Chile to open its borders to foreign tourists on November 1. Travel Restrictions Update

Chile to open its borders to foreign tourists on November 1st
Travel Restrictions Update

If Patagonia, Easter Island, Santiago, or Buenos Aires is on your travel wish list, you can finally start planning that trip. Chile and Argentina have announced that effective November 1, vaccinated international travelers can enter without having to quarantine

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Chile’s Covid Protocols (as of October 20th, 2021)

Chile’s reopening comes just in time for South America’s summer season, a popular period for visiting Chilean Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. October through March are the warmest months in Patagonia. Travelers can expect pleasant temperatures in the 70s, making it an ideal escape from the chilly winter weather.

 

Thanks to Chile’s positive results with regards to the containment of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health (MINSAL) announced changes in the Protected Borders Plan with the opening of the border for foreign tourists with some entry requirements as of November 1st, 2021.

Requirements for entering Chile

  • All foreigners who want to enter Chile should show their complete vaccination program, which they must validate before entering Chile at mevacuno.gob.cl to obtain a mobility pass, which becomes active after the mandatory confinement. Vaccines must be those approved by the Chilean Public Health Institute (ISP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA)**;
 
  • Negative PCR up to 72 hours before flight departure time;
 
  • Medical insurance with a minimum coverage of US dollars $30,000;
 
  • Upon entering the country: maintain isolation until receiving a negative PCR test result, performed upon arrival in Chile;
 
  • Chileans and foreign residents can enter Chile via any border crossing with Sworn declaration;
 
  • Negative PCR taken up to 72 hours before international flight;
 
  • If they arrive without a Mobility Pass, they will have to carry out a seven-day quarantine.

* A Mobility Pass may be granted upon providing proof of being inoculated with any of these vaccines: Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen (Johnson&Johnson), Oxford/AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sinovac, CanSino y Generium (Sputnik-V) and a minimum of 14 days have passed from either the second dose (for two-dose vaccines) or inoculation (for one-dose vaccines).

 

* Children under 6 years of age will be able to leave the country without the «Mobility Pass», an essential requirement that was not granted until now. The Under-Secretary indicated that this age group does not yet have an approved vaccine, so they will not be able to count on the vaccination certificate granted by the «Mobility Pass».

As of October 19th, 2021 …

International airports that can receive foreign visitors are:

  • Arturo Merino Benitez Airport in Santiago.
  • Iquique Airport.
  • Antofagasta Airport.
  • Punta Arenas Airport (this facilitates the transfers to Torres del Paine).

• 96% of the target population have been vaccinated in the Magallanes region – where Las Torres National park is located in Patagonia.

• 90% of the target population have been vaccinated in Chile with the 1st dose and 70% with a complete vaccination schedule

You may want to read about Argentina’s covid protocols and updated covid restrictions:

• LEARN MORE

Do you want to travel to Chile? We are regional travel experts and pride ourselves in designing tailor-made trips that are a perfect fit for our clients. If you’re interested in planning an adventure combining several regions in Chile, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Trip Specialists for a free consultation. We are glad to help you with your lifetime trip in Chile.

Traveling to Argentina during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

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Traveling to Argentina during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Last updated: [10/18/2021]

Foreigners will be allowed to enter the country starting Nov. 1 without quarantining, as long as they comply with protocols. Facemasks are no longer required for individuals who are alone in open-air settings, and social gatherings have no restrictions.

Authorities in Argentina have significantly relaxed COVID-19-related restrictions nationwide in response to an important decrease in cases during recent months. The Argentine government has announced that it will reopen Argentina’s borders to all fully vaccinated foreign travelers effective Nov. 1, 2021. Until that time, most nonresident foreign nationals, other than fully vaccinated travelers from Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, remain prohibited from entry. Only citizens and legal residents of Argentina, as well as select foreign nationals, are allowed to enter Argentina, with only limited exceptions.
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Country-Specific Information

Please see “Entry and Exit Requirements” below for further details and continue to monitor this blog for additional updates.

All airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.

COVID-19 Testing:

• Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for foreigners in Argentina? Yes.

• Both PCR and antigen tests are widely available in the City of Buenos Aires. Outside of the City of Buenos Aires, U.S. citizens may find varying availability of testing.

• U.S. citizens may obtain COVID-19 tests at many private labs (diagnósticos/laboratorios). U.S. citizens should be prepared to pay the cost of the test and then work with insurance companies to seek reimbursement if applicable. The following is a non-exhaustive list of labs providing testing in the Buenos Aires area:

• If so, are test results reliably available within 72 hours? Yes.

• Within the City of Buenos Aires, if using a private lab, results are generally available within 24 hours. If using a public hospital, the time frame for receiving results can vary between eight and 72 hours. Please note that private and public facilities may experience delays in returning test results if demand for tests increases.

• For information on limited humanitarian exemptions to CDC’s requirement that all U.S. bound travelers present a negative COVID test, please review the following page. Humanitarian exemptions to this order will be granted on an extremely limited basis and will only be considered when the country of departure lacks adequate COVID-19 testing capacity.   To submit information in support of an exemption, email BuenosAiresCDCwaiver@state.gov.

• Test results are generally provided electronically. Test results are provided in Spanish.

• Current proof of a COVID-19 vaccine does not satisfy the testing requirement for all passengers arriving to the United States.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

• Foreign citizens, with direct relatives (spouse, parents, minor children, and adult children) who are Argentine citizens or residents, may enter Argentina for a temporary visit under exceptional circumstances if certain conditions are met. U.S. citizens should be advised that whether entry will be authorized is a discretionary decision made by Argentine immigration officials at specific ports of entry; the U.S. Embassy cannot intercede in this process. If the requested entry is denied, the passenger will be ordered to depart on the next available flight or means of transport. In addition, travelers seeking entry under this program must present: a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or legal documentation of common law marriage or partnership (with required apostille) as evidence of the direct relation with the Argentine citizen. Travelers are also required to present a copy of the National ID Card (DNI) of the Argentine relative, return travel reservation/tickets, negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel, and evidence of medical travel insurance that includes hospitalization and quarantine coverage for COVID-19. The traveler must also present at the port of entry a letter of request that provides the necessary reason for the visit, dates of entry and departure to and from Argentina, address where the traveler will stay, and any additional relevant information required for the immigration official to evaluate the request. The Government of Argentina announcement of this program is available at the following link.

• Test results are generally provided electronically. Test results are provided in Spanish.

• Current proof of a COVID-19 vaccine does not satisfy the testing requirement for all passengers arriving to the United States.

• International travelers to Argentina are restricted to the following ports of entry: Ministro Pistarini Ezeiza International Airport, San Fernando International Airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Gobernador Francisco Gabrielli “El Plumerillo”, Tte. Benjamín Matienzo International Airport, Buquebus Ferry Terminal; and the land border crossings of Paso de los Libres – Uruguayana, Sistema Cristo Redentor, San Sebastián, and Gualeguaychú – Fray Bentos.

