(0)20 7407 1478

855 625 2753 US

Our picks for the 2018 hotspots in Latin America

2018 is upon us, but have you thought about where you’ll be travelling this year? With a wealth of places to visit in Latin America, it can often be daunting to know where to start. Fortunately, our travel experts have come up with the top places to visit in 2018.

Guadalajara, Mexico

While most travellers fly in to explore Mexico City, those in the know are heading to Guadalajara. If you’re a fan of Mexican culture and cuisine, you’ll want to head here quick before the hordes arrive. The city was the birthplace of tequila, houses the largest market in Latin America and is home to the World Heritage Site of Hospicio Cabañas. Guadalajara is shaking off its past and emerging as one of the top nightlife spots in Mexico. Wander down the pretty streets of Colonia Lafayette.

Look at our sample tours of Mexico here.

Quito, Ecuador

2018 marks 40 years since Quito became one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites. Now there are some good deals on flight prices, so there’s no better time to visit the Ecuadorian capital. Much of the old town’s 16th century architecture is well preserved or re-furbished. Don’t miss the San Francisco monastery, the Jesuit church or the soaring Cathedral. When you’ve had your fill of culture, you can access the rest of the diverse country. Take a flight to the Amazon or the Galapagos Islands, one of the world’s best wildlife regions.

Look at our sample tours of Quito and beyond here.

Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica

Travellers are discovering that the north western Papagayo Peninsula in Costa Rica is the place to go now. Hotel are catching on and the Four Seasons have opened their newest resort there. More hotels will open next year, but more than 70% of the land is protected to keep the region unspoiled. Drag yourself away from the gorgeous beaches to hike up volcanoes, cruise along the coast in catamarans, spot myriad wildlife or whiz through the canopy on zip-lines.

Look at our sample tours of Costa Rica here.

Trujillo, Peru

Machu Picchu is still drawing big crowds every year, but if you want to get off the beaten track, explore Peru’s other cultural wonders. Head north to the coastal city of Trujillo. The city is rich with beautiful Spanish colonial architecture and close to the ancient site of Chan Chan. This pre-Columbian mud city had a big maritime community. The adobe walls and structures are intact thanks to the dry desert landscape. Head for the northern mountains to see the Gocta Falls, one of the highest cascades in the Americas.

Look at our sample tours to Peru here.

La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz’s tourism scene is booming. There are new boutique hotels and trendy eateries celebrating Bolivian national cuisine. The high altitude will take your breath away, so will the soaring backdrop of Andes Mountains. Be sure to jump on the Mi Teleférico to get aerial views of the city and the surrounding scenery. If that isn’t enough to tempt you, the fact that the country is still one of the cheapest in the Americas will. 

Look at our sample tours of La Paz and Bolivia here.

Antarctica

Ok, so it’s not really Latin America, but accessing the White Continent is almost always via Argentina or Chile. It currently takes a 2-day cruise across, the often rough, Drake Passage to visit the Antarctic. In 2018 LADE is launching a regular commercial flight route meaning you can reach the vast icy wilderness in under 2 hours.

Look at our cruises to the Antarctica here.

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Chile is becoming one of the most popular spots for tourists visiting Latin America. The narrow country has a dizzying array of landscapes from towering mountains to forests and dry deserts to vineyards. If it’s your first time be sure to visit San Pedro de Atacama. You can explore natural wonders like salt flats, colourful lagoons and steamy geysers.

Look at our sample tours to San Pedro de Atacama and Chile here.

Ready to visit Latin America in 2018? Call one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 1478 to start planning your trip or email us here.

How to make Latin American tamales

There are few dishes as iconic to Latin America as the tamale, though their origins are a little less clear. The simple snack of steamed or grilled corn wrapped in banana or leaves date back thousands of years. The first pictorial references are seen on ancient murals in Guatemala created just under 2,000 years ago. Though found in almost all Latin American countries, in some form or other, their original country is not known. They spread from country to country by trading nomads.

Don’t wait to travel to Latin America before trying these mouth-watering snacks, they’re aren’t difficult to make at home. Mexican tamales are often made from lashings of lard which keeps them moist when cooking. Substitute for butter if you’re a vegetarian. Once cooked, you can keep them refrigerated for up to a week.

