One of the most beautiful aspects of the Ecuadorian Andes is the diversity of crops grown throughout its valleys and terraced hills. These spectacular ‘patchwork’ landscapes, which are astoundingly beautiful themselves, offer small-scale farmers a seemingly endless variety of culinary treasures.
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: Alfredo Miguel Romero
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!
Photo: Daniel Diaz Vera
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.
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.
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.
Photo: Dan Nevill
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
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.
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.
Photo: Frank_am_Main and Olaf
While it’s called “the poor man’s Galapagos,” las Islas Ballestas are full of rich natural treasures. The magnificent islands, comprised of jagged rocks that the sea has eroded away and turned into caves, caverns and arches, jut out of the Pacific Ocean. It is here that dozens of sea life species seek refuge.
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