• Foreign citizens traveling under this program are required to pay a fee to Argentine Immigration Office upon arrival.

• U.S. citizens residing in Argentina who enter the country will be exempted from quarantine so long as they have been fully vaccinated and the second dose has been given 14 days before arrival in Argentina. Argentine Authorities will require evidence of vaccination. See the Government Order here.

A negative COVID-19 PCR test administered no more than 72 hours prior to departure is required for all arriving international travelers. Upon arrival all passengers will be required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test administered by local health officials. All passengers are required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test between the fifth and seventh day after arrival. All passengers must bear the costs of the COVID-19 test. Travelers may carry out social activities but they are prohibited from attending mass events or using collective land transport.

All unvaccinated travelers, including minor children, are required to quarantine for seven days upon arrival.

• Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes.

• A negative COVID-19 PCR test administered no more than 72 hours prior to departure is required for all arriving international travelers.

• Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes.

• All passengers arriving in Argentina will be required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test administered by local health officials. All passengers must bear the cost of the COVID-19 test.

• U.S. citizens who are legal residents in bordering countries are currently allowed to enter Argentina if they have been in the bordering country 14 days before arrival in Argentina and will be exempted from quarantine so long as they have been fully vaccinated and the second dose has been given 14 days before arrival in Argentina. Argentine Authorities will require evidence of vaccination. See the Government Order here.

• The full text of the announcement can be found here (in Spanish).

• Permission must be granted by Argentine immigration authorities and travelers should be prepared to show any relevant documentation related to their employment and purpose of travel.

• The U.S. Embassy has no role in this exemption request and all inquiries should be directed to Argentine immigration authorities here.

• U.S. citizens will be allowed to enter Argentina as from November 1, 2021 and will be excepted from quarantine so long as they have been fully vaccinated and the second dose has been given 14 days before arrival in Argentina. Argentine Authorities will require evidence of vaccination. See the Government Order here.

• Argentine immigration authorities require that all travelers entering or exiting Argentina submit an electronic sworn statement within the 48 hours before their arrival/departure. The form is available here. Travelers may be required to present the confirmation e-mail they receive from this system to board a flight.

• All passengers transiting Argentina must comply with the same requirements as those passengers entering and remaining in Argentina.

• Multiple countries in the region have implemented travel restrictions with little advance notice. To stay informed of the latest travel restrictions, visit the U.S. Embassy COVID-19 webpage for the country of your intended destination or stopover.

• As of July 8, 2021, Argentine Immigration authorities (Migraciones Argentinas) announced the termination of the automatic 30-day visa extension for all non-residents with visas originally set to expire after March 17, 2020. See details on the most recent decree here and contact  Migraciones with any questions.

Movement Restrictions:

• Is a curfew in place? No.

• While there is no nationwide curfew, cities and departments on high alert given the epidemiological and sanitary situation may be subject to curfew. Additional information regarding the epidemiological and sanitary levels within Argentina can be found here (in Spanish).

• Anyone residing or traveling in Argentina should consult with local authorities for the most up to date information regarding the status of each city or department as they may move between mandatory quarantine and social distancing measures depending on the current conditions. For more information, visit this page(in Spanish).

• Plan to limit your movements in accordance with the latest guidelines in your city.

Masks or other face coverings are mandatory nationwide in public spaces, including public transportation and passenger vehicles.

• Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No.

• Additional information about interprovincial travel can be found here  (In Spanish). Individual provinces may require additional local permits to enter or transit.

Quarantine Information:

• U.S. citizens residing in Argentina who enter the country as from Friday September 24 will be exempted from quarantine as long as they have been fully vaccinated and the second doses has been given 14 days before arrival in Argentina. Argentine Authorities will require evidence of vaccination.

• A negative COVID-19 PCR test administered no more than 72 hours prior to departure is required for all arriving international travelers. Upon arrival all passengers will be required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test administered by local health officials. All passengers are required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test between the fifth and seventh day after arrival. All passengers must bear the costs of the COVID-19 test. Travelers may carry out social activities but they are prohibited from attending mass events or using collective land transport.

• All unvaccinated travelers, including minor children, are required to quarantine for seven days upon arrival.

• Passengers who test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival or are determined to have been in close contact with a COVID-positive traveler will face a mandatory quarantine in a government determined location. Passengers must bear the cost of the mandatory quarantine. Passengers who test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival must also undergo and bear the cost of a COVID-19 genomic sequencing test.

• Provincial authorities and the City of Buenos Aires authorities may require any arriving passengers to quarantine in government mandated locations even if passenger have tested negative for COVID-19. Passengers must comply and bear the cost if ordered to quarantine.

• Passengers must undergo an additional COVID-19 PCR test on day seven of their quarantine as a condition for ending their quarantine period.

• In addition, provincial authorities may introduce additional quarantine measures and travel restrictions with little prior notice. Please check the website of your province’s Ministry of Health for more details.

Transportation Options:

• Are commercial flights operating? Yes.

• Several commercial carriers, including American, United, Delta, and Aerolíneas Argentinas, offer direct flights to the United States.  Passengers electing to book a flight with a stopover in another country should verify with their air carrier and that country’s immigration authorities their ability to transit at their stopover point. For booking questions and documentary requirements, contact your air carrier.

• Individual provinces may require additional documentation.  Each province has varying health, testing, and documentation requirements for entry, transit, and departure.  You must check with the authorities of each province you intend to travel from, to, or through what requirements may apply to you. The national government is maintaining a list of entry requirements for various provinces here.

• Is public transportation operating? Yes.

Fines for Non-Compliance (if applicable):

• Failure to adhere to quarantine, social distancing, movement restrictions, and other health guidance may result in fines and/or criminal penalties, up to and including arrest and jail time.

Before you buy a travel insurance policy, check your government travel warnings and health advice – there may be no travel insurance cover for locations with a government travel ban or health advice against travel.

Contact us to start planning your own dream trip today!

Top 10 Tours to do in Buenos Aires: Experiences That Shouldn’t Be Missed

Top 10 Tours to do in Buenos Aires: Experiences That Shouldn't Be Missed

We created a list of top tours to do in Buenos Aires that you shouldn’t miss while visiting this ever-growing city. Some attractions may sound familiar (yet still worthwhile), like the Colon Opera House and Recoleta Cemetery, but some are hidden gems, like an amazing Palermo Food Tour and an off-the-beaten path graffiti neighborhood in Colegiales.

Whether it’s your first time in Buenos Aires or you already have your favorite steakhouse, here's how to explore different sides of Argentina's cosmopolitan capital.

Overview Tour of Buenos Aires

This is the most complete tour of Buenos Aires and our favorite one. It has a duration of 4 hours and it will introduce you to a wide array of Buenos Aires neighborhoods and major attractions in town. This overview tour includes ample time to not only drive but also have a walk through a sampling of historic districts which shed light into the development of Buenos Aires. Engaging and knowledgeable guides will provide an unforgettable experience.