Serves: 8 (4 each)
Time: 2.5 hours

Ingredients

Masa dough

400 g masa harina (maize flour)
700 ml hot water
225 g lard
100 g butter, softened
2 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ baking powder
250 ml chicken stock
24 corn husks or banana leaves

Salsa

4-5 tomatoes
1 large onion
2 large serrano chilies
1 bunch coriander
a pinch of salt

Method

Take a large bowl and pour in all the masa. Stir in the hot water and wait until the masa is moistened. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and doesn’t stick.

Add in the lard, butter, salt, crushed garlic, baking powder and knead again until the everything is well mixed. Add the chicken stock a little at a time, mixing as you pour. Stop when the dough is light and fluffy. Put the dough in the fridge for at least an hour. While the dough is cooling, soak the corn husks in hot water until soft, around 30 minutes.

Now for the slightly tricky part. Lay the first corn husk down and add a large spoonful of the dough in the middle and roll the two sides over the top. Bring the narrow side down and fold the wider part over the top. Tie everything together with string. Repeat until they are all complete.

Put to one side and start on the salsa. Put each of the tomatoes into boiling salted water for 10 – 20 seconds. Remove and leave under cold running water. When cool, remove the skin and de-seed. Dice all the tomatoes.

Peel the large onion and chop finely. Cut the chilies in half and remove the seeds. Finely chop them. Take a handful of coriander and wash under cold water. Chop into small parts. Mix everything together in a bowl along with salt, a squeeze of lime and a little olive oil. Leave in the fridge for an hour or so to let the flavours blend together.

Take a large steamer and put an inch of water at the bottom. Put on a high heat and leave until the water is bowling. Put all the tamales in standing up and steam for an hour. Remove and leave to cool.

When cool, open the tamales and serve with the salsa. Enjoy.

Want to try tamales for real? Start planning your trip today by calling one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or emailing us here.

The best bars in Mexico City

Mexico City is one of the world’s largest cities. What better way to meet other travellers and locals than at one of the many top bars in city’s lively neighbourhoods. From jazz clubs to rooftop bars, here’s our picks of the best places to grab a cold one or sip on a tequila.

La Casa de las Sirenas

If you want to taste Mexico’s national alcoholic drink, there really is no better a place than La Casa de las Sirenas. The bar, housed in a lovely old 16th century property, stocks more than 250 different tequilas. Remember, while we’re used to knocking back shots of tequila, in Mexico it’s sipped. When night descends, the bar transforms into one of the hippest places to be seen.

Calle Republica de Guatemala No. 32, Cuauhtemoc, Centro Histórico

Aurora

This cosy restaurant features a large outdoor terrace and a surprisingly good cocktail menu. If you are a gin lover, they have a particularly good selection. A wonderful place to while away an evening, away from the bustle of the city.

Santa Catarina, 04010

Jules Basement

Jules Basement have cleverly branded themselves as the first speakeasy in Mexico City. To reach it, you must first walk through an unassuming fridge door which opens into a large space, perfect for the live music they host. Try one of the excellent cocktails while you are there.

Calle Julio Verne 93, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11560

Condesa DF

This romantic rooftop bar is situated in La Condesa district. Enjoy cocktails, cold Mexican beers and wines while taking in the breath-taking views from the decked rooftop. Bars don’t get much better than this in Mexico City.

Av. Veracruz 102, Roma Nte., 06700

Zinco Jazz Bar

This jazz club would surely rival any in New York City. Hosting live performances almost every evening, it’s one of the best places to see music in Mexico. Housed in the basement of a former bank in the historic centre, it’s got the décor and atmosphere to match.

Calle Motolinia 20, Centro, 06050 Cuauhtémoc

Wallace Whisky Bar

While Mexico is best known for tequila and mezcal, this cosmopolitan city caters to all tastes. Tickle those taste buds with interesting tapas-style dishes in the trendy Wallace Whisky Bar while you sample some fine whiskies from around the world. They also stock some excellent local craft beers.

Tamaulipas 45, Condesa, 06140 Cuauhtémoc

Bellini

The Bellini holds the title of earth’s largest revolving restaurant, and it doesn’t disappoint. Located on the 45th floor, the restaurant bar offers an extensive list of drinks, great food, and views across one of the world’s largest cities accompanied by soothing piano music.

