Photo: Jeff Cremer
The Amazon Jungle is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. In fact, it’s so expansive that if it were a country, it’d be the ninth largest. Ten percent of the life on this planet live within the confines of the Amazon Rainforest. When you think about it – that one in 10 of all of the world’s flora and fauna inhabit nine countries in South America – it’s pretty impressive.
The task of choosing some of my favorites was a difficult one, so I enlisted the help of Rainforest Expeditions wildlife photographer, Jeff Cremer to help me narrow down the list of thousands of potential candidates, to eight of the greats (in no particular order).
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?
Photo: Lorena Flores Aguero
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.
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: Eileen Smith
For many years, Valdivia, together with all its rivers, was subsumed into Chile’s famous Lakes Region, leafy and splashy and beautiful, yet different. In 2007, this region got a name of its own, and Valdivia is its cultural capital, La Región de Los Ríos, or the Rivers Region of Chile.
Photo: Ben K
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 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.
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.
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.