The Latin America Travel Experts

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If you are considering a visit to Latin America for the first time, you might not be fully aware of just what makes this region so wonderful. Numerous travel companies exist purely to show the world Latin America, so it must have something worth writing home about, right?

Indeed. It’s tricky to sum up an entire continent in a couple of points, particularly when that continent is as diverse as South America. However, there are certain threads which run the length and breadth of the region.

The locals are always up for a chat

Peruvian lady Sacred Valley Peru

Latinos are a warm and welcoming bunch, with visitors to countries from Colombia to Chile commenting that the locals are helpful and interested in visitors. For the most part people will greet you with a smile and like to know how you are enjoying their country.

History is alive

Reasons to Love Latin America Cartagena Colombia Llama Travel

Between the Inca, Maya and Conquistadors, Latin America has a rich and colourful history which takes in indigenous tribes and colonial rule. There is evidence of this history at all turns, from the famous Inca remains at Machu Picchu, and the continuing Maya influence in Guatemala, to the cities’ beautiful colonial architecture.

The landscapes transform within an hour or two’s journey

Atacama Desert landscape Chile Llama Travel

Countries all over Latin America boast not only beautiful landscapes, but a large diversity of them too. From north to south, Chile transforms from one of the driest deserts in the world (the Atacama) to the green and mountainous Patagonia. Peru has the agricultural landscapes of the Andean lowlands, which contrast with the lush Amazon rainforest, and Brazil boasts the Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world, as well as the striking coastline around Rio de Janeiro.

To sum it up, there is a lot to see in Latin America, and if landscapes are your thing, you are going to love it!

Oh! The Food.

Ceviche dish Peru Llama Travel

Argentinian steak is famous the world over. Lima is renowned as the culinary capital of Latin America, with Peruvian ceviche (a marinated fish salad) high on the list of foods to try. The Chilean completo is the Cadillac of hot dogs, leaden with avocado and tomato salsa, while Mexico’s tacos have been written about many times and are an essential part of any visit to the country.

Local culture is still kickin’

Traditional market Guatemala Llama Travel

Do not let the colonial architecture fool you. Latin America’s cities (with a few exceptions), have their feet firmly in the 21st century, with modern restaurants, contemporary art galleries and sky-scraper- filled CBD’s. However, despite modernisation, much of Latin America retains a soul that is purely, well, Latin American.

Samba and salsa dancing (depending on the country) is a popular Saturday night activity, and while you can easily find “modern” food, the traditional favourites still take pride of place in many eateries.

Furthermore, if you head out of the cities, you don’t have to head far before you come across indigenous people practising the same or similar traditions as their ancestors did. In Peru it’s the Quechua communities in the Andes, where women dress in bowler hats and wide, layered skirts. In Guatemala, much of the population still identifies as Maya, and dress in traditional brightly-coloured tapestries.

Wildlife abounds

Land iguana Galapagos Ecuador Llama Travel

On top of culture, history, landscapes and food, Latin America also boasts wildlife! The Pantanal, one of the largest wetlands on earth, is found in Brazil, the Amazon jungle is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, and has an impressive array of species, the Galapagos Islands inhabitants have no natural predators and so aren’t shy, and the canals of Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica are also alive with the sounds of monkeys, birds and other creatures. There are multiple options for wildlife lovers on this continent.

Still not convinced that Latin America is as great as everyone says? The best way to confirm it is to visit for yourself. You can see our South and Central America holidays here.

Ecuador is world famous for the Galapagos Islands – an archipelago which more-than-deserves its reputation. Not only is the wildlife there abundant and easy to spot, but Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was formed here, and to this day the islands are an important destination for scientists.

However, while Galapagos is undoubtedly special, there is more to Ecuador than these offshore islands.

Here are some of the features of mainland Ecuador which make it worth visiting.

Latin America is a beauty - culturally and landscape-wise. Our photo bank is brimming with images of the continent and now seems as good a time as any to showcase some of these photos. These photos reveal just how gorgeous Latin America's landscapes really are. 

The Amazon Jungle. Whether you visit it from Peru, Ecuador or Brazil, you will find that it is lush, and dense, and filled with lots of different plants and animals – the reason you are presumably visiting. You will also find that it can be very damp, if not outright wet, and brimming with insects. Make the most of your Amazon visit by being prepared. 

“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.” - Mark Kurlansky

Hacienda Zuleta is a stunning and luxurious farmstay in the Ecuadorian paramo of the Imbabura province, outside Quito. It is a very special destination, as Catherine, our marketing executive discovered recently.

The joys of rural hospitality seems to be a theme which runs the length and breadth of the world. The further outside the cities you get, the friendlier the people become, and oftentimes, the more inviting the landscapes become too. Latin America is a friendly part of the world to begin with, and boasts a diverse set of landscapes capable of inspiring awe and setting one at ease simultaneously.

Apart from that though, spending some time outside the cities provides a glimpse into a different side of the place you’re visiting. Perhaps this is why hacienda (or estancia) stays in Latin America are becoming ever more popular. We now offer 3 separate opportunities for you to get a taste of hacienda life, ranging from an afternoon excursion to a 3 day/2 night visit. And here they are…

All You Need is Ecuador

  • 15 February 2016

Catherine! Un gusto conocerte! This was a phrase I heard over and over again in Ecuador, always with the emphasis on gusto – it was a genuine pleasure to meet me. Contrary to how this might be construed, it says more about the Ecuadorian people than it does about my likeability as a person (although I am charming).

I crossed the border into Ecuador at 5am on a dark, but already warm and sticky morning. Going through immigration was a shock to the system, ejected from the dark morning into the harsh fluorescent lighting, to stand in line for a passport stamp while babies cried and a group of teenagers on a school trip shouted excitedly over one another. It was not a particularly pleasant experience, but it was soon forgotten. Back on the bus, I could not bring myself to doze, overcome as I was by the sensation of being in a new country.

Llama Travel’s Travel Consultant Matt has travelled all over South America, from the dense jungles of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest to the colonial cities of Colombia, but for him, a certain volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean will always be a particularly special place. Read on to see why Matt thinks that the Galapagos Islands are as extraordinary today as they were when Darwin first set foot on them almost 180 years ago.