Our South America travel blog

Simply Starstruck: Our Super Stargazing Spots

We're no Professor Brian Cox, and we're not about to start banging on about antimatter, circumstellar discs and magellanic clouds (although they all sound marvellous), but there are few greater feelings than the sense of wonderment that comes with tipping your head back and gazing up at the night sky, to be greeted by a glittering tapestry of stars scattered across the darkness. It's alarming, then, that some scientists predict that, due to the encroachment of light pollution, we may not be able to see the night sky and stars across large sections of the planet beyond 2025. The message is clear - appreciate them while you still can. With that in mind, we've channelled our inner Edward Hubble and scoped out (sorry) the globe for the very best spots for stargazing. And here are a few of our favourites...

Sensational Cities: Our Ultimate City Adventures

The word holiday often conjures up images of white sandy beaches, delicious fruity cocktails and a good holiday-read. However, here at Original Travel, we also pine for something a little more…dynamic. That is to say that we absolutely love a great city. Think culture, history and architecture, excellent restaurants and foodie scenes, bustling nightlife and some seriously impressive hotels… whether you're in need of a quick city-fix, or you are wanting to explore a city as part of a wider itinerary, we've got the inside track (and a network of local concierge contacts), to ensure the ultimate city adventure

Ahead of the Curve: Planning for 2018

We all like to think of ourselves as free spirits, booking with glorious last-minute abandon and able to act on the spur of the spontaneous moment (that's not just us, right?). Well, sorry for being the fun police on this one but when it comes to travel, the impromptu you is missing out. You see, as a general rule, the earlier you book the better your chances of securing the cheapest flights, the best accommodation and the finest guides. As luck would have it, we've come up with a selection of the destinations and experiences that you really need to be booking now for 2018. It's time to get the diaries out…

Do You Need To Up Your Insta-Game?

Question: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to Instagram it, does it actually happen? We all love a bit of an Insta-brag every now and then (never more so than when we're on holiday) and making sure you get the perfect angle, have the filters ramped up to the max and enough hash tags to fill a dictionary has become something of a fine art. The upshot of all this is that even the most creatively challenged of travellers can take beautiful holiday snaps with just the flick of an iPhone. And if you're among the 700 million-odd monthly users of Instagram and want to up your holiday snap game, here's a few of the most Insta-braggable destinations on the planet…

Travel by Colour: our Top Five Destinations in Latin America

Latin America is a region of many characters; football is practically a religion; the steak is the best in the world (and the only vegetarian item you're likely to find on the menu is a mojito) and the jeans are very, very tight. It's also a continent awash with colour - from bright woven textiles that hark back to indigenous populations to lush tropical flora and fauna. Travelling to Latin America means experiencing something of an optical assault by Planet Earth's very own mind-blowing colour wheel. And if that hasn't persuaded you, a dose of drool-worthy travel photography should do the trick…

Seven of the Most Original Hotels in the World

When it comes to original travel, we have quite literally put our name on it. From UFO-shaped treehouses hovering in the canopy of the Swedish wilderness to decadent tented camps above the clouds in the Canadian mountains, our band of intrepid Destination Experts have sought out the weird, the wonderful and downright astonishing from all over the world. So in true Original Travel fashion, we bring to you seven of our favourite hotels that have inspired, allured and left us reeling.

Our Coolest Combos for 2017

Dynamic duos: think gin and tonic, French and Saunders, pineapple and pizza… okay, maybe not that last one, but the fact remains that some things are just better together - greater than the sum of their parts and thus elevated to legendary status (definitely not that last one, then). The same principles apply to travel - some destination double acts just work. With that in mind, we got to thinking (always dangerous) about our ultimate cool combos list, the jeans and white t-shirt of the holiday world, if you will. With our own cool combination of insider intel on the latest flight routes and knowledge of where's hot right now (in both senses of the word), we present the following perfect pairings...

Where to Escape to the Sun in 2017

What do a good cup of tea, queuing and Broadchurch have in common? They've all reached the upper echelons of British national obsession. Top of the pile, however, is surely our love of discussing the weather and, in particular, why the sun isn't shining. It's no surprise then that studies continue to show that we Brits are increasingly suffering from a lack of Vitamin D. The answer? Escape to sunnier climes, of course. With that in mind, the Original Travel team has canvassed the globe, studied the Campbell-Stokes recorder and had a hearty discussion about something called evapotranspiration… all in the name of bringing you the very best destinations for getting that Vitamin D hit. And with summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan your escape to the sun…

Summer 2017: The Best Holiday Destinations

The kids are on school holidays, Honeymooners are departing the UK shores in their droves and the rest of us are keen for an escape should the British summer not quite go to plan weather-wise…

Where we're going in 2017

It can be difficult to keep up with the best 'it' destinations of the moment but we have the inside track on the hottest hotels and activities across the globe. We selflessly visit all the locations we recommend to ensure that the sea on your private beach really is as crystal clear as it looks in the PR images, that you really can see wildlife from your safari tent and that the buzzing bar next to your boutique hotel really is, well, buzzing. So when you speak to one of our team, you can rest safe in the knowledge that they know the destination like the back of their hand. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it - here's where the Original Travel team is off to in 2017...

