Many of the prices for air passes within South American countries are the same as last year, and they are worth considering if you plan to spend a fair amount of time there.
As a rule these air passes must be bought in the United States in conjunction with an international ticket to the gateway city in your first South American country. However, you can generally fly to the country on any airline serving the destination.
One major restriction on most of these passes is that you can't visit any city more than once, except for connecting flights. In some cases you have to construct your itinerary before leaving the United States. Some passes may not be available in certain months. Make sure that you understand all pass conditions before buying one.
Lan Chile has four variations of its 21-day Visit Chile fare. The Continental One pass allows you to visit the Chilean capital and gateway city of Santiago, plus eight other cities for $299. Pacific One provides a $369 round-trip Santiago-Easter Island fare. Pacific Two, priced at $520, permits visits to Santiago plus five other stopovers in northern Chile that can include Easter Island. Pacific Three, also at $520, offers Santiago plus five stopovers in southern Chile, which can take in Easter Island.
Aerolineas Argentinas offers two Visit Argentina passes. For $290 the 30-day pass permits unlimited stopovers. You can visit three cities, plus the gateway city of Buenos Aires, for $199 on the 14-day pass.
If you're going to Colombia, Avianca has a Know Colombia pass that gives you 10 stopovers within 30 days for $244 (Leticia and San Andreas are excluded). The Colombian, which costs $112, allows 10 stopovers in eight days.
Visitors to Brazil have a choice of Brazil Air Passes through Varig. A 14-day $250 version allows you to visit four cities, not counting the gateways of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. For $250 the 21-day pass permits you to visit an unlimited number of cities.
AeroPeru offers a 30-day Visit Peru Pass with unlimited stopovers that costs $180 if you fly to Peru on the carrier, and $250 on another airline. Similarly, a 30-day Visit Peru Pass with unlimited stopovers is also available from Faucett Peruvian Airlines. The cost of the pass is $180 if you fly on Faucett to Peru and $250 if you fly to Peru on another carrier.
Other airlines serving South America may also have passes. Contact travel agents or the carriers. Some toll-free numbers: Aerolineas Argentinas, (800) 327-0276; AeroPeru, (800) 252-0458; Avianca, (800) 284-2622; Faucett, (800) 334-3356; Lan Chile, (800) 225-5526, and Varig, (800) 252-0403.