South America has it all for the gap year traveller. From the mighty Andes to the Amazon rainforest, stunning beaches to active volcanoes, incredible wildlife and fascinating cultures – there really is something for everyone throughout the region. It's no surprise that thousands of gap year travellers head to South America each year to soak up the atmosphere, help on a huge range of volunteer programs or even learn a new skill – Spanish language schools abound and what better than to combine your travels with picking up one of the most important languages in the world.
However, South America is a huge region and you could easily spend years exploring each country. To really get the most out of your time in the region, and to ensure your Gap Year doesn't just disappear in 12 months of sitting on buses and trying to find your way around, we'd strongly recommend that you consider a structured and organized program with experts in the region. These programs cover a huge range of activities – whether it's trekking up to Machu Picchu or helping to preserve the Galapagos Islands, perfecting your Spanish (and salsa skills!) to exploring the Amazon - and help ensure that you get the absolute most out of your travels in what should not only be the time of your life but is also a great opportunity to learn about yourself and others and to develop new skills.