Our 2017 Summer Holiday Picks

The unnervingly mild weather of the last couple of weeks (before we all got blown away by Storm Doris) has brought us out of hibernation and dreaming of sunnier times (and climes). It's true that once we Brits get the merest whiff of warmth, summer is pretty much all we can think about. And finding the perfect summer holiday destination is absolutely mission critical; sunshine, great food and an envy-inducing tan are all non-negotiables. Lucky for you we have the inside track on all the best destinations, hotels and activities, whether you want to simply flop on the beach, explore a new culture or spy some serious safari game…

Wildlife Wonders: Amazing Safari Experiences for 2017

Whether soaring in a light aircraft over the dust-red dunes of the Skeleton Coast, hiking through the Indonesian jungle to spot the Thomas Leaf monkey, or watching bears congregate at Campbell river on Vancouver Island, a safari is one of the most enriching and exciting holidays in the luxury travel arsenal. An Original Travel safari offers not just the opportunity to see nature at its most raw and beautiful, but to see it while being guided by an expert, away from the crowds and all while staying at some seriously luxurious lodges and camps. And as if you needed any further persuading, here are a few of our favourite safari experiences…

Reboot Your Resolutions

The advent of a new year often brings with it rather lofty ambitions of transforming oneself into a fitter, healthier, more cultured, better organised and generally super-charged version of the previous year's self: new year, new you and all that jazz. And by about now those ambitions have normally fallen firmly by the wayside along with dry January and the gym membership you shelled out for but haven't used yet. Well, it's time to hop back aboard that bandwagon and reboot your resolutions with the official Original Travel Guide to Loving Life in 2017. We've got a little bit of everything: adventure, health, culture and more zen than you can waft an incense stick at…

Where You've Been in 2016

At the end every year we love to take a look back at some of the amazing trips we've planned for our clients, and this year there have been some absolute stonkers. We're talking intrepid honeymoons, adventurous sabbaticals, secret beach breaks, fun-filled family getaways, cultural escapades and much, much more. We've sent people to over 100 countries so far this year (104, to be precise) and here are just a few of our favourites...

The Best Honeymoon Destinations in South America

Ah the honeymoon, the perfect break to escape the drama of bringing two families together and to postpone the writing of very vague thank you notes (who did gift that nutri-2000 pasta machine?). Whilst minds automatically race to visions of white sand beaches and swaying palms, we like to think a little out of the box. We're talking South America outside of the box. Filled with beautiful people, delectable cuisine and pastoral wilderness, South America is one of Original Travel's favourite regions for honeymoons. Read our ideas below and worry not, the beaches and swaying palms haven't been entirely ditched (we're not completely insane).

Spotlight on Latin America

Latin America has it all, whether you're meandering through the bustling, colourful markets of the world's highest capital city, La Paz, reclining with a robust malbec in Mendoza, or soaking up the sun on the picture perfect beaches of Brazil. It's a region that has enthralled Original Travel clients for years with its heady mix of colourful culture, fascinating history, dramatic landscapes, delectable cuisine and some of the best boutique hotels in the world. And never has this region been more accessible, with more and more direct flight routes having been added by major airlines in recent years, including Bogota, Santiago (starting January 2017), Lima and San Jose (goodbye to the horror that is a stopover in Miami airport). So with 2017 on the horizon, here are six of our favourite Latin American experiences…

A Room With A View

We may have shamelessly stolen E.M. Forster's title but fear not, we're not embarking upon a literary critique of 20th Century English society (that's next week). We've instead been pondering the very best views from some simply spectacular hotel rooms across the planet… a guaranteed bestseller, you'll agree. And whether you're jetting off in search of a great holiday adventure or simply looking forward to some much deserved R&R, nothing says 'holiday' quite like luxuriating in the new surroundings of your hotel room and gazing out on the scenery you'll soon be exploring. Our team of experts has scoured the globe one panoramic vista at a time (tough gig) and compiled a list of our very favourite spots…

Best Honeymoon Hotels in Brazil

Brazil is the antidote to the cliché fly and flop honeymoon. From sleek hotels and stylish beach lifestyle, to countryside fazendas and barefoot beach bliss, the country is a cocktail that shakes and stirs the senses making a trip here exciting at every turn. That is of course if you know where to go. The sheer size of Brazil may have you in a tailspin when thinking about where to begin, but the silver lining is that you can sit back and leave the hard work to the experts. We've handpicked the properties that offer a seamless journey within this jaw‐ dropping country of contrasts. What can we say? We revel in a challenge. The Olympics may be over but in the long run Brazil raises the bar.

