Latin America is packed full of experiences to tempt back repeat clients. Joanna Booth selects the best
If you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime sights then Latin America sits at the top of the list, with must-see options ranging from the ancient ruins of the Incas at Machu Picchu to the unique Galapagos archipelago. But when it comes to Latin America, once is never enough. Visitors fall head over heels with this vibrant, friendly part of the world, and invariably, want to go back for more.
But the type of clients who trek in Patagonia or sail down the Amazon are explorers, and won’t want to do the same thing again. Take inspiration from our suggestions below to keep your clients coming back for more.
IF THEY LOVED MACHU PICCHU...
TRY MAYAN SITES
Whether clients trekked the Inca Trail or took the train from Cusco, their first glimpse of Machu Picchu will have been breathtaking. Visiting this ancient Inca city hidden in the mountains feels like stepping back in time, and walking among its ruins really brings history alive.
Clients will enjoy the same rush of excitement when they discover Central America’s Mayan sites. Where Machu Picchu is located in the mountains, most of the Mayan sites are hidden in the jungle, so they’ll feel the same sense of exploration when the rainforest canopy reveals the carved stone temples and pyramids. Guatemala’s Tikal is set in a National Park where clients will also get the chance to see – and hear – howler monkeys, toucans, parrots and woodpeckers. Mexico’s Chichen Itza is the largest of the Mayan cities and is extremely well restored.
Or try: Machu Picchu might be Peru’s most famous ruined city but it’s not the only one. Northern Peru is an archaeological work in progress. Sunvil Traveller consultant Lisa Rudkin recommends clients stay in Trujillo and visit Chan Chan, which is still being excavated, before heading to the Chachapoyas mountains to visit the pre-Inca fortress of Kuelap.
IF THEY LOVED THE GALAPAGOS...
TRY THE FALKLANDS
The Falkland Islands may be all over the news at the moment due to their ownership, but the reason people visit is the wildlife, and it scores highly on that scale for Cox & Kings’ Katie Parsons.
Those who loved the wild, remote, unique qualities of the Galapagos will feel an echo here, 300 miles off the Argentine coast. They can see as many as five species of penguin in one place, and spot seals, sea lions, birdlife and even minke and killer whales.
Regulations limit the tourist numbers in the Galapagos, and visitor numbers to the Falklands are relatively low, so again clients will be able to get really close to wildlife.
Or try: Tierra del Fuego will tick the same cruising and wildlife boxes as the Galapagos – although it will be much colder. A cruise between Punta Arenas in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina, sailing through the Straits of Magellan, the Beagle Channel and around Cape Horn, will reveal spectacular fjords and colonies of seabirds, seals and penguins.
IF THEY LOVED MEXICO’S BEACHES...
There’s a lot to love about Mexico – notably white sand, blue sea and Latin passion. Its Caribbean coast is the biggest hit with UK visitors, but for second-timers, Journey Latin America’s Laura Rendell-Dunn suggests Cuba – it too has the palm-fringed Caribbean waters and visitors can choose between isolated cayes or developed resorts.
Plus, Cuba also has plenty to offer those who enjoyed Mexico’s cultural aspects, and on this small island, everything is within easy reach. Havana’s a crumbling colonial gem of a city brought right up to date by its indomitable party spirit, and pretty Trinidad, cultural Santiago and the lovely scenery of Pinar del Rio are all within easy reach of the island’s beach resorts.
Or try: Bahia, the state in north-east Brazil, is a sublime spot blessed with year-round sunshine, warm crystal waters and long stretches of perfect sand. This is one for upmarket clients who enjoyed the quieter side of Mexico – they can swim with tropical fish in the natural pools at Porto de Galinhas and stay in chic beach hideaways.
IF THEY LOVED THE AMAZON...
TRY THE PANTANAL
The Amazon is a true icon, and with sections of it accessible in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, many clients will have had the chance to take to its waters. But – whisper it – it’s actually not always the easiest place to spot the wildlife that inhabit its dense jungle. Amanda Sweeney, Rainbow Tours Latin America sales specialist, champions a lesser-known choice. For the chance to see capybara, tapir, giant anteaters and otters, storks, anacondas and much more besides, send clients to the world’s largest freshwater wetland – Brazil’s Pantanal. They can walk, ride or take boat trips through the mosaic of lakes, rivers, savannahs and seasonal streams, and stay in lovely eco-lodges.
Or try: Argentina’s Ibera wetlands offer a similar experience, but can be combined with Buenos Aires and an estancia stay rather than Rio de Janeiro and Bonito. Add a visit to Iguaçu Falls to either trip.
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