Archeological tours of Brazil's Dinosaur Valley, an Incan Sun festival and self-drive tours of French Uruguay are just a few of the more unusual options featured in the latest Latin America brochure to hit the high street.
Looking for a new challenge, Paulo Veloso left Journey Latin America a year ago to set up his own operation Veloso Tours. The Life in Latin America brochure was launched in June.
At 104 pages, it's a sizeable publication and offers one of the most comprehensive selections of Latin American products on the market.
All the old favourites are there - Rio de Janeiro, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands - but Veloso claims there is also some products which clients won't find anywhere else.
Brazil gets extensive coverage with a new five-day Flintstone Tour of prehistoric sites in the Northeast; a seven-day stay among the unspoilt dunes and islands of Natal; and a five-day module to Bahia's Porto Seguro which combines colonial architecture with lively bars and great beaches.
Accommodation ranges from Amazon lodges which are owned and run by the local Indian communities to exclusive Portuguese colonial manor houses such as the Charme in Minas Gerais which offers a swimming pool, sauna and afternoon tea courtesy of the English owner.
Special events are also covered such as the Carnival in Rio and the lesser-known Inti Raymi Incan Sun Festival which takes place every June in Cuzco, Peru. Self-drive tours are another unusual option for a region where car hire has yet to take off.
"We only offer self drive in areas away from the big cities, where we know there are only a few quiet roads and where driving is stress free," said Veloso.
This option is offered in Argentina's lake district, Costa Rica, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and French Uruguay, which Veloso described as a little bit of France in the rainforest. He believes that presentation is all-important. This is reflected in the attractive brochure through lots of pictures and maps, user friendly detailed itineraries with pricing for every tour or module featured on the same page.
Modules are priced individually so they can be taken as a unit or put together with other components to make a tour. "All of the itineraries featured can be tweaked or tailor-made but they offer clients a template to work from,"said Veloso.
Copies of the brochure have been sent out to around 600 independent agents and Veloso said he would be willing to work with the miniples.
"We are here to help and to provide agents with the information they don't have. The brochure will do most of the work for them as it presents Latin America in a very favourable light and tells the client everything they need to know. We know Latin America well and are happy to make suggestions."
Viracocha Tour: 22-night cross continent escorted group tour taking in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru from £2,998, including flights.
Campesino Tour: seven-night self-drive tour taking in Chichen Itza, Cancun, Merida and Uxmal from £392 based on two sharing, excluding flights.
Inca Trail: five-day group tour including three-night trek and overnight at Machu Picchu from £233, excluding flights.
Fernandez Bay: four-day stopover on Cat Island, Bahamas from £309 based on two sharing, excluding flights.
Kapawi: six days at the Kapawi lodge in Ecuador's Amazon basin from £523 based on two sharing.
veloso tour options
n Escorted group tours, self-drive tours, beach stays, city breaks in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Venezuela, French Guyana, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.
n Caribbean beach stopovers in Aruba, Curacao, Bahamas, British and USVirgin Islands and Anguilla.
n Hiking and trekking in northeastern Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile.
n Amazon Rainforest lodges in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and French Guyana.
n Cruises in theGalapagos Islands, Chilean fjords and Amazon.
n The brochure also picks out tours and destinations suitable for families, festivals and carnivals
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