If you act fast and book by tomorrow, September 8, 2005, LAN Vacations (tel. 800/435-3597; www.lanvacations.com) has a series of trips to South America. A six-night package visiting Buenos Aires and Montevideo starts from $949 and includes round-trip airfare from Miami (add $25 out of New York; $40 out of Baltimore), four-nights' accommodations in Buenos Aires, two nights in Montevideo, a high-speed hydrofoil between Argentina and Uruguay, connecting flights between cities, a half-day tour in Buenos Aires, hotel taxes and service charges and a daily breakfast. Accommodations range from centrally located three-star European-type hotels to deluxe digs at either large hotels or small boutiques. Travel for this trip is good through December 9, 2005 and from January 4 to March 31, 2006.
Other LAN Vacation packages to Peru, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador, most of which also close by September 8, 2005, are also available for purchase at the site. A three-night package to Lima with round-trip airfare out of Miami and accommodations starts from $449. Prices are based on double occupancy hotel stays. Airport departure taxes and security fees are additional.
Gate-1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) has an extensive variety of package tours to South America. One of their current specials lists seven days in Buenos Aires with round-trip airfare out of New York City, five nights in a hotel, and daily breakfast, starting at $599. Yes, you read right. The lists of hotels include swank three-star hotels most of which are located near the main shopping and nightlife drags. Buenos Aires is full of great clubs and a youth culture that love to stay out all night talking and drinking. For those interested in heading to Brazil for the famous Carnival, Gate-1 offers seven-, eight-, nine- and 10-day trips to Rio.The seven-day package, leaving on February 22, 2006, starts from $1,179; the 10-day trip at $1,379 -- for departures out of NYC and D.C.
On the upscale side but still worth a look for the budget traveler, Kontiki Trips (tel. 877/566-8454; www.kontiki.org) runs several types of trips to every nation in South America. Bolivia, one of South America's less explored countries, has the highest capital in the world in La Paz and the highest navigable lake in the world -- Lake Titicaca. A nine-day/seven-night trip to Bolivia covering La Paz, the Andean Mountain Range, Copacabana, the Island of the Sun, Sucre and Potosi starts from $1,879 with air our of Miami, all accommodations, some meals and some sightseeing excursions. Call Kontiki with questions about this and other tours. They have a knowledgeable staff of travel representatives who are glad to answer any question.