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Latin America is a destination on the up thanks to an enticing blend of attractions and a new found place in the public consciousness. Whatever you are hoping for we will have a spot-on suggestion. Want breathtaking landscapes? We can advise on some that may render your jaw duly dropped, such as the pampas of Argentina or glaciers in Chile.
Landlocked Andean Bolivia is rich in ancient culture, music and folklore and perhaps because of the country’s relative lack of sophistication and infrastructure, is far less visited than its neighbours.
The crumbling colonial Casco Viejo is a delight to wander around on foot, and of course, seeing the canal in action is something not to be missed.
Imagine a country where all the world’s climatic and topographical variations are represented in a thin ribbon of land and you have Chile.
Costa Rica is a picture perfect and pocket-sized country with two beautiful coastlines separated by a spine of extremely active volcanoes.
Nobody comes back disappointed from the Galapagos; quite simply, it is like nowhere else on earth.
Forget Cancun, Mexico is a truly diverse country, with a vast array of attractions for travellers of all tastes.
Indisputably the ‘in’ country on earth right now, and somewhere that we at Original Travel can’t get enough of.
Stat alert. Antarctica’s massive ice-cap covers an area 1.7 times the size of Australia and contains some 29 million cubic kilometres of ice, or roughly 70% of the world's fresh water.
Fast recovering from a severe image problem, Colombia is once more one of South America’s most vibrant countries.
Incomparable Cuba is on the cusp of big changes. Head there before the magic is gone forever.
The world is pretty much split into people who know nothing about Honduras, and those that have vaguely heard of Copan – one of the finest Mayan cities in all of Central America.
New favourite Nicaragua, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south, is the largest country in the region and famous for its natural attractions including comic book conical volcanoes, tropical forests and the ‘inland sea’ of Lake Nicaragua.
The secret is sneaking out, but Uruguay is still a hugely under-rated destination.
From the end of the world in Patagonia, past the pampas and sultry Buenos Aires to the hilltops of Salta, Argentina is big, bold and beautiful.
The scenery is striking in its diversity, from plunging canyons to soaring mountains, lush rainforests to arid Altiplano.
Guatemala is one of the smaller Central America countries but the local indigenous population is the largest of any Latin nation, making for a particularly ‘authentic’ experience. The country offers the best of Central America under one roof – volcanoes, protected tropical jungle, mountainous highlands, impressive Mayan ruins, vivid colonial towns (including the wonderful Antigua) and beaches on the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. Altogether, it makes a great destination for those fond of eco-tourism, adventure and culture as their traditional dress and culture are very much still evident.
Formerly British Honduras, Belize is a country defined by various cultures, languages, and ethnic groups including descendants of the Mayans, whose civilisation dominated this region for centuries.
Just two hour's drive from the capital Santiago, Portillo is the finest ski resort in Latin America, with a majestic Andean setting and superb powder conditions.
Less than an hour's drive out of Mexico City lies the unmissable - and enormous - pre-Aztec site of San Juan Teotihuacán.
The fairly banal (in comparison) exterior does not prepare you for the surreal goings-on inside, and to see it really is to believe it.
Gaining access to the Yaxchilan site is notoriously difficult, meaning very few visitors make the trip. However we have had a word with our Mexican friends, and have managed to pull a few strings…
Tulum was a site of huge importance between 1000 and 1600 AD, and something of a haven for the elite of the Mayan world.
The ruins of Chichén Itzá are on the UNESCO World Heritage list and the site was crowned one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
Paddle your way around the vivid waters of the Baja Peninsula, camping on pristine beaches by night and spotting wildlife by day.
The iconic mountains that appear in any self-respecting shot of Rio both offer superb panoramic views of the city, its bays and beaches.
Characterized by its great diversity, the origins of Brazil’s music lie in its AmerIndian, Portuguese and African roots, and today it is firmly embedded into the Brazilian way of life.
The most outrageous and spectacular festivities take place in Rio, whose world-famous Carnival and its associated musicians, dancers, floats and parades have become so large that they all take place in the purpose-built sambodrome building, with entries and seating tightly controlled and pre-allocated.
Hundreds of islands with unspoiled tropical wilderness lie just off shore of the Costa Verde and the best way to explore them is by kayak.
Silence the arguments over whether it’s the Argentinian or the Brazilian side of the falls that affords the best view, and see the whole lot from the air in a thrilling helicopter ride.
