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Category Archives: Amazon

New tour visit the Carnival and Amazon

It might only seem like the last Carnival was just yesterday, but we’re quickly racing towards 2018. If you want to visit the famous Carnival, now’s the time book, as hotels and flights only get more expensive.

If you’re going to take part in the Carnival, why not combine it with some of Brazil’s other highlights? We’ve created a new tour which takes visitors to the Carnival, the might Iguaçu Falls and takes a comfortable, but adventurous cruise down the Amazon in search of some amazing wildlife – Carnival & Cruise.

After arriving in Rio de Janeiro, you’ll be picked up and taken to your hotel. We suggest you stay at the Arena Leme Hotel, though if you book early there are plenty of options to choose from. Head down to the beach, grab an icy cold caipirinha, dig you toes into the sand and soak up the atmosphere – the perfect introduction to Brazil.

The next four days, you’re going to quickly pick up how to party like a carioca at the world’s largest street party. Get a seat at the Sambadrome and watch the colourful parade of dancers and performers. The parade has been a tradition for almost 90 years and there are over 70 samba schools that take party. 90,000 spectators pile into the 2,300 foot-long stadium to watch the extraordinary dancing and floats.

The parade might be fun, but there are other things to do in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. Blocos are 24-hour street parties that pop up throughout the city. People con costumes and here is plenty of beer and Brazilian cachaça. Numbers can quickly reach the thousands when live music arrives. For something a little more exclusive, there are several balls going on throughout the event. The Copacabana Palace Hotel on Rio’s seafront, hosts an annual ball where guests dress up in evening gowns and tuxedos.

If this is your first time in Brazil, don’t worry. You won’t miss out on the bucket list activities during your stay. During the tour, we’ll arrange for you in visit the Christ Redeemer, Tijuca National Park, Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain. After five days, you’ll almost be able to call yourself a carioca!

After the festivities are over, we’ll whisk you away to see Iguaçu Falls where you will stay at the Falls Iguazu Hotel on the Argentine side.The Indians believed that the falls were the mouth of the gods, and when you see them, you’ll releaze why. The falls were made famous in Robert De Niro’s film, The Mission, in which you see him teeter over the edge strapped to a crucifix.

For the next two days, you’ll explore every side of this huge natural wonder. Cross over to the Argentine side to see the falls from the wooden walkways. One of the biggest thrills is walking over the suspended platform that traverses The Devil’s Throat, a gurgling, spitting, rampaging flurry of water. We can even arrange for you to stay a boat trip into the heart of the falls, where you get so close you can feel the spray on your face.

Lastly, you’ll fly north to Manaus, a city in the centre of the Amazon. The city boomed in the late 19th century when it was used as a base for rubber-tapping. We’ll take you to see the huge 18th century Amazonas Theatre, an impressive piece of architecture. Afterwards you will board the comfortable Amazon Odyssey expedition cruise boat, your home for the next four nights. Venture into the Rio Negro and along the Amazon River. Hike through the forest in search of exotic bird life and mammals including many species of monkey. You’ll be accompanied by expert guides which ensure you make the most of your time here.

To book Carnival & Cruise, call us today or +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here. You can find out more about the tour here.

10 things to do in the Amazon

Seeing a clay lick

Parrot clay licks can be found throughout the Amazon. Hundreds of parrots and macaws descend upon muddy banks each morning to peck away at the clay. This phenomenon is still unknown; however, it is thought that the mud is rich in minerals and salt as well as high PH levels which balance out the acidity of the Amazon. It’s a magical experience spending time in the hide watching this chaotic spectacle.

Gliding downstream in a dugout canoe

Flickr: Emil Kepko

An experience you’ll have at any Amazon lodge. Jump into traditional dugout canoes and glide silently along the waterways. Along the mangroves and lakes, monkeys can be spotted swinging through the trees, sloths peacefully hang from branches, iguanas bask in the sun and colourful parrots and macaws fly across the river.

Spotting pink river dolphins

A highlight for many. The mystery pink river dolphin can be found across the Amazon, particularly at the basin. They prefer the lowland fast flowing waters. They are the largest river dolphin specie in the world and are different from other dolphins in that it has a flexible neck allowing it to move in different directions. They can reach up to 3 metres in length. Like other dolphins, they are social and curious creatures and often approach the boat.

