If you’ve decided that 2017 is the time for an epic travel adventure, there ’s nothing more epic than Latin America! Whether you have three weeks to explore multiple countries or seven days to visit just one, there are countless reasons to make this your next destination. We asked the experts at Lightfoot Travel to give us ten.
Colombia is the place to be this year. Find everything from crystal-clear Caribbean beaches to incredible pre-Columbian history, wildlife and culture. Cartagena is one of the great South American cities, and it has a slew of new hotels opening up in 2017. Visit now before the secret gets out and the crowds arrive!
#2 The Ultimate Honeymoon
Latin America provides memorable honeymoon options that combine adventure, luxury hotels, beach and culture – the ultimate splurge when travelling from Asia. Popular combinations include Argentina and Chile, Galapagos and Peru, and Guatemala and Belize, though you can mix and match any way you choose.
#3 Family Holidays
This is a hugely rewarding part of the world for family holidays thanks to the array of experiences that really educate children and get them outdoors and active. Learn about wildlife in the Galapagos Islands, trace the steps of the ancient Incas in Peru, learn to snorkel and dive in Mexico or Belize, or experience the benefits of eco-tourism first-hand in Costa Rica.
#4 Food & Drink
Latin America is very much on the map as a true foodie destination, with a number of restaurants rated amongst the world’s top 50. Feast on enormous beef steaks in Argentina, sip on some fine New World wines in Chile, dare to sample the traditional dish of guinea pig in Peru, or kick back with a few caipirinhas in Brazil.
#5 Adventure Combined with Luxury
Latin America is one of those places where you can be totally roughing it during the day in the most remote of locales, and then retreat back to your luxury lodge in the evening. These exquisite lodges are amongst the finest in the world, and knowing that you’re in the middle of absolutely nowhere is a novelty.
#6 Ancient History
The Incans, Aztecs, Mayans and Rapa Nui all come to mind, as do their spectacular sites. There is also the opportunity to experience the relics of lesser known pre-Columbian civilisations across the region. It’s a history buff’s dream!
The Amazon, the Galapagos Islands and the Pantanal are iconic wildlife destinations where visitors have the privilege to see the likes of jaguars, giant anteaters, penguins and iguanas, along with a huge diversity of bird and marine life. For those who love wildlife and photography, these destinations are truly up there alongside an African safari in terms of ultimate wildlife experiences.
Expect incredible contrasts in natural vistas, from windswept Patagonia and the vast Salar de Uyuni salt pans in Bolivia, to tropical beaches in Mexico and the dense jungle of the Amazon. There’s something for everyone, and it is this that helps make Latin America such a diverse and exciting continent.
The people you will meet on a Latin America trip are a huge part of the whole experience. Chat to the locals as you walk through the enormous markets in Otavalo, Ecuador; stay with a remote Amazonian tribe; visit weaving cooperatives in the Peruvian Andes; or ride across the Pampas with Argentine gauchos, or cowboys.
Definitely one of those “must visit before they change places”, Cuba saw a huge influx of visits in 2016, set to increase exponentially in 2017. Havana is among the most evocative of cities, still capital of one of the last remaining communist counties. It oozes character, with the crumbling colonial architecture, brightly coloured classic American cars, old ladies puffing homemade cigars, and lively bars serving ice-cold mojitos.
Lightfoot Travel is a Hong Kong-based travel agency specialising in luxury tailor-made itineraries to destinations around the world.
2815 0068 | lightfoottravel.com
This article first appeared in the Feb/Mar edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.
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