Experience Latin America – A new and different way to see this part of the world!

I have just spent four days at an event called REMOTE. We had no WIFI or TV for 4 days and were immersed into properties located in remote areas of Latin America. As a travel wholesaler for over 20 years, it is always wonderful to learn about new places and properties to share with world travelers. There are the big players of the world that dominate peoples’ minds – like Cancun, Mexico and all those all-inclusive groups, or the group tours in Europe, or now, the hot trend is river cruising. They certainly have the attention of the travel markets. But what about going to an off-the-beaten-path destination – the world less traveled, where there are no crowds. You may not even know to ask for some of these locations. Latin American locations talk about “sustainable tourism” or “eco-friendly lodges” and it just doesn’t sound sexy to most travelers. Rethink this state of mind, and experience one of these types of vacations or adventures. If you are tired of the same old vacation experience, let me share just a sampling of what awaits you if you think you are that person who wants something new and different.

For the US market, the air lift into Central America is very good so the opportunity to explore some of these amazing lodges is easy to get to. Best known to our market is Costa Rica. IMG_6783This country has captured the hearts of many US travelers, especially the region of Guanacaste. But there is so much more to see and do. You can head to the south Pacific coast to experience nature with luxury rustic-chic at Lapa Rios or Playa Cativo Lodges in the Osa Penisula. These properties are almost 100% self-sustaining and nature abounds. If you want a little less nature and more pampering – head a bit north along the coast to Kura Lodge or Hacienda Altagracia where the food, the staff, the spa, the rooms, and the views will take your breath away.

Panama, which seems to only be known for its Canal, has an entirely different world to explore.Bungalow Just a one hour flight from Panama City to David, Panama and a 1 hour 15 minute car and boat ride, you can sleep in a beach-front bungalow on a remote island called Isla Palenque. Each luxury bungalow has an outdoor shower and tub. There are only eight “casitas,” and each has green spaces, so privacy is not an issue. Swim as if you are on a deserted island, eat from the fresh gardens and hike the many trails on the island.

If you want culture rather than nature and beach, I can recommend Guatemala. On arrival, head directly to Antigua, and stay in a seven-room boutique property while exploring this wonderful small town and all its history, then head up to lake Atitlan to the Casa Palopo Relais & Chateaux property perched above Lake Atitlan. Then head to Tikal, where you can explore the Mayan Ruins. Here you will stay at the Las Lagunas Lodge luxury boutique in the Mayan World. Do some trekking, kayaking, bird watching or immerse yourself in the spa.

Want to go further south to South America? Then check out some of these hidden gems found in Chile, Argentina and Brazil.

In Argentina, visit Aguas Arriba Lodge in Santa Cruz. This five-room lodge was formerly the home to a local family. In the high season, they have 17 hours of daylight. It isn’t easy to get there, but you will experience the beauty of the famous El Chalten Mountain along the Lake Del Desierto. Thirty days prior to arrival, you will provide your diet preferences, as they grow all they can and the rest has to be brought in. There is no grocery store to pop into and the chef provides an amazing cuisine.

Chile is known for their wine and Patagonia, but there is so much more to this destination. Castro, Chile in Chiloe is a virtually unknown and unvisited archipelago of Chile. Or, head north to the Atacama desert, where you can enjoy the most amazing star gazing experience. The best time to travel here is when there is no moon.

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I had the pleasure of getting to know the owner of the Tierra hotels in this area, and her commitment to environmentally friendly travel while experiencing the beauty of each region is heartfelt. You could combine a trip to all three of their properties, including their lodge at Torres Del Paine, which, for me, is one of the most beautiful mountain ranges I have ever seen.

There is an island off the northeastern shore of Brazil called Fernando de Noronha. This island is so small, they do not allow babies to be born there. Women are flown back to the mainland to give birth to their children. This is a diver’s paradise! If you consider yourself a true diver, then this destination has to be added to your dive list. It is not easy to get here – it will take you at least three flights from anywhere and the accommodations are pretty simple, but the diving will take your breath away.

If cruising is your preference, how about a small boat experience? stella_high712Explore the Amazon from Iquitos, Peru aboard one of the three Delfin boats from one of four oversized luxury suites, or, if you like a bit more interaction, the Delfin III with 22 suites. Each itinerary allows you to experience the wildlife found throughout the Amazon. Each of the boats has been carefully designed to give you beautiful views along the river. Another great option is Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, which you can do on smaller boats to get a true up-close and personal experience at each island. Or, go even further south, and cruise the Straights of Magellan on one of the two Crucero Australis boats.

