Top 4 Islands
A selection of the Journey Latin America team’s favourite islands from across South and Central America.
“It’s half the size of the Isle of Wight, shaped like a three-cornered hat and surrounded by more sea than you can imagine. And those gigantic heads… In the afternoon of our first day, we took a two-hour guided walk and arrived fifteen minutes before sunset to find two canvas chairs facing one of the moai (head statues), his back to the ocean; and two big glasses of chilled white wine. Somewhere beyond his shoulder was the International Date Line, and today’s sun dropping into tomorrow.”
Jamie Swan, Product, Operations and Tour Leader Manager
“The uninhabited island of Espíritu Santo in the Sea of Cortés, Baja California, has the most intact ecosystem in the region. The waters surrounding the island support coral reefs, resident colonies of sea lions and five hundred species of tropical fish. The west coast boasts some of the most immaculate white, sandy bays you can imagine, while the east coast has enormous towering cliffs, bizarre rock formations and fascinating caves.”
Nigel Vaughan, Former JLA staff
3. Ilha Grande, Brazil
“Once a notorious pirate lair, then a prison island until 1994, Ilha Grande is a laid-back travellers’ paradise that is located a short ferry ride from the Costa Verde (two hours’ drive west of Rio). Backed by the towering Pico de Papagaio, sleepy Abraão is the picturesque ‘capital’ with sand streets, no cars and a good range of homely guesthouses. Base yourself here, slow down and explore the island’s 106 tropical beaches by boat, kayak or on foot along jungle trails, looking out for howler monkeys and parakeets along the way. Don’t miss the sweeping white sands of Lopes Mendes, voted the best beach in Brazil by the Brazilians themselves!”
David Nichols, Product Manager
“Until a little over ten years ago, the most commonly used form of currency in the Kuna Yala islands was the coconut. Formerly known as San Blas, this chain of over 300 islands is an autonomous zone run by the indigenous Kuna, who are determined to preserve their traditional way of life. The Kuna are outgoing, friendly and very happy – unsurprisingly perhaps, as they live in a tropical paradise. Even with the blissful natural environment to enjoy, it’s the privilege of being welcomed into their fascinating culture that leaves the strongest impression.”
Laura Rendell-Dunn, Press Manager
“Staying on Suasi Island is all about the experience. A couple of days’ rest and relaxation in the middle of a busy itinerary around Peru is a blessing. Taking a motor launch across Lake Titicaca, you arrive at your private island in time for a three-course lunch, followed by walks, kayaking on the lake, a spa treatment or simply relaxing with a book and a priceless view.”
Isabelle Mazille, Product Manager
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Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert
Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.
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.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
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.
Millie Davies - Travel Expert
Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.