Myths, legends and an air of mystery surround many South American countries making them an aspiration though slightly daunting holiday choice.
Have you long dreamed of kayaking in Columbia, swimming with wild sea creatures in the Galapagos, sailing around Cape Horn or hiking an ancient Inca Trail? Or perhaps your bucket list destination is Rio de Janeiro, for views from Sugarloaf Mountain or dancing in the Carnival.
Many holiday opportunities in South America involve going off the beaten track, so where do you start?
At least getting there is easier, with convenient daily flights to South American destinations offering comfortable and excellent value business class travel. That includes some direct flights from the UK with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Latam Airlines.
Others offer relatively straightforward one-stop business class flights to countries in South America – such as KLM, Lufthansa, Swiss, Air France, American Airlines and Iberia. The problem is often piecing together flight times to avoid overly long journeys.
That aside, where are the best places to visit within this diverse and incredibly beautiful tropical continent? Here are our tips for unforgettable holidays in South America.
One of the Seven New Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is also known as the Lost City of the Incas.
The very name carries with it romance and excitement, and it’s certainly a doorway to an incredibly rich tapestry of culture and heritage.
The fifteenth-century Citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the most widely admired tourist attractions in the world, offering not only an archaeological and architectural marvel but also a patchwork of fascinating ecosystems. The biodiversity surrounding the mist-shrouded Citadel – perched magnificently 2,430 metres up a mountain – is unrivalled.
It’s not the only reason to book Peru luxury holidays though. This colourful and vibrant holiday destination in Latin America also offers mouth-watering cuisine in the resurgent capital, Lima.
Another truly magnificent sight in South America is the Iguazú Falls, gushing boldly on their namesake river bordering Argentina and Brazil.
Forget Niagara, these are widely held to be the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, not least as they are wider, taller and surrounded by natural beauty that’s unblemished by commercialism.
If you visit via the Iguazú National Park in Argentina, you could take an unforgettable boat ride beneath the powerful curtain of water, and follow trails to waterfalls suitable for swimming.
If you choose to book your business class flights to Sao Paulo and access the wonderous waterfalls from that direction, make time to visit the Pantanal wetlands. You can get up close and personal to incredible wildlife in its natural habitat, including jaguars.
For anyone who loves holidays on a road less travelled, one of the ultimate South American getaways is beautiful Patagonia.
This wild, mountainous region – shared by Chile and Argentina – offers an opportunity to vacation in the land that time forgot. Though abundant luxury accommodation in Patagonia and the incredible local food are a long way from “roughing it”.
Vast glaciers and warm, colourful villages are among the startling contrasts in this huge trekking magnet. The absolute must-see is in Los Glaciares National Park. It holds the photogenic Perito Moreno Glacier, a jaw-dropping wall of blue ice, famous as much for the noises it makes as it’s glistening beauty. (If it’s a thunderous crack, rather than a creak, it’s a good idea to keep your distance!)
This beguiling Brazilian holiday destination puts you in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, 900 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean.
Buildings sit proudly on terraces above this hugely significant Amazon river port and its network of bridges and igarapés (channels or canoe paths in the native language). Built on wealth from rubber, Manaus has also grown splendid from trade in such commodities as beef, fish and oil.
It wears its history and eco-diversity with pride, carefully curating a million wonderful species in its botanical and zoological gardens, but also in its neighbouring jungle!
It probably goes without saying, but for a South American adventure, it doesn’t get better than an Amazon boat trip or a supervised rainforest hike.
One of the hottest attractions in Chile – in every way possible – is the Atacama Desert. This is 600-miles of geological marvels, sandwiched (and rain-locked) between the soaring Andes and the coastal Cordillera de la Costa mountains.
Why visit Atacama, the world’s driest desert?
Apart from its hugely impressive rock formations, ravines and volcanic landscape that’s a photographer’s dream, this is also the best place in the world to see space! Not just wide-open tracts of land, but unbelievably beautiful canopies of stars in the night sky.
Fly into Santiago, Chile and Stay in San Pedro de Atacama for a wealth of other holiday experiences, including the southern hemisphere’s biggest geyser field; spectacular sunrises; the colourful flamingos in Chaxa Lagoon (at Los Flamencos National Reserve); and the eerie Valley of the Moon and Mars Valley.
South America is the epitome of adventure and once in a lifetime experiences. Book your business class flights with us, to make your journey part of the amazing memories you’ll gather. Contact us today on 020 8417 1366 or enquire online.