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  • Photo: Gallery Peru

    A Foodie’s Photo Gallery Peru

    Professional food photographer Matt Armendariz recently visited Peru with fellow foodies Gaby Dalkin and Adam Pearson. While Matt certainly captured the mouth-watering beauty of Peruvian cuisine, he didn’t limit his subjects to what was on the plate. Matt also snapped a cornucopia of Peruvian ingredients, where they’re grown and the breath-taking Peruvian landscape. We hope you enjoy Matt’s work, it’s clear he does.

  • Holy Week in Colombia

    The week before Easter Sunday, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is the biggest travel week in South America, with flight prices that rival Thanksgiving levels in the US or Christmas elsewhere. In Colombia, only Thursday and Friday are official national holidays, but schools, universities and many offices and businesses give students and employees the other three days off, allowing families to take the whole week of vacation.

    But if everyone goes on vacation, where do they go?

  • 4 Best Sunset Spots in Lima

    Lima can be a crazily hectic, incredibly busy city. When I want to reconnect with nature and have a few moments of peace, I head to the Pacific. For some reason, the sea always brings me solace.

    One of my favorite times to head there is just before dusk, when the ocean and the sun meet briefly to steal away a goodnight kiss.

    The way the sun sets the sky ablaze in fiery reds and oranges really is unparalleled. While you can catch this Pacific sunset anywhere along the 1,400 miles (2,250 km) of Peru’s pristine coastline, there’s something really special about Lima’s.

  • LAN Airlines and Easter Island: Our Unique Relationship with A Special Place

    Geography is destiny. For proof, look no further than Easter Island. It sits in blessed isolation, in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, with nothing around it for over 1,000 miles. The closest continental point is in Chile, over 2,000 miles away.

    As one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands, it has managed to preserve much of its aboriginal Rapa Nui culture. Its isolation, however, has also created some unique challenges, many of which LAN Airlines is helping to solve.

  • Photo: Ben K

    5 Brazilian Beaches You Must Visit Before You Die

    Come to Brazil for a little fun in the sun? Well, you’re in luck. There’s 4654 miles of sun-toasted coastline for that. But therein lies the problem: How to choose? There are plenty of great beaches where tourists routinely go – Rio de Janeiro, Búzios, Salvador, Recife/Olinda, Fortaleza, etc – but these are urban destinations with urban beaches, so finding that postcard-perfect patch of paradise and having it all for you and yours just isn’t going to be in the cards.

    And while there probably aren’t too many places left at all in Brazil where you can have an entire beach to yourself (it’s not impossible mind you!), you can do a whole lot better than the crowded city beaches in Brazil’s most on-the-beaten-path destinations. Brazil’s best beaches are the ones that few people visit, either due to isolation or legislation.

    If you want to escape the crowds, the beach vendors, the wayward frescoballs and the surfers, keeping the sun and sand to pretty much yourself, look no further than these five, of all which you must see before you die (you and everybody else – just not at the same time!).

  • Vendimia: The Wine Harvest Festival

    Vendimia is the wine harvest festival and associated activities in Chile (and Argentina) related to the harvest of the wine grapes, and is generally celebrated in Chile in March and April, though dates vary from year to year, and valley to valley. Celebrations include tastings, music, food, dance, contests, and much merriment. They’re a great way to spend a day, afternoon, evening, weekend or more, getting to try many wines for a reasonable price, and all in one place. Here are some spots you may want to check out for Vendimia events in 2015. 

  • Photo: Vichayito

    Happy Campers: Beachfront Glamping in Máncora

    This may come across as a bit of a surprise, but I am not a camping kind of gal. While the idea of sleeping in a tent beneath the stars intrigues me, the idea of sleeping in a tent beneath the stars also terrifies me. You see, even though I’m an adventurer at heart – I like to surf and white water raft and mountain climb as much as the next adrenaline seeker – I much prefer to come home to running water, flushing toilets, and a plush mattress draped in luxurious linens when the adventure is over.