Montecito 38 Piso 45, Torre WTC Cd. de México, Col. Nápoles

Miralto

Literally translating to ‘high view’, this rooftop bar is a favourite amongst locals and tourists. It’s central position in Zócalo means it is easy to reach and the views over this enormous city from the 41st floor are astonishing. They also do some excellent international cuisine.

Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 2, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000

La Unica

Not only does La Unica serve up some incredible Mexican fare, the restaurant bar has one of the best selections of wine in the city. Sip on reds and whites paired with dishes created from fresh local produce as well as seafood. It may not be cheap, but it’s worth the extra. They also have a mean cocktail menu to kick off the evening.

Anatole France 98, Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco, 11550

Puebla 109

This exclusive bar restaurant, housed in an early 20th century building, is popular with the city’s elite. Dine on mouthwatering Mexican cuisine washed back with some inspired cocktails. If you want an evening of sophistication in Mexico City, this is the place to come.

Esquina, Puebla, Roma, Cuauhtémoc, 06700

Articbar

Cool down at the first ice bar in Mexico. No need to bring a coat with you, the bar has warm clothing, so you won’t freeze in the -26˚C. Shoot a vodka in an ice glass and then make your way over to the dance floor for a below freezing boogie. It’s as unique as it sounds and well worth an evening to visit.

Av Nuevo León 73, Condesa, 06140

Area Bar

Located on top of the Hotel Habita, by day, the rooftop Area Bar serves as a relaxing spot complete with pool. By night, it transforms into one of the city’s most trendy night spots with live music and excellent cocktails.

Av. Pdte. Masaryk 201, Polanco, Polanco V Secc, 11560

Hostría La Bota

Situated in the historical centre, this lively bar is popular with locals who descend every evening to sip on cold Mexican beers and cocktails. They regularly host live music, particularly on weekends. Be sure to get there early or you might not get a seat. For such a centrally located bar, the drinks are surprisingly good value.

Peatonal San Jerónimo 40, Cuauhtémoc, Centro, 06050

Want to visit the bars of Mexico City? Call one of our Mexico travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

Authentic Mexican steak quesadilla recipe

Flickr: Hungry Dudes

Quesadillas are a street food favourite in Mexico. The basic recipe are floury tortillas toasted with cheese, but they can be filled with everything at the back of the fridge. Their origins stem back to the colonial Mexico, though the recipe has changed and evolved somewhat over the years. Here’s our authentic recipe including steak, a luxurious version of the humble quesadilla.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

8 flour tortillas
½ kilo sirloin steak
1 medium onion, finely chopped
400 grams Mexican cheese
2 avocados
1 lime
Vegetable oil
Salt & pepper

Method

Add a little of the oil to a frying pan and heat over a medium flame. Add the chopped onion and fry until soft and translucent.

While the onions are cooking, chop the steak into thin slices and season with salt and pepper. Add the meat to the frying pan and cook with the onions for a few minutes until the meat has browned.

Grate the cheese. Lay out four of the tortillas on a clean surface. Add one quarter of the steak and onion mix onto each tortillas, and top each one with a quarter of the grated cheese. Add the other tortillas on top.

Clean at the frying pan and place back on the heat. Don’t add oil this time. When the frying pan has heated, carefully life the quesadilla onto the frying pan and leave to toast on one side. It should take a couple of minutes. Flip carefully with a spatula and toast the other side allowing the cheese to fully melt. You can press the tortilla gently on the top to help it cook and seal everything together. Take out when the cheese starts to ooze out.

Quickly cut in half and top with a squeeze of lime and top with sliced avocado. Eat immediately while the melted cheese is hot. Optional extras include topping the quesadilla with fresh zingy salsa and Mexican cream.

This traveler captured all 147 underground stations in Mexico City

 

Mexico City is geographically one of the biggest cities in the world, and the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere. It’s an astonishing 1,485 square kilometres with more than 8 million inhabitants and it is surprisingly, sits at quite a high elevation of 2,250 metres above sea level. It’s one of Latin America’s most interesting cities, with baroque Cathedrals, museums, colonial squares, and galleries including the Palacio Nacional which holds artwork by Diego Rivera.

