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10 places in Latin America that will take your breath away

Latin America is so full of wonders, it’s almost impossible to pick just 10. Our travels have taken us all around this varied continent and we’ve whittled it down to our absolute bucket list favourites.

Torres del Paine

Perhaps one of the most spectacular places on earth, the Torres del Paine National Park spans a large area of the Andes in southern Chile. Hiking through the park reveals some of the most exquisite scenery in South America as well as plenty of wildlife from roaming guanacos to circling condors. An absolute must.

Angel Falls

Flickr: ENT108

Angel falls are the tallest in the world. As water cascades over the edge it plunges 2,648 feet before heading the ground. Like something out of the movie Avatar, the falls remote location mean very few tourists visit so you’re likely to have the falls all to yourself. One of the best ways to see them is a scenic flight over the top.

Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole is located off Belize’s Caye Caulker. Scuba divers from all over the world to visit this mecca to swim with manta rays, sharks and colourful exotic fish. To fully appreciate the shape of this sunken underwater cave, it’s best to take a light aircraft flight over the top. The nearby Hol Chan Marine Park and the three atolls of Glover, Lighthouse and Turneffe are all top notch scuba sites.

Cartagena

No other city exudes the charm of Cartagena. The colourful UNESCO city is flanked by the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. The best way to explore the city is by foot. This cultural hub is packed full of museums, galleries, and churches to explore. By night, head out to explore the excellent restaurants and nightlife.

Rio de Janeiro

While it may be unoriginal to put Rio de Janeiro on a bucket list of South America, we simply couldn’t leave it off. The gorgeous hedonistic city is surrounded by towering mountains, the biggest urban forest in the world, miles of golden sandy beach and the Atlantic. No trip to Brazil is complete without a visit to this fantastic city.

Tulum

The golden sandy beaches fringed by palm trees are spectacular, but what makes this beach so special is the Mayan temple which loams over the beach from its clifftop site.

Pantanal

For wildlife lovers, there is no better place on earth. This vast wetland that sits just below the Amazon in Brazil is home to hundreds of animal species, from colourful hyacinth macaws, jaguars, caiman, giant otters, monkeys, tapirs, herons, hawks, marsh deer and egrets.  Best explored from one of the many comfortable lodges in the park.

Uyuni

Truly one of the world’s natural wonders. This huge 12,000 sq km expanse of white salt seemingly stretches on forever, only punctuated by an island of giant cacti. Nearby, it’s possible to see a train cemetery of rusting steam trains, hot springs, geysers and workers piling up salt. Be sure to stay in one of the hotels made entirely from salt.

Bocas del Toro

For rustic luxury and Caribbean vibes, visit Bocas del Toro, an archipelago off the northern Panamanian coast. The capital Isla Colon is home to colourful wooden houses, preserving its original Caribbean flair. Stay in one of the many over-the-water bungalows and spend your days swimming, snorkeling, swinging in a hammock, eating lobster and beach dwelling.

For tailor made tours to Latin America, contact the experts here or call us on +44 (0) 207 407 1478

CITY OF THE MONTH MONTEVIDEO: AN ANTIQUE SHOPPER’s DREAM

Browsing flea markets of Montevideo

Montevideo is a great city to wander. Much of the centre takes you back to a bygone era when people took the time to slow down. The neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture recalls those times. The leafy plazas, and riverside walkways, invite you to ramble. The streets are dotted with cafes, bookstores, and a large collection of antique stores. Auction houses like Bavastro or Castells are packed with fine vintage treasures. Montevideo also features a popular flea market on Tristán Narvaja Street, where every Sunday morning visitors may find first-edition books, 1900s Leicas and other hidden gems. The markets are also great places to eat scrumptious grilled meats and other local delicacies. If you would like to discover Montevideo and its secrets, please contact us for Uruguay travel ideas.

King Penguins in Tierra del Fuego

King Penguin

If you want to see King penguins but don’t want to go to Antarctica, go to Tierra del Fuego. A few years ago, a small colony of King Penguins started nesting at a local Estancia. This is the only place to find the second largest penguin within the American continent. We will be offering a day trip to see these graceful creatures. The itinerary starts in Punta Arenas and consists on a short flight to Porvenir and then a drive to the the reserve and then fly back. This is a perfect addition to any Torres del Paine itinerary with some idle time in Punta Arenas.

Tierra del Fuego means ‘Land of Fire’ after the fires the indigenous people kept going. The archipelago is shared between Chile and Argentina. Much of it is flat steppe grasslands, but a chain of rugged mountains runs down, covered in a permanent ice field. We also offer cruises that ply the islands’ fjords and include a stop at mythical Cape Horn.
Here are some Chilean holiday ideas.

