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The Llama Travel Blog

Gary Finnerty, our Sales Manager, spent 6 months travelling in Latin America before finding himself on Llama Travel's doorstep. This is his account of his time in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.

“I will never forget it.” Those were the words uttered by a friend which convinced me that I should visit Torres Del Paine National Park, a natural wonder at the bottom of the earth. Coming from a seasoned traveller, I trusted her word - all I knew was that I wanted to visit Patagonia, I knew very little about the geography or what it had to offer. The more I learnt about it the more excited I became.

Strolling up the street towards the local market, the din of buyers and sellers negotiating deals gets louder as you approach the entrance. On the block leading up to the large covered area, the pavements burst with temporary stalls and once inside, the intensity of a local market in full swing hits you.

A stall laden with colourful fruit catches your eye, and next to it, one astonishes you with its variety of root vegetables. Further down the aisle you can buy fruit smoothies and milky drinks and then you turn a corner and are suddenly confronted with a hunk of meat hanging off a hook, a pig head resting on the corner of the counter and the distinct smell of raw meat.

Travelling is, without a doubt, one of life’s great pleasures. Soaking up the scenery in an exotic locale, learning about foreign cultures and pushing the boundaries of your personal comfort zone are things that make the endeavour rewarding, but it can be pricey. It makes sense to do your research before handing over your cash to just any old tour operator, but with so many options out there, how do you begin to decide which company is going to deliver on your dream trip?

If you need some tips for choosing the right company for you, read on!

All You Need is Ecuador

Written by  Catherine

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.

The Zika Virus is a hot topic at the moment, and many travellers and potential travellers to South America are wondering what the outbreak means for their travel plans. Here we answer some frequently asked questions about the virus, helping you to make informed travel decisions that are right for you. 

We are very pleased to announce that Llama Travel has been awarded first place in the Top Tour Operator category of the Wanderlust Readers’ Awards 2016, out of 484 entrants.

The awards, which are well-known in the travel industry, cover categories including Top City, Top UK Destination, Top Emerging Destination, Top Country, Best Guidebook and Best Equipment Brand – all things travel-related in other words. The awards’ uniqueness lies in that the winners are chosen based on satisfaction scores by Wanderlust Readers themselves, not number of votes.

5 January 2016

LLAMA TRAVEL LAUNCHES NEW MEXICO TOURS

HOLIDAYS FROM £1699

Llama Travel is excited to announce the addition of Mexico holidays to our Latin America collection.  A Passage Through Mexico showcases some of the country’s most talked-about points of interest, from ancient Maya ruins and colonial architecture, to meeting traditional local communities and marveling at some of its natural wonders.

The 12 day/10 night Passage Through Mexico tour starts from £1699, including flights from the UK, hotels and transfers.

“So why are you going to Guantanamo??” … This was a question I had to answer several times when I first announced my Central America travel plans, and I was always replying, “No I’m going to  Guatemala, a country just below Mexico!”

You may consider this an unorthodox start for a blog that is supposed to be singing Guatemala’s praises, but for me, the above exchange perfectly sums up one of my favourite things about the country – the fact that it’s that little bit off the radar. Guatemala is not as well-known as its neighbours Mexico and Costa Rica, this make it feel a little less touristy and a bit more adventurous!

One of the great benefits of working for Llama Travel is that I am able to visit some of the most beautiful places in the world, and in my opinion there is no place more magnificent than the Torres del Paine National Park, in the south of Chile.

The park is most famous for the Paine Massif, a towering collection of rocks that rise up to the sky, scraping heights of 2,800m and so creating an incredible sight on the horizon. However, this blog is not about the magnificence of the park itself, if it was it would be a lot longer with a lot more superlatives. It is instead about the Rio Serrano hotel, Llama Travel’s choice of hotel and a personal favourite of mine.

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.