(0)20 7407 1478

855 625 2753 US

Monthly Archives: May 2016

The best markets in South America

Otavalo Market, Otavalo

Located in the northern Ecuadorian town of the same name, Otavalo is perhaps one of the most famous markets in South America. Although the market operates every day, the largest is on Saturdays when thousands of indigenous locals descend upon the town to sell their colourful wares. Poncho clad locals barter over panama hats, the backdrop of snow-clad mountains in the background.

Witches’ Market, La Paz

Flickr: Yan Boechat

Flickr: Yan Boechat

Don’t miss the Witches’ Market in La Paz, a strange place for amulets, potions and herbs. Indigenous Aymara women in traditional bowler hats and colourful skirts barter and sell their wares, the summit of Huayna looming in the background. Dried llama fetuses are one of the most unusual products sold and found on every stall. Traditional they are buried under new houses to help bring wealth and luck.

Mercado del Puerto, Montevideo

Flickr: Jorge Gobbi

Flickr: Jorge Gobbi

A visit to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Mercado del Puerto. Filled with restaurants and shops, this is an excellent place for people watching and trying the huge portions of asados (barbeques). Street performers and musicians set the mood as you tuck into delicious Uruguayan meats and seafood.

San Telmo Market, Buenos Aires

One of the best bric-a-brac and antique markets in the continent and one that offers a glimpse of old Argentina. Best visited on Sunday when market stalls line the Calle Defensa with piles of vintage cameras and old paintings. As you wander slowly along the street, stop to watch the tango dancers perform.

Mercado Central, Santiago

One of the best fish markets in the country. Not only is it a great place to discover Chile’s abundant fish produce, but also a great place to sample some in the one of the many restaurants and cafes. Try one of the local cafes that surround the market, instead of the touristy central restaurants. Even if you don’t plan to eat, it worth visiting for the architecture alone. The market building was constructed in the late 19th century, primarily from cast-iron produced in Glasgow.

Tarabuco Market, Nr. Sucre

This indigenous Sunday market located an hour or so from Sucre is an excellent place to pick up textiles, colourful bags, sweaters and hats. Take the early morning bus from Sucre and discover the unique indigenous Yampara culture, delicious cuisine, and pick up some souvenirs to take home.

Mercado Adolpho Lisboa, Manaus

Located in the steamy port city of Manaus in the middle of the Amazon, the Mercado Adolpho Lisboa (or Mercado Municipal). The large open market sells everything from fresh produce, spices and indigenous medicines and was constructed in the late 19th century modelled on Les Halles in Paris, France. Most of the buildings structure was even built in Paris and transported to Manaus by ship.

Pisac Market, Pisac

Pisac is another of South America’s most famous markets. The Sunday market is visited by thousands of tourists who come to barter for colourful handcrafts and textiles. Like Otavalo, many come vendors come from far and wide to see their products. The market is an excellent place to try classic Peruvian dishes and is best combined with a visit to Ollantaytambo, the last remaining town inhabited by Incas.

To start planning your tour of Latin America, get in touch.

RELATED: Our picks for the 2018 hotspots in Latin Americ

12 amazing things to do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is full of exciting experiences, an adventure playground of hiking trails, mountains, waterfalls, surf and white water rivers. Here are 13 amazing things to do in Costa Rica. This is the pure vida after all.

Horse ride to La Fortuna falls


Flickr: Nikki T

Flickr: Nikki T

This short horse ride takes you from the town to the 80m high La Fortuna waterfalls, a journey that takes around an hour to complete. The easy ride is perfect for beginners and along the way much wildlife can be spotting including monkeys, coatis, peccaries and toucans. Enjoy a refreshing dip before returning back to town.

Soak in the hot springs in Arenal

Natural hot springs are abundant in Arenal where the volcano keeps the bubbling geological wonders hot. Although there are plenty to choose from, try the Tabacon Springs, a luxurious spa surrounded by natural jungle and fed by a series of small cascades. Visiting a hot spring is best combined with a lengthy hike around the base of Arenal Volcano.