Find Your Travel Tribe

Which Travel Tribe do you belong to? Perhaps you're a Gastronomic Globetrotter; you crave the delectable delights of the world's best foodie destinations. Or maybe you're a Lounger Lizard, chasing the sun around the globe one deck chair at a time. Or are you a Culture Vulture, enjoying nothing more than gnawing on the bones of the finest museums, galleries and theatres? Well, wonder not because the Original Travel Human Behavioural Studies Department (sounds dangerous) has come up with a truly groundbreaking survey (read: 45 second quiz) to delve into your inner psyche (with intensely scientific questions like 'what do you seek?' and 'who are you like?') so you can find your very own Travel Tribe. And once you've taken the quiz, here are a few of our favourite destinations...

Find Your Inner Olympian: Sit-Down Sports Around the World

The Olympics are in full swing and that means just one thing: as a nation we're collectively glued to our telly boxes. We're all suddenly experts on fencing ("excellent use of the appel there") and can't tear ourselves away from the table tennis ("did you see that slow spinny topspin?"). And while we've all been cheering on Team GB to gold medal glory, something of a trend has become apparent: we're awfully good at sitting down. Cycling, rowing, dressage, sailing - the Brits really do excel at the sedentary sports. So the team here at Original Travel took a leaf out of Sir Ben Ainslie et al's book and had a good sit down and a think about the best places on the planet to partake in such derriere-dedicated activities. If only sitting on the sofa and having a cuppa qualified for the Olympics…

Our Top Six Cities Around the World

When asked to picture their perfect holiday, many people's minds immediately hit the beach; warm white sand between the toes, sparkling azure waters and someone rather good-looking fanning you with a large palm leaf. And who are we to deny such glories? But here at Original Travel we're also partial to something a little more… rousing. That is to say we love a good city. Oh yes, we rub our hands together in veritable glee at the prospect of bustling markets, burgeoning foodie scenes, street art, botanical gardens, booming nightlife and incredible architecture. And whether you're in need of a short sharp hit of culture with a classic weekend city break or are exploring as part of a longer trip, we've got the inside track (and a network of concierge contacts), to ensure the ultimate city adventure…

Do You Suffer From FOMO?

FOMO. Otherwise known as fear of missing out - a modern-day interpretation of keeping up with the Joneses, if you will. Yep, this is is how trends start, be that donning the latest fashion item, brunching at the newest hotspot or exploring the destination of the moment. And when it comes to preventing holiday FOMO, we've got you covered. We're here to give you the inside track on the best 'it' destinations at the moment, and a couple that will make you a real trend-setter...

Chilean Spanish: ¿Cachai, Po, Weón?

You've been to Spain a few times, you've had a couple of Spanish classes and you feel you've more or less grasped the language - and then you go to Chile…

Eating in Santiago

When people think of Chilean cuisine the idea of slightly bland, hearty home cooking often springs to mind. An image that's partly true as Chilean food traditionally involves stews, pies, and mounds of meat and carbs. But Chile, and Santiago in particular, is experiencing something of a foodie renaissance with chefs becoming more and more daring with their ingredients and techniques. The influx of tourism has also brought with it a range of fusion foods and international cuisines, resulting in numerous restaurants popping up serving exciting, delicious and very reasonably priced Indian, Peruvian, Japanese, Italian and Lebanese food all over Santiago.

Five of our Favourite Cool Combos

Question: what do the following have in common? Gin & tonic, Rodney & Del Boy, Andy Murray & Wimbledon (and while we're on the subject, strawberries & cream), bacon & eggs and finally, a nice strong wind & Donald Trump's hair. Yes, you got it; they're all cool combos, and the same principles apply to travel as well - some destination double acts just work. With our own cool combination of insider intel on the latest flight routes and knowledge of where's hot right now (in both senses of the word), we present the following perfect pairings...

Action & Adventure

Visit the UK & Ireland, with Original Travel UK, for exciting adventures and active experiences to suit all ages! Don't be fooled; the UK is not just about tea, crumpets and croquet on the lawn - let us show you our top picks for action-packed activities with a difference!