It’s no surprise then that it has many underground stations to help commuters and travelers cross this vast city. Mexico City underground, called the Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, in second in size only to the New York City metro. It also carries the ninth largest number of tourists for any subway with a staggering 1.6 billion travelers riding the trains every year.

The Mexico City Metro is known as the Sistema de Transporte Colectivo or STC, and is the largest second largest metro system in North America after New York’s subway. As of 2015 it also ranked 9th in the world for number of passengers with 1.623 billion travellers riding the rails.

Flickr: 16:9clue

In 2011, 31-year-old Australian expat Peter Davies from Australia decided to visit and record all 147 underground stations. After travelling to over 20 countries in the Americas, Davies settled in Mexico City for a while. During his travels he’d lived in Valparaiso, worked as a volunteer project in Granada and wrote about his travels in online publications.

Over a 6-month period, Davies got off and explored every single station on every line on the Mexico City underground. This meant a visit to 175 stations, but many of these crossed over and the actual number was 147. He recorded these stops in great detail on his blog mexicocitymetro.com. The site was popular with over 100,000 visiting and following his updates. Along the way, Davies visited and saw some pretty wacky things including being led through crowds by stray dogs, visiting a museum housed inside an enormous model of Benito Juarez as well as photographing some incredible street art. This much travelling is hungry work. Plenty of street tacos were eaten along the way.

18 months after the end of the project, Davies revisited Mexico City to complete the new lines. His very last station on Line 12 was Estacion Lomas Estrella. In his last piece, the blogger takes a look at the graffiti, tries a torta cubana (a sandwich filled with meat, eggs and accompaniments), wandered the districts streets, saw a circus and talked about the amenities of Lomos Estrella. For now, Davies has left Mexico City and is working on other projects, but we are looking forward to his return after the creation of new underground stops in the city.

Want to explore Mexico City? Take a look at our Mexico tour suggestions, speak to one of our travel experts at +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or contact us by email here.

Visit 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites on this Yucatan self-drive

Self drive map

The Yucatán peninsula in eastern Mexico borders both Belize and Guatemala and offers a diverse range of flora, fauna and vast host of UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Mayan ruin of Chichén Itzá, now one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’. The best way to visit the UNESCO ruins and colonial cities is by self-drive which offers the chance to spend as long or as little in each place you visit.

Arrive in Cancun, pick up your car hire and begin the journey. The first drive to Chichén Itzá takes around three hours.

Chichén Itzá

Chichen Itza MexicoThe remarkably well-preserved Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá are one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It’s best known for the huge step pyramid known as El Castillo. This ancient city thrived between 600 A.D. and 1,200. The complex includes a ball court, the Temple of the Warriors and the Wall of the Skulls all of which have graphic stone carvings. Each night, a sound and light show illuminates the complex.

Drive west for two hours to Merida.

Mérida

Merida Mexico

Flickr: Luiz Eduardo

Mérida is the capital of the Yucatan and one of the largest cities in Mexico and has the highest percentage of indigenous people of any Mexican city with over half the population being of Maya ethnicity. Though the city is not a UNESCO World Heritage site, this colonial city is well worth taking some time to explore.

Drive south for two hours to the ruins of Uxmal.

Uxmal

Uxmal Mexico

This ancient Mayan town founded in 700 A.D. once had over 25,000 inhabitants. The complex which was built between 700 and 1000 A.D. reveals that the people had knowledge of astronomy and includes the Pyramid of the Soothsayer, the Quadrangle of the Nuns, the Governor’s Palace, the House of the Tortoises, the Ball Court and ceremonial sites.

Drive for three hours to the coastal down of Campeche.

Campeche

The fortified harbor town of Campeche is a fine example of Spanish colonial architecture. The old city is surrounded by walls and a system of fortifications which are deigned to defend against piracy and attacks from the sea. It was once the most important seaport in Mexico and played a major role in the conquest of the Yucanatan Peninsula and Guatemala from the Spanish conquistadors.

Drive for four hours to Calakmal Municipality.