    That’s why when I heard about glamping in Máncora, a beach town on Peru’s northern coast, I jumped at the opportunity.

  • Rafting in Chile

    Starting in about October and November, the Andean snowpack in Chile starts to melt, increasing water flow to the country’s many rivers. By December, they are in full force, and, not coincidentally, that is when some of Chile’s best river rafting starts. There are four main places where river rafting takes place in this long, skinny country, and below are details of each, what to expect, and how long to plan for. 

  • Colombia’s Hidden Coffee Gems

    Colombia’s famous Eje Cafetero (Coffee Axis) has earned UNESCO recognition and is generally acknowledged as one of the most beautiful regions in the country. However, it isn’t necessary to go all the way out to the provinces of Risaralda, Caldas and Quindío to find quality Colombian coffee. Though they don’t get the same amount of attention (or visitors), there are plenty of other excellent fincas (coffee plantations) and production centers from the Caribbean coast all the way down to the Ecuadorean border. If you don’t have time to make the trek out to the Eje Cafetero, here are some of the other places in the country to get your coffee fix:

  • Colombia’s Guajira Peninsula

    The wild northern Guajira peninsula is one of the most underdeveloped – and stunningly pristine – parts of Colombia. Tourism is still relatively new in most parts of La Guajira, and visiting requires a certain amount of patience and willingness to try unusual forms of transportation. If you can make it work, though, you’ll be rewarded with a totally unique experience in the northernmost part of South America, where the desert meets the Caribbean and indigenous culture is the law of the land.

  • Terra’s Top Travel Resolutions for 2015

    January — it’s a month of new beginnings, a time when people vow to better their lifestyles, kick a bad habit to the curb and become more productive. The problem with these New Year’s resolutions is that they rarely stick. Busy lives get in the way or people discover that their goals were a bit too lofty. Whatever the reason, many people fail at resolving their resolutions.

    That’s why this year, I vowed to make my resolution one I can look forward to beforehand, enjoy while I’m actually doing it, and look back on with fond memories. My resolution is to see more of Peru and I am inviting you, dear Only in South America readers, to join me.

  • Photo: ruggin

    Five Stunning Views in Chilean Patagonia

    Patagonia is an area extending down from about the Lakes Region in Chile (and Argentina) to the southernmost reaches of the continent. Most visits to Chilean Patagonia include a little bit of the Lakes Region (near Puerto Varas), and then a flight much further south to the area near Puerto Natales. From streaky sunrises to fiery sunsets, and all the hues of daytime blue from glaciers and lakes, it’s no surprise that the area packs a photographic punch. Here are some stunning views you can catch in Patagonia, though of course, there are many more spots to photograph and pick as your own favorite.

  • Rolling on the River

    With an unseasonably warm spring feeling like early summer in Buenos Aires, porteños are firing up their parrillas, standing in line for al fresco dinner tables, and escaping to Tigre on weekends. As the season kicks off, here’s a short background on the river delta: what it is, how to get there, what to do, and where to stay.

  • Day Trips from La Serena

    With long white sand beaches, and a tranquil vibe throughout most of the year, La Serena is one of Northern Chile’s most popular beach vacation spots. For Santiaguinos and foreigners alike, the city’s location on a long beach with swimmable warm waters makes it ideal for a couple of days’ stop on a longer trip, or as a destination unto itself.

    Once visitors have seen the sights in town, which include the beach, the local market and the lighthouse, many choose to head out of town to do some exploration. In nearby Coquimbo are both the Cruz del Tercer Milenio, a monument in the form of a giant cross (visible from La Serena, and you can go inside for great views over the bay) and the mosque. There is also a very lively fish market. But there’s no reason to limit oneself to Coquimbo, either. The area is full of day trip possibilities, some of which are detailed below, so when you find yourself traveling through Chile, check them out.

  • A Day North of the Mapocho River in Santiago, Chile

    Tourists visiting Santiago usually divide their time among uptown, downtown and out of town, where out of town includes the wine country, the coast, the mountains, or a combination of all three. But there’s another way to think of the city, which is to use the Mapocho River—which runs down from Cajón de Maipo through the city—as a dividing line between north and south.