This tour is ideal for adults as well as families.

Walking Tour of Recoleta Cemetery

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You might think why a cemetery is recommended as a “must see” when there are so many attractions and things to do in Buenos Aires. But the Recoleta Cemetery is a truly amazing place. Recoleta Cemetery, in the heart of Buenos Aires, is arguably the world's most beautiful place to rest in peace. The Carrara marble mausoleums and massive monuments erected by past generations are unlike anything we have experienced before. The 14 acres of the cemetery are organized in squares, which are divided by wide tree-lined avenues flanked by mausoleums of different architectural styles are built on the most expensive square meter in the city. Here are buried the most illustrious sons and daughters of Buenos Aires (from presidents, writers, scientists, artists, Nobel laureates, warriors of independence). And as if that were not enough, among the most revered tombs is that of Eva Duarte, also known as Evita Perón. It is the most visited mausoleum.

The duration of this Walking tour is 2 hours.
This tour is ideal for adults and young adults (teenagers and older).

Jewish Tour of Buenos Aires

A local Jewish guide will provide a full understanding of Jewish life in Buenos Aires. The tour includes entry into the most important Jewish Institutions and sites, stunning synagogues, the Shoah Museum, educational institutions, residential areas, Jewish restaurants, Jewish delis and much more.

Duration of Jewish Tour: 4 hours.
This tour is great for adults and families. The tour is wheelchair accessible.

The Evita Tour

Although Eva Peron has been called the most powerful Latin American woman of her time, perhaps ever, many people in North America and Europe had never heard of her until the musical was performed. Who was Eva Peron and why was she one of Argentina’s most powerful and famous leaders? From her upbringing as a humble country girl, to the leader of the Argentinean masses, you will be shown the real story of Eva Peron.

Duration of this tour: 3 hours.

Afternoon with the Masters

Led by a contemporary art enthusiast, this tour is ideal for art connoisseurs, fine art collectors, or any person seeking an exclusive experience. The tour provides an opportunity to visit studios of recognized local painters in Palermo, silversmiths in San Telmo and plastic artists in the district of Villa Crespo. Your guide will help you gain insight into Latin American masterpieces and explore the vision of Argentine contemporary art.

Palermo Grafitti Tour

This guided tour reveals the extraordinary history of the city's active urban art culture from its political origins to the modern context in which Buenos Aires has become one of the most exciting cities in the world for street art. You will visit off the beaten track spots to see hidden graffiti spots and extraordinary murals. The tour also gives guests the opportunity to meet the artists themselves and purchase affordable artwork. The graffiti tours have been developed in close collaboration with emerging and established artists in the city, allowing us to share their stories and personal motivations, along with the most spectacular art the city has to offer.

Duration of this Tour: 3 hours.
This tour appeals to children, teenagers, and adults: the whole family will have a "hands-on" experience.

Guided Tour of the Colon Opera House

The Colon Theater in Buenos Aires is one of the most important opera houses in the world. Its rich and prestigious history and exceptional acoustic and architectural characteristics place it among theaters such as the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Paris Opera and the Vienna State Opera.
This pre-booked ticket includes a guided tour of the theater facilities, including the great hall, the main lobby, the Gallery of Busts and the Golden Room, while an experienced guide explains the details of the architecture, the construction of the place, the most important artists who performed in the theater, and most extraordinary events that shaped the history of the place.

This tour is fantastic for adults and children alike.

Buenos Aires and its Architecture

Long regarded as “the Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires is home to some of the most original and outstanding European-style palaces as well as post-modern towers and buildings. See all the most important buildings on one tour, a hard-to-accomplish task on foot. View the skyline of Buenos Aires and raise the eyes to discover the most impressive buildings that few people know about.

Tour is ideal for adults and families with kids (6+ years old)
While parents admire the architecture, the history and interesting facts, your tour guide will have stories and games that kids can relate, keeping them entertained and learning something new.

Beyond the City… where to go if you want to leave town

Day Trip to Tigre & San Isidro

Just 20 miles north of Buenos Aires, is the city of Tigre. The town is a very popular destination for tourists and locals who want to leave the city and enjoy the natural beauty of the Paraná wetlands. Tigre has beautiful colonial mansions located on the narrow banks of the river and winding channels where you can kayak, water sports and have lunch in local restaurants surrounded by nature. You can have a different day of leisure sailing through the Parana River surrounded by green vegetation and beautiful landscapes.

Tip: One of Tigre’s most visited sights is the Mercado de Frutos, once a fruit market and important agricultural stop in the 1900s. Nowadays the purpose of the market has shifted to artisan crafts. Reed, wicker, wood, and cane furniture are plentiful, and the usual souvenirs for tourists are sold.

Visit an Authentic Estancia

Visit a private Estancia, see the surrounding countryside, and gain insight into Gaucho culture and traditions. The experience is special for those who want to savor exquisite Argentine wines and barbecues while relaxing and enjoying nature. If you are interested in Polo, daily polo lessons and practices are available from September to May.

* The word estancia is very much used in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and in southern Chile to mention a vast agricultural area, it is quite similar to the notion of ranch in North America. Around San Antonio de Areco town, you will find some of the oldest estancias of Argentina. Indeed, few of them opened their doors to travelers a few years ago, allowing them to discover the rich customs and traditions of the campo Argentino for one day or an overnight stay.

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Any of these experiences and tours can be customized. You can choose pick up times, duration and the main sites of interests to include in each tour*. Just contact us and let us know your preferences and we will put together a fabulous tour for you. The Jewish Tour of Buenos Aires is the only tour whose starting time is subject to visits authorized by the Jewish Institutions.

Places to visit in Brazil

Places to visit in Brazil

Every time I think of Brazil, I smile thinking about the vibrant sunsets on Praia do Espelho, the genuine joy of the Cariocas (Rio dwellers) dancing on Copacabana beach, the celebration of Salvador de Bahía waiting for the new year, the colonial houses and colorful buildings of Paraty and the baroque architecture of Ouro Preto.

Brazil is more like a "continent country" where there are many nations in one. Each state has its history, food, personality, culture, music and gastronomy that differentiates it from the other. There is a state for each traveler: places with dreamy beaches; cities such as Sao Paulo with the best contemporary art of South America; colorful festivals and places to visit with a great variety and abundance of wildlife like Pantanal and Amazonas.

Brazil really has it all and it is a destination that I adore for the diversity of its landscapes, the culture in its cities and above all for its people. Having spent many years traveling around this extraordinary country, here is my choice for the best and most beautiful places to visit in Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro

Home to the world-famous Carnival, Rio de Janeiro has been officially named the World Capital of Architecture for 2020 by UNESCO. Its designation is a recognition of the historical and modern architectural heritage of Rio and aims to reflect on the future of architectural culture, landscaping and urbanism. Rio de Janeiro will also host the World Congress of Architects, an event that occurs every three years.

