Carrie Gallagher

Carrie Gallagher Travel Consultant

A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.

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Uyuni Salt Flats

Carrie left a Public Relations career in 2006 to travel around the world, and became one of the many who do so to fall for Latin America’s allure. So much so that she stayed on in the continent for years, travelling, exploring and working, settling for a while in Buenos Aires and Lima.  Blessed with a truly adventurous spirit, she has an especial fondness for drinking in the views over the wilderness landscapes of Bolivia, savouring the winning combination of steak, wine and football in Argentina, scuba-diving in Honduras and engaging with the warmth and friendliness of the peoples of Colombia and Nicaragua.

Keen to share her experiences with others, she decided that a job as a tour leader was the obvious next step, and she joined our team in 2011. So extensive was her knowledge of Latin America that over the next seven years she led most of our tour itineraries, all the time expanding her understanding of this vast and complex region. In 2019 she decided to re-establish her roots in the UK, and we were thrilled to be able to invite her to join the sales team of Escorted Group Tours. She brings a wealth of anecdotes and wise counsel to the department, along with her innate ability to inspire others with her love for all things Latin American.

Bent over backwards to help me get the best out of my time in South America. Very laid back and generous with advice.

PB, Wareham Aug 2020

What Is Your Favourite...

Place:

El Castillo, Nicaragua. This is such an undiscovered gem of a town on the Rio San Juan, which is the natural border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. You can only reach it by river which means no cars – just bikes, or people walking the friendly narrow streets. The striking feature of this town is the Spanish fort or ‘El Castillo’ which was built next to rapids on the river to keep pirates at bay. As well as being an adventure just to get there, the town is surrounded by natural reserves housing incredible wildlife. Nicaragua is famous for its warm and friendly people, and here you can catch a local football or baseball match, enjoy fresh shrimp from the river washed down with a Toña or Victoria beer in one of the riverfront restaurants, or watch the local kids surfing the rapids using makeshift planks.

Hotel:

Belmond Las Casitas, Colca Canyon, Peru. I’ve only had the pleasure of staying here once, but it was unforgettable. Five-star luxury located in the Colca Valley which is home to pre-Inca agricultural terraces and fascinating indigenous communities and culture. Here every room has a private outdoor hut tub, Colca is famous for its stargazing so there’s nothing better than sitting in the hot tub while gazing at the stars, before an early start the following morning to see the flight of the magnificent Andean condors that nest in the canyon’s steep cliffs.

Excursion:

Crossing the Uyuni salt flats, Bolivia
There is probably no more memorable excursion to do in Latin America than the famous salt flats crossing. As it’s widely known as the salt flats crossing most people expect to spend two or three days on the salt, so are always pleasantly surprised or simply amazed by the non-stop visual spectacle of this excursion. Where to start? Red lakes, green lakes, white lakes, huge colonies of flamingoes, volcanoes (some smoking, others not), farmers grazing their alpaca and llama in fertile valleys fed by underground springs, fields of quinoa of all colours and Dali-esque desert rock formations. This geothermic land also creates natural springs and geysers and is home to small indigenous communities and centuries-old necropolises. And then, only then, you have the salt flats themselves. Dazzling white salt as far as the eye can see, with the horizon dotted with mountains and volcanoes. Words can’t quite describe the full sensory experience of this excursion.

Top Travel Tip

Be open-minded and positive. Take all things, even the unexpected (power cuts, transport strikes, missing sink plugs or sporadic hot water) in your stride. It is an adventure.

Lencois Maranhenses

Top Packing Tip

Everyone always plans to but few actually manage to… travel light!

Peruvian weaving

My Destination Highlights

iStock ©

Buenos Aires

If you are a city person, there are few better cities than Buenos Aires. Here everyone has an opinion and a creative talent, be they a painter, dancer, writer, musician – the city is rife with culture and debate, of course, this is the place to catch the tango. And let’s not forget the other passions of the city: football, food and wine.

Villa de Leyva

Colombia’s heartland

Mompox, Colombia. If you mention Colombia, most people have heard of Cartagena, but very few know its smaller but equally as beautiful off-the-beaten-track neighbour, Mompox. Mompox is a town on an island in the middle of the Magdalena river which was the main trade route in colonial times. The town in its strategic midway position between the coast and southern cities was an important stop along the route, and is full of colonial churches and mansions, many of which fell into disarray but are now being lovingly restored to make Mompox the new up-and-coming destination in Colombia. Located on the river, the town is also surrounded by nature and is particularly renowned for its incredible birdlife.

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine National Park

If you are a fan of the great outdoors, it doesn’t get much better than Torres del Paine national park in the south of Chile. The best way to enjoy the park is on foot, hiking. Spring is my favourite season when the fire bush plant paints the park red, providing a stunning canvas for the wild guanacos posing against a mountain backdrop. It’s also common to see condors swooping overhead, and much sought-after puma sightings are becoming more frequent. Here you’ll find waterfalls, striking mountain ranges, and magnificent glaciers which can be explored on foot or by boat.

Papagaio

Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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