  • World Tourism Day: 9 Reasons to Visit Peru Now

    People around the world are in the midst of celebrating my favorite pastime and ultimate passion – travel. Commemorated each year on Sept. 27, the United Nations created World Tourism Day back in 1980 as a way of recognizing the positive contributions travel makes to local economies, cultural preservation, environmental protection and personal growth and enrichment.

    Our planet is a big place, full of majestic destinations to discover. While there are a heap of world wonders to uncover, this amazing Andean nation should be toward the top of your list. Here are the nine reasons you should visit Peru now!

  • Gearing up for a Hike in Santiago

    It almost goes without saying that one of the major draws to visiting Chile is the Andes. Soaring peaks, some of the tallest in the world, are part of our daily view on clear days in Santiago. And after a snow, well, half the city has their head turned to the east, because even if you’ve lived here your whole life, whether you’re a hiker or not, you’re still amazed.

    And it’s not just the Andes that you can hike. There are several hikes between Santiago and the coast, such as the visit to the National Park of La Campana, which has two different hikes, as well as natural areas near Santiago like the Rio Clarillo natural reserve or the Santuario de la Naturaleza in El Arrayán. And if you want to make the most of these close-by hikes, or make a go of a bigger trip, you’re going to need the right gear. Maybe you brought most things from home, but just remembered something you’re missing. Or maybe you are just getting started. Here are some places to visit to stock up on hiking gear in Santiago.

  • 3 Days in Puerto Ayora

    Puerto Ayora is one of the Galápagos Islands’ few ports, and it’s the town where the bulk of tour operation and organization begins and concentrates. The town is pretty, especially along the port and its Academy Bay, and there is lots to do. Cruise tours have traditionally made it a mere morning stop along the way, but in recent years, those wishing to economize as much as possible, decide to make it to Puerto Ayora and play it from there.

  • Go To Extremes: Glaciers and Desert

    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.

  • Photo: Dan Nevill

    Baños: Gateway to the Amazon

    Some twenty years ago, Baños hit Ecuador’s tourism scene. It was a nothing little town that suddenly became the Mecca for European – mainly German – renegades of the modern life. They decided Baños was a perfect place to settle, far from the ills of developed society, in a picture-perfect setting amidst jungles and waterfalls and a dramatic active volcano.

  • Photo: Terra Hall

    Welcome to the Jungle: Peru’s Piece of Heaven on Earth

    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.

  • Galápagos: Recommended Reading

    The Galápagos Islands are a destination that will inevitably stay in your mind long after you visit them, and conversely, can live with you long before you’ve actually booked a visit, thanks to the abundant literature and many nature shows that highlight their wonders. They are certainly the stuff of fantasy. A coveted destination, no doubt, those who become obsessed with this one-and-only archipelago, always want to go deeper, know more about it, dreaming of returning if they’ve been or one day, finally, stand on its shores, admire its wildlife and swim in its seas, if they haven’t.

  • Worth a Thousand Words: Tips and Tricks to Get the Perfect Shots

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, the photos travelers take on their adventures through Peru are enough to fill the pages of many a novel. While we will undoubtedly remember their four-day trek to Machu Picchu, over time the details – like how the scenery looked under the cloudless, bright blue sky – can be forgotten. Thankfully photos take us back to those moments in time that might otherwise be lost.

    That’s why I recently sat with wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer of Rainforest Expeditions. He and his team not only take curious travelers to the Amazon, they also provide high-end equipment and training to travelers eager to learn how to snap shots like a pro. After all, pictures are one of the best souvenirs to bring home with you – why not have the best ones possible?

