Photo: Barbara Eckstein
Brazil’s Costa Verde (Green Coast), a truly remarkable stretch of Atlantic Rainforest buckling over into sky-blue seas that paints the coast between Itaguaí in Rio de Janeiro state to Santos in São Paulo state, is one of Brazil’s most gorgeous patches of coastlines. It all culminates in postcard-perfect Paraty, a pristine piece of colonial beauty that counts UNESCO World Heritage status as a highlight on a long list of such.
Photo: Dave Lonsdale
Mountain Cotopaxi (5897 m) rises spectacularly along the Eastern cordillera of the Andes mountains chain. Its beautiful conical shape and perpetual snow make it one of the most coveted visitor sites in Ecuador, and it makes sense that it would be. Only an hour and a half drive from the capital, Quito, the slopes of this prodigy of nature couldn’t be more accessible and offer unparalleled adventure on one of the highest points on our planet. Click here for a chance to win an 8-day adventure for two in Ecuador!
Remember that one cartoon where the main character is stranded in the middle of a never-ending desert? He drags himself over the sizzling hot sand while the sun relentlessly beats down. In the distance, he sees palm tree that provides shade and a lake that has limitless cold drinking water. Re-energized at the thought of this oasis, he rushes over, prepared to dive into the swimming pool only to have it all dissipate into thin air. It was all a mirage stirred up by his thirst.
When I first set eyes on the desert oasis of Huacachina (wa-ka-CHEE-nah), I reverted back to my childhood for a moment. It was like that cartoon I had watched dozens of times had appeared right before my eyes. My six-year-old self was impressed.
One of the big questions as of late for those visiting Galapagos is: should I do it land-based or cruise-based? There are many options for either/or and although cruise tours have traditionally had the upper edge, land-based tourism, also known as ‘island hopping’, has become an increasingly popular and attractive opportunity to discover the islands.
In the past, the main reason one would even think of land-based tours to explore the Galápagos was the price. Today, hotels can also offer expensive overnights, while some cruises are actually on the inexpensive side. All of which – cheap hotels, cheap cruises, expensive cruises, expensive hotels – have pros and cons to consider.
Photo: Quark Expeditions
The south of Chile and Argentina are some of the most photogenic places in the world. Stark blue skies, soaring granite peaks, giant rock formations in glacial valleys that show the soft slope where thousands of years ago, giant blocks of ice carved their way down from the mountains to flat land and beyond. And there are glaciers as well, dappled, blue-grey-white jagged surfaces that creak and groan, and sometimes calve into lakes below. Plan a trip to South America to find out for yourself or sign up here for a chance to win a trip to southern Chile and Antarctica with a friend!
Photo: Frank Jakobi
Verdant and desert, cool and warm, glaciers and sand dunes, these are the extremes of Chile. If you think of a map of the world and fold it in half, the south of Chile lines up with the Canadian Rockies, and the north of Chile lines up with the California desert. Except that the Andes are taller than the rockies, and the Atacama drier and larger than the desert in the southwest of the United States. So what’s it like to be in a country that has both extremes, such that you could visit them both on a single trip? In a word: stunning.
With its towering trees and endless landscape, the Peruvian Amazon is quickly becoming a hot-spot for environmentally conscious travelers looking to experience one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. In an attempt to meet demand, ecolodges in the Amazon jungle are becoming more and more common. While each has an array of amenities, unique itineraries and different opportunities to see the plants and animals that inhabit the rainforest, Refugio Amazonas’ commitment to sustainable travel makes it stand out from the rest.
Photo: Jonathan Hood
Of all the landscapes that Chile has to offer, from desert to coast, glaciers and starry nights, perhaps the most striking and most photogenic is Chilean Patagonia’s landscape. There are many routes you can take to experience this stark landscape, water a hundred colors of blue and small stands of arctic beech, open water, icebergs and wild rivers.
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