Hearing the roar of the howler monkey

There is a high concentration of howler monkeys in the Amazon. They are the loudest of all the monkey species, their cry being heard over 3 miles away. They often group at dawn or dusk and make whooping barks to let others know where their territory is. When you are staying in the Amazon, you will get used to their amazing sounds in the morning and evening.

Meet the indigenous tribes

For many, getting the opportunity to meet and learn from the indigenous tribes is the highlight of their Amazon adventure. Most Amazon lodges will take you to the local village to find out about their way of life. Learn about local medicinal plants and the wildlife. In some communities such as Kapawi or Huaorani in Ecuador, there are shamans, but stay away from the ayahuasca, it’s strong stuff!

Cruising the Amazon

For those who want to visit the Amazon in relative comfort, there are several cruises. The M/V Aqua takes guests on four-day cruises down through the Amazon stopping for wildlife spotting and hikes through the forest. Return back for some excellent cuisine and a comfortable night’s sleep in the luxurious air-conditioned rooms.

Scaling a canopy tower

If birdlife is a priority, be sure to pick a lodge that has a canopy tower. Sometimes, birdlife in the Amazon can be tricky to spot up through the thick tree line. However, up in the canopy, visitors can be up close to colourful exotic birds as well as monkeys and sloths. Some also include walkways to allow guests to move through the trees and maximise their chances of seeing wildlife. Try the Posada Amazonas whose tower stretches an impressive 25 metres high.

See the famous Amazon Theatre

The city of Manaus sits right in the heart of the Amazon. Rubber tabbing helped the city boom in the late 19th and early 20th century. So much so, a grand opera house was built here in 1896.  The theatre is quite a feat of engineering. Materials where brought in from around the world including tiles from Alsace, steel from Scotland and marble from Italy.

View the Meeting of Waters

Flickr: Rob

One of the highlights of a trip to the Brazilian Amazon is a visit to the Meeting of Waters. At the confluence between the Amazon River and the black Rio Negro, the waters meet and flow several miles downstream side by side without mixing. The phenomenon is down to the differences in speed, water density and temperature. Often the Meeting of Waters is seen en route to the lodge, but if not, it’s well worth taking a half day excursion to see this natural wonder.

Live with scientists

To get even more of an in depth look into the flora and fauna of the Amazon, consider staying at the Uakari Floating Lodge located just over 500 kilomtres from Manaus. The lodge hosts many scientists and researchers who accompany guests on tours into the jungle. Situated on the largest reserve of flooded rainforest in the world, there are over a million hectares of protected land to explore. During your stay, take jungle hikes and canoe rides to spot fresh water dolphins, alligators, monkeys, and birdlife.

To start planning your Amazon tour, call one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or take a look at our suggested tours here.

New Suites at Napo Wildlife Centre

AMAZON IN STYLE

You can’t beat spotting Amazon wildlife at Napo Wildlife Centre in Ecuador. This lodge is set within the Yasuni National Park. This comfortable eco-lodge has now added four panoramic suites. If you fancy the jungle with a private whirlpool on a panoramic balcony, this is your place. Not to mention a cosy living room with a glass floor above the water to spot caiman alligators passing below. From your hammock, you might spot pre-historic hoatzins, huge arapaima fish, and even giant otters on the hunt for piranhas.

After taking a half-hour flight from Quito. Napo Wildlife Centre sits by Anangu Lagoon, a couple of hours by canoe from Coca/San Francisco de Orellana. You can explore the virgin forest on guided hikes, take canoe-rides and visits to a nearby parrot clay lick. For bird-watchers, there is a watchtower. For a bit of culture visits to an indigenous kichwa community. Ecuador is one of the most accessible places to visit the Amazon and one of the most diverse. You could easily combine this with a Galapagos cruise.

French artist projects faces of Amazon tribe onto rainforest canopy

Deforestation continues to sweep through the Amazon rainforest. A 2016 project by French street artist Philippe Echaroux aimed to draw attention to the issue through art. While staying with the indigenous Suruí tribe in Brazil, Echaroux photographed the local people and projected their images up onto the rainforest canopy at night creating staggeringly beautiful images in the trees.

