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LATAM begins new route between Lima and Mendoza

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As part of LATAM’s expansion plans and taking advantage of the newly-refurbished international airport in Mendoza, the airline has started a new direct route between Lima and Argentina’s wine country capital.

Since 2nd February, the airline has been running four direct flights per week between Lima and Mendoza running daily from Friday until Monday. The return journey from Mendoza to Lima runs daily from Thursday to Sunday.

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For those that wish to visit both Peru and Argentina, this cuts out a significant dog leg to Buenos Aires and onward to Mendoza creating a much more efficient route into the country. For those that want a quick stop in Argentina’s wine country before visiting Chile, there are also direct flights onward to Santiago.

Peru and Argentina are two of the most visited countries in Latin America. Between the countries, they have some of the continents highlights including the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Nazca, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, Lima, Buenos Aires, the Valdes Peninsula, the Beagle Channel, Iguazu Falls and wine country. The service between Lima and Mendoza opens up a new route to explore both countries while reducing the number of flights and cost.

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Mendoza has a laid-back atmosphere unlike anywhere in Argentina. It’s also got some of the country’s best fine dining restaurants making a stay in the city well worth it. However, be sure to spend a couple of nights in the surrounding countryside, one of the world’s great wine making regions. The hot days and cool nights are the secret to the region’s wine making success. Many of the bodega’s have opened their doors as hotels and small luxury guesthouses. Spend afternoon’s cycling around the vineyards, stopping for tastings. If you visit at the right time, it’s possible to spend a day or two helping collect grapes during the harvest, giving you a deeper understanding on the wine making process.

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For the more adventurous, there are plenty of other activities near Mendoza. Trek up Aconcagua that towers up 6,959 metres above sea level, one of the highest peaks in the Americas. Or try white water rafting in the rivers that cut through the central valley.

In addition to Mendoza, there are other flight hubs now available. From Cordoba there are direct flights to Lima, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Panama and Madrid. From Ushuaia in the south, there are direct flights to Punta Arenas, a popular route for those looking to explore Patagonia in both Chile and Argentina. Since 12th September, LAN Ecuador has been operating a daily service Quito – Lima – Buenos Aires – Lima – Quito. There are also direct flights between Lima and Salta and the resumption of the Lima to Rosario service by LAN Peru.

Want to visit Peru and Argentina? Get in touch with our Latin American travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans or see our example tours here.

Top 5 holidays in Brazil

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America and the 5th largest country in the world. Thousands of miles of unspoilt tropical beach, the bulk of the Amazon rainforest, the Pantanal the world’s largest wetland, table-topped mountains with unique plants and waterfalls, colonial mining towns resplendent with baroque churches, the huge metropolis of Sâo Paulo and the seductive charm of Rio.

Its sheer size makes it difficult to decide where to start. Of course, there are the iconic spots of Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon, but there is so much more to explore. Here are 5 very different tours which give you an idea of what can be done in two to three weeks.

Deep into the Amazon – Belem, Marajo, Amazon, Manaus and Tefe

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The Amazon takes up 30% of the continent and holds a staggering array of wildlife. It’s therefore unsurprising that some want to spend the majority of their travels here. If so, this is the trip for you. This 14-day Amazon tour takes visitors from Belem located at the great mouth of the Amazon river all the way to Manaus and Tefe in the heart of the rainforest. Along the way, ride water buffalo in Marajo, see parrots and macaws at the clay licks, visit the Amazon Theatre, get up close to monkeys and sloths and take in unique jungle lodges including the Uakari.

To find out more about Deep into the Amazon or book, click here.

Rhythms of Latin America – Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu, Buenos Aires, Pampas

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This short 11-day tour is an absolute classic and combines the best of Brazil and Argentina. Begin in the hedonistic city of Rio de Janeiro. As well as having time to discover the iconic sites of Corcovado, Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer, you’ll have plenty of time to explore at your own pace. Hike up through Santa Teresa, spend lazy days on Ipanema Beach and learn about the cities interesting history. Next you’ll fly on to Iguazu Falls where you’ll hike along the walkways and see this mighty natural wonder from all angles. Fly on to Buenos Aires to spend a number of days exploring the capital and visit the Pampas to horse ride and stay on a estancia.