Known as the Cidade Maravilhosa (Wonderful City), the city is lined with white sand beaches, lush rainforests, and it is surrounded by massive green mountains. Rio de Janeiro has spectacular views from almost every angle. From the slopes of Corcovado Mountain, you will admire the striking 125-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer, which overlooks Rio's pristine long crescent beaches. Or you can reach Sugar Loaf summit with cable cars and have a great panoramic view of Guanabara Bay.

In Rio you will marvel at the largest street murals, find many local artisan workshops, excellent restaurants and a handful of unique fashion boutiques that showcase the extraordinary talent of Rio de Janeiro’s designers.

At night, you can listen to samba through the streets of Lapa district or you can visit a concert venue like Rio Scenarium and see live shows of local bands. And if you visit Rio in February, just in time for Carnival, you will witness Brazil's energetic carnival that draws people from all over the world.

Cristo Brasil

Paraty

Paraty is one of the best preserved and most beautiful 17-century colonial towns in Brazil. In addition, it is surrounded by dreamy beaches and secluded islands. This combination makes visiting Paraty one of the best things to do in Brazil. It is considered a getaway from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo since it is a 4 hour-drive from each of them. Most of the accommodations are small boutiques built into colonial homes. To me, it is a must-do if you visit Rio de Janeiro.

São Paulo

São Paulo is the largest urban center in the country and constitutes the most important economic center in all of Latin America. It concentrates a huge textile, chemical, metallurgical, iron and steel and food complex. It is also the commercial health and financial center and the most important communications center in the entire country.

When it comes to culture, São Paulo has some of the best contemporary art galleries and museums in the country (São Paulo Museum of Art is a gem), and you can excite your taste buds at one of the many international restaurants famous for fine cuisine.

Due to the intense traffic of the city, I recommend that you dedicate at least two days to visit its most important attractions.

Cataratas del Iguazu (Iguassu Falls)

Divided between Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazu Falls (Cataratas del Iguazu in Spanish) are one of the largest waterfalls in the world. The majestic falls are one of the most spectacular places in Latin America and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Due to its location in the middle of the jungle and the enormous volume of water and its many waterfalls, it is a must on any trip to Brazil. An experience that will always be remembered.

Iguazu Lado Argentino y Brasilero

TIP: If you have time, visit both sides of the National Park. Over the Brazilian side you will enjoy jaw-dropping panoramic views of the falls. While on the Argentine side, you can literally walk into the heart of the falls and have the best frontal view of the “Devil’s Throat”, the largest jump in the Iguazu Falls.

Pantanal (Mato Grosso)

For those looking for an adventure similar to that of an African safari, the Pantanal is the best destination in Brazil.

The Pantanal is the largest tropical wetland in the world and is home to the largest concentration of wildlife on the continent, with some calling it the best-preserved wetland in the world. Also, because the terrain is fairly flat with thinner and lower fauna than that of the lush Amazon, it is easier to spot jaguars, giant anteaters, green anacondas, and howler monkeys that call it home. You'll want to work with a travel specialist that can help you arrange transportation from Rio, São Paulo, or the nearby Cuiabá airport (a four-hour flight from Rio), several days of excursions, and staying at a lodge to explore the region.

The best time of the year to visit Pantanal is from May to early August to avoid the rainy season.

Ouro Preto

It is located 100 km southeast of Belo Horizonte, the state capital. It is part of the cultural heritage of humanity endorsed by Unesco. It is the center that brings together the best baroque heritage in Brazil, reflected in its temples and ancient mansions that belonged to those who were enriched with gold.

Brasilia (only for those interested in architecture)

If you travel between different regions of Brazil, you will probably have to make a stopover in Brasilia. Unless you are an architect or have a special interest in visiting the works of Oscar Niemeyer, I do not recommend that you go to Brasilia.

The capital of Brazil is an entirely planned city, established in 1960 as a centrally located seat for the government and based entirely in functionality.
For architecture lovers and brutalist aesthetes, it's a must visit: Brasilia is home to iconic buildings from Brazilian national treasure Oscar Niemeyer, who designed most of the city, including the Cathedral of Brasilia and its National Museum.

Manaos: Entry for the Brazilian Amazon

The city of 2 million people is located in the heart of the Amazon (it is right in the center of the largest jungle in the world). Manaus is one of the tourist attractions to see in Brazil for its colonial past, its markets, and for being the starting point for all jungle tours.

Salvador de Bahia

Salvador de Bahia is the cradle of colonial Brazil; it was the first capital of the country. The city is home to 365 churches, one for each day of the year. And of course, the colonial heritage is noticeable everywhere, including the strong African influence brought by the slaves. In addition, it is surrounded by beaches that will take your breath away. In short, one of the best places to visit in Brazil.

Porto de Galhinas

This beach town was classified seven times by Viagem e Turismo magazine as the best beach in Brazil. It is located one hour from Recife by road and it has 11 miles of white sand and turquoise water.

Porto de Galhinas is known for its pristine reef pools, best explored on a small “jangada” sailboat, promising fantastic snorkeling, diving, and warm-water swimming (average water temperature is around 79 degrees Fahrenheit). This northeastern seaside town is located 1 hour drive from Recife.

Trancoso (The best beaches of Brazil)

Perched on top of a cliff and surrounded by the exuberant beauty of the coast of the Brazilian state of Bahia, Trancoso is the ideal place to enjoy tranquil and scenic beaches well-suited for social distancing.

A former fishing village turned trendy Brazilian getaway, the modest 16th-century seaside town of Trancoso remains a hidden gem of preserved colonial architecture, lush greenery, and spectacular secluded beaches and natural pools with coral reefs.

Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Gisele Bündchen, Diane von Furstenberg, Neymar, Beyoncé or Will Smith are regulars of Trancoso and they own the best and most isolated houses in the place.

The most famous beach is Praia do Espelho, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in Brazil. Other beaches near Trancoso that I highly recommend visiting are: Pitinga, Praia dos Coqueiros and Praia dos Nativos.

Fernando de Noronha

The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is a paradise of great beauty and was declared a Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO. In order for the place to preserve its nature, the number of visitors is limited and an environmental preservation fee must be paid to enter the island.

It is very common to find some of its beaches among the most beautiful in Brazil and in the world, like Praia dos Porcos, Leões and Sancho Bay, twice voted the best beach on the planet by TripAdvisor's and Traveller's Choice Awards.

The easiest (and almost only) way to get there is by plane, flying from Natal or Recife (there are daily flights). There are no boat lines that cover the route on a regular basis.

Other recomended destinations:

Places to visit in Bolivia

Places to visit in Bolivia

Spanning a multitude of microclimates from the Amazon to the Andes, Bolivia is a vast and untamed country just begging to be explored. From bustling La Paz, to the Amazon jungle, to the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, you will find some of the most surreal sights on earth in this seldom-visited country. Its iconic sights include Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world; the Salar de Uyuni, highest and largest salt lake on earth; and La Paz, the world’s highest de facto capital.