The idea behind the project was highlighting the deep connection between the rainforest and the people that live there. Their existence relies on the forest, so it stresses the importance of preserving the region. The work was creating in collaboration with the tribe’s chief Almir Suri Narayamoga who is also working with the Brazilian government to replant this area of the Amazon.

Late last year, Echaroux displayed his photography at the Taglialatella Gallery in Paris. Unfortunately, the exhibition is now over, but the work can still be seen on his website or Facebook page.

4caee7b4e9597cdab8a7faf8c1f59c63 Philippe-Echaroux-Amazon-Photography-2 (1) Philippe-Echaroux-Amazon-Photography-3 Philippe-Echaroux-Amazon-Photography-4 Philippe-Echaroux-Amazon-Photography-5 Philippe-Echaroux-Amazon-Photography-6 (1) Philippe-Echaroux-Amazon-Photography-6 Philippe-Echaroux-Amazon-Photography-7 Philippe-Echaroux-Amazon-Photography-8 work

Première Mondiale: du Street Art au coeur de la Forêt Amazonienne – World First Street Art in the Rainforest. from pays-imaginaire.fr on Vimeo.

Photos by Philippe Echaroux

Want to visit the Amazon rainforest? Get in touch with our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans.

2017 Latin America travel bucket list

Thinking of travelling to Latin America in 2017? With such a huge area spanning two continents, we thought we’d put together a handy list of the most bucket list worthy things to do in Latin America. From hiking through the Andes to watching turtles on the beaches of Costa Rica, the area really does have something for everyone.

Wander through Tikal, Guatemala

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The ancient ruins of Tikal were built and occupied by the Maya civilization for over a thousand years and is one of the most impressive ruins in all of Latin America. The sprawling complex has over 3,000 structures, some of which are in remarkable good condition. You’ll feel like Indiana Jones as you wander through the ancient site surrounded by thick jungle and the sounds of howling monkeys and birds.

See penguins in the Antarctic

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One of the most bucket list worthy travel adventures on the planet. Take to one of the limited expedition vessels and head out to explore the white continent. There are plenty of penguin species to see including the cheeky chinstraps and gentoos, and the more impressive kings and emperors, the latter usually requires an adventurous helicopter flight to reach them. There is no where on earth as pristine as the Antarctic. While breathtaking is an overused word, there really is no other way to describe the landscapes of towering icebergs, glistening glaciers and majestic fjords.

Hang glide over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Most visit sun kissed Rio de Janeiro for the relaxed pace where the caipirinhas flow and the beach is always appealing. Inject a little adventure and see the city from a new perspective by taking a hang glide. Don’t worry, you won’t be doing it alone. Your guide will fly while you can take the time to take in the surroundings. Take off from the top of Tijuca National Park forest and glide around getting excellent views of the city, beaches and Christ the Redeemer before effortlessly landing on the beach below.

Hike the Salkantay, Peru

Flickr: vil.sandi

Flickr: vil.sandi

While the Inca Trail has become the most popular hiking route to reach Machu Picchu, visitors often forget that there are many other trails. The Salkantay Trek is much less hiked and arguably more scenic (it’s been voted one of the 25 best hikes in the world). It’s also challenging. Those who take on the trek will have to reach some of the highest parts of the Humantay Mountain crossing passes higher than 6,000 metres. But those who do are rewarded with some extraordinary views of snow-capped peaks.

See the wildlife in the Pantanal, Brazil

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The wildlife in the Pantanal rivals that of the Amazon. The difference is the wildlife in these vast wetlands are much easier to spot than the thick jungle. Visitors first drive down the famous Transpantaneira Road stopping to watch crossing caiman and nearby bird life. Once in the wetlands, visitors can stay at any one of the comfortable lodges and take daily excursions by foot, horseback, boat or 4×4 to see wildlife including giant otters, anacondas, caimans, monkeys, marsh deer, tapirs and many species of bird, herons and egrets to hawks and macaws. It’s even possible to see a jaguar from some of the deeper Pantanal lodges.

Scuba dive off Fernando do Noronha, Brazil

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While South American isn’t known for its marine life as say Asia or Australasia, there are still some excellent spots. Fernando do Noronha Islands lies off the coast of northern Brazil. Here the marine life is abundant and its possible to scuba dive or snorkel with colourful schools of fish, lobsters, manta rays, baby sharks and octopus.

