What Is Your Favourite...
It has to be the ‘marvellous city’ of Rio de Janeiro. Having family in Brazil meant I spent many summer holidays from an early age soaking up the cool beach culture on world-famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. And then of course there’s the music, from the smooth melodies of Bossa Nova to the rhythmic beats of batucada, music fills every street corner.
I have been extremely fortunate to have stayed in some of the most amazing hotels in South America but one clear favourite of mine is Ponta dos Ganchos close to the island of Florianópolis in the south of Brazil. Private pool, ocean views, humongous rooms and scrumptious food, makes this place a clear winner and a perfect place to end a holiday.
Swimming with sharks, turtles and sea lions in Galápagos, white-water rafting through Costa Rica’s lush rainforest and watching sunrise in the Amazon with a chorus of birds, monkeys and a family of a giant river otters were all unforgettable experiences. But the one excursion that tops them all is the 4-day trek to Machu Picchu. It’s a challenging trek but you get to see the most spectacular landscapes along the way and the sense of achievement you feel when you reach the former Inca citadel is astounding.
Top Travel Tip
Naturally, a lot of people want to incorporate a visit to the Amazon in Brazil but reaching Manaus from Rio or Salvador can take 4 hours plus so if you’re also visiting an Andean country in the same trip such as Peru or Ecuador, I’d recommend taking the jungle trip from there as the Amazon is much more accessible.
Top Packing Tip
Pack light! There are plenty of laundrettes in South America and they can usually have your clothes, washed, dried and pressed in a day if you hand it early. Plus it’s a lot cheaper than doing it at a hotel and you’re supporting the local community.