With Spring starting to peep its head above the cold earth and the days getting longer, we are turning our attention to the other side of the world, where the bright colours of Autumn are in full display. Let us tell you a little about Latin America and what makes it so special. Above almost anywhere else on earth, this continent packs an astounding variety of landscape and culture into one mass of land.
By taking just five of the nine countries we cover in Latin America (there are more to come so watch this space), we can demonstrate the duality and diversity of scenery and experience that we know will exceed your expectations in breath-taking ways.
Whether you’re a die-hard adventurer, a culture-vulture or a beach-bunny, this extraordinary corner of the globe can meet the demands of almost any traveller and deliver the adventure of a lifetime.
As ever, we are here to help with your travel plans for the year ahead.
Toby Warren, Managing Director
Chile is the only country on the planet that can deliver an experience that combines the driest desert on Earth (The Atacama) with icy glaciers and snow-capped mountains. From the Atacama’s lunar landscapes to the gnarled fjords carved by millennia of a relentless and raging Pacific ocean, the contrast of landscape from north to south defies all reason. Here you will find peaceful lake districts lined with pine forests and grassy meadows; undulating hills carpeted in vineyards responsible for some of the finest wine production on the planet. As if that’s not enough, dropped into the Pacific Ocean and then pretty much forgotten is Easter Island, an enigmatic land that holds the answers to questions we may never answer. Don’t forget to ask us about tagging Tahiti onto your visit to the island for the ultimate beach add-on.
In true Brazilian style, this vast, colourful country sprawls itself casually across most of South America. Hiding within its crinkles and creases are some of the most beautiful landscapes on the continent. These vary from golden beaches and desert dunes that have barely been touched to waterfalls that spill over deep canyons and into forgotten river systems. The largest and arguably most impressive portion of the Amazon basin takes up most of the north and completes its 6,500km journey from Peru by emptying about 175,000mᵌ of water per second into the Atlantic Ocean. Colonial architecture sits alongside some of the most exciting modern design in Rio and Sao Paulo and the world’s largest wetlands are teaming with wildlife from jaguar to over 600 species of birdlife. Take that all in and you’re just scratching the surface.
Colombia is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Latin America and can be split roughly into five natural regions: The Amazon, The Pacific, The Andean, The Caribbean and the plains of Llanos Orientales. From one moment to the next, this gives its visitors unimaginable combinations to choose from: turquoise beach with the world’s largest tropical rainforest; snowy mountains with a raw and wild Pacific coastline or vast, poker-straight horizons of silver wetlands that merge with rolling hills peppered with the lost cities of ancient civilisations, some of which pre-date the Incas. We urge you to visit Colombia now before everyone else hears about it.
It is true that no first-time exploration of Ecuador would be complete without a visit to the jewel in its crown-The Galapagos Islands. Attenborough wasn’t lying; these islands are jaw-dropping in their diversity of ecosystems, ever-changing landscape from island to island and sheer abundance of wildlife. But back on the mainland, there are plenty of other little-known jewels that are waiting to be discovered. A journey can take you into the Northern and Southern Sierras for a combination of soft, grassy hills juxtaposed with dramatic Andean peaks or to the Amazon rainforest for access to over 1600 species of bird and, in our opinion, some of the best jungle lodges in the Amazon.
Those of you looking to combine some serious culture with world-class beach in one destination will be fulfilled by a visit to Mexico. Here the ghosts of the continent’s civilisations that have come and gone are displayed in Mayan ruins that pierce through the canopies of remote tropical jungles and some of the most well-preserved Colonial cities in the world. Then take your pick of Caribbean Sea that flops lazily onto sugar-white sand or rolling Pacific waves that rise and crash onto a wild and rugged coastline. Combine this with a network of canyons in the north that are larger and more complex than the Grand Canyon or deserts filled with forests of cactus and Mexico can deliver a world of natural beauty within one country.