Swim with whale sharks off Holbox Island, Mexico

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Our top pick for things to do in Latin America. Whale sharks visit the Holbox Island off Mexico for just a couple of months each year. These huge behemoths are the largest fish in the world and while it may seem scary to snorkel with huge sharks, they are harmless to humans. These gentle giants open their large mouths to filter krill and plankton from the oceans.

Watch hatching baby turtles in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

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Tortuguero National Park on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean coast are a nature-lovers’ paradise. Cut off from the rest of the country, a plane or boat is the only way to access the region. It’s one of the world’s best places to see green turtles as they come ashore at night to lay their eggs in the sand. Later in the year those young break out of their shells and make the brave journey along the beach to the sea.

Hike to the Lost City, Colombia

Flickr: Andrew Hyde

Flickr: Andrew Hyde

Machu Picchu is undoubtable the most recognizable of ruins in Latin America, but Colombia’s Lost City is just as impressive and with far fewer tourists. To reach the uncrowded ruins, one must take a 4 day hike through thick forest and climb 1,200 steps. Along the way sleep in hammocks in local villages. It’s not unusual to arrive at the Lost City and be the only ones there. Go before this Lost City doesn’t feel quite as lost.

Horse ride with Gauchos in Las Pampas, Argentina

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Whether you are a beginner or advanced rider, all are welcome to visit the Argentine grasslands of Las Pampas. Spend your days with the cowboys of South America, riding through the steppe, rounding cattle, listening to their folklore stories around campfires and sampling some hearty Argentine barbeques. There are plenty of luxurious homestays for those who want a little more comfort on their stay.

To start planning your ultimate bucket list tour of Latin America, speak to one of our travel experts on +(0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

This man has been living alone in the Amazon for over 20 years

Imagine that all of your friends, family and anyone you have ever known have been massacred. No other speaks your language or practices the same customs. This is the life of one man who has lived in the Amazon alone for the past 20 years.

Very little is known about him. It’s guessed that his tribe were slaughtered by cattle ranchers who cut down the rainforest close to their homes. Although some contact has been made to try and help him, he is unsurprisingly scared of outsiders. So he survives in constant fear of human encounters.

Government officials have known about the man’s existence for many years. Specialists uncontacted tribes managed to trace his hut and discovered a small garden planted with corn and manioc. Inside they discovered a deep hole, something which has been found in all of the man’s shelters leading to him being nicknamed ‘the man of the hole’.

Though intentions of those trying to contact the man were good, encounters have often been tense and ended in anger. One agent who got to close was shot with an arrow. Whenever he feels he space is being encroached upon, which was often the case with loggers and ranchers in the past, the lone man moves on, finding shelter in a new part of the rainforest.

Having lived his entire life in the forest, he has all the skills to feed and provide shelter for himself. Some experts have said the markings he leaves on trees indicate a spiritual life, perhaps helping him manage psychologically with the extreme solitude and isolation.

In more recent years, the Brazilian government has learnt from the past tragedies that occurred when contacting tribes. They have been many attempts to assimilate people into modern life and ended in communities being wiped out by disease. Today, the government takes a policy of ‘no contact’ to the last remaining communities who inhabit the rainforests.

The ‘man of the hole’ has 31 square miles of protected land that is not supposed to be encroached. It is somewhat ironic that it is state -of-the-art satellite technology that will ensure this man’s primitive way of life is no disturbed and his lands are no encroached upon.

To visit the Amazon, call one of our specialists on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here. You can also find suggest tours of Brazil here.