  • Cabo de la Vela: Cape of Kites

    Nestled on the western side of the Guajira peninsula, a remote spit of desert split between Colombia and Venezuela that juts out into the Caribbean, the pocket-sized town of Cabo de la Vela has quietly become a major eco-tourism destination – for those daring enough to brave the trip to try to find it. A two-hour drive from the nearest highway, Cabo de la Vela is the definition of “off the beaten path,” a tiny fishing village with a few houses and restaurants, a nearby lighthouse and some of the most beautiful water on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

  • Photo: Kevin Raub

    Weekend Getaway: Búzios

    French bombshell Brigitte Bardot didn’t discover Armação dos Búzios (Búzios for short) but when she decided in 1964, at the top of her fame, to hide away in this small, unknown fishing village north of Rio de Janeiro for three months, she helped the world discover Búzios. The timeline of this gorgeous Brazilian beach resort, home to 23 some-odd beaches, each more perfect than the next, can be divided in two parts: B.B (Before Bardot) and A.B (After Bardot).

  • Photo: Kevin Raub

    The Buffalo Brigade: A Visit to Ilha do Marajó

    When the first thing I saw upon arrival was a young girl bathing her dog in the river, I knew things were different on Ilha do Marajó, a river island nearly the size of Switzerland at the mouth of the Amazonas, Tocantins and Xingú rivers on the northern tip of Pará state. Outside of urban areas, most Brazilians wouldn’t think twice about a dirty dog, but the Marajoara do things their own way. So much so that ironically enough, dogs aren’t even the usual pet of choice.

  • Bogotá Day Trips: National Parks

    Colombia has 41 official national parks, from the lagoons of the San Andrés archipelago down to the southern border in the midst of the Amazon jungle. The country’s amazing geographic contrasts and biodiversity make every national park a unique visual experience, whether you’re admiring a range of glacier-topped volcanic peaks, towering wax palm trees or gray sand beaches. You could spend a whole year just exploring the parks – but what if you don’t have that time?

  • In and Around Puerto Villamil, Galápagos

    Located in the largest island of the Galapagos, Isabela, this small, rustic, remote town has only really been home to real-life humans like you and me for about 80 years. While humanity was busy becoming civilized, the island of Isabela was busy being completely ignored. And even while humans colonized other corners of the Galapagos archipelago, Puerto Villamil was only a handful of houses and a dreadful penal colony some 50 years ago.

  • 3 Cities of Colombia’s Coffee Axis

    The medium-sized triplet cities of the coffee region don’t get much love. Though they’re not as visually appealing as the tiny towns dotting the surrounding hillsides nor as famous as glitzy Medellín to the north, Pereira, Armenia and Manizales have a cozy appeal all their own. Most visitors don’t spend much time in any of these cities, primarily using them as a stopping point to change transport on the way to one of the larger cities or to smaller towns like Salento or coffee fincas tucked away in the hills. Still, all three are more than just airports or bus terminals – each has its own distinct personality within the regional coffee culture, and a few attractions that merit more than just a passing glance.

  • Photo: Embratur

    D.I.Y. Iguaçu Falls

    There’s little doubt that the thundering roar of 275 waterfalls saddling two countries is one of South America’s most thrilling and eye-popping attractions. Iguaçu Falls, Brazil’s second-most visited attraction behind Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue, stands wider than Victoria Falls and taller than Niagara Falls and more jaw-dropping than both. It’s a must-see for everyone, including those who think they’ve already seen one too many waterfalls. Trust me, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

  • Quito: What Makes a World Wonder

    Quito was the first city in the world, together with Krakow (Poland), to be recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978. It is, of course, a little like calling Quito a ‘wonder city’ – coincidentally, we might add, Quito has also been considered a finalist in the 7 Wonder Cities of the World shortlist – and attests to the fact that its uniqueness makes it one of the most special urban centers on our planet. Here are only some of the reasons:

  • Galapagos Icon: Pinnacle Rock

    Galapagos’ monument par excellence, its Tower of Pisa, is known as Pinnacle Rock. Although it is a natural monument (let’s just say it’s some kind of hill), legend has it, it is also partially manmade.

    Its peculiar figure, like a shark’s tooth jetting out from the sea, was purportedly created during US Navy shooting practice. I can only envision some kind of missile blowing off what joined the monolith to the rest of the geological formation found to one side of it. In any case, it is quite the spectacle.