Caiman Lodge Brazil’s Pantanal Special Offer

Mother & cub jaguar

Caiman Lodge Brazil’s Pantanal
We recently had the honour to meet the owners of one of the finest lodges in Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands. Caiman lodge is in the state of Mato Grosso del Sur. It is also one of the best places to see jaguars and other large south American mammals like the giant anteater. It was where the BBC Natural History unit made the film ‘Jaguars: Brazil’s Super Cats’. Caiman Lodge was established in 1985 as the first ecotourism operation in the Southern Pantanal. Since then offering visitors a means of getting close to the region’s nature and culture, while offering great hospitality and gastronomy. Its two lodges Cordilheira (5 suites) and Baiazinha (6 rooms) are 22 kms apart and run independent operations.
Caiman operates an important Nature Conservation Programme that consists of maintaining a private reserve and supporting various research and species management projects on the whole ranch. Important conservation projects focus on the stunning blue hyacinth macaws and Americas’ biggest predator, the elusive jaguar.

We have two special offers to visit Pantanal: You can either book 4-nights and pay only for 3-nights, or book a 5-nights for the price of 4. Book two apartments and get your get a 30% discount on the second accommodation’s rate. These offers are valid until June 10th, except during holidays and commemorative dates. Contact us to know all the conditions that limit these offers.

Albatross Breeding Season Comes to Galapagos

The albatross breeding season has started. The waved albatross is the largest species of bird in the Galapagos Islands. They only nest on Española Island, where they can be spotted from the April until the December. This coincides with the cooler season when waters are richer in food. They are called the waved albatross after the wavy lines on their breast. Their courtship ritual is one of the most entertaining spectacles in the archipelago. During the courtship, the male approaches the female, then moves around her. They clack their beaks noisily together and point towards the sky. An eerie rattling sound follow, and much honking prevails. They sway around elaborately leading each other on. The movements are repeated many times. They manage to find their partners from previous years. It is said that they mate for life, which can be up to 40 years. They only lay one large egg on bare ground, which weighs nearly 300g. Once-hatched they rapidly grow, until 6 months later are ready to fledge. One reason they like Española island is it is flat and they can easily take off the cliffs. Film copyright David Horwell.

If you wish to book a Galapagos cruise contact the experts.

Andean Explorer The New Luxury Sleeper Train in Peru

Andean Explorer Train Peru

Peru is a top destination for travellers who like authentic experiences. The amazing landscapes plus Machu Picchu, Cusco and Lake Titicaca attract culture and history buffs. Getting around involves much travelling, which is why railways have been important. Now Peru has its’ first sleeper train.  This week sees the start of the operation of the first luxury sleeper train in South America. The Belmond Andean Explorer will cross the Peruvian Andes. Here you can explore natural wonders and ancient kingdoms, by high altitude railway. From Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa.

Aimed at wealthy travellers, the train has high-end interior design inspired by local textiles. They offer a three-day or a two-day experience, the former Cusco, Lake Titicaca and Arequipa. The latter Cusco to Lake Titicaca. The train departs from the Inca capital, crossing the high plains at over 4800m. At Puno there is a chance to visit the floating islands of the Uros on Lake Titicaca. At Arequipa you can visit the immense Colca Canyon, home to the Andean condor. As one would expect the cuisine is of high standard and there are two dining cars. There is an ‘observatory’ car, an outdoor deck and a saloon car to relax in style.

This will be an extra luxury train along with the Hiram Bingham Express, the luxury train to Machu Picchu. The company also runs hotels in inspiring destinations including Lima, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

For a tailor-made Peru holiday please contact us.

WIN a fabulous 8-day holiday for two to Nicaragua

The Colonial city of Granada

We have teamed up with The Travel Magazine to have the chance to enjoy a holiday of a lifetime touring Nicaragua. Known for its colonial cities, volcanoes and unspoilt beaches, Nicaragua is one of the region’s best kept secrets. Enjoy beautiful lakes, active volcanoes, nature reserves, inviting beaches and friendly locals.

Your tour (see full itinerary here) starts in the capital city of Managua where you can rub shoulders with locals in the street markets, then on to the beautiful colonial city of Leon Nicaragua’s historical, cultural and religious capital. You could even go boarding at the Cerro Negro volcano if you have the stomach for this exciting ride down the volcano. Then take the ferry to the Isla de Ometepe, situated on Lake Nicaragua, with two volcanoes, Concepcion and Maderas. Spend the night on a nature reserve by one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

Then on to the vibrant colonial city of Granada believed to be the second oldest in Latin America and attacked many times by pirates. You will visit the city by horse-drawn carriage. Climb the bell tower of Merced church and enjoy spectacular views over Lake Nicaragua and Mombacho Volcano. The trip is for two and includes flights, hotels some meals and activities. Select Latin America has been offering quality trips to the Central America for over three decades.