25 random but interesting facts about Latin America you probably didn’t know

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  1. Angel Falls in Venezuela is one of the largest waterfalls in the world with a height of almost 1 kilometre.
  2. Colombia produces more than 90% of the world’s emeralds.
  3. Mexico is sinking by around 10 inches every year.
  4. Bolivia was the first country to get rid of McDonalds.
  5. Latin America is the most urbanized continent in the world with almost 80% of its citizens living in cities.
  6. Mambo, salsa, cha-cha-cha, rumba and tango dances all come from Latin America.
  7. It has the shortest coastline, compared to its size, of any continent.
  8. The official name of for Mexico is the United Mexican States.
  9. The oldest university in North America is the National University of Mexico.
  10. Costa Rica translated to ‘rich coast’.
  11. The Amazon spans eight countries – Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana.
  12. Rio de Janeiro carnival is the world’s largest street festival.
  13. 20% of the world’s oxygen is created from the Amazon jungle.
  14. There are 77 uncontacted tribes living in the Amazon Jungle.
  15. There are over 20 million inhabitants in Sao Paulo making it one of the world’s largest cities.
  16. The highest mountain in South America is Argentina’s Aconcagua and stands at over 6,961metres high.
  17. The world’s most southerly city is located at the tip of Argentina and is called Ushuaia. It has around 55,000 inhabitants.
  18. Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and straddles both Peru and Bolivia.
  19. Costa Rica has been ranked as the happiest country in the world.
  20. Asia is Latin America’s second largest trading partner after the United States.
  21. Ecuador was the first country in the world to give nature constitutional rights and can be defended in court.
  22. After the Antarctic, the Atacama Desert in the north of Chile is considered the world’s driest.
  23. Bolivia was the first country to have a ski resort with a rope tow.
  24. Darwin came up with his theory of evolution while visiting the Galapagos Islands.
  25. The Uyuni in Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flats.

To start exploring Latin America yourself, give one of our specialists a call on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or send us a message here.

6 scenic flights to take in Latin America

Such variety of landscapes makes Latin America an amazing place to see from above. Take a bird’s eye view down over the cities, high Andes and natural wonders. Here are 6 of the best way to see the continent from above.

Nazca Lines scenic flight

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Perhaps the most well-known scenic flight is the Nazca lines. These huge geoglyphs etched into the Peruvian desert thousands of years ago have baffled scientists for many years. Although some of the geoglyphs can be seen from a raised platform, there really isn’t a better way to see them than from a small plane. Flights last around 45 minutes. Take a look at this video of a flight over the Nazca lines.

Quito to Coca commercial flight

Many take this popular commercial scheduled flight from Ecuador’s capital (the second highest capital on the continent) down from the Andes and across the vast stretch of Amazon jungle to the steamy port town of Coca. If you are planning to stay at an Amazon lodge, you’ll most likely be taking this same route. Just ensure you book a window seat!

Iguazu Falls helicopter flight

Flickr: Marco Verch

Flickr: Marco Verch

This amazing natural wonder draws thousands of tourists each day. Many views of these huge falls can be seen from the raised walkways that span both the Argentine and Brazilian side. However, the sheer size of Iguazu can never be fully appreciated without seeing it from above. Escape the crowds and take a scenic helicopter fight to see the falls from a whole different angle.

Santiago to Puerto Arenas commercial flight

Another incredible scheduled flight. Travelling south in Chile from the capital Santiago to Punta Arenas in the heart of Patagonia, reveals some incredible aerial views of the snowy peaks of the Andes mountains. What better way to see the might of these towering mountains than from above?

Blue hole helicopter flight

Flickr: 2il org

Flickr: 2il org

Most people visit Belize’s Blue Hole to snorkel or scuba dive with the staggering variety of exotic fish. This is something not to be missed. However, if you have the time and the resources, a flight over the largest living barrier reef in the world won’t disappoint. This impressive natural wonder is usually combined with aerial views of the Turneffe Atolls.

Hot Air Balloon Flight over the Colombian coffee region

Flickr: CIAT

Flickr: CIAT

The lush green valleys and rolling countryside of the coffee region in Colombia has now be included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Of course, it’s a wonderful place to explore by 4×4 or by hiking the trails, but this landscape is best seen from a hot air balloon.

Hang glide over Rio de Janeiro

Flickr: alobos Life

Flickr: alobos Life

Need a little adventure? How about seeing Rio de Janeiro from above during a hang glide? Soar like a bird above the city and take in the amazing views of Christ the Redeemer, Corcovado, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Rocinha Favela. Most flights launch from a platform high up in Tijuca Forest National Park (the largest urban forest in the world) and touch down gently on the beach.

To take your scenic flight over Latin America, give one of our specialists a call on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or send us a message here.

10 of the best national parks in Latin America

Wild and untamed, the national parks of Latin America are havens for adventure seekers, wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers and hikers. Here are 10 of our favourite throughout Latin America.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine needs no introduction. This southern Patagonian national park is one of the worlds most beautiful. Enormous granite mountains overlook turquoise lakes while wild guanacos and pumas roam and condors circle above. Wild and untamed, the national park’s trails weave through varied scenery, while boats take visitors past the lagoons, fjords, glaciers and waterfalls.

