Latin American adventures
By Adam Coulter | June 2018 | 5 minute read
Latin America is the ultimate region of adventure, a continent offering unique thrills throughout its unique topography, from the high Andes to the salt deserts; the Amazon to the Caribbean. There’s a world of adventure options suited to both adrenaline junkies and luxury lovers.
“We are noticing a natural shift from our traditional customers – over 50s – to a younger demographic of over 30s, which is opening up new avenues”
EMILY OPIE, TRAVEL DESIGNER FOR LATIN AMERICA, JACADA TRAVEL
From driving across the lunar landscapes of Chile’s Atacama desert to cruising the fjords of Patagonia, hiking the Ecuadorian Andes or diving with whale sharks in the Galapagos, Latin America offers an extraordinary and varied array of adventures to suit the most intrepid traveller.
As well as the ‘classic’ adventure experiences, there are a number of new and exciting alternatives on offer – such as Puma tracking in Torres del Paine, horse riding in Argentina and the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu (staying in comfortable lodges instead of camping and avoiding the busy Inca Trail).
“There’s a growing appetite to visit Latin America and thanks to flights to Chile, Costa Rica and Peru with British Airways, this corner of the world has never been easier to reach,” explains Laura Rendell-Dunn, Marketing Manager with Journey Latin America, which offers all these trips.
BA’s direct flights have led to a sharp increase in interest to these two countries, according to Cox & Kings’ Marketing Manager Katie Cosstick. “Peru and Chile are selling really well,” she said. “Visiting the Andes is best during the UK summer – clear skies, warmer days (cold nights) and no rain. It’s a perfect time for Machu Picchu.”
The island of Roatan, off Honduras, lies at one end of the second-longest barrier reef in the world and offers some of the best diving in the Caribbean, with perfectly-preserved reefs. In the nearby island of Utila, there’s the opportunity to swim with whale sharks. Add some culture to this beach and diving holiday with a day and a night at Copan, site of one of the most perfectly preserved Mayan ruins in Central America.
Top Tip: Central America is small enough to add on a country or two on any tour: suggest a few nights in Nicaragua and a stay on an island volcano on Lake Omatepe with kayaking and trekking.
Tailor a tour through the heart of the Andes, visiting Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Your clients will discover dramatic highland scenery and traditional cultures including the stunning Atacama desert and the otherworldly Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia; Lake Titicaca, legendary birthplace of the Incas; and the ancient sites of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. For a luxurious twist, suggest clients add on the Belmond Andean Explorer train which offers one- and two-night journeys travelling in Peru’s high altiplano.
Sell it: Cox & Kings offers this 19-day and 16-day tour which includes international and internal flights and accommodation at three- and four-star hotels from £3,895pp.
Suggest a stay in Mashpi Lodge, an eco-resort in a 1,300-hectare (3,200-acre)bio-sphere reserve which has both cloud forest and rainforest. Mashpi Lodge sits in the heart of the globally-important ‘Choco’ area of biodiversity in Ecuador.Activities include visiting the Life Centre with its butterflies and plants, climbing the eight-storey observation tower, riding on the Sky Bike through the forest canopy and taking the Dragonfly – a canopy cable-car – up to 200 metres off the forest floor.
Sell it: Cox & Kings offers a an eight-night private tour including international flights, a two-night stay at Mashpi Lodge and a three-night Galapagos cruise. The lead-in price is £5,495pp.
White water rafting on the Urumbamba River in Peru’s Sacred Valley; climbing up a 300m rock face in Pachar, Peru, then zip-lining back down; hiking up to Machu Picchu; four days trekking through the stunning landscapes of Torres del Paine in Patagonia; ice trekking across a glacier in the Perito Moreno National Park; and riding across the Argentine Pampas – all part of one extraordinary tour. For the ultimate adventure, add on three-nights exploring the Chilean fjords with Australis, including a trip to Cabo de Horno.
Sell it: Jacada Travel’s 16-day South America for the Action Adventurer tour includes luxury accommodation and private tours from £8,844pp.
There’s no better way to see Buenos Aires than by bike. The Argentinian capital is flat, with wide roads and many dedicated biking routes. Take in the iconic sites of colourful La Boca, posh Puerto Madero and the heart of the city, Plaza Dos de Mayo.
‘BA’ is also home to some stunning graffiti (including a Banksy), which you can book as a theme tour.
A good tour to add for adventurous types is a kayak ride through the steamy deltas of the River Plate, followed by a barbecue on an island.
Top Tip: Book through Biking Buenos Aires and you can choose from various bike tours through the city including Hidden Graffiti & Urban Art ($55/half day) and Bike & Kayak in Tigre ($150 full day includes lunch).
When it comes to getting up close and personal with wildlife, it’s impossible to beat the Galapagos – there is simply nowhere else on earth where animals are completely unafraid of you.
Highlights include snorkelling with sea lions, walking amongst giant tortoises, tiptoeing through mounds of sunbathing marine iguanas or dodging blue-footed boobies.
Underwater, visitors can spot sealions, hammerhead sharks, turtles and, if they are lucky, whale sharks. A couple of days in Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel in Santa Cruz is a good place to base clients who dive.
Top Tip: You can’t take a Galapagos cruise and scuba dive, you have to either take a ‘live aboard’, where you dive every day but can’t go on land, or base yourself in Puerto Ayora and do daily dive trips. All the dive centres are based in the capital.
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