To enter the competition, click here. Winner will be chosen at random on May 16th 2017.

Antarctic cruise special offers

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The Antarctic is a truly amazing place, a wilderness of pristine icebergs, glistening waterways, waddling penguins, and fluking whales. The season runs between November and March and with places limited, if you plan to go, it’s best to secure your place early with a deposit. If you’re still not quite sure, here’s several early bird special offers to help you make your decision.

Cruise Date Days Special Offer
Falklands & South Georgia 20/10 – 7/11 19 $1,000 off
South Georgia In Depth 21/10 – 4/11 15 $750 travel credit
Antarctic Peninsula – Basecamp Ortelius 4/11 – 15/11 12 Includes free activities
South Georgia In Depth 4/11 – 18/11 15 $750 travel credit
Falklands , South Georgia & Antarctica 6/11 – 25/11 20 Up to $4,000 off
Weddell Sea – In search of the Emperor Penguin 15/11 – 25/11 11 Up to €1,200 off
Falkland Islands – South Georgia – Antarctic Peninsula 29/11- 18/12 20 Up to €1,100 off
Antarctic Peninsula Explorer 4/12 – 14/12 11 $750 travel credit
Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands 6/12 – 16/12 11 Up to €850 off
Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands 6/12 – 16/12 11 Up to €850 off
Antarctic Peninsula 14/12 – 25/12 12 $1,000 off
Antarctic Peninsula Adventure 3/3 – 13/3 11 $750 travel credit
Marine Mammals of Antarctica 23/3 – 2/4 11 $750 travel credit

To discuss your Antarctic travel plans or book your cruise, contact one of our experts at +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or message us here.

5 amazing places you’ll visit on an Antarctic cruise

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Antarctica, the last true wilderness on the planet. A vast, unspoiled continent that has been inspiring adventurers for hundreds of years. Access to parts of the Antarctic have become much easier in recent years and unlike Shackleton’s exploration, it can be done so in relevant comfort. Here’s 5 amazing regions you’re likely to visit on an Antarctic cruise.

Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego

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Ushuaia is referred to as ‘The End of the World’ and though it feels like it, it’s the starting point for almost all expeditions to the white continent. Surrounding the most southerly town in the world are snowcapped mountains and the Beagle Channel. While most people land in the town and head straight off, it’s worth taking some time to explore. Hike along the trails with local guides, go trout fishing in the lakes, horse ride and take cross country skiing tours. The Tierra del Fuego National Park is home to much wildlife and is breathtaking.

Weddell Sea & Snow Hill

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The Weddell sea is a truly extraordinary place. To visit, one must travel on board an ice-breaker vessel which cuts through thick ice floes. This is a place where few have been before. Snow Hill is home to one of the only emperor penguin rookeries. Some vessels have helicopters to help you get a bird’s eye view and land nearby to walk among the colony. Here, the male penguins have survived the winter with little food while keeping the eggs of their young warm below their feet. An awesome site. Out at sea, Weddell seals can be seen basking on the chunks of floating ice or diving into the water in search of their next meal.

South Georgia

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Many of the Antarctic expeditions visit South Georgia, a place perhaps best known as the resting place or the explorer Shackleton. What fewer know is South Georgia is one of the most awe inspiring places on the planet. Rich with wildlife, thousands of penguins can be found along the Salisbury Plain while many more Gentoo penguins and huge elephant seals take up the beach along Gold Harbour. It’s also an excellent place for seeing wandering albatrosses and fur seals. Though the waters nearby can be rough, it’s sometimes possible to visit Elephant Island where Shackleton’s crew were stranded all those years ago.

Falkland Islands

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Another common stop off point on the way to the Antarctic, and for good reason. The Falkland Islands, located around 300 miles east of South America, is home to much wildlife. Similar to the windswept islands of Scotland, there are more than 200 recorded species of birds on the archipelago. Magellan and  Gentoo penguins on Carcass Island, and rockhoppers, blue-eyed shags and black-browed albatrosses nest on West Point. The islands are the perfect breeding ground for elephant and fur seals who crowd the beaches.

Antarctic Peninsula and Circle

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One of the most magically moments for most is the first sightings of icebergs during the approach to the Antarctic Peninsula. The huge towering monoliths of all shapes and sizes slowly float past before waterways and mountains surround the vessel from all sides. An expedition is likely to take you down Antarctic Sound (sometimes called Iceberg Alley) and through the stunning Lemaire Channel.  Look out for leopard and crabeater seals basking in the soon and humpback and minke whales fluking near the ship.

The next Antarctic expedition season starts in November 2017, but the limited spaces get booked up fast. To start planning your once-in-a-lifetime cruise to the white continent, contact one of our experts at +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or send us a message.

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