  • San Gil: Adventure Capital of Colombia

    Vancouver, Canada. Queenstown, New Zealand. Cape Town, South Africa. And…. San Gil, Colombia?

    San Gil may not make most publications’ list of Top 10 Cities to Get Your Adrenaline Pumping, but that’s just because the folks writing those lists don’t know about it yet. This formerly sleepy town in the northeastern Colombian department of Santander has recently re-branded itself as the “Adventure Capital of Colombia,” and so far it seems to be living up to that reputation, if the legions of happy visitors are any indication.

  • Photo: Kevin Raub

    Brazil’s 5 Best National Parks

    Whatever toots your horn: Hiking, biking, diving, mountains, canyons, flora, fauna, dunes, rivers, oceans, caves or prehistoric rock paintings – the list is exhausting, actually! – Brazil has got a reason for you to ditch the Havaianas and get out and about with some sort of nature that doesn’t involve caipirinhas on the beach and sand in your sunga (that’s Portuguese for those Speedo-type bathing suits!).

    Over 15% of Brazil is under environmental protection, clocking in at 1.3 million sq km to be exact. Between Atlantic rainforest, tropical rainforest protected wetlands and the most amphibian, bird, mammal, reptile, and vascular plant species on Earth (according to Mongo Bay, one of the world’s most respected environmental science and conservation news sites), Brazil is the world’s most biodiverse country, which leaves a wealth of national parks to explore beyond Ipanema and Copacabana – nearly 70 in total. Here are our five favorites:

  • Postcard-Perfect Beaches

    With a stunning coastline of almost 3,000 miles, Chile definitely has a beach to suit every taste. There are beaches for checking out tidal pools, like Isla Negra, and for big wave surfing like Pichilemu, a couple of hours south west of Santiago, and of course, beaches for rock-scrambling, wading, long walks at sunset, and even the occasional chungungo (marine otter) sighting. The last one I saw in Maitencillo, on an early morning walk.

    But if I had to pick just one beach, from the north, center and south of Chile’s extraordinarily long coastline, for long days at the beach, azure waters and sheer entertainment, I know which ones are my favorites, starting from the south.

  • 3 Places To See Penguins in the Wild: Argentina

    The first time I saw a penguin in his natural habitat was right here in Argentina. I was with a marine biologist on a speedboat, both of us bundled up against the cold, gliding through the still bay off the coast of Puerto San Julián. As we approached the rocky coast of a small island, I spotted a small group of black and white birds emerging from the water, their plumage sleek and glossy, waddling one by one along the beach in a comical parade. I grew up with Mary Poppins and trips to the zoo – seeing penguins on the beach, and getting out of the boat to walk around their little colony, was an experience I’ll never forget.

  • Galapagos Islands: Isla Fernandina

    It seems fit to say that one of the most fascinating sites in the Galapagos island chain would be one of the most remote. Isla Fernandina, the archipelago’s westernmost ‘outpost’, is a place whose journey to experience it is truly worth the adventurer’s soul.

    A confined, non-inhabited heap of lava (non-inhabited by man, that is), among the youngest islands on our planet, Fernandina is actually going through the process of being born. A veritable last frontier, the vastest of the vast Pacific Ocean officially begins here.

  • 3 National Parks in the South of Chile

    To be sure, the towering granite peaks of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park are one of the country’s most stunning (and iconic) landscapes. Yearly, international visitors from all over, and Chileans alike, make the Torres part of their summer vacation. There are day trips, either on the Lago Pehoé side or the Torres side (or both), and the two different hiking trips, the W and the O-shaped circuit. But this is just one of the many national parks Chile maintains. Below are three others for when you’ve got a shorter trip in mind, or want to explore parts of natural Chile that might not make it onto a postcard, but definitely should.

  • 5 Top Beaches in Peru

    Peru receives international acclaim for its man-made mysteries – primarily Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines – but perhaps one of its equally alluring destinations wasn’t manufactured by hand.

