Most clients think of travelling to Europe, Asia or America but not everyone has South America on their wish list although they should. This is an amazing destination with a myriad of attractions we would totally recommend as a great place to holiday.
If you like scenery:
Of course, South America has its share of “Wow” destinations – Machu Picchu for starters but also the 280 stunning Iguassu Falls, one of the top natural wonders in the world. At times there is as much as 450,000 cubic feet per second flowing over Iguazu Falls. Set in a beautiful jungle national park the Falls can be viewed from both the Brazilian and Argentine side of the river. A must for any South American itinerary.
For cruisers there are lots of options: We did the 2-week cruise from Buenos Aires to San Antonio (one of the gateways to Santiago) going around Cape Horn, visiting Patagonia, Glacier Alley and the Chilean Fjords. There are also other options that include Antarctica either on a large cruise ship or an expedition style cruise where you get to ride on zodiacs out to the ice, some visit The Falklands and others include places like Rio. Amazon cruises are popular also with some taking in the upper regions from Peru and others doing the full river from Brazil. For an up close and personal wildlife cruise The Galapagos is a must – follow in the steps of Charles Darwin and explore this unique archipelago.
Many options but two worth special mention. Rio de Janeiro has it all from the famous golden beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, lush mountains with spectacular viewing spots like Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain where you take a cable car to reach the summit, samba-fuelled nightlife and spectacular football matches. Even if you are not there at the time of their renowned Carnival Festival - said to be the biggest in the world - you can still visit a samba school where they store their outrageous costumes and grandiose parade floats.
Buenos Aires is another great city option with its various districts that combine faded European grandeur with Latin passion. Recoleta, a distinguished neighbourhood famous for its amazing cemetery, Plaza de Mayo for its majestic buildings, Puerto Madero for its restaurants, San Telmo; an old neighbourhood with a bohemian touch thanks to its contemporary art galleries, night bars and street murals and the home to the cities famous Tango plus La Boca; a working class area that is known for its multi coloured buildings and the home of the Boca Juniors Football Team.
Again South America is spoilt for choice but it hard to go past Peru and the mystic of Machu Picchu. Peru has so many natural and cultural treasures that have fascinated people for hundreds of years and this interesting history is easily accessible to all travellers. Whether it is wandering around Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, now a UNESCO world heritage listed site which combines Spanish colonial architecture and Inca stone archaeological remains, or visiting one of the many villages in the Sacred Valley where the residents still have a direct link with their Inca ancestors, proudly conserving the Quechua culture in their food, jewellery and handicrafts, or exploring one of the many Inca ruins, you will always be surrounded by a strong presence of history and cultural influences and be rewarded by visiting Peru.
Food & Wine:
South America has great vino diversity. In Chile; Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and the countries well-known grape variety Carmenere. Malbec from Argentina, made famous from the Mendoza and Salta regions in the Andean foothills. Even the humble Uruguay produces wine with Tannat – wineries are easy to visit and offer tastings and cellar door sales. South Americas signature cocktail is the Pisco Sour, strongly debated if it originates in Chile or Peru. When it comes to food South America has an abundance of variety made with fresh produce. Their cuisine has many influences, due to the ethnic fusion of South America, and the traveller has no shortage of options to tempt their tastebuds. There are as many variations of empanadas as there are countries in South America. An empanada is a type of baked or fried turnover consisting of pastry and filling. If you fancy something more exotic then there is always the local delicacies of guinea pig or alpaca to try. South America has many meat dishes (sados and parilladas - barbecues and mixed grills) and is famous for streak but they also have Ceviche which is a seafood dish of fresh fish served in a zesty marinade of lime juice and chilli. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then you may enjoy dulce de leche – a honey like appearance and flavour similar to caramel which is enjoyed with ice-cream, spread on bread and used in cakes and chocolates.
Recently returned from my third visit to South America but first time for the others – was a group of 11 and everyone loved everything about their trip. From seeing the million plus penguins at Punta Tombo, the lovely scenery of Patagonia including the Glacier Alley and all the national parks with lakes and scenic landscapes, standing beneath Osorno Volcano in one of the Chilean national parks with the blue glacier fed rapids (certainly gives Mt Fuji a run for its money) plus also the wine region of Argentina, the UNESCO world heritage site of Colonia and everything in Peru. Of course Machu Picchu always a fantastic place to experience – we actually had 7 nights in Peru – lovely scenery, great food, friendly people, amazing Inca history with lots a fascinating sites to visit and learn more about what Peru was like 700 years ago. We had excellent weather and smooth seas for all of it – especially good at Cape Horn – such a shame one has to come back to reality!