Bolivia is varied, alive and unforgettable.

La Paz Capital City

La Paz is the highest capital in the world and therefore it is highly recommended to spend a few days getting used to the altitude to prevent altitude sickness. As La Paz is Bolivia’s transportation hub, you will most likely find yourself in La Paz more than once when traveling to other destinations in the country.

La Paz is full of top quality restaurants, colorful markets where you will find Bolivian textiles which are traditionally made with sheep, alpaca, vicuna and llama wool and street art. A must-do is to board a cable car and reach the summit to enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the city.

Very close to La Paz (only 11 km away) is Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), a complex labyrinth of spires and canyons which was created through a process of erosion. It’s a perfect spot to experience the serene atmosphere minutes away from the busy city. You will discover otherworldly views that look like the surface of the moon. Walking along these jagged rock formations will make you think that you’ve just landed on another planet!

Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni is Bolivia’s best-known geological wonder, thanks to its extraordinary white landscape. Widely known as the world’s biggest salt flat, Uyuni is home to some of the most surreal sights on earth, from multi-colored lagoons and glorious peaks, to water-covered surfaces of salt that mirror your own reflection.

The largest continuous salt desert in the world, a natural wonder that extends for 12,000 km², reaching its greatest expression of beauty between the months of January and March, when slightly covered with water, it manages to reflect the clouds of the sky as a perfect mirror.

In the middle of the white plain, the Incahuasi Island, also known as "The Fish Island", constitutes one of the highlights of the salt flat, hiding hundreds of giant cacti that can reach 10 meters in height.

Potosi

During the colonial era Potosi was one of the most prosperous cities in Bolivia and America, home to the largest silver mine in the world located on the slopes of the mountain known as Cerro Rico, enrichment that permeated the city with luxurious Baroque colonial constructions.

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, you can walk through its narrow cobbled streets appreciating the ancient splendor of its colonial buildings, including churches, monasteries, temples, palaces and large houses.

Potosí was the Great Babylon of the seventeenth century. There, everything is measured, and continues to be measured, around Cerro Rico, which, at 4,000 meters above sea level, hides hundreds of galleries of the most important mine in Latin America.

Potosi is also the story of blood and slavery that stained the Andean highlands red. Always at the foot of the hill that is still in operation, it shows us a prodigious architecture, with the surcharge of the Baroque in the various Christian temples and the power of the palaces at the time of the conquest. The Casa del Moneda, known as El Escorial de Bolivia, shows one of the places where millions of coins were minted with silver from Potosi. The visit to the city is highly recommended, but also the tour of the mines to feel the harshness of the mines by putting on your helmet and entering the galleries to feel for a few hours what life is like in this terrible place and what it really means to be worth a Potosí. Organized visits to the mines are extremely tough, but very necessary to understand an essential part of the history of the American people.

A word of advice:

La Paz, Potosi and Uyuni all are situated at high altitude. Even at 9,800 feet above sea level, the air is a lot thinner and it can take a bit of time to adjust. Although altitude sickness can affect anyone, it’s important that you’re healthy enough to travel, as pre-existing medical conditions can worsen at high altitude. During your trip, ensure you monitor your health carefully and ask your doctor if you can travel to Bolivia.

Lake Titicaca

While Peru and Bolivia both share this highest navigable lake in the world, in my experience a trip to Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian side is a must. The Peruvian side is great for the floating islands, but the Bolivian side gives you a more intimate and serene travel experience. When you are there, definitely visit the Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna, the twin islands believed to be the birthplaces of the Sun and the Moon, as per the local legends.
On Isla del Sol, you can hike to numerous Inca ruins, all the while being next to the spectacular beauty of the lake and breathtaking landscapes.

Sucre and Cal Orcko

The official capital of the State is probably the most pleasant and beautiful city in Bolivia. Without being as cold as La Paz or Potosí, in its architecture recalls the Seville of the seventeenth century with white and yellow colors on the facades of dignified palaces and other buildings. In fact, its historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its great state of conservation and being a fabulous example of civil and religious architecture from colonial times.

Sucre is a pleasant city, worthy to stay at least a couple of days sheltered by its mild climate, its clear skies and the good life offered by its streets with numerous restaurants, shops and museums.

Sucre and Cal Orcko are located 5 miles away from each other. Cal Orko, meanwhile, is considered the largest fossilized footprint site in the world, harboring nearly 5,000 footprints, some up to 25 meters in length, attributed to titanosaurs. One of the curiosities of the site is to house the footprint of the longest "walk" in the world, reaching 350 meters, an invaluable fossil record attributed to a predatory saurian.

Tiahuanaco Ruins

One of the longest-lived pre-Inca civilizations in all of South America is that of Tiahuanaco (also called Tiwanacu). It is said to have arisen in 1580 BC and collapsed around 1187 AD. We speak of a duration of twenty-five centuries of a culture that spread from Bolivia to the Pacific, touching the south of Peru and much of the north of present-day Chile. It was born on the shores of Lake Titicaca, although the monumental and ceremonial complex that can be visited today, and which is a World Heritage Site, is already about 15 kilometers from the water.

The remains of the city are preserved, which show the importance and power of an essential civilization to know the universe and the beliefs of many Andean peoples. Their knowledge of astronomy is palpable in many of the creations that can be visited today in an extraordinary archaeological site that should not be missed under any circumstances. Each and every one of its temples or palaces are oriented according to the stars with an exact reflection of the equinoxes and solstices in walls and large doors (it is a symbol of the city The Puerta del Sol and the Puerta de la Luna)

The semi-buried temple, the temple of Kalasaya or of the standing stones, as well as the pyramid of Akapana, are some of the places that are made in every trip to Tiahuanaco. Perhaps the most attractive part of the visit is in the anthropomorphic stone monoliths (Ponce Monolith, Friar Monolith and, especially the Bennett Monolith with more than 7 meters high) that for a moment recall an "Andean" version of the Moai from Easter Island (especially in the Bennett monolith)

Samaipata Fortress

Located a few kilometers from the town of Samaipata, you will find an archaeological site with ruins of a religious settlement of the Chané culture, a unique site that has the particularity of housing a sculpted rock 250 meters long by 60 wide, considered an unparalleled testimony in all of America.

The ruins of Samaipata were once an Inca fortress, and its temples, hallways, amphitheaters, and courtyards can still be traced. Later it was home to the Chane and other native tribes. The pre-Inca ceremonial rock, El Fuerte, allows those willing to hike the hill spectacular views of the valley below and the Andes beyond. Carved into the rock are animals, including many serpents.

