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12 New Ways To Discover Latin American Cities

Written by  Hannah

  • 20 January 2021
12 New Ways To Discover Latin American Cities

We know one of the most important parts of travelling is immersing yourself in the destination. This allows you to give back to the communities you visit, whether it's buying fruit from a market in Cusco or supporting a local artist in Rio de Janeiro. South American cities are fascinating, but they can often blur into one if you don't do them properly. With this in mind, we’ve reviewed our tours of cities and towns to see how we can give more of a flavour of the local culture. This means more walking tours and less getting in and out of vehicles. Plus, more visits to markets and neighbourhoods to experience the local colours, tastes and aromas, so that getting to know cities is more than just learning about church after church. Read this blog to find out the improvements we’ve made and the new tours we are offering, from trying local snacks on a walking tour of Cartagena to experiencing the excitement of Lucha Libre wrestling in Mexico City or learning how chocolate is made in Costa Rica.


1. Try exotic fruit in Cusco


Soak up the colours, flavours, smells and traditions of the bustling San Pedro Market, where you can find traditionally-dressed vendors selling everything from fresh fruit and meats to pachamama dolls and coca leaves. Then, step back in time for a guided tour of Cusco's most fascinating ancient Inca sites. 


Once the capital of the Inca empire and one of the most important places in South America, Cusco is a charming city in south-east Peru. 


All of our Peru holidays include a few days to acclimatise in Cusco. 


2. Make chocolate near Arenal Volcano


Experience the best of Costa Rica on our brand new tour which combines a picturesque waterfall  with a family-run cocoa farm. After a peaceful walk where you can spot orchids, butterflies, toucans and sloths, learn the chocolate-making process from bean to bar, with plenty of opportunities to try the sweet treats.


Arenal is an impressive active volcano in north-western Costa Rica. 


We've just added a range of new Costa Rica excursions including ziplining, a coffee plantation visit and this waterfall and chocolate tour. Click here to see them.  

3. Spend the evening at a Lucha Libre wrestling show

carlos e ramirez rir8GU6PQo unsplash

For an exhilarating Friday night in Mexico City, head to the Arena Mexico to experience a way of life for many locals. Get your adrenaline pumping as you watch wrestlers kitted out as superheroes fight each other, then visit a pulqueria tavern to try a pre-Hispanic drink made from fermented agave.


Mexico City is Mexico's vibrant capital, located in the south-central part of the country. 


Delve deeper into Mexico City's culture on our range of new excursions.  

4. Explore Santiago on foot


Get a taste of the Chilean capital's fascinating history combined with a contemporary vibe, including the lively main square filled with buskers and comedians, and the colourful Lastarria neighbourhood. Walk up Santa Lucia hill for a panoramic view of Santiago, surrounded by the peaks of the Andes.


Santiago is the largest and capital city of Chile, boasting a picturesque setting in a valley framed by the snow-capped Andes. 


All good Chile holidays start in the capital of Santiago. This excursion offers the perfect introduction to the city on all our trips to Chile


5. Meet the 'palenqueras' in Cartagena

Cartagena Colombia

Discover the real Cartagena as you are taken from the enormous fortress used to protect the city from pirates, to the historic centre where colourful 'palenqueras' (fruit sellers) chop up fresh fruit in front of you. Stroll around the narrow colourful streets of the old town as you fill up on tasty treats.


Cartagena is a beautiful city and important port on Colombia's Caribbean coast. 


We've just introduced a whole range of new Colombia excursions, including a local tour of the capital and a steep ascent up a famous rock in one of the country's most colourful towns. Find them all here

6. Eat your way around Oaxaca

Oaxaca state Gastronomy tradicional cooking

Try Oaxacan specialities in the market including tamales wrapped in banana leaves, quesillos, tortillas, coffee, chocolate and even insects! Learn about the fruits, vegetables and other produce grown in the region, then walk around the historic centre, full of impressive architecture.


Widely considered the gastronomic capital of Mexico, Oaxaca is in the southwestern part of the country. 


You can extend your Mexico trip to visit Oaxaca, where this foodie excursion is included in the itinerary


7. Ride an antique tram in Santa Teresa

2015 Bondinho em Santa Teresa credito Hans von Manteuffel 2

Climb aboard the tram with the locals then explore the cobbled streets, bohemian galleries and cafes of Santa Teresa on foot, perhaps stumbling upon a group of musicians filling the air with the romance of old Rio as they play Bossa Nova. Finish with a refreshing caipirinha in a local bar. 


Santa Teresa is one of the most picturesque neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's vibrant coastal city. 


All of our Brazil tours include several days to take in the sights of Rio. 

8. Cook ceviche in Lima

Cooking class Lima South American Visuals 1

Peruvian gastronomy has become world-renowned in recent years, and this half-day cooking class is the perfect introduction to some of the best Latin American cuisine. After a market visit, cook up a feast of typical Peruvian dishes, resulting in a delicious three-course lunch. 


Lima is Peru's bustling capital, located on the Pacific Coast. 


The Peru on a Plate excursion can be done on all our Peru holidays

9. Absorb Mexican culture

Salon Tenampa 3

Get a mix of history and daily life in the capital on this colourful tour. Visit the enormous Zocalo Square, admire Diego Rivera’s fantastic artwork in the National Palace, try local fruit in San Juan market and visit a 150-year-old artisan sweet shop. 


Situated on the central Mexican plateau, Mexico City is the most populous metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere. 


The Mexico City walking tour is a great introduction all of our Mexico itineraries

10. Enjoy a walking tour and coffee tasting in Costa Rica


Walk around San Jose to get a feel for daily life, including a local market and the prestigious National Theatre, then head to a coffee plantation in the foothills of Poas Volcano to find out how one of the country's biggest exports goes from bean to cup.


Costa Rica's capital is in the central part of the country, close to beautiful volcanoes and cloud forests. 


Our core Costa Rica programme includes time in San Jose, Tortuguero, Arenal Volcano and the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest. 

11. Taste local delicacies in the Colombian capital

Bogota 1

Visit the local market to try exotic fruit, Plaza Bolivar to appreciate its colonial influences, and take the funicular up Monserrate Hill for spectacular views across Bogotá. End at the Botero Museum, home to a superb collection of the artist's iconic works, alongside those of Picasso, Dalí and Monet.


At an altitude of 2,640m, Bogotá is Colombia's capital city. 


We've improved our Colombia holidays so you now start in the capital, before making your way to the coffee region, Medellín and Cartagena. 



12. Try a Pisco Sour in Lima   

Pisco sours class Lima South American Visuals 1

Visit the catacombs and walk around Lima's historic centre, learning about the city's famous UNESCO cultural heritage balconies, then enjoy a Pisco Sour cocktail demonstration in the bar of the Gran Hotel Bolivar, an iconic hotel which opened in 1924.


Also known as the 'City of Kings', Lima is Peru's bustling capital, situated in the arid coastal part of the country. 


Our Colonial Lima excursion has been upgraded to give you more of a chance to delve into the local culture.


Don't forget, you can save up to £1,000 per couple on our holidays when you book before the 28th of February.

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