    Peru’s beaches stretch more than 1,400 miles (2,250 km) down a sprawling coastline that kisses the Pacific Ocean. At nearly double the length of California’s famous seaside, Peru offers travelers a varied experience – from luxurious resorts to surfing Meccas to playful penguins.

  • Rock Climbing Across Colombia

    Though Colombia’s Andes may not be as tall as those of its southern neighbors, there are plenty of places to strap on harnesses and scale a few walls. The last few decades have seen an explosion in the popularity of rock climbing among locals, and foreigners finally seem to be getting wise to the wealth of offerings as well. From the jagged volcanic peaks of national parks to vertical rock walls and climbs across the top of caves, Colombia is a climber’s paradise – as long as you know where to look!

  • Colombia’s Colonial Treasures: Villa de Leyva

    Let’s cut to the chase here – this is not an unbiased post. I have repeatedly and publicly stated, to pretty much anyone within earshot, that Villa de Leyva is one of my favorite places in Colombia. However, I’m hardly alone in this opinion – in fact, I don’t know a single person that has visited Villa and failed to fall in love with it. Cartagena may be Colombia’s most romantic city, but Villa de Leyva seems designed to capture the heart of any visitor, as long as they don’t mind a few cobblestones underfoot!

  • Guayaquil: A City in the Mangroves

    Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador. It is Ecuador’s concrete jungle par excellence, an urban hub along the Pacific coast that has become accustomed to cement, skyscrapers and development projects that extend every which way along the highways, byways, and freeways that connect it to the rest of the country. But as much as there are streets and sidewalks and bridges and balconies, doors and public parking lots, there are mangroves.

  • Beyond Christo and Copacabana: Rio de Janeiro Off the Beaten Path

    It’s no short order to escape the tourists in Rio de Janeiro. The city easily finds itself near the top of almost everyone’s to-visit list. And as one of the most beautiful and exotic urban landscapes on the planet, rightfully so. According to figures from Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism, over 9.2 million tourists disembarked in Brazil in 2012 – and almost every single one planted their toes into Rio’s remarkable city sands.

    The allure of the Cidade Maravilhosa is, in fact, too powerful to ignore for some, who find themselves back on their favorite air travel search site a few months down the line, frantically playing with dates and routes to find the most economic way in which they can return to lap up even more sun, sand and samba. Those folks have already visited Rio’s 5-star attractions – Christ the Redeemer, Pão de Açúcar, Copacobana, Ipanema, Santa Teresa etc. – and are looking to escape fellow nomads and go a little more local. The good news is it’s not an impossible wish, but you’ll need to be committed to the effort. Here are a few places in Brazil’s most visited city where you can (maybe!) escape most fellow foreigners …

  • Visiting Iquique in Chile’s Norte Grande

    Iquique is one of the emblematic cities of the Chile’s Norte Grande, the vast northern part of Chile that crosses the Atacama Desert, which is the driest in the world. Iquique is a modern city sandwiched between dramatic cliffs and the Pacific Ocean, and has an interesting history as one of the opulent cities in Latin America up until about the 1930s, to the end of the nitrate boom, which had fueled the city’s growth for many years. The well-preserved architecture from that time makes for good sightseeing at any time of year, with sunshine nearly assured, and temperatures never dropping below about 45, nor climbing above about 85 degrees.

  • Escape to the Lakes

    It’s hot in Buenos Aires: prime time to flee the big city. If surf and sand isn’t your idea of paradise, skip the crowds along Argentina’s Atlantic coast. There’s a cooler, mellower summertime getaway awaiting in the lakes district – hike to high cliffs over the water, plunge through a shallow river on horseback, catch a fish, recline at an eco-friendly spa, or just indulge your chocolate addiction in Bariloche.

  • Ecuador: Green Masterpiece

    Ecuador is a great place to see green. From its patchwork valleys and hillsides to its broad diversity of forests, the entire country is filled with green color. From the moment you leave its urban areas, vegetation begins to display its palate onto every landscape. Here are some photos of this green masterpiece. 