Calakmul Biosphere Reserve

The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve was only granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2006. It remains the largest forest reserve in Mexico comprising of over 700,000 hectares of protected land. This is not untouched forest. The Mayans were some of the first group to live in the forests with the ruins of city complexes abandoned in 900 A.D. The group consists of the largest populations of flora and fauna in the country and includes the jaguar, puma, white-lipped peccary, howler monkey, king vulture, gray brocket deer and ornate hawk to name but a few.

Drive for four hours to Reserva de la Biósfera Sian-Ka’an.

Reserva de la Biósfera Sian-Ka’an

Flickr: DaseinDesign

Flickr: DaseinDesign

Sian-Ka-an means ‘Origin of the Sky’ in the language of the Mayan people who once inhabited the region. Located on the eastern coast of the Yucantan peninsula, the reserve is made up of a series of tropical forests, mangroves, marshes and a barrier reef. Inhabiting the reserve is a remarkable number of flora and fauna including 300 species of birds.

Drive an hour up the coast to Tulum.

Tulum

Tulum

The Mayan ruins of Tulum is not a UNESCO World Heritage site, but it’s well worth taking some time to explore them on the drive up the coast to Cancun. The ruins are situated on 12-metre high cliffs overlooking the ocean and were one of the last cities to be built by the Maya. It managed to hold off conquest by the Spanish for around 70 years but Old World diseases brought by the settlers resulted in the city being abandoned.

Continue up the coast for two hours to Cancun. Drop off the car hire and fly back home.

Want to take this self-drive? Get in touch with our Mexico travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans or see our example tours here.

10 prawn dishes you have to try on the Riviera Nayarit

The Riviera Nayarit lies along the western coast of Mexico. The beautiful region is known for its white sandy palm fringed beaches, laid back locals, luxurious hotels and most importantly, fresh seafood. It’s no surprise then that there are plenty of seafood dishes to try. If you love prawns, there’s simply no better place to eat. Here’s 10 prawn based dishes to try when you visit.

Tortitas de Camarón

Popular during Holy Week and Easter, this traditional dish of prawn patties cooked in a fresh spicy sauce made from chipotle chilies, tomatoes, garlic, onions and nopal cactus is delicious.

Empanadas de Camarón

Empanadas are popular throughout Latin America, the recipe and filling changing depending on the region visited. Similar to a Cornish pasty, these pockets of pastry are filled with prawns and cheese or a spicy casserole of prawns, tomatoes, onions and chili.

Camarones Zarandeados

This is a true Nayarit seafood classic. Prawns are cut in half and smoked using a secret recipe. It’s also common to find smoked octopus and other smoked fish.

Tamales de Camarón

Though tamales are sold on almost every street corner in Nayarit, head to the central coast of northern region of the state for the best.

Camarones a la Diabla

These deviled prawns are one of the simplest dishes, but pack a punch. Prawns are fried in butter and seasoning and then doused in ketchup and a spicy sauce. Perfect with a cold beer.

Coctel de Camarón

Most will have tried a prawn cocktail before, but in Nayarit its served spicy and hot. The prawn heads are ground down and added for extra flavor along with onions, tomatoes, cucumber and chilies.

Camarones a la Cucaracha

Though the name is unappealing (it translates to cockroach prawn), it’s got nothing to do with roaches! Prawns are coasted in seasoned flavor and fried until golden brown.

Ceviche de Camarón

A classic Latin American dish. Although this is not native to Nayarit, it’s one of the best places to try the dish. Raw prawns are marinated in lime juice, cucumber, onion, tomatoes and chili. Best served on a sunny afternoon near the beach.

Taxtihuil

This corn, prawn and chili stew is ancient. Originating from the Isla de Mexcanltitan, it’s been eaten in the region since pre-Hispanic times. It’s as popular now as it was then.

Aguachile

The origins of Aguachile is disputed between Nayarit and neighboring Sinaloa. A regional favourite, this recipe is created with lime, chili, garlic and seasoning which is poured over prawns, onions and cucumber.

If that’s not enough, we’ve got one more for you. We couldn’t create this list without mentioning tacos de camarón. There are plenty of varieties, but they all include tortillas heaped with prawns, mulata sauce, coriander, lime and habanero chilies.

Want to try any of these prawn dishes in the Riviera Nayarit? Get in touch with our Mexico travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans or see our example tours here.

With thanks to Riviera Nayarit.