To find out more about Rhythms of Latin America or book, click here.

Cultural Buzz of Brazil –  Rio de Janeiro, Paraty, Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, Olinda, Salvador

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This tour of Brazil is for the culture vultures. After a day or two discovering the sites of Rio de Janeiro you’ll be transferred along the Green Coast to the pretty colonial town of Paraty. Here you’ll take schooner sailing trips for snorkelling and cultural tours of the area. Next, fly up to Belo Horizonte and pick up your hire car. Over the next few days you’ll hit the road in Minas Gerais jumping from town to town. Along the way visit Ouro Preto, Mariana, Congonhas, Sao Joao del Rei and Tiradentes. Each of these beautiful places have interesting baroque churches and architecture. Fly up to Recife in the north and spend a day or two in neighbouring Olinda. Spend your final days in Bahia’s capital Salvador. Here you’ll learn about Afro-Brazilian heritage and take a tour of the city.

To find out more about Cultural Buzz of Brazil or book, click here.

Brazil Blissout – Rio de Janeiro, Paraty, Salvador, Praia do Forte, Recife, Fernando do Noronha

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Brazil’s boasts some of the most stunning tropical beaches in the Americas. Discover hidden coves with crystal-clear tropical waters and idyllic beaches, each with its unique charm. Visit Brazil’s magical coastline, from verdant archipelagos to coral reefs. Take the obligatory few days to discover Rio de Janeiro including a visit to Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf. Transfer along the coast to stay in Paraty, a spectacular colonial town of white washed houses and cobbled streets. Return to Rio de Janeiro and fly north to Recife. Here you’ll stay in historic Olinda overlooking the coast. Fly on to Fernando do Noronha Island. This island offers some of South America’s finest snorkelling and scuba opportunities. Take to the water to swim amongst the coral and exotic marine life.

To find out more about Brazil Blissout or to book, click here.

Brazilian Safari – Amazon, Pantanal

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Experience Brazil’s best wildlife spot’s in the Amazon and Pantanal. Stay in lodges in the three finest places for tropical nature in Brazil and probably in Latin America: the archipelagos of the Amazon, the northern Pantanal wetlands and Alta Floresta of Mato Grosso. In all three regions you will come up close to some of the continent’s most interesting wildlife – monkeys, sloths, anacondas, hummingbirds, jaguars, ocelots, toucans, tapirs and caiman to name but a few.

To find out more about Brazilian safari or to book, click here.

If you would like to speak with one of our Brazilian specialists, call us on +44 (0) 207 408 1478 and start planning your trip of a lifetime today.

British Airways launches new London to Lima direct flight today

British Airways
British Airways
launches it’s direct service between London Gatwick and Lima today.

There hasn’t been a direct flight since 1982 when Peru closed its airspace to British airlines in solidarity with Argentina during the Falklands War. But with growing numbers of tourists from the UK visiting the country each year, a direct fight between the two capitals has been a long time coming.

The airline will run three direct fights each week throughout the summer departing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. In winter (October onwards), the service will run twice weekly.

British Airways already has successful direct services to Buenos Aires in Argentina and Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil. But the flight to Lima will open up a whole new host of destinations accessible in the north of the continent.

BA’s managing director at Gatwick airport, Lynne Embleton says, “It is great to be the only airline to offer direct services between London and Peru. Lima is a fantastic gateway to some of the most dramatic places to visit in South America and will also provide a new link for British business seeking to invest in Peru’s growing market.”

Peru has much more to offer than Machu Picchu. Sweeping mountains and towering peaks, spectacular hiking, steep canyons, ancient ruins left by past civilisations, steamy rainforests and a beautiful coastline.The legend of ‘El Dorado’ the lost city of gold has been attracting explorers for hundreds of years.

