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"You’ll hear them long before you see them," our guide Vicki told us. Dressed in khaki as though on safari, she might as well have been talking about some elusive creatures – but Iguazú Falls are anything but elusive, and with the recent rains they were especially thunderous. We had barely cleared the entrance to the national park and begun our short walk through the rainforest before the distant sound of a million splashes began to resonate.

The wooden platforms were sturdy as rocks – after flooding had damaged a section last year, they had been given plenty of TLC. No wonder, for the sheer majesty of Iguazú  Falls draws thousands of visitors every year. And yet, we had this show all to ourselves. It was early in the morning, and Awasi Lodge’s early access meant we had arrived a full half hour before the gates opened to the general public.

Whilst I had been here quite a few times, my new husband Jim hadn’t, and yet we were both equally entranced by the scene that unfurled before, and below, us. The falls were spread like jam across the rim of the gaping chasm, a feast for the eyes seasoned with the early morning sunshine.

It being Jim’s first time in Latin America, I was keen to get him hooked on this continent – such is life when you marry a Travel Expert!

When we tied the knot earlier this summer, going to Argentina for our honeymoon was a no-brainer. It’s the first country in Latin America I ever visited and still my favourite, blessed with beguiling cities and nature, some fine lodges and hotels and a gastronomic scene that makes every dinner date special. Plus, with our 2020 trip having been cancelled, finally reaching the Land of Silver felt all the more satisfying!

We were both keen to get moving after our flight from London, so our trip began with the hustle and bustle of San Telmo, one of Buenos Aires’ most bohemian neighbourhoods, where we grabbed our first lunch at an empanadaria. While we’d missed the World Cup Final by a narrow 11 months, that didn’t stop us from making a little pilgrimage to the Obelisk where thousands of revellers had then celebrated their country’s historic win. Plus, Messi mania was even more alive and well in Buenos Aires now than before! We topped off our frenetic first day with milanesa sandwiches and a bottle or two of Malbec before bedding down early – as gutting as it felt to miss out on Buenos Aires’ nightlife, we’d have an early start and a new location the next day.

You’re almost spoilt for choice on where to go after Buenos Aires. It being Jim’s first time in Latin America, I was keen to get him hooked on this continent – such is life when you marry a Travel Expert! And so, for something especially jaw-dropping, our next stop was Puerto Madryn, where thousands of amorous southern right whales were congregating for the mating season, their own little summer of love.

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Having heard about how close the whales get to tour boats and, indeed, having given my customers this incredible experience countless times, it was just as amazing to finally see it for myself – made all the more so since Jim, a wildlife enthusiast, was on Cloud 9.

Thinking nothing could top this, I was in for a surprise at El Doradillo beach, where whales can be seen from the shore. We were treated to two hours of watching dozens, almost a hundred, whales playing in the water just 20 metres away from where we stood on the sand – mostly mothers with their newborn calves. Further in the distance we could see others jumping and raising their tails in and out of the water. Safe to say, that was an early highlight of our holiday.

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We then flew north for a different type of wildlife fix in the Iberá wetlands. The pace of life here was just perfect, spending quality time together by the pool in the mornings, long luxurious lunches at the lodge’s restaurant and late afternoon boat trips out into the wetlands to spot caiman and capybara. One day, Mother Nature practically ordered us to relax when a tropical storm rolled in, so we treated ourselves to some blissful massages while listening to the pitter-patter of the rain.

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Working in tourism, I know that it takes a lot of work behind the scenes to deliver an experience this good, and the tight ship Awasi runs hit the mark every single time.

Being in northeast Argentina, we couldn’t possibly pass up on the world-famous Iguazú  Falls, and we’d treated ourselves to a stay at the five-star Awasi Iguazú. I’ve spent over ten years travelling the continent and have stayed in a lot of luxurious properties (this job can have its perks), but none come close to Awasi Iguazú.

As soon as we arrived, we received the warmest of welcomes and were made to feel at home with a lovely lunch on the terrace overlooking the rainforest. We were keen to make the most of our time so wanted to fit in as many activities as possible, which our wonderful personal guide Vicki was more than happy to do. One privilege of staying at Awasi is the early access to Iguazú National Park, so we arrived at the Devil’s Throat viewing platform a good half hour before the park gates opened. It was just us and Vicki there, and we had all the time we needed to gaze upon one of the world’s most awe-inspiring sights in complete tranquillity – well, save for the thunderous roar of 280 waterfalls!

When we finally tore ourselves away from the Falls and returned to the lodge, we were treated to complimentary massages and exquisite food and drink. We were only able to provide very vague outlines of our favourite flavours to our lovely sommelier Santi, but that didn’t stop him from whipping up a pair of fantastic and inventive concoctions. Lunch was another journey of discovery into Argentina’s gastronomic landscape – food in this riverine region of the country is mainly fish-based, primarily pacu and dorado. All the better since, unbelievable though it may sound, I was a little tired of steak at this point.

When people say you will eat well in Argentina – believe them!

Each meal we had during our stay was better than the last, and the icing on the cake was a complimentary honeymoon gift from Awasi: an astonishing 7-course tasting menu with Santi’s wine pairings. The level of thought and attention that every member of the staff put into their service is unparalleled. Working in tourism, I know that it takes a lot of work behind the scenes to deliver an experience this good, and the tight ship Awasi runs hit the mark every single time. For me this was the real luxury of staying here – not that the beautiful villa and private plunge pool are anything to be ignored – but the care and attention we received, as well as the once-in-a-lifetime experiences we had there, were unmatched.

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Our final stop of the trip was the wine capital of Mendoza, a place I lived in for several months when I was younger. This time we hired a car and travelled south into the wine-growing regions of Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. The freedom of having our own set of wheels made a world of difference. Roads are easy to navigate and as soon as you’re out of the city the incredible views of the Andes open up in front of you. Spending the night in a wine lodge, we enjoyed several wine tastings, as well as more delicious food. Since we wanted to get a bit more hands-on, we took a cooking class here under the guise of an expert chef. When people say you will eat well in Argentina – believe them!

After several days in the lap of luxury, our last few days in Buenos Aires were a bit more casual but no less delightful, enjoying Patagonian pilsner and stone-baked pizza on a street terrace. This trip and our wedding alike had been a long time in the making, and as we toasted to the trip of a lifetime, it really felt like Argentina had risen to the occasion.

This fantastic holiday was made possible thanks to Kathryn’s years of experience in putting together trips to Latin America. Get in touch with one of our friendly experts to put together your own dream trip to Latin America, and feel free to request Kathryn Rhodes herself.

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Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Paul Winrow Giffin
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Lina
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Alex
    Alex Walker - Travel Expert

    A globetrotter since her childhood, Alex spent a year studying abroad in Guadalajara and has returned to Latin America countless times since then.

  • Chris
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

  • Ben
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Sallly
    Sally Dodge - Travel Expert

    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

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