Most people don’t think of South America when it comes to all-inclusive resorts, but there are some truly excellent options in the southern half of the Americas.
…including beach resorts in Brazil, all-inclusive adventures in Chile, and a tree house in the Peruvian Amazon…
Vila Galé Cumbuco, Brazil
Brazil has plenty of all-inclusive beach resorts to choose from, but few have the charm, sophistication and perfect fun-to-relaxation ratio of Vila Galé on Cumbuco Beach in northeastern Brazil (18 miles up the coast from Fortaleza). With a pool, spa, sauna, Jacuzzi, Turkish bath, three restaurants and three bars all included, you’ll rarely be short of things to do in the resort. Then, of course, there’s the beautiful white-sand beach with kitesurfing, windsurfing and adrenalin-pumping dune buggy rides, and nearby lagoons for kayaking and speedboat rides. For pure fun in Brazil, Vila Galé is hard to beat.
Iberostar Praia do Forte, Brazil
Iberostar owns 4- and 5-star resorts at many of the world’s top beach destinations, from Spain to Tunisia, Mexico, Cuba and beyond. It also has two 5-star all-inclusive locations in Brazil’s vibrant northeastern state of Bahia, home to some of the best beaches in the country. The luxurious 536-room Iberostar Praia do Forte is aimed at couples and families with kids, with plenty to keep all ages entertained, including pools, restaurants, playgrounds, shows, a club for kids, and a nightclub for adults. Then there’s the Praia do Forte beach, undeniably tourist-oriented but considered one of the most beautiful in northeastern Brazil.
Club Med Rio Das Pedras, BrazilOne of several Club Med resorts in Brazil, Club Med Rio Das Pedras is located on a small and tranquil bay in the Mata Atlantica nature reserve. Guests stay in colonial-style bungalows among the lush jungle greenery, from where they can visit the secluded beach by day and sway to samba rhythms by night. Gourmet cuisine and tasty cocktails are never far away thanks to the resort’s two restaurants and four bars. Activities include archery, water polo, squash, basketball and more. Bright, colorful and built for sports and socializing, Club Med Rio Das Pedras is a good option for couples and families looking for fun in the Brazilian sun, and for those who prefer a more private and upscale experience, there’s La Réserve, a uber-luxury enclave within the Rio das Pedras Resort.
Titilaka Lodge, Peru
Lake Titicaca has to be one of the most mystical places in South America. Windswept, romantic, and awe-inspiring, the lake and its islands are home to traditional Quechua-speaking communities who spend much of their time farming, fishing, knitting and weaving. The Titilaka Lodge, located on its own private peninsula some 20 miles from Puno, is the perfect base from which to explore this stunning region. With impressive facilities — including two private beaches — and plenty of excursions (boating, cycling, birdwatching and more), Titilaka Lodge offers a sophisticated and sustainable all-inclusive experience that combines local culture with modern comfort.
Treehouse Lodge, Peru
When your friends ask about your holiday plans, wouldn’t it be fun to reply: “Oh, I’m just going to an all-inclusive tree house in the Amazon jungle”? Well, now you can. The Treehouse Lodge is located on the banks of the Yarapa River — part of the Amazon River system — near the city of Iquitos, Peru (the largest city in the world unreachable by road). The all-inclusive tree house experience includes expeditions to see river dolphins, jungle walks with local guides, nighttime trips to see nocturnal monkeys and visits to the indigenous community of the Jibaro people. It’s certainly not your average all-inclusive holiday — and alcohol isn’t included — but who needs cocktails when you can go piranha fishing from a dugout canoe?
Explora Patagonia, Chile
Named among Forbes’ “10 Coolest All-Inclusive Vacations,” Explora Patagonia is a dreamlike hotel on the banks of Lake Pehoé in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. With the craggy peaks of snow-flecked mountains rising up beyond the mirror-like lake, you’ll find yourself in the midst of a pristine landscape ripe for exploration. And exploration lies at the very heart of this all-inclusive experience in Chile. Explora Patagonia offers more than 50 different guided hikes and horseback rides, all tailored to different ages and abilities. The bar and restaurant will keep you fueled with invigorating meals and Chilean wines, while the spa will help wash away any aches and pains from the day’s trekking.
The Singular, Patagonia, Chile
Also located in Chile’s spectacular Torres del Paine National Park, The Singular is a worthy alternative to Explora Patagonia. Located about three miles from the tourist hotspot of Puerto Natales (the main gateway to the park), The Singular offers more than 20 excursions to glaciers, fjords, mountains and caves, some by foot and some on horseback. The Singular’s full-board program includes daily expeditions, spa facilities, and food and drink at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant.
Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, Atacama, Chile
Surrounded by surreal desert landscapes and facing the almost perfectly symmetrical Licancabur volcano, the Tierra Atacama Hotel offers a truly unique all-inclusive experience in northern Chile. The hotel’s “adventure spa philosophy” seeks to combine daily excursions — to lagoons, salt lakes, geysers, hot springs and more — with extreme relaxation in the spa, in the indoor or outdoor pools, or just admiring the view from the terrace. When you’re hungry, sample some classic Chilean and Andean dishes at the restaurant, then order a pisco sour at the bar. When night falls, look up: Atacama has some of the clearest, most star-strewn night skies you’ll ever see.
Los Pinos Resort & Spa, Argentina
All-inclusive resorts are rare in Argentina, but Los Pinos is helping to introduce the concept. The resort is located in the small town of Termas de Río Hondo in northern Argentina, popular among vacationing Argentines thanks to its natural hot springs, which feed all the pools at Los Pinos. The all-inclusive program includes all meals and alcoholic drinks, as well as access to the gym, tennis court, spa, cinema and more. Aimed primarily at Argentina’s domestic tourism market rather than the international crowd, Los Pinos isn’t as glamorous or sophisticated as the other options on this list. But if you’re looking for a fun escape from Buenos Aires or Argentina’s other big cities and prefer to hang with locals, Los Pinos could be just the thing.
Estelar Playa Manzanillo, Colombia
Formerly known as the Occidental Grand Cartagena, the Estelar Playa Manzanillo is located on northern Colombia’s Caribbean coastline, just a few miles north of the colonial city of Cartagena. The 192-room resort has four restaurants and three bars, its own marina with water sports options, a spa and fitness center, as well as snorkeling, diving, volleyball and soccer. Then there’s Cartagena just down the road, one of the most picturesque, historic and engaging cities in South America — and, of course, the Colombian people themselves, who rank among the friendliest on Earth.