Suggested tour: W Trek

Tijuca National Park, Brazil

Tijuca

Tijuca National Park is interesting as it’s the largest urban forest in the world covering an area of 32 km². The forest, which is home to a staggering variety of wildlife including monkeys and exotic birds, is actually man made. The reclaimed land which was previously used to grow sugar and coffee had trees planted and in 1961 was declared a national park. Inside the park there are several monuments including the Casctinha Waterfall, the Mayrink Chapel and the famous Christ Redeemer statue.

Suggested tour: Brazil Kaleidoscope

Lauca National Park, Chile

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Lauca National Park sits right at the top of Chile near the border with Peru and Bolivia. Nestled in the Andes mountain range, the park encompasses an area of 1,379 km². Its remote location mean fewer tourists visit. It’s not uncommon to visit the park and not see another human being. What will be seen is plenty of species of wildlife. Llamas, vicuñas, guanacos, tarucas, alpacas, cougars, Andean condors, Chilean flamingos, Andean geese and crested ducks are all commonly sighted.

Suggested tour: Bespoke Chilean tour

Iguazu National Park, Argentina & Brazil

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Few know that the mighty Iguazu Fall sit within a park of the same name. While the huge waterfalls are one of the most visited natural wonder on the continent, few spend enough time here to explore the rest of the park. Those who do can be treated to sightings of colourful toucans, tapirs, ocelots, coatis, guans, eagles, caiman and even jaguars. There are several excellent lodges away from the waterfalls (and tourists) that are well worth visiting.

Suggested tour: Rhythms of Latin America

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio

One of our favourite destinations in Latin America and recommended spot for nature-lovers, bird-watchers and beach-dwellers. The palm fringed white-sand beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park are hard to drag yourself away from. But the effort is rewarded with gorgeous hiking trails along the rocky coast and through jungle inhabited with monkeys, racoons, seabirds and much more.

Suggested tour: Romance in Costa Rica

Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador

Cotapaxi

Another firm favourite. The Cotopaxi National Park shares its name with the inhabiting volcano, the highest in the world. The rugged beauty of the park, which resembles some of the Scottish Highlands, is excellent for hiking trails. Andean gulls, lapwings, ducks, hummingbirds and condors. Best combined with the journey down through the Avenue of Volcanoes to Cuenca.

Suggested tour: Cotopaxi & the Devil’s Nose

Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

Tierra del Fuego

Dramatic peaks and glaciers make up most of the parks backdrop. While most visit in the summer stopping en route before taking a trip to the Antarctic, there are plenty of activities in the park during winter. Hike the trails with local guides, go trout fishing in the pristine lakes, horse ride, cross country skiing, husky sledding, snow cat tours and wildlife observing excursion.  An adventure playground.

Suggested tour: Patagonia Ice Trail

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

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Tayrona National Park lies along Colombia’s vast Caribbean coastline. As you can imagine, the park’s beaches are white and palm-fringed with a rocky coastline of cliffs to dive into the refreshing ocean and coral reefs to explore by snorkel. Monkeys swing from the trees and iguanas bask in the midday sun. The best accommodation here are the Ecohabs which provide rustic cabanas perched on a hill surrounded by forest and overlooking the ocean. Bliss.

Suggested tour: Coffee Beans & Scenes

Manu National Park, Peru

This biosphere reserve located along the Madre de Dios is wonderful for bird watchers. Covering a staggeringly large area of 15,328 km², the park is home to over 15,000 plant species, 250 varieties of tree and more than 1,000 species of birds. That’s more bird species than the United States and Canada combined and almost 10% of the world’s bird species. You can also find ocelots, tapirs, caiman and playful giant otters. As the park is still fairly inaccessible, it’s best explored with the help of expert guides, hopping from one lodge to the next.

Suggested tour: Bespoke Peru tour

Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Tortuguero

Although the Tortuguero National Park is cut off from the rest of the country and only accessible by plane or boat, this doesn’t tourist adventurous travellers from visiting the far flung location. The canals that cut through the forests and mangroves are packed full of wildlife including toucans, alligators and monkeys. However, most come to respectable observe green turtles lay their eggs in the warm sand or see the young hatch and bravely make their way to the ocean.