Escaping the harsh winter, the whales migrate northwards in search of warmer and calmer waters in which to reproduce and nurse their young calves.
Described by National Geographic as 'the most biologically intense place on Earth', the Osa Peninsula is one big wildlife park but the jewel in the crown has to be the Corcovado National Park.
Warm waters, stunning beaches and fewer people than many surf spots in Costa Rica make the Nicoya Peninsula as close to surfing perfection as you’ll find anywhere.
Although El Chalten is known for its superb hiking and mountain climbing, its pristine wild scenery also lends itself perfectly to some spectacular riding.
Southern Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park stretches parallel to the Andes for over 120 miles, its most famous members being the Perito Moreno, Upsala and Onelli.
There are two highly impressive volcanoes within easy reach of San Jose, and well worth day trip's for anyone staying in Costa Rica for more than a flying visit.
Searching for birds and big cats in the wild is all well and good, but at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens you’ll find them all conveniently in one place so you are guaranteed some spectacular close ups of many of the country’s most rare and endangered species.
Still a fully working farm, Tipiliuke Lodge is part of the 20,000 hectare Cerro de los Pinos country estate founded in 1909 by the grandfather of the current owners.
Patagonia’s rugged, unpopulated expanse is the sort of landscape that makes everyone want to leap onto a horse and gallop into the distance, cowboy hat round the neck and hair flying.
Running between the Chilean lakes towns of Puerto Varas or Puerto Montt and the Argentinian counterpart; Bariloche, the trip across lakes and borders includes several different modes of transport as the roads and lakes weave their way directly through the mountains. No chance to get bored, and even the kids won’t ask if you’re nearly there yet, as you swap the bus for a catamaran and do the same in reverse when you’re back on solid ground again.
Football fan or not, you are likely to have heard of a controversial footballer by the name of Diego Maradona, who hailing from La Boca, one of the poorer districts of the city - now a bohemian and colourful tourist attraction.
With a history reaching back to the 1880s, the sensual Argentinian national dance comes from roots that combine African slave music with Andalucian melodies and Italian influences.
Original Travel can arrange private or group capoeira and samba lessons in Rio or in Salvador; after all, where better to learn?
The most exciting moment in the Salvador calendar is undoubtedly the spectacular February carnival, when up to two million revellers from all over Brazil and the world fill the streets over four days, dancing, singing and drinking in inimitable Brazilian style.
Trekking is undoubtedly one the best ways to discover all there is to see in Chapada Diamantina, - the Diamond Plateau - a land of underground rivers, cacti and dramatic landscapes which is deservedly considered one of the most fascinating natural areas of Brazil.
The city of Salvador itself is often referred to as the ‘African Soul’ of Brazil, as descendants of the first African slaves have held tight to their African traditions, and these mingle with the colonial influences to compelling effect.
Swoop through the cloud forest with the greatest of ease on a zip-wire, and discover the rainforest from a hanging bridge high up in the canopy.
Although the perfectly conical volcano Arenal is spectacular to admire from afar, it’s best to get a bit closer to the action with a visit to the Parque Nacional Volcan Arenal.
The M/V Ocean Nova is one of Antarctica XXI's vessels and is an ideal expedition vessel for a discovery journey to Antarctica, allowing guests to have a combination of adventure and elegance.
Sister property to Estancia Vik, Playa Vik is very much a work of art in itself, with wacky architectural design and fantastic sea views.
Perfect for honeymooners or chill-time seekers, British art gallery owner Martin Summers, rents his summer haven out to guest looking for that home away from home feel.
The posada El Balcón del Abra is located in a manicured park surrounded by beautiful trees and towering palms, and with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and hills.
Located on the edge of Castillos Lagoon, Guardia del Monte is one of the few remaining working cattle ranches that still cater to guests, and with beautiful surrounding it’s a personal favourite of ours.
The 480 hectares Fasano Las Piedras estate is a special setting, combining spectacular views of almost Tuscan countryside with British country house elegance, all conveniently located within minutes of the most beautiful beaches of Uruguay.
Narbona Wine Lodge is a beautiful boutique hotel with rustic charm and ideal for those who enjoy superb unknown wines.
Located in a rugged oceanfront landscape hidden within forest and dunes, Pueblo Barrancas Eco Lodge is just a few short footsteps from the beach.
The good value Posada del Faro is one of our favourite hotels in Jose Ignacio, snuck away behind the lovely (and relatively quiet) Playa Mansa.