Early Summer Escapes 2016

The summer holiday: that most glorious and precious of holidays. All the more so for us Brits given that summer in dear old Blighty can be, how to put this, a bit of a damp squib (cue flashbacks of windy beach escapades, sandy sandwiches and rain, lots and lots of rain). And this year we thought we'd get on the holiday bandwagon early because between storm what's-his-chops (there seems to be a new one every week) and the fact that winter just won't go away, summer can't come quickly enough. So here are a few of our very favourite destinations for getaways this May and June - you can take the summer out of Britain but not the Brit out of their summer holiday.

A Little Country called Peru

Having travelled extensively through Latin America, I thought I knew what was coming as I landed in Lima: incredibly friendly people, vibrant and colourful markets, weird, but delicious food, jaw-dropping landscapes and great weather. Although I wasn't wrong, I was by no means prepared...

8 of the Best Places on the Planet to Throw a Rugby Ball Around

Let's be honest - rugby is not for the faint hearted. It's a game of fervent patriotism, fierce rivalry and tough men running around hitting each other (a highly technical assessment, we think you'll agree). And with the Rugby World Cup gathering pace, it's hard not to get swept up in the excitement. Which led us to think (always dangerous) about the very best places on the planet to chuck a rugby ball around, from beautiful beaches to frozen lakes, and everything in between. So here goes, eight of the best places on our dear earth for a casual game of rugger…

Let's Talk "Deep Cuts"

Nope, we're not making a political commentary on the state of the economy and we've not been listening to too much Cat Stevens (obviously that's not possible). We're talking about the Urban Dictionary definition (which technically pertains to music… but let's not dwell on that): true gems that are found later in an album. To put a travel spin on it, we're talking about destinations and experiences that offer a similar vibe to some of the most loved places on the planet but are more under the radar. That is to say, they are the deep cuts of the travel world. So if you're a 'been there, done that, where's next?' kind of traveller, or are just looking for somewhere a bit different, here are a few of our favourite deep cuts...

Late Summer Sun

If you've not managed to get away this summer and you're tiring of sun-kissed colleagues and friends, September and October are perfect months to soak up some late summer sun. Whether you want to jet off to somewhere in Europe for a long weekend or fly and flop further afield, we can arrange it all. Maybe you've already had your fix of vitamin D this summer and just fancy topping up your glow? Who knows…what we do know are the destinations that will make perfect SUNNY getaways.

The World on Sale

So what's up? It's more a question of what's down, and particularly against the Pound, thanks to a resurgent British economy. The rest will inevitably catch up (we're good sports like that) so the exchange rate bonanza won't last, but in the meantime there are bargains to be had. The World's on sale - get shopping!

24 hours in: Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is one of the most vibrant and appealing cities in South America, combining chic European influences with a true Latin atmosphere. You'd want to spend a whole lot longer than 24 hours, but if you were really going for it...

Fourteen destinations for 2014

14 for '14? Sounds like a set of Mitchell Johnson's bowling figures from the recent Ashes debacle (one for the chaps there) but on this occasion referring to our predictions for the 14 destinations that are going to be big news in 2014.

Oba! Latin Culture Hits London

London Goes Latino!

If any continent could claim to be hot right now - and we're not talking temperature here - it's Latin America. Peruvian cuisine and Mexican street food have taken London by storm, while two of the capital's most venerable cultural institutions also have Latino destinations as their flagship exhibitions. Only slightly less artistic is the fancy footwork of the South American maestros Lionel Messi and Naymar lighting up the footballing world and Brazil, of course, hosts the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Our expert Latino team are waiting to book your trip of a lifetime to Latin America, but while you wait here's where to get a taste of South America at its finest.

Trancoso, My Favourite Place in Brazil

Brazil is a destination that brings the heat, in every respect of the word. The destination on every cool hunter's radar at the moment? Trancoso. Our Latin America expert Saskia has just returned from a trip to beach idyll and reckons it's the dream luxury break destination...

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations

In need of some inspiration for your honeymoon? We are here to help! Want to know where in the world is best at a particular time of year? Or where you can dine alone on the beach at sunset? Or even where you can be pampered at a spa under the sea? We are here to help you create a completely bespoke luxury honeymoon. Give us a starting point and we will guide you through the process with your own personal travel consultant. Here are our top 10 honeymoon destinations...