Zip line in Monteverde National Park

There is no better place to experience the exhilaration of zip lining than in the Monteverde National Park. Hike along the canopy walkways spotting toucans, monkeys and exotic birdlife before gliding through treetops in a series of zip lines which bring you back down to earth.

Catamaran cruise in Manuel Antonio National Park

What better way to connect with the ocean than via a catamaran cruise, best taken from Manuel Antonio National Park. As you cruise spot dolphins jumping in the yacht’s wake. The boat stops multiple times for snorkelling with the rich marine life – think turtles, parrotfish and damselfish. Alternatively, take an afternoon cruise to watch the sun melt into the ocean’s horizon.

Scuba Diving in Cocos Island

Flickr: Barry Peters

Flickr: Barry Peters

Located almost 350 miles off the coast of Costa Rica, the uninhabited UNESCO Cocos Island is the best place for scuba diving in the country. Not only will you see schools of colourful exotic fish, you’ll also see some of the larger marine creatures including white-tip sharks, manta rays, hammerhead sharks and sometimes even whale sharks. Best experienced on a live aboard cruise.

Surf in Playa Jaco

Costa Rica has some of the best waves in Latin America. The beaches that fringe the country on the Pacific side are a surfer’s paradise. Beginner? No problem, there are plenty of surf schools to help you get started. Try the Nicoya Peninsula or Playa Jaco for the best surf. If that isn’t your thing, then try paddle boarding instead.

Visit Poas Volcano


A day trip to see Poás Volcano is well worth the journey. Located at almost 9,000ft above sea level, it’s possible to hike around the rim of the volcano’s crater, and look down 500ft into its active core which bubbles and spits, emitting sulphur fumes. Surrounded by lush tropical cloud forest, it’s also a wildlife haven. Best combined with a coffee farm tour and a visit to La Paz waterfalls.

Eat gallo pinto

Flickr: Olaf

Flickr: Olaf

The national dish of Costa Rica, gallo pinto is simple hearty fare. Rice and beans, typically served with some meat or even fish, or eggs at breakfast. Most probably originating from African slaves, the dish literally translates to ‘spotted roster’ due to its speckled appearance created when white rice is cooked with dark-coloured beans.

Go whale watching in the Nicoya Penisula


December to March is the best time to whale watch in Costa Rica, when humpback whales migrate through the region. Best places are Guanacaste & North Pacific, the Nicoya Peninsula, the Central Pacific and the Osa Peninsula. As well as fluking whales, orcas and bottlenose dolphins are also commonly sighted.

White water raft on the Pacuare River

Flickr: Nick G 77

Flickr: Nick G 77

Adrenaline junkie? Try white water rafting down the Pacuare, almost 20 miles of excellent Class III-IV rapids and cascading waterfalls. Fringing the river is a lush rainforest inhabited by a variety of wildlife including monkeys, butterflies, ocelots, jaguars, parrots, toucans and much more.

Observe Olive Ridley turtles in Guanacaste

One of the smallest species of turtle, the Olive Ridley nests in the beaches around Guanacaste. Although they can be found nesting throughout the year, the best time to see them is between July and November. You can also see leatherbacks and greens in different parts of the country.

See monkeys in the Manuel Antonio National Park


Manuel Antonio on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coastline has plenty of wildlife (over 100 species of mammals and almost 200 species of birds), but perhaps the most exciting are the monkeys of which there are three species – the mantled howler monkey, the white-headed capuchin monkey and the Central American squirrel monkey. It’s also possible to see three-toed and two-toed sloths.

To begin planning your tour of Costa Rica, get in touch with us today. Take a look at our Costa Rica suggested tours or fill in our Costa Rica Trip Planner.

RELATED: 12 amazing things to do in Costa Rica

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.

RELATED: 10 classic things to do on your first time in Peru