as Carnival fever hits but, in all honesty, both months can be brutally hot – excellent if you’re planning to stay just a day or two before hitting the glorious islands but a little challenging if you’re after some hardcore sightseeing in town. So make April the month you visit instead. Temps have cooled off (as have the summer crowds) and Rio is just a splendour to explore at leisure (without sweating buckets).
Chile’s capital is undoubtedly one of the most cosmopolitan and exciting capitals to visit yet, in the heart of summer, we find the heat and smog a little stifling. That’s why we visit in April instead. The air is fresher and cleaner, the skies clear and sunny and all those glorious wine valleys outside the city are ripe for the picking. It’s harvest season! Fancy a whirlwind wine-tasting tour around Santiago, in some of Chile’s world-renowned vineyards? Don’t even consider any other month but APRIL!
Best Wilderness & Wildlife Experiences in April
Amazon River Cruises, Peru & Brazil
April is at the heart of the rainiest season in the Amazon, which makes for very rewarding cruises. Lodge-based tours are still on offer, of course, yet your on-land explorations will be greatly restricted due to high water levels, so taking to the water really is the best idea now. In April, you can cruise farther along the Amazon River and all its tributaries and take more canoe rides to the remotest regions you wouldn’t otherwise reach at any other time of year.
Galapagos wildlife-watching cruises, Ecuador
The Galapagos are one of South America’s ‘year-round’ destinations, the month you visit simply determining the kind of wildlife experience you’ll have – like watching mating albatross or new-born seal pups. April is the last month of rain season here and if you book your Galapagos cruise during the second half of the month, you could strike the jackpot: the lowest prices of all but with an ideal climate that makes snorkelling absolutely unreal. Wildlife wise, April offers courtship rituals of the waved albatross on Espanola Island (a dance like you’ve never seen before!), the last wave of sea turtles hatching as well as hatchlings of land iguanas (best seen on a northern island loop).
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru
Retracing the steps of the ancient Incas along a path set in stone hundreds of years ago may appear, to the uninitiated, like a cultural experience but those who have been, know otherwise. There is little that can compare to being immersed in the dramatic and awe-inspiring wilderness of the Andes for a few a days, meeting locals, llamas and alpacas along the way. This is as much of a wilderness experience as it is a historical one and, given this is a gorgeous month to visit the region, we just had to include it.
Much as in Rio, Iguazu is also enjoying one of its driest and coolest months which is ideal for spending hours meandering along all the boardwalks on both the Argentinian and Brazilian side of the falls. Water levels will be moderate (still impressive but not OMG-overflowing) which means you won’t soak up the bursting flow of rain season but it also means you’re not left soaking, under the rain, all day long. Plus, a dry month means crystal clear sapphire skies and that makes for the most outstanding photos of all.
Did we mention smaller crowds too? Yep, April’s all that!
Contact Viva Expeditions if you want to know more about our tailor-made tours to South America or Antarctica.