SOUTH AMERICA, ANTARCTICA & THE FALKLANDS
Machu Picchu is the foremost Inca site and is one of the highlights of any trip to Peru. Coming here is always an adventure, whether you are travelling by train from the Sacred Valley of the Incas or arriving through the Sun Gate after hiking one of the traditional Inca Trails.
Numbers are restricted so early booking is essential.
Rio de Janeiro has the most spectacular setting of all the South American cities, dominated by the twin peaks of Sugarloaf and Corcovado with its statue of Christ the Redeemer and fantastic views of Guanabara Bay. The world-famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are the life and soul of the city.
A trip to the Galapagos will bring you face to face with some of the most remarkable wildlife on the planet. We book a range of cruises from luxury vessels with a choice of cabins and decks and facilities catering for up to 100 passengers to smaller yachts, catamarans and boats from just 8 cabins to 25 (16 to 50 passengers).
The Uyuni Salt Flats cover an astonishing ten thousand square kilometres. Highlights of the region include the Reserva Eduardo Avaroa National Park where Laguna Colorada is home to over 30,000 flamingoes and a stop at Isla Incahuasi, a coral island covered in giant cacti, some of them hundreds of years old.
The driest desert in the world rises from sea level to over 13,000 feet (4,000m) up in the Andes. The hot springs, Moon Valley and Flamingo Reserve should not be missed and we recommend an early start to see the El Tatio geysers at dawn. As there is virtually no light pollution here, the night sky is ablaze with stars.
The Iguassu Falls really must be seen to be believed. 275 waterfalls which make up the Iguassu Falls and there are paths to follow on both the Argentine and Brazilian sides of the falls. The falls are fullest in the wet season (December to February). If there is time we recommend a visit to the nearby Itaipu Dam.
Patagonia is renowned for its fantastic scenery, colourful lakes and the spectacular peaks of the Andes. Argentina’s Perito Moreno glacier is constantly changing as enormous blocks of ice break off and crash into the lake below and can be easily combined with Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. We also arrange trips through the Beagle Channel.
Back in the 1930s US pilot Jimmy Angel crashed his plane on top of a tepuy whilst searching for gold. After walking for 11 days he returned having discovered the falls that bear his name (but he didn’t find any gold). Until the 1970s his plane was still stuck on the mountain. We usually book a flight over the falls on your way to or from a jungle lodge.
Colombia has begun to emerge as a safe, friendly, exciting and unspoiled destination for travellers to South America and Cartagena is the colonial jewel in the country’s crown, a walled city in a fantastic setting on the Caribbean coast. In colonial times it was the richest city in the Americas. Definitely worth a visit. Nearby are the Rosario Islands.
The Kaieteur Falls is the world’s greatest single-drop waterfall. It is about twice the height of the Victoria Falls and around four times higher than Niagara. Approximately 23,400 cubic feet of water flows over the sandstone cliff every second, plunging 741 ft (225.85m) in a single drop. The falls are located in Kaieteur National Park in Guyana.
Easter Island is reached in a six hour flight from Santiago, Chile and we recommend a stay of four nights (i.e. three full days) to fully explore the island. The first report of the famous statues (‘moai’) came from the Dutch admiral, Jacob Roggeven, who visited in 1722. By the time of Captain James Cook’s visit in 1774 many had been toppled.
Probably the best way to explore the Amazon jungle is to use a lodge as a base for excursions into the surrounding rainforest. We book such jungle trips in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, usually for three or four nights on a first visit to the rainforest. We book Amazon cruises along the world’s mightiest river from the Atlantic to Manaus.
The Pantanal is a vast floodplain and major wildlife reserve, characterised by caves, waterfalls and crystalline waters in the south and Amazon influences in the north. The Pantanal is home to myriad species of birds and an abundance of wildlife. In the dry season, July to October, animals and bird tend to congregate at the remaining pockets of water. Many of the lodges are closed in the wettest months (December-February).
The Beagle Channel is a 150-mile strait in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago at the southern tip of South America. It is named after the ship which mapped and surveyed the coasts of South America. Famously, Charles Darwin travelled through the channel in January 1833 on the second voyage of HMS Beagle. Revealed Travel books a range of cruises which travel through the Beagle Channel and the Straits of Magellan.
