24 out-of-this-world Latin American experiences
No other continent combines natural beauty with cultural charm quite like Latin America. Whether you seek heart-pumping adventure, serene landscapes or gourmet delights, we have gathered 24 of the very finest experiences this vast destination has to offer.
1. Trek through Torres Del Paine
7 days, Patagonia, Chile
To hike the ‘W trek’ through Patagonia’s awe-inspiring landscape is to encounter natural beauty at its most majestic. Torres del Paine National Park is a Biosphere Reserve of towering granite, turquoise lakes and wildlife spanning more than 220,000 hectares, and it’s the latest destination for expedition specialist Adventure Abroad. The journey follows the seven-day circuit, taking in wonders such as Grey Glacier, the French Valley and, of course, the horns of the Torres del Paine massif. At the end of each day, guests rejuvenate in refuges and in the cosy geodesic domes of EcoCamp Patagonia, the first hotel of its kind in the world.
2. Help save the Peruvian Amazon
Tambopata National Reserve, Peru
Could you discover a new species? Join the scientists at Tambopata Research Center and you might just have a chance. Deep within the jungle, this remote lodge is a beacon for explorers and conservationists keen to get handson with research and make a positive impact on the Peruvian wilderness.
3. A grand continental voyage
64 days, Fort Lauderdale return
Board Silversea’s elegant Silver Shadow in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a Grand Voyage right around South America, visiting 31 ports in 17 countries. Travelling in style aboard the 388-passenger ship, you’ll discover the essence of this vast and varied continent over 64 days, broken up into four sectors.
4. Latin America by air
23 days, Sydney return
Consider the Captain’s Choice Ultimate South America by Private Jet journey the highlights reel of this vibrant continent, taking in nine destinations over 23 days. Departing Sydney on 3 May 2020, you’ll first touch down in Buenos Aires and end on Easter Island. Along the way, you’ll skip the lines (and the hassle) in your private jet and stay in sumptuous hotels.
5. Suspended on the salt flats
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Wake up on the mirror-like surface of the Uyuni salt flats at the soon-to-open dome camp, Kachi Lodge by Amazing Escapes. The lodge will be the first luxury accommodation of its kind on the Bolivian Altiplano, featuring six bedroom domes and a super-sized lounge dome. Each dome is a cosy retreat with carpeted floors, private bathrooms, large comfortable beds and a view of the landscape outside. Stargazers can use the telescope to observe the clear night sky, while active travellers can hike to Tunupa Volcano. Kachi Lodge will even offer premier dining by partnering with award-winning La Paz restaurant, Gustu.
6. Heli-ski an active volcano
Villarrica is one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, last erupting in March 2015, and powder-hounds can ride it on a heli-skiing adventure from andBeyond Vira Vira. Beginners can join the fun, too, at the volcano’s Pucón ski field, or enjoy dashing through the snow on a dog sled. andBeyond Vira Vira is set in 22 hectares of the idyllic beauty of Chile’s Lake District, offering 18 suites and villas, plus a five-bedroom standalone hacienda. While snow adventures call in winter, summer is a time for fly fishing, horse riding, hiking, birdwatching and heli-biking.
7. Master Malbec in Mendoza
Get a first-hand experience of Argentina’s famous varietal at The Vines Resort & Spa in Mendoza, the heart of wine country. Try blending your own wine in the winery, galloping through the vineyards on horseback or getting your hands dirty during planting or harvest season, depending upon the timing of your visit.
8. Explore Antarctica and The Southern Ocean
20 days, Buenos Aires return
Voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula with Quark Expeditions, visiting the Falkland Islands and South Georgia along the way. Quark has made its name with polar exploration, combining wondrous sights with active adventures, expert onboard lecturers and even opportunities to learn from scientists.
© DAVID MERRON/QUARK EXPEDITIONS
9. Grand golfing in The Caribbean
Amanera, Dominican Republic
Tee off in a tropical postcard come to life at Amanera’s Playa Grande Golf Course. The 25-casita resort is framed by golden sands, blue waters and emerald nature reserve, and this cliff-top 18-hole course is just as stunning. The 72-par course was designed by Rees Jones, with his signature coastal-style bunkers only accentuating the scenery.
10. Delve into Guatemala
7 days, Guatemala
Discover why this country is one of Central America’s most fascinating on Adventure World’s Handpicked Guatemala itinerary. The nation’s beautiful scenery and Mayan ruins are just a couple of reasons why Guatemala is catching the attention of curious travellers. It is also home to the artisan creations at Chichicastenango, the colonial grandeur of former capital Antigua and volcanoringed Lake Atitlán.
11. Swim with whale sharks
6 days, Isla Holbox, Mexico
The idyllic fishing community of Isla Holbox, off the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, is where travellers go to escape the crowds of Cancún. In summer, it’s also where whale sharks congregate to soak up the warm Caribbean waters. Adventure World’s tailor-made trip is a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with these magnificent creatures.
12. Across Peru with Belmond
Board the Andean Explorer, South America’s first luxury sleeper train, for an epic rail journey with Belmond from Cusco across the Andean plains to the white city of Arequipa. Along the way, marvel at the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca. Pair it with hotel stays at Belmond’s opulent properties in Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lima, the Sacred Valley and Colca Canyon, where the Andean condors soar.