In addition to the archaeological interest that has led it to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the site captivates with its panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the wealthiest and most populous city in Bolivia and a fascinating place to spend a few days getting to grips with the fascinating diversity of Bolivia. Compared with the thin air and chilly nights of La Paz and other high altitude Andean cities, the climate of Santa Cruz (at just 400 meters above sea level) is warm and tropical. The city is also home to the largest population of sloths anywhere in the world. If you take a walk to the outskirts of the busy city and you’ll see these carefree creatures climbing the trees.

Eduardo Avaroa Andean Wildlife National Reserve

Another of the tourist places in Bolivia that surprise for its natural settings, corresponding to a reserve of approximately 714,745 hectares located between the Andean mountains, where erupting volcanoes, hot springs, steaming geysers and surreal colored lagoons are hidden.

Some of the sites of interests include both Laguna Colorada, known for its unique red coloration acquired by the pigmentation of algae, and Laguna Verde, at the foot of the Licancabur Volcano, with vibrant emerald green tones.

Other recomended destinations:

What to pack for a trip to Patagonia

What to pack for a trip to Patagonia

As a start you should know that Patagonian weather is unpredictable and when packing for a trip to Patagonia you should prepare to experience all 4 seasons in one day. It is influenced by many variables, from the conditions in the Andes to the wind in Antarctica or the southern ice fields in Patagonia, as well as the microclimate in its valleys, fjords and mountains.

In spring and fall, temperatures can drop to between 5°C (30°F) and 15 °C (60°F), with higher rainfall (particularly in September and April). In summer, you can expect temperatures that hover between 7 °C ( 30°F) and 8°C (60°F) and have very windy days; just remember, it always feels warmer than this when the sun’s out and you’re hiking!

The below list is for hikers participating in an organized trekking tour and does neither consider camping equipment (tent, mat or sleeping bag) nor food. Once signed up for one of our hiking adventures in Patagonia, you will received a personalized packing list, adapted to the tour you booked.

Packing List:

Inner-layer of clothing:

• Underwear
• Moisture wicking long sleeve tee-shirts (2)
• Moisture wicking tee-shirt (1)
• Long underwear pants

Outer-layer of clothing:

• Sweatshirt
• Heavy fleece or down jacket
• Fleece pants
• Trekking pants (2)
• Shorts (optional)
• Gortex or waterproof jacket with hood
• Rain poncho that covers your back pack
• Waterproof pants
• Wide brimmed hat for sun protection
• Wool hat (should cover ears) or balaclava
• Insulated wool or down mittens
• Gaiters (optional)

Footwear – shoes and socks:

• Waterproof hiking boots with ankle support (Please break in your hiking boots in advance to avoid blisters)
• Camp shoes or tennis shoes (for evening time in the lodges and/ or campsites)
• Plastic bag to carry spare shoes
• Hiking socks (5-6) (We recommend bringing extra socks)
• Sock liners (optional)

First aid and toiletries:

• Advil or Ibuprofen
• Personal prescriptions
• Medical tape/moleskin (for preventing and treating blisters)
• Antibiotics (Cipro for travelers’ diarrhea)
• Diaper rash cream (can treat rashes or chaffing)
• Basic toiletries (soap, deodorant…)
• Face lotion
• Hand warmers
• Ear plugs for sleeping
• Sunscreen
• Lip Balm with sunscreen

Other Important Items:

• A small first aid kit
• Toiletries (including bug spray and sun cream)
• Adapter for charging electronic devices while in the lodges
• Towel (quick drying recommended)
• Sunglasses and a sun hat

Documents:

• Passport & correct entry forms
• Driving licence (if hiring a car)
• Air tickets
• Cash and CC
• Copy of insurance documents & passport

Note: Sleeping bags and trekking poles are provided by IDEAS. If you are camping during your trek, we will provide you with high quality camping equipment including a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad.

What to Bring if you do the W-trek or O Circuit in Torres del Paine

If you are doing a trek in Patagonia, such as the W trek or the O circuit in Torres del Paine, you will need to make sure you are extra prepared so you can keep warm and dry in the changeable Patagonian weather:

Type of Luggage

• Bring a backpack over a suitcase. Choosing the right backpack will be invaluable to your comfort on hikes. Ensure your backpack fits properly, is lightweight, has compartments for easy access to water bottles, and is waterproof or has a cover.

• Regarding size, shorter treks where you don't need to carry a tent or food will generally require a 35-40L backpack. If you will be hiking for multiple days and carrying all of your kit, you should upgrade to a bigger bag.

• We would also advise taking a dry bag to fit the size of your backpack to ensure key items remain dry in the case of very wet conditions.

Type of Luggage

• Bring a backpack over a suitcase. Choosing the right backpack will be invaluable to your comfort on hikes. Ensure your backpack fits properly, is lightweight, has compartments for easy access to water bottles, and is waterproof or has a cover.

• Regarding size, shorter treks where you don't need to carry a tent or food will generally require a 35-40L backpack. If you will be hiking for multiple days and carrying all of your kit, you should upgrade to a bigger bag.

• We would also advise taking a dry bag to fit the size of your backpack to ensure key items remain dry in the case of very wet conditions.

Clothing

• A pair of hiking trousers that are breathable and light are a must, as these will dry out quickly after rain and will keep you from getting too warm when hiking long distances. A few wicking tops and fleeces are important to stop you from getting too sweaty while hiking. Cotton does not dry as quickly, or keep you as warm during active days.

• You will need to make sure you have a waterproof jacket and trousers, preferably goretex, to keep you dry in any downpours.

• You will definitely appreciate packing a change of clothes for post hike around the hut or camp, so you're not stuck in your dirty hiking gear!

Accessories

• As Patagonia can be known to experience all 4 seasons in 1 day, even if you are visiting in summer it is worth packing a winter hat, gloves and a scarf or buff. Equally, you should make sure you have a sun hat and sunglasses packed for when the sun comes out!

Other Important Items

• A refillable water bottle or hydration system is extremely important. Water is refilled from the streams and taps in Torres del Paine National Park. These are clean sources and will not need to be filtered. However if you would prefer, you can bring your own filter or purification tablets, or purchase bottled water at Refugios.

• When hiking for several days, trekking poles can be a good idea as these provide extra stability for anyone who has issues with their knees, and they can also be useful for providing an extra bit of balance. They are typically quite light and don't take up much space in your luggage.

• If you will be staying at Refugio Torre Central, there are lockers available to store your valuables in, so make sure you bring a small lock if you wish to use these.

Best things to do with Kids in Puerto Madryn, Patagonia

Best things to do with Kids in Puerto Madryn, Patagonia

Puerto Madryn is a major wildlife destination in Argentina. A mid-sized town, located on the east coast, in the province of Chubut – in the heart of Patagonia – this is one of the best places to visit in the country with kids.

At any time of the year you can find a lot of family-friendly attractions and activities. Besides seeing animals such as seals, penguins and southern right whales, you can practice outdoor sports such as kayaking, snorkeling or mountain biking. Here below you will find our favorite activities to do in Puerto Madryn:

Take an exceptional Whale Watching Tour – Once-in-a-lifetime experience!