Suggested tour: Jungles, Volcanoes & Beaches

If you would like to speak with a Latin American specialist, call us on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or send us a message here.

 

Here are the 10 best Amazon lodges in South America

With so many Amazon lodges, decided on which to visit can be confusing. With over 30-years’ experience in creating and planning tours to the continent, we’ve had experience in nearly all of them. Here’s the pick of the best Amazon lodges, taking into account level of comfort, experience of naturalist and local guides, itinerary, accessibility and region.

Cristalino Jungle Lodge, Alta Floresta, Brazil

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Let’s start with one of the most luxurious lodges. Located in the southern Brazilian region of the Amazon, the Cristalino is located in a private natural heritage reserve adjacent to the 456,800 acre Cristalino State Park. The surrounding area is rich in over 580 species of bird, many butterfly species, capaybaras, anteaters, river otters and many varieties of monkeys.

Uakari Floating Lodge, Tefe, Brazil

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To visit the Uakari Floating Lodge you must first take a flight to Tefe, deep in the Amazon. This flooded region of the Amazon is a wildlife lovers’ dream and scientists come from all over the world to study the species. It was constructed to enable scientists and tourists to explore the millon hectare reserve with minimal impact of the environment. Fresh water dolphins, alligators, opossums and monkeys among others can all be spotted from the lodge.

Napo Wildlife Lodge, Coca, Ecuador

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One of our favourite lodges in the whole Amazon, the Napo Wildlife Lodge is accessed by canoe from the jungle town of Coca. The 10 comfortable cabanas with private balconies overlooking the Napo River make an excellent base for wildlife excursions including parrot licks, canoe rides and nocturnal treks.

Anavilhanas Lodge, Manaus, Brazil

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Another luxury lodge, located on an archipelago of 400 islands on the Rio Negro River near to Manaus. Each island is adorned with thick rainforest and seasonal river beaches. The lodge is small with just 16 cabins, all of which are beautifully decorated with local arts and crafts. There is no shortage of wildlife including countless birds, tree-dwelling animals and aquatic life, including the pink river dolphin.

Tambopata Research Center, Manu, Peru

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The Tambopata Research Center is a comfortable 18-bedroom lodge situated by one of the world’s largest Macaw Clay licks on the uninhabited frontier of the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. It was established to aid the protection of these magnificent birds and has a long-term research project to ensure the survival of their populations.

Juma Lodge, Manaus, Brazil

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Looking for something a little more authentic? This rustic lodge was carefully planned and built from local sustainable wood and palm leaves, so you would be forgiven for thinking this was an indigenous village. Each of the 23 simple but comfortable private bungalows sit on stilts overlooking Juma Lake.

Kapawi, Coca, Ecuador

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A community project run by the Achuar tribe, this lodge gives visitors a particularly good insight into local life. With the aim of protecting the nature reserve that surrounds the lodge, it’s an excellent spot for observing monkeys, birds, butterflies, fresh water dolphins and sloths. The lodges 20 bungalows may not be luxurious, but they are comfortable enough and made from local materials. The lodge has won a number of conservation awards.

Manu Wildlife Centre, Manu, Peru

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Manu Wildlife Centre consists of 22 double bungalows built in the style of, and using the same materials as, the local Machiguenga indigenous communities. Local wood, bamboo and palm fronds for roofing are used. It is owned by Expediciones Manu, and the Peru Verde Conservation Group, a non-profit, non-government organization involved in rainforest conservation projects.

Sani, Coca, Ecuador

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This eco-lodge establish and operated by the indigenous Sani tribe helps protect vast swathes of the surrounding pristine rainforest. Located between the Cuyabeño Reserve and Yasuni National Park, the area is teeming with wildlife including giant armadillo, giant anteater, woolly monkey, Amazonian manatee and the magnificent harpy eagle.

Reserva Amazonica, Puerto Madonado, Peru

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Exotic yet accessible, Reserva Amazónica Lodge is situated in a private reserve, surrounded by a vast jungle canopy. Inspired by native Amazon design 35 private thatched roof cabañas combine natural materials with contemporary amenities. Travelling to Tambopata National Reserve offers a rare opportunity to discover a lively biodiversity of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and trees.

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