13. Cuba in-depth
13 days, Havana return
See the best of Cuba – classic cars, colonial architecture and cigars – on an in-depth discovery with Abercrombie & Kent‘s Secrets of Cuba itinerary. Order a daiquiri at Hemingway’s favourite bar and tour the markets with a home chef in Havana, and learn about the country’s legendary tobacco in the green hills of the Valley of Viñales. Feel the French spirit as you stroll along the oceanfront promenades of glamorous Cienfuegos, admiring the opulent palaces laced through Punta Gorda. Before returning to Havana, you’ll call at UNESCO World Heritage-listed Trinidad, with its historic cobblestone town centre and old sugar plantations.
14. An encounter with Galápagos
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Get up close to the celebrated wildlife – sea lions, manta rays, puff-chested frigates, blue-footed boobies, ancient tortoises – of the Galápagos Islands with Haugan Cruises. The boutique cruise line operates the newest fleet in the archipelago, each ship carrying just 16 passengers. Camila is the latest to join the family, a chic motorised trimaran with eight balcony staterooms, a crew of 10 and a Jacuzzi on the sun deck. Before or after your cruise, get an in-depth look at the island of Santa Cruz staying at Galapagos Habitat, an eco-hotel of 17 rooms and suites with a serene view of Academy Bay. galapagoshabitat.com
© RENATO GRANIERI
15. Cycle through Uruguay
Small but rich in coastal culture (and beef), Uruguay is perfectly sized for an intimate exploration by bike. Butterfield & Robinson creates bespoke itineraries to this hidden gem, taking in the nation’s popular Atlantic beaches, colonial cities, rolling vineyards and chic resort estates, such as Estancia Vik.
16. Private Island fishing
South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Belize
Chase the Caribbean Grand Slam – bonefish, tarpon and permit – while enjoying the facilities of your private island at Royal Belize. Go fly-fishing on the Belize flats, land a snapper on the reef or charter a yacht and head for deeper waters. The full-time staff will tailor each day to your desires.
17. A taste of tequila
Tequila & Guadalajara, Mexico
Explore Tequila – the birthplace of the eponymous spirit – in style. Arrive at Casa Sauza for a tour with the ‘tequilacopter’ or explore La Rojeña, the oldest distillery in Latin America, on a return day trip aboard the ‘tequila train’, aka the José Cuervo Express. Both depart from Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city and Jalisco’s burgeoning art capital, home to a slew of new design hotels. Opt to stay the night in the heart of Tequila in one of the 93 rooms and suites at boutique Relais & Châteaux member, Hotel Solar de las Ánimas.
© ANTON IVANOV
18. A star of the Galápagos
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Darwin’s enchanted isles are so emblematic of Ecuador that we just had to include them twice. Undoubtedly, the best way to see the Galápagos is on a cruise, and Latin Trails’ Sea Star Journey is one of the finest, combining contemporary design and comfort with sustainable practices. The ship is but a part of the experience; Latin Trails delivers an immersive journey on shore and on the water. Visit the giant tortoises at La Galapaguera breeding centre, stroll by lounging sea lions, see baby turtles hatching on the beach and snorkel amid rays, turtles, schools of fish and sea lions.
© BLUEORANGE STUDIO
19. Hike to Machu Picchu
7 days, Peru
The ascent to Machu Picchu along the Salkantay Trek might be one of South America’s more challenging hikes, but Mountain Lodges of Peru makes it a well-rewarded experience. Each night, you’ll bed down in sophisticated, eco-conscious lodges dotted along this less-travelled route and rejuvenate over hearty meals with new friends and by soaking in hot tubs under star-studded skies.
20. Track Coasta Rica’s wildcats
11 days, Costa Rica
This biodiverse Central American jewel is home to six species of wildcat – the jaguar, puma, jaguarondi, ocelot, margay and oncilla – which are the subject of your research with Natural World Safaris. The Costa Rica Wildcat Conservation Safari will see you placing camera traps in the jungle (which you can monitor once you return home), cruising the canals of Tortuguero National Park and whitewater rafting the Pacuare River.
21. Journey to the end of the world with Viking
18 days, Buenos Aires to Santiago
Viking Cruises’ South America & the Chilean Fjords itinerary takes passengers on an intrepid journey through four countries to Ushuaia, the city at the end of the world. The ship leaves port in Buenos Aires and makes stops at Montevideo and the Falkland Islands before rounding Cape Horn and passing through the majestic Chilean fjords en route to Santiago.
22. Stay in the ‘wandering hotel’
Immerse yourself in the extraordinary white-dune landscape, dotted with freshwater lagoons, of Lençóis Maranhenses in Brazil’s north. The striking destination will soon be home to the third edition of 700,000 Heures, the ‘wandering hotel’ that pops up in remote destinations for only six months at a time. The Lençóis House will open in June 2019, inviting you to trek across the dunes, explore on horseback, kitesurf and drink caipirinhas by the beach.
23. Cruise through the Amazon
Unveil the mysteries of the Peruvian Amazon on board the four-suite vessel, Delfin I, which plies the waters of the Marañon and Ucayali Rivers. On three- and four-night itineraries, try birdwatching, kayaking or paddleboarding, embarking on a night safari and swimming with pink river dolphins. On board, enjoy a private whirlpool (found on the terraces of the two Deluxe Suites) and innovative Peruvian cuisine; this is the first Relais & Châteaux cruise in the world, after all.
24. A front-row seat to Iguazú Falls
Puerto Igazú, Argentina
Visit South America’s thundering natural wonder as much as you please with a stay at Awasi Iguazú, a 14-villa Relais & Châteaux lodge in the wilds of the Atlantic Rainforest. Unlike the Brazilian side of the falls, the Argentinian side is comparatively undiscovered. This eco-conscious luxury adventure lodge uses a safari model, dedicating a guide and four-wheel drive to each two-person pool villa, enabling jungle discovery at your own pace.