Back to Top
Once the economic powerhouse of the continent, Argentina maintains a sense of refined elegance more commonly associated with European countries. The city of Buenos Aires is more often than not the entry point for those exploring the world’s eighth largest country, and one could not hope for a more invigorating introduction. Those curious to explore the city will be rewarded by a visit to the refined districts of San Telmo, Recoleta and the colourful La Boca, before enjoying an energetic tango show or a visit to any of the city’s world class restaurants.
From Buenos Aires all major destinations can be accessed with ease, starting with the impressive Iguazú Falls where 275 separate cascades make them the world’s widest, prompting Eleanor Roosevelt to comment “Poor Niagara” upon witnessing them for the first time.
Argentina’s increasingly important wine country surrounding Mendoza is home to Argentina’s very own Malbec grape, and with the breathtaking backdrop of the Andes catching the evening light, the city is a wonderful base for exploring the surrounding vineyards in style.
Continuing south, the whale watching opportunities of Peninsula Valdes and the expansive forests and lakes of Bariloche provide a scenic welcome to Argentine Patagonia, before heading into the altogether harsher and more desolate southern regions. El Calafate is the basis for a visit to Perito Moreno, one of the world’s few advancing glaciers that can be seen calving vast walls of ice from surprisingly short distance, whilst a trip onto the glacier itself is available for the more adventurous.
This inspiring country concludes on the Beagle Canal where Ushuaia, the world’s southern most city is found looking over these historic waters and provides the access to the final continent, Antarctica.
Bolivia is geographically situated in the heart of South America; it is the country that best conserves its natural and cultural richness due to its small and highly indigenous population. Its customs and traditions are vivid and maintain themselves present in its 32 distinct ethnic groups.
The country has the most diverse contrasts in its geographic medium: From the vast altiplano on the west; protected by the Cordillera de los Andes, to its northern and western region sacredly bathed by the waters of Lake Titicaca (highest navigable Lake in the world at 3,810 m.a.s.l.) coming down the south west until reaching the large salt mines of Coipasa and Uyuni, a natural beauty of salt with more than 10,582 squared kilometers and at 3,660 m.a.s.l. and the deserts of the Eduardo Abaroa Reserve along with its colorful lagoons.
In the oriental part of the Andes is where you will find the rich subtropical area of humid cloud forests known as, the Yungas, these are located in the Andean Tropics, one of the most bio-diversified hot spots in the world, where a never-ending array of distinct products grow in abundance, like for example the sacred Incan leaf known as the coca leaf.
Its extensive valleys in the central region are where you will find the countries permanent granaries; these generated a wide variety of wealthy regional cultures. This region is the country’s mayor center of agricultural production; it was for the Inca a very important part of its empire.
Finally we have the large virgin forests of the Northern Amazon where we can find the Madidi or Noel Kempff Mercado National Parks, unique and biologically diversified. Down south is the Plata Basin in the Chaco region. It is a dry habitat and birthplace of the Guaraní culture, among others
Chile has the largest north to south reach of any country in the world with 4,350 kilometres (2,700 miles) of coastline, bestowing upon it a host of unique geographical features. The world’s driest point is found in the Atacama Desert in Chile’s northern reaches whilst moving south the landscape comes alive passing through a combination of mountains, lakes and icecaps before plunging dramatically into the ocean at Cape Horn.
Today, Chile is arguably the most developed South American country and the capital city, Santiago, presents a mixture of first world infrastructure and old world charm, whilst serving as the gateway to Chile’s many natural wonders. The spectacular backdrop of the Andes looming high above the city is home to a number of ski resorts all within two hours driving time, a similar distance to the west takes you to the charming port of Valparaiso. Surrounding the city on three sides, Chilean wine country has become somewhat of a talking point amongst experts, even reviving the Carmenere grape which was thought to be extinct.
To the north, the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, built almost entirely of adobe, is the base for exploring the vibrant landscapes of the surrounding desert and volcanoes reaching heights of almost 7,000 metres (22,500 feet). Moving south, the panorama becomes increasingly greener and reaches its climax in the Lake District – a natural playground of tranquil lakes, raging rivers and ancient forests. This southern region is the seat of Chilean culture and home of the fearsome Mapuche people who remained defiant to the Spanish colonial powers for 300 years.