Merging exceptional design, flawless service and an unparalleled collection of Uruguayan and International Art - Estancia Vik is a luxury boutique hotel surrounded by 4,000 acres of rolling countryside near Jose Ignacio.
In the protected wilderness of Peninsula Valdes, Estancia Rincon Chico is a working merino sheep ranch dedicated to preserving the rangeland environment and the precious flora and fauna that inhabit this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The isolation and tranquillity of Rincon Chico lends itself to unsurpassed star gazing opportunities and a lark song wake-up call.
While El Pedral Lodge is not strictly on Peninsula Valdes itself, this charming former sheep farm sits in a prominent position at the opening to the Golfo Nuevo where southern right whales can be seen coming to calve and killer whales patrol for seal pups.
The Condesa is a stylish design hotel where all the furniture is individually crafted for each individual space.
The Four Seasons in Mexico City is ideally situated on the Paseo de la Reforma, near Chapultepec Park, the National Museum of Anthropology and History, shopping and residential areas.
Located in the fashionable district of Polanco, Las Alcobas is one of Mexico City’s newest and trendiest boutique hotels, surrounded by designer shops, restaurants and nightclubs.
Located in the oldest part of town, Parador San Juan is a converted hacienda that offers guests an authentic yet luxurious experience.
Quinta Chanabal is a modern Mayan palace, and is just a ten minute drive from the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque.
Housed in an 18th Century colonial house, Casa Oaxaca has been painstakingly restored and modernised to create a designer boutique hotel.
Hotelito Desconocido is a romantic hideaway situated 60 miles (2hr drive) south of Puerto Vallarta on a wetland nature reserve.
Cuixmala is set in 25,000 acres of land, lagoons and beaches on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
The Viceroy is a boutique beach front resort located just outside Playa del Carmen on Mexico's Yucatán peninsula.
Leave the ankle-nippers at home, Be Tulum is a boutique luxury hotel with an unbeatable beachfront location, and designed with relaxation in mind, is exclusively for grown ups.
Esencia is a chic beach retreat set on a two-mile stretch of white-sand beach along the ‘Riviera Maya’ of Mexico’s Yucatán coast.
Hacienda San José is a secluded ‘boutique hacienda’ located on the Yucatán peninsula, 24 miles south-east of Mérida.
Hacienda Temozon is located approximately 25 miles from the city of Mérida, in Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula.
Hacienda Uayamon is located in the Yucatan Peninsula close to the walled city of Campeche on the Gulf of Mexico and next to the vast Mayan ruins of Edzna.
Maroma Resort & Spa by Orient Express is an idyllic beach resort located on a secluded stretch of the Riviera Maya, on the Yucatán peninsula.
The Rosewood Mayakoba is set in the heart of the 1,600 acre Rosewood resort, just 30 minutes south of Cancun and north of Playa del Carmen. With a mile of white sand beach, it stretches back into lush jungle interspersed with a meandering lagoon.
Those in need of the mod-est of mod cons might find Sierra Lodge a little on the spartan side, but it's hard to beat this place for sheer character.
This beautiful colonial mansion is now a charming hotel comprising three adjacent haciendas surrounded by tropical gardens and a lovely ramada.
LATIN AMERICA HOLIDAYS
Wildlife nuts can travel to a secret spot that we know deep in the Pantanal wetlands in Brazil where jaguar sightings are all but guaranteed. We can arrange tailormade adventures into the remote Amazon rainforest, or mountaineering with expert guides in the Andes and diving to the Galapagos Islands. Party animals have to visit Rio and history buffs the various - invariably spectacular - ruined cities of the great indigenous peoples, the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas.
As for Antarctica, just contemplating this enormous land mass tends to bring out our inner statistician. Example - while Antarctica comprises nearly 10% of earth's landmass it is (semi-permanent) home to a mere 0.00002% of its population. But before you consider that a tempting change from a crowded island like the UK, mull over the reason why - it's essentially a frozen desert, and recently recorded the coldest ever temperature, an eye-freezing -89°C. Away from the harsh conditions of the interior, and at the right time of year (between November and March) Original Travel arranges cruises on the best new ships or, for the really adventurous, exclusive itineraries including visits to vast ice caves on the polar plateau, skiing across enormous snow fields, ice climbing and kite-skiing.
Our thoughtful experts are ready with ideas, inspiration and advice for your next journey.
Working with you we’ll craft an unforgettable trip and tailored itinerary.
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