  • Birds in Otavalo: Condor Park

    Joep Hendriks created Parque Condor some ten years ago. Who would have thought it would become the perfect way to couple the Otavalo experience.

    If you’ve never been to Ecuador, Otavalo is a definite must-see. It probably ranks second after the Galapagos Islands in terms of places to visit in Ecuador, as South America’s largest indigenous market. But Parque Cóndor, in itself a very different adventure located only minutes away from Otavalo, is a great natural complement to the cultural explosion the town itself offers visitors from around the world.

  • Photo: Senderos

    Weekend Getaway: Reserva do Ibitipoca

    Most folks think of Brazil as a beach destination. Rightfully so, there’s no denying Brazil was sun-kissed by God almighty himself when perfect sands were being dished out to Earth. But Brazil is also home to a massive interior of pastoral hills flush with hidden waterfalls, deep canyons, rolling coffee plantations and dramatic rocky landscapes which come along with a culture entirely different from that of the beach – no bikini necessary.

    One of Brazil’s most beautiful countryside destinations is the state of Minas Gerais, which is famous for colonial towns, hearty cuisine and cachaça, Brazil’s local firewater; but is perhaps best known for the friendliness of its people. I have a little joke in Brazil: Whenever I meet a Brazilian that I immediately love to death, they are almost always a Mineiro. To that end, Mineiros are especially good at hospitality. If you are visiting Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third biggest city, on business or pleasure, consider hanging around a bit and making the 195-mile trek south to Reserva do Ibitipoca; better yet, if you’re in Rio de Janeiro (for pleasure – what else?), it’s even an even closer journey: 157 miles. But regardless of where you come from, this luxury plantation is a world away.

  • Black & White at El Monte in Mindo

    I find black-and-white photography mesmerizing. Some would argue that black-and-white photos are more intriguing than your regular color photograph. B&W always seems dated, for one thing, and at some level, maybe even at a subconscious level, you end up wondering what the colors really were like at the time and place the picture was taken… even when you took the picture five minutes before.

  • Brazil: A Birder’s Paradise

    Birding may not be on the mainstream travelers to-do list, but it’s serious business nonetheless, and Brazil is a bombshell for birdwatching. South America has the largest number of bird species of any continent and Brazil is among the top three countries in the world with over 1832 cataloged species and soaring higher.  And while Hollywood might have poked fun at the birdwatching lifestyle in Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin’s The Big Year (2011), there are a lot of people who get very excited about our fine-feathered friends.

  • Photo: SF Brit

    Visiting Antarctica from Chile

    For penguin peepers, glacier chasers, cruise fans, and those who love to visit far-flung places, Antarctica delivers. There are long days of summer sunshine, glassy waters and a constantly-changing seascape. Dolphin, whale and albatross sightings are practically guaranteed. From closer to the coast, or from landings, penguins, sea lions, different species of seals (including sometimes southern elephant seals) are also a sure thing.

  • Photo: CREES

    Biking through the Cloud Forest

    Certainly one of my favorite ecosystems, full of orchids, ferns, colorful birds, waterfalls and other amazing flora and fauna. From all the places I’ve been to, the Manu Road has always been the most challenging. From the highlands it takes you deep into the forest. But biking this one-way road full of cliffs is even more challenging. Are you brave enough to take on this adventure?

  • 5 of Colombia’s Most Magical Places

    Sometimes, I suspect that the Colombian government is paying every single citizen of this country to act as an undercover tour guide. It seems like everyone here, from office workers to taxi drivers, is willing and able to offer an opinion on the best spots for weekend getaways, must-see locations in different cities and all of the food visitors absolutely have to try while here (often physically leading said visitor to the closest place selling that particular delicacy).

  • Hot Springs in Pucón

    Volcanic activity in Chile’s main adventure sport destination, Pucón, assures visitors of a few things. First, on clear days, there is a great view of snow-covered Volcán Villarrica (travelers can climb with a guide), second, visitors are sure to take a photo of the signs downtown advising of volcanic conditions, and third, a visit to the local hot springs is a great way to spend an afternoon, evening, or even a few days.

