Our Highlights of Latin America
21 April 2022
A travel adventure to Latin America offers some of the world’s most diverse terrain. Take your pick from Amazonian rainforest, snow-capped Andean peaks, Patagonian ice fields, arid desert, salt flats, silent lakes and golden beaches. With such varied landscapes and habitat, the wildlife is prolific with the chance to see Galapagos giant tortoise, pink river dolphin, two-toed sloth and exotic birdlife. The cultural riches are just as impressive with ancient Inca and Maya ruins, handsome Spanish colonial towns and vibrant cosmopolitan cities to explore. With fantastic food and wine to relish, tango and salsa beats to enjoy, come and embrace the carnival spirit and infectious rhythm of life in Latin America.
With its colonial towns rich in history and culture, incredible Andes scenery and mysterious Amazonian jungle, Peru has a wealth of variety on offer. Peru was once the centre of the Inca Empire and its main draw is the lost city of Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, accessed by train or on a four-day hike along the Inca Trail.
Peru is also home to the world’s highest navigable lake, Titicaca, the captivating colonial city of Cusco, the second largest slice of the Amazon and one of the world’s deepest canyons, Colca Canyon.
A Must: Hike the Inca Trail
Rich in rugged mountains, fertile valleys, smoking volcanoes, misty cloud forest and tumbling waterfalls, Costa Rica’s unique biodiversity makes it home to a wonderful variety of plant, bird and wildlife. Vanguard of the campaign for responsible tourism, 25% of the country is protected in national parks. Wildlife lovers can spot red-eyed tree frog, three-toed sloth, the resplendent quetzal and four species of monkey, while the landscape is perfect for thrilling adventure activities, including canopy walks, riding the rapids and zip-lining through the rainforest. Add 600 miles of unspoilt tropical beaches with coral reef and turtle nesting and you have all you need for a wonderful holiday.
Ecuador & Galapagos
One of the most diverse nations on the planet, tiny Ecuador not only straddles the equator but also includes the mighty Andes, steamy Amazon and nine national parks, including the unique Galapagos Islands. As such, Ecuadorian holidays offer an incredible variety of landscapes and wildlife. With a strong colonial heritage, Quito and Cuenca are full of cultural delights, while a chance to see Cotopaxi Volcano and drive along the Avenue of Volcanoes is a memorable experience.
On the bucket list of all wildlife lovers, visit the Galapagos Islands and discover the prolific wildlife including giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies and swim with penguins and sea lions.
A Must: Scuba Diving in the Galapagos
A land of striking contrasts bursting with magnificent landscapes and endless scope for outdoor adventure, Chile is the ideal choice for both family fun and romantic getaways alike. See the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, with its lunar-style landscapes, gushing geysers and colourful lagoons, before heading south to the glacial lakes, simmering volcanoes and evergreen forest of Chile’s Lake District. The blue glaciers, deep fjords, granite towers and snow-capped peaks of Chilean Patagonia are a must see, including the breathtaking Torres del Paine National Park. Add on a few days to include the mysterious stone statues of Easter Island.
A Must: Stay in the heart of Patagonia
A country of engaging verve and spirit, shaped by a stunning landscape and a fascinating history, Mexico is a land of Aztec pyramids, cactus-dotted deserts, emerald-green jungles, white-sand beaches and the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Americas. With spectacular wildlife in Baja California, jungle-clad Maya ruins to the south and Spanish colonial towns dotted throughout, there is plenty to discover. Soak up the infectious energy of Mexico City, savour the outstanding cuisine of Oaxaca and sample the potent tequila. And once you’re done exploring, head to the blissful beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula or Baja California.
For those interested in off-the-beaten-track destinations, Colombia is a fabulous option. Proud of their emerging tourism industry, Colombians are eager to help you experience the palm-fringed beaches, snow-capped Andean mountains, lush Amazon jungle, ancient archaeological sites and plantation-strewn hilltops of their homeland. Visit UNESCO-listed Cartagena and the hidden gem of Barichara for beautifully-preserved colonial architecture; explore the cowboy country of Los Llanos; go wildlife spotting in the Amazon jungle; and do not miss the intriguing pre-Columbian ruins of San Augustin Archaeological Park and nearby Alto de Los Idolos. Fast gaining popularity as a must-see destination, discover Colombia now and get there ahead of the crowds.
Fuelled by samba beats, carnival fever, football mania and a legendary beach culture, Brazil is an adventurer’s playground. Explore Brazil’s fascinating towns and cities including Rio de Janeiro, one of the most captivating cities in the Americas, UNESCO-listed Salvador and charming Paraty. Discover Brazil’s natural splendour; marvel at Iguazu Falls, arguably the most dramatic falls in the world; enjoy an Amazonian jungle adventure to spot the fabled pink dolphin and poison dart frogs and safari through the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland, to see giant anaconda, black caiman and jaguar if you’re lucky. End your adventure by relaxing on the laid-back island of Ilha Grande.
A Must: Cook with a local in Rio
Dramatic glaciers, vast atmospheric pampas, remarkable wetlands, and tango temptations all await in Argentina. From the thunderous waterfalls of Iguazu and wineries of Mendoza to the snow-capped Andes, there are many adventures to be enjoyed. Thrill-seekers will be in their element ice-trekking on the dramatic Perito Moreno Glacier whereas wildlife lovers will enjoy meeting the penguins, seals and whales of Peninsula Valdes. Head to the Pampas for gaucho cowboy country, the Lake District for fairy tale scenery, northern Argentina for salt flats and do not miss the faded elegance of the capital Buenos Aires; a hypnotic mix of European grandeur and Latin passion.