Ready to start planning your tour of Peru? Take a look at our tour suggestions or get in touch with us today.

 

These 21 quotes prove that Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was a hopeless romantic

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1.
“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.” 

2.
“Tonight I can write the saddest lines
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.”

3.
“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”

4.
“You are like nobody since I love you.”

5. 
“Through nights like this one I held her in my arms. I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.”

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7. 

“To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life.”

8.
“I am no longer in love with her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her. Love is so short, forgetting is so long.”

9. 
“Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.”

10. 
“If nothing saves us from death, at least love should save us from life”

11. 
“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”

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13.

“My soul is an empty carousel at sunset.”

14. 
“I have forgotten your love, yet I seem to glimpse you in every window.”

15. 
“Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.”

16.
“In love you loosened yourself like sea water.”

17. 
“Like a jar you housed infinite tenderness
And the infinite tenderness shattered you like a jar.”

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19.
“I searched, but no one else had your rhythms, your light, the shady day you brought from the forest;
Nobody had your tiny ears.”

20. 
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this”

21. 
“From your hips down to your feet
I want to make a long journey.”

To begin planning your tour of South America, do get in touch.

The messy completo is Chile’s finest fast food

Flickr: James

Flickr: James

Everyone knows the American hotdog. New York’s full of vendors plying the streets with the cheap snack, but did you know that the Chileans do a hot dog, and it’s a whole lot better.

If you spend any length of time in Santiago it’s impossible not to try the completo. Like their American cousin it begins with the basic hotdog between bun, but that’s all they share in common. It’s then loaded up with chopped tomato, mayonnaise and salsa.

There are plenty of variants on the basic recipe. You’ll commonly find the Italiano that includes mash avocado which along with tomatoes and mayonnaise looks like the Italian flag. If the inclusion of all that avocado and tomato seems to healthy, you can have them loaded with French fries, strips of beef and fried eggs. There is a growing number of gourmet completo joints including organic ingredients and German bratwurst sausages which are more expensive, but worth the extra.

Although the completo can be enjoyed any time of day, it’s best enjoyed after a few cold beers or a night of pisco sours, limited any potential hangover the following day. It’s also incredibly good value, starting at around $2.

They are loaded so high that tackling your first completo can be a daunting prospect. Don’t let this put you off, just embrace the mess. Once started you’ll soon forget you’re ruined your t-shirt and jeans and most has been lost to the table and floor. Order a second.

It isn’t hard to find a complete kiosk, but some of the best include Hogs on Merced 299 which offer upmarket completes or the stalls around Pio Nono and Bellavista where the hot dogs are cheap and plentiful.

To try a completo for yourself start planning your trip to Chile today.

5 useful apps to make your travels more eco-friendly

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If you are traveling to Latin America in the coming months, you will want to help preserve the pristine landscapes and beautiful regions as much as you possibly can. Protecting the environment is a noble cause, and travel can put a good deal of stress on the environment considering the waste products of most vacationers. You know you can do better.

One of the best tools for doing so is possibly in your hand right now. Apps give smartphones new versatility, and fortunately for all of us, app developers have been hard at work developing products that help us protect the environment through services or advice. All it will take is a few minutes of your time to improve your vacation and lessen your environmental impact.

Here are five apps that will make your vacation better for both the environment and yourself:

Google Maps

While it may seem obvious that Google Maps (or a similar application) should be on your phone to save you from lugging around tons of maps, you have probably used it mostly to get to a friend’s house in your car, yet there is a public transport setting and a walking setting that will allow you to get around unknown cities without using wasteful taxis and rented cars. Most tourist cities have developed great public transport systems, and it’s these features that will prevent you from getting lost as you save the environment one ride at a time.

Zinio

You should take Zinio with you instead of a bunch of paper magazines that you’ll likely have to throw out anyways. It is an app that allows you to access your magazines on your smartphone and read them while traveling or otherwise indisposed. They almost certainly have your favorite travel magazine available, and discovering new options will be easy. Think of the paper and ink wasted on useless ads alone and you’ll realize just how much of an impact Zinio will have in helping you reduce yours.