    There are hot springs to suit most tastes, from rustic to Asian-inspired, family-friendly and boutique. Below is a description of some of our favorite.

  • Photo: Maia Gambis

    Visions of the Great Pacific

    For several years after I graduated from college, one of my favorite things to do was take extended periods off from the humdrum of the city and travel up and down the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast, visiting different fishing villages, beaches, staying in friends’ beach homes or cheap 5 dollar-a-night rooms way back when 5 dollars for a room on the beach was actually not only a possibility, but a heavenly retreat.

  • Spending Time in Cajón del Maipo

    Cajón del Maipo, a valley etched into the foothills of the Andes, and a short drive from Santiago, Chile, is where well-heeled Santiaguinos take weekend drives and where the wealthy buy homes perched on steep overlooks. It’s also a great place to go rafting, hiking, horseback-riding, camping, or just take a day trip up into the mountains. There is plenty of food and drink to sustain you, no matter what you choose to do. And if a single day isn’t enough, there are plenty of places to stay as well.

  • Photo: Giedre Bankauskaite

    Climbing Above the Equatorial Clouds

    The Otavalo Valley, land of rose plantations (some of the most beautiful, vibrant petals in the world thrive here all year round), of textiles (which are, coincidentally, as vibrant as the roses), of lakes, of patchwork valleys, of great history, with a number of archaeological ruins that reveal the vibrant past of the great Cayambi civilization… is in many ways a sacred land, and looming above it lies the ever-so-impressive Mount Cayambe, the highest point along our planet’s Equator.

  • Photo: Andre Maceira

    5 Things to do Around Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses

    That’s no mirage. The towering dunes of Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses national park is one of the world’s most dramatic landscapes – 1500 sq km of otherworldly sandscapes, only broken up by inviting cerulean lagoons that pepper the sandy hills between March and September. From the air, the landscape gives the appearance of rolling bed sheets (lençóis in Portuguese), pitching across the world’s most picturesque bed. A visit here is guaranteed to leave your jaw on the deep sandy floor and your camera trigger-finger sore from overuse. But the park itself, located about 200 miles east of São Luis near the cutesy town of Barreirinhas, is far from the only cinematic destination in this part of Northern Brazil. Don’t miss a trip to this region; and don’t miss taking in the following while you’re there.

  • The Magic Water Circuit

    The Park of the Reserve, located in downtown Lima, became an important tourism attraction after the municipal government transformed it into a colorful experience of water and lights. There are 13 fountains in the park and the largest one is called Magic Fountain. With its 80 m in height it is also considered the “World’s largest fountain complex in a public park” by the Guinness Book Of World Records.

  • Photo: Aztlek

    Whale-Watching on Colombia’s Pacific Coast

    Each year, hundreds of humpback whales make the 8,000 km journey from the frigid sea off Chile to the warm waters of Colombia’s Pacific coastline, gathering in bays and coves by the dozens or even hundreds to mate and calve their babies before beginning the long trip back. In recent years, as the security situation in the region has improved, local tour operators have begun to capitalize on this event’s natural appeal, offering guided tours and boat rides to view the gentle visitors. Though it requires a certain level of commitment to reach the remote area, it’s made worthwhile by the payoff upon arrival: hundreds of miles of untouched coastline, jungles filled with some of the world’s most amazing plants and animals, and whales that come so close to shore that, legend has it, you can see them from your hammock on the beach.

  • Stargazing in Northern Chile

    Chile attracts some of the best, brightest and luckiest astronomers to come and do research in some of the clearest skies in the world. With more than 300 nights of cloudless skies, the north of Chile, with its pristine atmosphere, is ideal for stargazing by professionals and amateurs alike.

    With or without a telescope, in the north of Chile, once you get away from the cities, a stunning array of stars, and quite often, even the white blur of the milky way is visible. Below are four observatories that up the ante for night sky lovers.

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