Avoid the crowds found in all the “touristy” cities, and let us create your lifetime adventure to South America. Contact us at info@condortoursandtravel.com or visit our website at www.condortoursandtravel.com.

Argentina and Chile Wine Tours

The wines of South America have aged in vineyard beauty, luxurious flavor, and brilliant creation since the 1500s. Throughout the centuries, viticulture has expanded from the Mission grape wines grown by the Catholic Monks, to the Vitis Vinifera by the Spanish Conquistadors, and now to the most complex varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc, Carmenère, and Malbec. South America is now a leader with its extraordinary vino and dramatically impacts wine culture throughout the entire world! Today, Condor Tours & Travels will escort you on the “Argentina Wine Route Tour” throughout the mountains and vineyards of South America to explore the stunning wineries and the plantations of exquisite Argentinian grapes, sample the variations of delectable wines and discover the history of the Argentine and Chilean vintages.

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One of the most impressive areas to experience during the tour is Argentina’s beautiful Mendoza province! Mendoza, at the highest altitudes of the country, is well-known internationally for its Malbec, closely followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Chardonnay. The province, which has provided nearly two-thirds of the wine production for the entire country since the 16th century, is a memorable adventure worth every moment on this tour.

The first few days of the Argentina Wine Route tour will begin in Buenos Aires, the capital and largest city of Argentina. You will experience an immersion into Argentinian culture, promoted wines from all the regions of the nation and a city tour of Buenos Aires’ historical districts with architectural beauty and some leisure activities to suit any taste. Your next step is a flight across the country to the stunning Mendoza region, which is surrounded by hectares of lush vineyards. The rustic life in a vineyard with fine wines will be the best part of the introduction to Mendoza winery culture. Another incredible connection to Argentinian culture will be discovered on the “Roads of Wine” tour, where the production of superior wines is offered with visitation to various wine cellars and a sampling of the finest wines. Finally, the tour winds down with a visit to the vineyards of Chile including even more history of the picturesque South American viticulture before your tour is complete.

Chilean viticulture began centuries ago and has become a leading region worth experiencing through our “Wines of Chile package.”

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Chile owns the entire western coastal line of South America and includes the beauty of the Pacific Ocean to the west and the stunning, scenic experience of the Andes to the east. All that outside beauty does not take away from the interior valleys of Chile and all that it offers with its delicious aromas of the vineyards adding to the already breathtaking experiences of your tour.

The 16th century held the inception of Chilean viticulture when the Spanish Conquistadors entered South America carrying the Vitis Vinifera. Like Argentina, Chile has flourished and grown throughout the centuries, landing as a leader in the international wine market. The fruits and herbs throughout the Chilean landscapes have produced aromatic and full-flavored wines. The fertile terrain of these valleys inspired a French influence with Bordeaux vineyards in the region. The most popular wines for you to experience in Chile include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah and more.

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The Wines of Chile tour will begin in Santiago, the Chilean capital and another one of the largest cities in The Americas. With a gorgeous view of the Andes Mountains from nearly any point in the city, you will experience Santiago’s scenic, historical, and impressive attractions. Your visit will also include a downtown walking tour, views of the city from the Andes, and an experience of the more modern parts of the city. Of course, wineries are not forgotten! The following days in Chile, you will be introduced to the vineyards, cellars, and wineries of Colchagua Valley.

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You will also get to sample the complex and savory wines among lush greenery of the vineyards. The guides will introduce you to the Laostolle Winery, Santa Cruz Winery, and the Viu Manent Winery, just to name a few. Your Colchagua visit will include a cable car ride that is overlooking the vineyards and valleys below while heading up to the Chamán Hill for the indigenous villages and the Colchagua Museum. On the way back to Santiago, you will have the honor of traveling through the gorgeous Maipo Valley; this is the most essential valley for wine production, Maipo Valley is home to a Bordeaux that is worth every moment of the experience. We know you will build memories in Chile you will never forget.

We are confident that your luxurious exposure to the vineyards, mountains, and landscapes of South America will create a lasting memory of the history and taste of wines worth every penny. See you soon!