Trip Journal

Trip Journal is the perfect travel app for yourself and those back home who want to see your adventures. You can make real time updates about your vacation and share them with others, allowing you to keep some of the clunky or wasteful logging equipment back at home and focus more on you and your personal journey. You can take notes or photos and integrate them easily into your blog or journal. You can put your scrapbook away and just worry about keeping your smartphone safe from the elements instead (which you were going to do anyway).

Farmstand

Farmstand helps you eat healthy and organically while you travel. It will spot farmers markets and similar events in your immediate area that you can get to so you can eat healthy wherever you are. These markets are much better for the environment than dealing with the extra costs of transport. Its catalog may not be complete everywhere you travel due to farmers markets not being registered, but when you go to major cities, it will prove extremely useful.

A Virtual Private Network

Without the protection of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) you won’t be able to safely use public networks (a necessary and dangerous evil) while you travel. On them hackers and cybercriminals will be able to intercept your information, which can include your online accounts and financial information. This may tempt you to waste paper and print out bank statements and other vital documents you need, but VPNs eliminate the need for a financial paper trail. Not only that, but you can also use it to stay anonymous online and access otherwise blocked services and websites such as Netflix so you have something to do on a day when nature doesn’t feel like cooperating with your itinerary.

Our use of the planet’s resources is expanding, but our technological advancements are allowing us to bring ourselves back from the brink of ecological ruin. You can help, and it won’t even be an inconvenience.

Do you have any thoughts on any of the above apps, or do you use any others to help you stay while you travel or otherwise? If so, please leave a comment below and give us your thoughts on this important subject.

Brought to you by Jess Signet

Come and see us at the Destinations Travel Show

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We’re exhibiting at the Destinations Travel Show in London this February and it would be great to see you. 

Destinations Holiday & Travel Show is the UK’s largest and longest-running travel show. Hundreds of the leading tour operators (including us) and over seventy tourist boards will attend as well as travel celebrities, presentations and cultural shows to help your 2016 trip planning go off with a bang. Fuel your sense of wanderlust and discover myriad holiday opportunities, whilst discussing plans with the experts. The Meet the Experts Theatres will provide over fifty hours of free travel advice covering everything from the hottest destinations to travel advice. 

And the best part? We’re offering free tickets! Follow this link and use the code MSC58 to claim them. We look forward to seeing you.

The Best Places To travel In 2016

The New Year is almost upon us. In celebration here’s our pick of the best places to visit in Latin American in 2016.

South Georgia, Antarctic

As the variety of expeditions to the white continent get larger, so does the choice of which combination of islands to visit. Follow in Shackleton’s footsteps to one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on the planet. Breath-taking glaciers, deep fjords and huge colonies of penguins, particularly the king penguin.

Salta, Argentina

Thinking of visiting Argentina in 2016? Whilst most opt for the wilds of Patagonia, a visit to the colourful arid deserts of the north are just as scenic. Find relics of ancient civilizations, striking landscapes (try the terracotta canyons of Quebrada de Humahuaca), indigenous people with fascinating histories and some of the best wine in Latin America. Without trying to be too clichéd: it has it all.

Tour suggestion: Enchanting Northwest

The Cayes, Belize

Flickr: cloud2013

Flickr: cloud2013

The Cayes form a chain of coral islands off the coast of Belize. With year round sunshine and picture postcard white sand islands, there is no better place to go for a year round beach holiday. It’s also arguably the best place to scuba in the whole of Latin America – the Blue Hole is the most famous. Exclusive hotels and luxury getaway guesthouses await.

Tour suggestion: Sun kissed Belize

La Paz, Bolivia

Flickr: Yann Duarte

Flickr: Yann Duarte

Most travellers to Bolivia skip past La Paz rather quickly in favour of visiting Lake Titicaca, the Amazon or the stunning Uyuni Salt Flats. But for those who spend a little more time, there are plenty of gems to discover. Just a wander around the city will reveal colonial churches, museums and Indian street markets (the Witches Market is a must). Just outside the city is the highest golf course in the world, skiing opportunities, beautiful valleys and gorges for trekking and the ancient monument Tiwanaku.