Authentic Mexican carne asado taco recipe

Tacos are synonymous with Mexico. This classic recipe for carne asado (barbequed meat) tacos is one of the best we’ve tried. Cold Corona beer works perfectly as an accompaniment to this spicy street food.

Ingredients:

10 tortillas
500g skirt steak, cut into thin slices
4 chilies, chopped finely
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp ground cloves
Oil
3 tomatoes
2 large onion, chopped finely
2 handful of coriander, chopped finely
4 limes, 3 cut into wedges and 1 juiced
Oil
Seasoning to taste

Method:

Take a blender and add 2 of the chopped chilies, 2 chopped garlic, vinegar, ½ of the chopped onions, 1 teaspoon of cumin, the ground cloves, seasoning and a little olive oil to bind everything together. Blend into a paste.

Put the steak slices into a mixing bowl and add the blended paste. Mix well together, cover with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Put the tomatoes, ½ chopped onion, 2 of the chopped chilies, the rest of the garlic, 1 teaspoon of cumin, a handful of coriander, juiced lime, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and seasoning. Mix well together, cover in cling film and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.

If possible, spark up the barbeque. Once the coals have greyed, place the slices of steak on and cook for a couple of minutes on both sides. If you don’t have a barbeque, heat a griddle pan to a high heat and cook the steak for a few minutes on both sides.

Heat a frying pan and heat each tortilla until warm. To serve, put a tortilla on a plate, top with some of the steak, coriander, some chopped white onion and a little of the sauce. Squeeze some lime juice and serve with extra lima wedges.

Want to try carne asado tacos in Mexico? Get in touch with our Mexico travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans or see our example tours here.

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

tikal-889761_960_720

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

emperor-penguins-429127_960_720

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

flight-652265_960_720

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

crocodile-1721922_960_720

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

holiday_brazil_scuba_diving_rays

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

rock-sail-1313999_960_720

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

turtle-701663_960_720

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

horses-52701_960_720

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.

Interesting facts about Mexico you probably didn’t know

Mexico City

  1. 31 states and Mexico City make up the country officially known as the United Mexican States (Estados Únidos Mexicanos)
  2. Mexico has over 117 million people making it the 11th most populated country
  3. In terms of land, Mexico is the 14th largest in the world
  4. There are over 30 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Mexico
  5. The national symbol of Mexico is the golden eagle
  6. Mexico has hosted the World Cup twice, once in 1970 and then again in 1986
  7. Tools found in Mexico suggest humans have inhabited the area for around 23,000 years
  8. The biggest cat in Mexico is the jaguar
  9. The world’s smallest dog is the Chihuahua and is named after the Mexican state
  10. Mexico City is built on a lake and is sinking at around 6 inches a year
  11. Modern Mexicans are made up of Olmec, Toltec, Maya, Aztec, Inca, Zapotec, French and Spanish among others
  12. The USA/Mexico border is the second longest in the world
  13. Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world
  14. Mexico has the second most Catholics behind Brazil
  15. The Mayans used hornets’ nest to throw as their enemies during battles
  16. Mexico is home to the world’s smallest volcano, standing at just 13 metres tall
  17. The bloodythirsty Aztecs played a ballgame called tlachtli. The loser was sacrificed
  18. Chitchen Itza is named as one of the Seven Wonders of the World
  19. Over 50 different languages are spoken in Mexico
  20. The Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest monument ever constructed
  21. The rare volcano rabbit lives near the volcanoes of Mexico
  22. Chocolate, chilies and corn all come from Mexico
  23. Texas was a part of Mexico until 1836 before declaring independence
  24. The Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortés was believed to be a returning god when he arrived in 1519 and was offered hot chocolate
  25. The first printing press came from Mexico City in the early 16th century
  26. Mexican children receive gifts on the 6th January, not on Christmas Day
  27. The oldest university in North America is in Mexico City and was founded in 1551
  28. The country is located on one of the earth’s most volatile volcano and earthquake zones
  29. There are some similarities between the ancient Aztec language and English – avocados are ahuacatl, tomatoes are tomatl and chocolate is chocolatl
  30. Mexico was under the control of the Spanish for over 300 years

To discover Mexico for yourself, contact one of our travel experts on +(0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

make-an-enquiry

create-your-journey