*Whales are present from June to early December only.

The waters around Puerto Madryn, and in particular around Peninsula Valdes, are one of the best places in South America to witness this spectacular species up close. From May to December southern right whales ply the coast off of Patagonia, on their annual migration to breed and calve.

It’s entirely possible to see the whales from the beach, with hundreds of them coming into the bays. But for a real fascinating opportunity, head out on a whale watching tour, which is by far the most popular of all the things to do in Puerto Madryn.

Floating out at sea the southern right whales often breach and play right next to the boat, offering a sensational chance to see these 50-tonne creatures like never before.

Southern right whales are present from June to December only. You can expect pretty much guaranteed sightings during August, September and October.

Orcas are present along the coast all year round. However, they are most commonly seen beaching in March and April, when the sea lion pups are just beginning to explore their surroundings and are at their most vulnerable.

Go Walking With Penguins in their natural habitat – A must visit!

This could just be one of the cutest things to do in Puerto Madryn. Actually, this could just be one of the cutest things to do ever!

The area around Puerto Madryn is home to huge colonies of Magellanic penguins, with the largest being in Punta Tombo*, and another popular spot being at Punta Norte in Peninsula Valdes. In these two places you can walk amongst hundreds of Magellanic penguins, following a marked path down to the beaches. The penguins wander freely, so you need to be careful not to step on any of their nests or get in their way. Just be sure not to touch them, or harass them in any way.

*Between September and April, a large number of Magellanic penguins come to Punta Tombo to incubate their eggs and prepare their offspring for migration - the largest such colony in South America. Couples stand in front of their nests, protecting the eggs from birds and other predators, and occasionally one adult goes to the sea for food. What makes this such a unique experience is that you can get incredibly close to the penguins. They aren’t shy at all, so you can get right up to them for photos.

Other wildlife encountered in the area includes sea birds (mainly seagulls, chimangos and cormorants), rheas and guanacos.

We organize day tours to Punta Tombo and Punta Norte from Trelew and Puerto Madryn. Our engaging and knowledgeable guides will lead an unforgettable tour and share very interesting facts and information about wildlife in this region of Patagonia.

Snorkeling With Sea Lions

Just a short boat ride away from downtown Puerto Madryn is Punta Loma, which is home to a stable population of 600 sea lions. Unlike other places in the world, these sea lions are always present in Punta Loma as they are protected from threats such orcas (which also patrol the waters near Puerto Madryn). This means that visiting the sea lions is possible 365 days a year. It’s one of the popular Puerto Madryn attractions among animal lovers.

For 45 minutes you can snorkel around while the sea lions dive and jump around you . Being this close to them in their natural environment is truly incredible.

There’s also no need to be scared, because while the sea lions can be a bit aggressive on land, they are perfectly placid and curious in the ocean. They will come right up to your cameras, dance around you and even brush up against your bodies.

Snorkeling with sea lions in Puerto Madryn is something you’ll never forget. It’s also possible to go diving with them, but check what visibility and sea conditions are like before booking this.

Nature on two wheels – A guided Mountain bike tour in Patagonia

This bike tour is a combination of adventure, physical activity and contact with nature. Going along paths in the Patagonian steppe and ride along the ocean front it is an amazing experience at any age. Together with your local guide, you will ride unconventional roads, go up and down gullies, interpret intertidal areas, follow country footprints, interpret local flora, reach a panoramic view in “Avanzado Mountain”, ride along gullies, watch and interpret marine fossils, have a snack and visit the Provincial Reserve Punta Loma (where you will stop to watch sea lions on the beach).

Sea Kayaking & Canoeing with Sea Lions

Kayaking with sea lions in Puerto Piramides will be one of the highlights for you during your trip to Patagonia. There are half day and full day tours. Groups are kept small to offer personalized attention, safety and minimize the impact on the environment. Specialized guides run each trip, enabling one to fully take advantage of the tour.

Visit Puerto Piramides

Chill out by the gorgeous beach, relax in the retro cafes or simply use it as a base for all your marine life excursions – The famous Punta Norte located only one hour away. The best thing about Puerto Piramides is the southern right whales that come into the bay, meaning you can launch off on any number of boat tours, or even spot them from your balcony! If you have time on your way out there, stop by the museum on the road to Puerto Madryn to see a fossil of a southern right whale, and the skull of an orca. It’s definitely one of the things to see in Puerto Madryn.

Enjoy The Beach

Puerto Madryn has a long, sprawling beach and a very pleasant place to hang out. In the afternoons you can find crowds of people playing football on the sand, families relaxing and everyone more or less just enjoying the sunshine.

When the wind is up (which is often) you can even go windsurfing or kitesurfing. Rentals are available at a number of places. If you’re looking for the best free things to do in Puerto Madryn, this is right up there!

Walk along the Coastal Walk in Puerto Madryn

Puerto Madryn Coastal Walk is a 5.5 mile trail which offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options.

Do a Dolphin Watching Tour

While you’re falling in love with all the marine life around Puerto Madryn, make sure you head out to see the local Commerson’s dolphin population near Puerto Rawson.

These beautiful dolphins have distinct black and white colorings, which has also earned them the nickname, ‘panda dolphins’. They can only be found in this part of the world, and an 1984 survey estimated there were about 3400 of them.

Going out on a whale watching tour in Puerto Rawson allows you to see these small, extremely agile mammals playing around in the boat’s wake. These tours usually last for around an hour, and the guide onboard will give heaps of information about these rare dolphins.

Visit a charming Welsh Village in Distant Patagonia

Back in the late 1800s a group of Welsh immigrants moved to Patagonia and setup a small community just south of the largest city in the province, Trelew. Bringing their language and culture with them, they built up the small village of Gaiman to have a population of nearly 6,000 people, and today they still maintain a lot of their distinct values.

Today you can visit Gaiman and marvel at this fascinating little Welsh village. The streets are pleasant and there’s a distinct architecture that is unseen in other parts of the country. It’s one of the best places to visit in Puerto Madryn!

If you’re hungry and up for a real Welsh experience, drop into Ty Gwyn. This vintage tea house serves up an elaborate Welsh tea service with huge platters of cakes, breads, jams and tea for a set price and one portion could easily be enough for two people. It is truly a special experience.

Argentina’s SCUBA Diving Capital

While staying at Puerto Madryn, Mecca of Argentinian SCUBA diving due to the wide range of proposals and quality of service offered, we did not hesitate to dive into the crystal-clear waters and discover a new submarine paradise. There are multiple and varied sites for diving, as well as a large number of operators organizing this activity. It is difficult to describe the feeling of diving in low temperature waters.

Everything is slower and brighter; the algae are greener and everything is translated into so much peace and harmony that it is hard to leave this place.

Have a Dino Family Adventure in Trelew

Patagonia is home to some of the most remarkable dinosaur fossils discovered, and the best place to see them all is at the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio.