Tour suggestion: Tiwanaku & Beyond

Minas Gerais, Brazil

This landlocked state north of Rio de Janeiro is a cultural gem waiting to be discovered. With a tendency for most to stick to Brazil’s gorgeous coastline and beaches, those who venture inland are treated to pretty colonial towns, baroque churches, excellent food and some of the friendliest people in Latin America. Best explored on a self-drive adventure.

Tour suggestion: Cultural Buzz of Brazil

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

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The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica’s verdant south, covered with pristine primary rainforest, is a wildlife lover’s dream. From ocelots and tapirs to literally hundreds of species of exotic bird including hummingbirds, toucans, macaws. Whales, dolphins and turtles roam the waters around the peninsula. If you are lucky you may even see a jaguar.

Tour suggestion: Romance in Costa Rica

Cloud Forest, Ecuador

Another bird watchers mecca, the cloud forests of Bellavista and Mindo are located north west of the capital of Quito. Although the accommodation is fairly the rustic, albeit charming, the draw is the hummingbirds, toucans and parrots which inhabit the region. The trees are festooned with orchids, bromeliads, mosses and lichens and numerous species of colourful butterflies.

Tour suggestion: Hummingbirds & Turtles

Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Come to the largest and most colourful market in Central America. Also known as Chichi or Santa Tomas, the pretty white-washed highland town is most famous for its Sunday and Thursday markets where thousands of indigenous locals living in the surrounding countryside come to town to sell their wares. Get ready for some serious bartering.

Tour suggestion: Maya, Magic & Mystery

Take a real white Christmas in Antarctica

We’ve got two upcoming Antarctic expeditions with some fantastic discounts. Cabins are limited so get in touch if you would like to hold a cabin.

Falkland Islands – South Georgia – Antarctic Peninsula

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Antarctic Peninsula

Dates: 16 Dec, 2015 – 3 Jan, 2016
Duration: 18 nights
Ship: m/v Ortelius
Embark: Ushuaia
Disembark: Ushuaia

All (sub-)Antarctic highlights in one voyage. Meet at least six penguin species during this Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula expedition.

Prices per person:

Quadruple Porthole
WAS €9300 NOW €7920

Triple Porthole
WAS €10950 NOW €10150

Twin Porthole

WAS €11950 NOW €11150

Twin Window

WAS €12700 NOW €11750

Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands

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Dates: 19 Dec – 28 Dec, 2015
Duration: 9 nights
Ship: m/v Plancius
Embark: Ushuaia
Disembark: Ushuaia

‘Tis the season . . . to be in Antarctica. Enjoy the ultimate White Christmas on our Antarctic Peninsula with South Shetland Islands cruise. Explore the Peninsula and top this off with a visit to the South Shetland Islands.

Prices per person:

Twin Porthole
WAS €6500 NOW €5300

Superior
WAS €7900 NOW €7250

White Christmas Expedition Family Special

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Dates: 17 Dec – 27 Dec, 2016
Duration: 11 nights
Ship: m/v Akademik Sergey Vavilov
Embark: Ushuaia
Disembark: Ushuaia

Dreaming of a white Christmas in the Antarctic? Why not treat the family to an 11 day Christmas special to the Antarctic where snow is guaranteed! The trip is especially designed for families with children and teenagers including photography sessions, Young Explorers club children’s meals and presentations and soft adventure excursions.
Along the way you will see humpback whales, weddell seals, multiple species of penguins and seabirds and the pristine backdrop of the Antarctic. A family getaway you will never forget.

Prices per person:

Triple
$10,095
$1,000 free travel credit if booked before 1st December 2015

Twin
$12,095
$1,000 free travel credit if booked before 1st December 2015

Call now on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or get in touch via email to hold a cabin.

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