The ice continent of Antarctica is an unforgettable destination, teeming with an abundance of wildlife and dramatic sights.
Our Antarctica Revealed website provides a comprehensive guide to the expedition cruises which travel to Antarctica, South Georgia, the South Shetland Islands and the Falkland Islands.
Early booking is essential for trips to Antarctica.
MEXICO, CUBA & CENTRAL AMERICA
There is nowhere in the world quite like Havana. The historic centre of the city, which was founded in the 16th century, is an open-air museum, crumbling yet elegant, exotic and vibrant and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. There has been considerable restoration work in the last 30 years.
The Panama Canal is essentially a man-made water bridge which is used to lift ships at the locks at one end and lower them at the other as they transit between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is also surprisingly attractive with an abundance of bio-diversity and birdlife.
A third set of locks was opened in June 2016 with deeper and wider entrances to allow the transit of larger ships.
One of the coolest dives in Belize, this is a giant sinkhole which, at some 135 metres deep and 300 metres across, is believed to be the largest of its kind. It is ranked amongst the top ten dive destinations in the world, charaterised by very impressive stalactites. Experience is essential with a minimum requirement of at least 24 dives. Although bull sharks and hammer heads have occasionally been spotted, they are not regularly sighted.
Set in rainforest in the north of Guatemala, Tikal is one of the largest sets of Maya ruins yet discovered. The city stretches over 575 square kilometres in total, with the centre of the city alone containing more than 3000 buildings and covering 16 sq kms. Though dating back to 400 BC, the city reached its height during the Classic Period, from 200 to 900 AD. Tikal can be easily visited from the Cayo District of Belize.
ACTIVITIES, BEACHES AND CULTURE
What better way can there be for ending your trip than with a few days relaxation on the coast? Mexico has some fabulous beaches and the Riviera Maya, south of Cancun, is particularly appealing. Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and Uruguay have the best beaches in South America. Please call us to discuss your arrangements and preferences, from smart resorts with lots of nightlife to hidden gems, hideaways and island retreats.
Rio’s spectacular carnival is probably the most famous in the world. Twenty-five samba schools compete for the championship and work goes on throughout the year to get floats and costumes ready for the annual extravaganza which takes place in the city’s purpose-built Sambadrome.
Please call us to arrange your trip to the Rio Carnivals, but bear in mind that hotel costs increase substantially and early booking is advisable.
The markets of Latin America provide variety and colour and are good places to meet and talk to local people. Of particular note are the traditional markets of Chichicastenango and Solola in Guatemala, the Andean markets in Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas, the tourist market of Otavalo in Ecuador, Witchcraft Alley in La Paz, San Telmo market in Buenos Aires and the craft markets of Rio de Janeiro.
Costa Rica offers an abundance of wildlife in very diverse habitats from dry tropical forest, to highland cloud forest and impressive rainforest. Birders often see 200-300 species in a couple of weeks. With direct flights from the UK, relatively short distances and easy travel within the country, Costa Rica is very accessible. The Peruvian or Ecuadorian Amazon are other fantastic places for bird-watching. You will also see an abundance of wildlife on any trip to the Pantanal, Ibera wetlands, Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica and to Guyana.
There are some fabulous train journeys in Latin America, including the Copper Canyon railway from Los Mochis to Chihuahua in Mexico, the Devil’s Nose in Ecuador and the steam Train to the End of the World into Tierra del Fuego National Park. There are wonderful train journeys to reach Machu Picchu in Peru and from Cuzco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa.
The Old Patagonian Express in Argentina is famous, albeit unreliable, as is the Train to the Clouds near Salta. Bolivia has a good network of railways.
Belize is home to the famous Blue Hole and offers world-class diving in the planet’s second-largest barrier reef with 70 types of hard corals and around 500 species of reef fish, 18 ray and shark species, including Manta rays, Eagle rays, Black Tips, Hammerheads, Bull sharks, Nurse sharks and Tiger sharks. There is also excellent diving to be had in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Roatan in Honduras and Bonaire in the Dutch Antilles. We also book specific liveaboard diving cruises in the Galapagos Islands.