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The ultimate guide to wellness travel in South America

17 January 2016

If you’re looking for good health or wellness retreats, one of the best continents you can visit to bring on that happy vibe is South America.

Blessed with warm weather, beautiful mountain views and cascading waterfalls, it’s no surprise that Latin Americans are so cheerful and easy going.

You could easily be forgiven for thinking it’s one of the happiest places on Earth. Most people can’t help but feel a million times better after visiting this continent on a wellness vacation. Here are some of the countries that make up this pleasant continent and why you should visit them if you’re doing a little health and wellness tourism.


This really is one of the most beautiful countries in the world to explore, with delights both urban and rural. For city-lovers, there’s the gargantuan city of Buenos Aires— that’s really no exaggeration, as it’s the second-largest metropolitan area in South America.

If you prefer the countryside, then there’s inspiring scenery such as the lakes of Bariloche, viewed from the mountains, which induces a deep sense of calm. Alternatively, you can visit the mighty waterfalls of Iguassu, which will unleash awe in you as powerful as the falls themselves.

You can view them from either side of the Argentine–Brazilian border. No matter how long you sit and observe them, you’ll still feel you could gaze at them for ever. They’re a sublime sight for the soul.


It’s not just about the waterfalls in Brazil, though. In the thriving city of Rio de Janeiro, you can take the cable car to the top of the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain. When you’re at the top, it’s time to marvel at the 360° view of the city and gaze out across the Atlantic.

You can also take a train to Corcovado, not to be confused with nearby Sugar Loaf Mountain, and see the statue of Christ the Redeemer standing proud and majestic. After you’ve visited Rio de Janeiro, you’ll literally feel as if you’ve been on top of the world. What a feeling!


Placing you outdoors and filling your lungs with the freshest air, the Torres del Paine National Park generates wellness and health from the offset. This national park with its well- known mountain peaks, and lakes that it would almost be sinful to disturb, is the wellness destination for you if you’re looking for a fitness retreat that mixes light exercise with the opportunity to appreciate nature. The view at the top of the peaks is unreal: a glistening lake within the mountains.


Nothing gives you a sense of wonder and wellness like the ingenuity of civilisations past. The ruins of Machu Picchu epitomise ancient wisdom as you stand and look down on this Incan sanctuary that stands 2,400 metres above sea level, situated between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin.

Covering 32,592 hectares, the sheer architectural beauty of the ruins stays with you forever. If this Inca trail doesn’t set you on the path to happiness, nothing will!

Then you have the city of Lima. Home to one of the largest fountain parks in the world, Peru’s mega-capital is also known as the ‘Garden City’. You can even grab a game of golf right in the middle of the financial district.

For something lower key but equally fulfilling, try the Boulevard of Gastronomy in the Surquillo district, which showcases fresh Peruvian ingredients. It’s just one reason why the country’s culinary culture is making a name for itself on the world stage.

Discover wellness in South America

South America is the proud owner of some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful countries in the world. Offering some of the best wellness vacations for couples or single travellers alike, thanks to its dream-like scenery, South America is definitely the place to visit if wellness travel or travel fitness are part of your holiday plans.

After making one of these trips, you should be feeling like one of the cheeriest people on the planet. Learn more about lessons you can take from the happiest places in the world with our expert travel writer, Margaret Manning.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.