Christmas Breaks: Embrace or Escape Santa

Whether you're a lover or a hater (of the festive season, that is) there are many wonderful places to spend the holiday. If you want to embrace or escape Father Christmas and all that he brings, allow us to suggest a few luxury getaways; from quiet couples escapes to large family get-togethers, low key retreats or celebratory breaks…

10 Best Explore Holidays

If fly-and-flop holidays just aren't your thing, consider one of our best explore holidays. Not only do they give more structure to your time away, but new skills can be learnt and developed along the way, making them truly unique holiday experiences. Many of the active trips we offer are open to all abilities, and can be enjoyed alone, in couples or as families.

Top 5 Toddler Holidays For Your Little Terrors!

Lydia Gard is a freelance writer specialising in luxury family travel, since having two boys she is determined to find truly luxurious places that celebrate rather than simply tolerate young families. In her first of 6 blogs Lydia talks us through the her top 5 toddler holidays...

Big Cat Safaris: Go Wild!

After a once in a lifetime holiday? Nothing beats spotting a big cat. Yes, yes, we all love a lumbering elephant or a cute orang-utan, but for the ultimate in wildlife watching it has to be one of the magnificent moggies that prowl around the wilder parts of almost every continent on Earth. Here are our favourite big cat safaris to see these, the ultimate predators, in all their glory.

The Best Cities in the World

As well as great loves, scandals and tragedies, the cities that set the scene in literature often tell their own story. They also make amazing starting points for the holiday of a lifetime. From the romance of St. Petersburg to the magic of Uttar Pradesh, here are our best cities in the world…

Colombia: Tayrona National Park (Part 2)

Colombia is doing an excellent job at shedding it's sinister image, as Latin America expert Steph found out on her latest visit. Read on to find out why the country makes an unusual and unique holiday destination...

Colombia: Visiting Cartagena (Part 1)

Colombia is doing an excellent job at shedding it's sinister image, as Latin America expert Steph found out on her latest visit. Read on to find out why the country makes an unusual and unique holiday destination...

Sports Holidays: On Your Marks

Rumour has it that a particular sporting bandwagon is rolling into town this summer. If, like us, you missed out on tickets, take a more Original stance and indulge in your favourite disciplines some place else.

80 Senses: #68 - The Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats

The weirdest view in the world... In the southwest corner of Bolivia lies the Salar de Uyuni: one of the most surreal places on earth. Spread out over more than 4,000 square miles like an ivory ocean, these are the largest salt flats on earth.

80 Senses: #36 - Huayna Picchu, Peru

An original take on a classic view... Huayna Picchu - 'Young Peak' in native Quecha - is the mountain that towers behind the citadel of Machu Picchu in the classic shot of this iconic destination. Few tourists know that it's also possible to climb the steep rocky path to the top to see Macchu from a completely different perspective.

80 Senses: #24 - Learn the Argentine Tango

You could be tangoed. Some wag once described dancing as the vertical expression of a horizontal desire, and if that's the case then the Argentine tango is positively x-rated. In Buenos Aires it's more often than not performed by really, really good looking locals, which only adds to the attraction. The Argentinian national dance developed from the various immigrant populations that make up the majority of the Argentine populous, with roots that combine African slave music with Andalucian melodies and Italian influence. That influence, presumably, being the ability to flirt like a pro.

80 Senses: #19 - Island of Fernando de Noronha

The most fun you can have with your swimmers on...Brazil is about the trendiest travel destination on the planet right now, and with the World Cup (2014) and an Olympics (2016) due in the next five years this flamboyant South American country is only going to get more airtime, and more popular. As you'd imagine, there are plenty of highlights in a place this huge, but after lengthy discussion the immensely influential 80 Senses Selection Committee have cherry-picked one particular highlight, and we bet our bottom Brazilian real you haven't heard of it.

A client view... Visit Argentina

In part 3 of a two week Latin America adventure, guest blogger Rosemary tells us all about her recent trip toArgentina.. From the capital to the countryside, Argentina offers once in a lifetime experiences to everyone...Arriving in Buenos Aires after two weeks exploring ancient sites and marvelling at nature's wonders requires a shift of gear! I couldn't wait to visit Argentina, where cosmopolitan, sophisticated, busy, are all words that come to mind.

The Lost World Project: Mount Roraima Venezuela (Part One)

Friend of Original Travel Robbie Miles recently won the trip of a life time on an expedition to the top of Mount Roraima Venezuela to accompany Adrian Warren, David Attenborough's camera man of 25 years and Jesse Wilkinson of 'Springwatch' during their shooting of "The Lost World Project". Here are his thoughts and feelings while on his fantastic adventure.

Mendoza Wine & Salta

I have just returned from Argentina after performing the arduous task of wine tasting...

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