Leaving behind the Lake District, the terrain is increasingly dominated by the impressive scenery of Southern Patagonia, home to the towering peaks of Torres del Paine National Park and the glaciers of the Southern Ice Sheets making it a perfect destination for those looking to experience nature in its purest guise.
Chile is not merely a country of natural wonders. Some 3,600 kilometres (2,250 miles) west of the mainland lies Easter Island – not only the most remote inhabited place on earth, but also one of the world’s true archaeological and historical jewels. Primarily known for the Moai stone statues which can be found there - of which 887 have been inventoried and are thought to be over 500 years old – the island is a living open air museum of archaeological, historical and anthropological interest.
This small Andean country hosts a wonderful array of exciting destinations. Situated in the heart of the Andes, the capital city Quito is the perfect starting point for any itinerary in this diverse country. From Quito, there are easy day trips to explore the haciendas and Andean market towns of Otavalo and Cotacachi to the north, or the dramatic volcanoes such as Cotopaxi and the imposing Chimborazo to the south, while further south Cuenca is a World Heritage city renowned for its architecture and for being the birthplace of the Panama hat.
Leaving the Andean landscape behind, the Amazon rainforest displays one of the world’s highest biodiversity rates allowing for, amongst many others, the discovery of giant otters, dolphins and 13 species of monkey. The Amazon rainforest’s interest does not stop at just wildlife, however, with the region presenting immense human interest in the form of the Cofani, Shuar, Secoya and Huarani tribes to name but a few.
Not withstanding the natural beauty throughout the country, surely Ecuador’s most famous destination is the Galapagos Islands. Located 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) off the mainland at the meeting point of three major oceanic currents, the archipelago, made up of 13 major islands, six minor islands and 40 islets, is a true natural wonder. Boasting unique wildlife such as land and marine iguanas, giant tortoises, and abundant marine and bird life, the archipelago has the highest rate of endemic species anywhere in the world. Historically the islands have shaped the way in which we now see the natural world with the roots of Darwin’s theory of evolution found here and later published in his groundbreaking book The Origin of Species. First discovered by boat, this continues to be the most effective means of exploring the islands, both on land and under water.
For those looking to combine fascinating history, breathtaking landscapes and extraordinary wildlife in one country, Ecuador is without doubt an informed choice.
Peru is a destination that has always evoked strong and dramatic imagery – the Incas, the Amazon, the Andes, the mighty condor, and Lima, “the City of the Kings” and former colonial capital of the Spanish New World. Indeed, there are few countries on Earth that can provide such a scintillating blend of history, culture, landscape and wildlife under one flag.
Whilst Cusco and Machu Picchu feature on most itineraries to Peru, they are just the beginning of what this country can offer throughout its three distinct climatic regions. Peru’s desert coast is the drawing board for the mysterious Nazca Lines just to the south of the capital Lima, as well as the nearby Paracas wildlife reserve, host to flamingos, sea lions and even penguins. Moving east, the landscape rises dramatically into the Andes with spectacular snow-capped peaks reaching heights of over 6,500 metres (21,300 feet) and valleys sheltering the Andean cities of Cusco, Ayacucho and Arequipa, amongst others. To the east of Arequipa, the cavernous Colca Canyon plunges to depths of over 3,400 metres (11,333 feet), twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, whilst Lake Titicaca, the supposed birth point of the first Incas, straddles Peru’s southern border with Bolivia at a breathtaking 3,810 metres (12,500 feet). Continuing eastwards, the Andes eventually give way to the Amazon rainforest, one of the world’s most bio-diverse regions where wildlife including 30 species of monkey, pink dolphins, giant otters, tortoises and the occasional jaguar are all on the list of possible sightings.
From desert to jungle, the Incas to the Spanish Conquerors, Peru is a destination where something can be found to fascinate both the experienced adventurer and the novice traveller.