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Best South American Islands for Adventure Seekers to Visit

The mainland of South America presents so many diverse landscapes and travel options. And the same can be said of the region’s beautiful islands. Once you’ve explored the vibrant cities and the stunning views from the mainland, look for an exotic escape. The best islands in South America are waiting for you.

From pristine nature and city escapes to exploring a whole new culture and history of the remotest inhabited island. The islands in South America are simply irresistible.

No matter what time of year it is, there are adventures to be had. Discover your wanderlust and let these gorgeous images of our favorite South America islands transport you to their white sand beaches and natural wonders.

Galapagos Islands

Discover the unique islands in South America

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Located 217 miles off the northeast coast of mainland Brazil, is the small and heavenly Fernando de Noronha archipelago. With crystal clear water, diverse marine life and magnificent tropical landscapes, this archipelago is one of the most breathtaking collections of islands off South America, if not the whole world.

Partially formed by the tip of an extinct and submerged volcano, the eco-tourism hotspot limits the number of visitors to just 420 at a time. Meaning that you get to enjoy its beauty and serenity.

Fernando de Noronha was Brazil’s first national marine park. All of its water, and 70% of the land is protected. Which leave pristine and verdant nature for you to soak up on this island just off South America.

Fernando de Noronha is one of the most exquisite and sought-after tropical paradises in the world. With its towering rock sculptures, rushing waterfalls and natural swimming pools. As well as the jagged cliffs and caves with exquisite white sand beaches.

Fernando de Noronha

Explore the untouched beauty of Fernando de Noronha

The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The 19 islands and smaller islets that make up the Galapagos Islands are sprinkled 620 miles off mainland Ecuador in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. These islands off the coast of South America are, without a doubt one, of the main bucket-list destinations in the world.

The area is home to a double World Heritage Site, both on land and sea, and serves as the sole inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Each island boasts its own spectacular landscape and diverse range of wildlife.

Due to a lack of natural predators, friendly wildlife such as playful baby sea lions and giant sea tortoises thrive. You are able to get up close and personal with some incredible animals in their natural habitats.

Exploring the different islands around South America and staying on-board luxury Galapagos yachts and catamarans adds to the overall experience of visiting this natural wonderland.

The Galapagos Islands is one of the few places left on Earth that have kept human presence and influences to a minimum, providing a truly unforgettable travel experience. The beauty of traveling here is that you don’t have to be an evolutionary biologist to appreciate it all.

Taking part in an island hopping experience among the Galapagos Islands is a must for anyone looking to explore islands near South America.

Galapagos Islands

Relax alongside the locals of the Galapagos Islands

Easter Island, Chile

Easter Island is the most remote inhabited island in the world and is known as ‘Rapa Nui’ to the locals. Interestingly, Easter Island got its name due to its discovery by Dutch explorers on Easter Sunday in 1722.

A mystical volcanic rock located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and a 5-hour flight from the Chilean mainland, Easter Island has fascinated all those who have visited this remote island in South America for centuries.

The hundreds of ‘moai’ stone-faced statues scattered across the island watch over you as you explore this intriguing South America island destination.

Measuring approximately 16 miles along its longest coast, you will be amazed at how much history, culture and magnificence is packed into Easter Island.

You can piece together the distinctive ‘moai’ history. Or let your imagination run wild with tales of otherworldly beings. Hike up one of the three volcanoes and then relax on the white sandy beach. This Polynesian island will not disappoint.

Easter Island

Encounter the mysterious culture & history of Easter Island

Ilha Grande, Brazil

The small island of Ilha Grande, located 93 miles from the Marvelous City of Rio de Janeiro and just off Brazil’s Green Coast, is made up of 74 square miles of mountainous jungles and beautiful hidden beaches.

With no motor vehicles allowed on the island, you will be left to enjoy the exotic sound of hummingbirds and parrots and the calls of monkeys from the thick vegetation. Several hiking trails crisscross the island. Taking you to stunning viewpoints across the azure waters, to secret waterfalls and deserted white sand beaches.

Ilha Grande’s somewhat colorful history as a pirates’ lair, a leper colony and a penitentiary is a far cry from the paradise that you will find today. In fact, this South American Island has become something else entirely.

The irony of this heavenly island is that nowadays you will not want to leave, unlike many of its former residents!

Year on year, Ilha Grande’s star beach called Lopes Mendes wins accolades as one of the best and most beautiful beaches in the world. And relaxing on its soft white sand while soaking up the sun and sipping a fresh coconut is simply paradisiacal.

Ilha Grande

Escape to the serenity of Ilha Grande

San Andres, Columbia

San Andres is a stunning island off of South America, located 470 miles north of the mainland of Columbia. Because of the extensive coral reefs that surround the island, it’s the perfect place for scuba diving and snorkeling.

The crystal clear waters allow you to view the marine biodiversity with ease. If you’re looking for a slightly different kind of adventure then exploring Old Point Regional Mangrove Park via canoe is an awesome experience.

This also is one of the best islands in South America to indulge in fresh seafood along the beachfront. Being located in the Caribbean sea, there’s no shortage of culinary delights in great abundance.

If you’d like to tour the island at a leisurely pace, hiring a golf cart is a common mode of transport and makes for a truly unique experience. It also allows you to see more of the island and venture to the less touristy areas.


San Andres, island views

Final Thoughts on Islands Off the Coast of South America

South American islands offer a truly tropical experience and make for a great getaway. Especially if you’ve already discovered many other parts of the continent, like Costa Rica and Brazil.

The unbeatable scenery, the magnitude and diversity of wildlife, and the island lifestyle is what keeps visitors coming back to these islands off South America. And we’re sure they’ll have you hooked and coming back for more too.

Thanks for visiting our Central & South America Travel Blog! Feel free to contact one of our Travel Specialists via email, phone or chat to plan your unique Brazil, Chile and Ecuador itinerary.