The MEF concentrates the most important fossil findings in Patagonia. This museum is a great place to introduce kids to Patagonia's giants. Recently the largest dinosaur ever discovered was found just outside of Trelew, and depending on the timing of your visit you can see the exhibition here in the museum. (The new dinosaur is a type of sauropod similar to Argentinosaurus also found in Patagonia in the neighboring province of Neuquen). Also, Kids can look into a real lab used for analyzing fossils, to get an idea of the technical side of work done by paleontologists.

Last but not least…

We highly recommend 4 days-3 nights in Puerto Madryn to cover all the highlights and once-in-a-lifetime experiences in this region of Patagonia. There are daily direct flights from Buenos Aires city to Trelew. The flight duration is 2 hours. Do you want to travel to Patagonia? We’re regional IDEAS experts and pride ourselves in designing tailor-made trips that are a perfect fit for our travelers. If you’re interested in planning an adventure combining several regions in Argentina or Chile, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Trip Specialists for a free consultation. We are glad to help you with your lifetime trip to Patagonia.

Best Places to visit in Peru

Best Places to visit in Peru

Peru is one of the most visited countries of South America. It has many archaeological centers, dreamy natural and scenic sites, majestic pre-Columbian and colonial temples, ancestral pre-Inca and Inca palaces, colonial architecture and extraordinary gastronomy. Also Peru has excellent medicinal waters, biodiversity, traditional towns, millenary culture, fine textiles, varied handicrafts ... and the greatest living culture in South America.


Machu Picchu is a must-see destination, but Peru is also home to Kuelap and Chavin de Huantar, Caral and Chan Chan, the Nasca Lines, Sipan and so much more. In this article we mention the best destinations to visit in Peru but bear in mind that there is much more to visit and do.

Machu Picchu

The lost city of the Incas is one of the seven wonders of the world and it is the most essential place to visit in Peru. This ancient Inca citadel remained hidden among the mountains and thick vegetation for centuries, until it was discovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911.

Machu Picchu is located about 130 kilometers from Cusco, above 2500 meters of altitude between the peaks Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu, two magnificent viewpoints of the ruins, to which you can climb.

The most mystical and spectacular way to get there is by doing the Inca trail, traveling the more than 40 kilometers that in 4 days, through incredible roads and steps of ancient stones, lush forests, valleys and mountains wrapped in dense fog, will take us even the dream of many travelers.

Another way to get to the old citadel is to start at a point closer to Machu Picchu, which will save us 2 days of walking, or take a train to Aguascalientes that will be your home base to explore Machu Picchu.

Keep in mind that there is a limited number of tickets to visit Machu Picchu per day and they sell out quickly, so you have to book as far in advance as possible.

Cuzco

Another place to visit in Peru is Cuzco. Declared a World Heritage Site, it is one of the most beautiful cities in America and our favorite in Peru. This ancient capital of the Inca Empire preserves very few buildings from this time, although in some of the colonial buildings you can see Inca remains on its walls, such as the twelve-angle stone. Cuzco is the city where people fly to visit Machu Picchu and also the beautiful Sacred Valley.

The Plaza de Armas in Cuzco is the epicenter of the city, in which its cathedral stands out, a place chosen by many inhabitants to spend a few hours in the afternoon, enjoying the life of Cuzco.

Other of the great attractions of the city is to walk through the beautiful artisan neighborhood of San Blas, get lost in the San Pedro market, see the Inca remains of the Temple of the Moon or enter the Santo Domingo Convent, built on the Temple of the sun.

If you have more time, it is well worth doing a walking route to see the Inca ruins of Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Qenqo and the spectacular fortress of Sacsayhuaman, which are very close to the city of Cuzco.

Sacred Valley

Between Písac and Ollantaytambo, on the banks of the Urubamba River, is the famous Sacred Valley of the Incas. Due to its climate and geography, this fertile valley was one of the main sources of food supply of the Inca empire where the archaeological ruins of several Inca settlements remain and where you can also visit several traditional towns from the colonial era.

One of the most popular places to visit in the Sacred Valley is Pisac’s artisan market and the Inca archaeological remains.

Other essential places to visit are the fortress of Ollantaytambo, the town of Chinchero, the salt mines of Maras and Moray, an agricultural research centers of the Inca empire.

Titicaca Lake

Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, is located very close to the city of Puno at 3,800 meters of altitude. This immense lake, in which its calm blue waters blend into the sky, is one of the most essential places to visit in Peru.

To tour the lake and visit the islands of Uros and Taquile from Puno you can take a boat in the port. The houses and most of the articles are made of reeds, and you can even sail on a reed boat and although we generally found it a very touristy visit, we believe that it is worth knowing its history and its community.

Another island that can be visited is the Island of Taquile, more than two hours by boat from Puno, where you can also spend the night on the island sleeping in one of its neighbors' houses.

The Colca Canyon

Typical Andean vegetation surrounds one of the deepest canyons in the world: The Colca Canyon. This is the perfect setting for extreme sports as well as relaxing horseback riding, all under the watchful gaze of the monarch of these skies, the condor. Horseback riding itineraries usually begin at the Cruz del Condor viewing point, from where it is possible to appreciate the full splendor of the canyon.

Iquitos – The Peruvian Amazon

The Peruvian Amazon can be reached from Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado. Puerto Maldonado is more accessible and cheaper than Iquitos, although over time it has become a tourist attraction that can distort the true image of the vast and wild Amazon.

Iquitos can only be reached by plane from Lima, so being in a more remote place will allow you to experience the most authentic Amazon, although as we mentioned earlier, the price is more expensive.

In this area, the lodges are located in the middle of the Amazon jungle and all offer a transfer service in small rafts from Iquitos, although the journey can last several hours.

The days in the lodge will be spent enjoying nature, taking walking routes through the jungle to see the fauna and flora, other times you will raft through its narrow rivers and at night, there are many tours to see the nocturnal animals.

Paracas National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands

This national reserve forms a unique ecosystem in the world, which combines a desert area with a great marine diversity due to the great abundance of food in the form of plankton.

We highly recommend visiting this protected natural area with a guide, especially places such as the red beach, the fossil deposits, the fauna and the archaeological remains of the ancient Paracas Culture who will give you so much knowledge and understanding of the history of this area of the country.

Very close to Paracas is another of the places to visit in Peru, the Ballestas Islands, small rocky islands where colonies of of Humboldt penguins and other animals can be witnessed from boats.

Arequipa, known as the white city and built above 2,000 meters of altitude, in the desert mountains of the Andes, is together with Cuzco, one of the most beautiful cities in Peru, dominated by white volcanic stone houses, which together with the historic center were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Our favorite place in Arequipa is Santa Catalina monastery, a small citadel with beautiful streets, houses and cloisters where you can get lost for hours.

Other must-visit in Arequipa is the Plaza de Armas with its Cathedral, the Church of the Company and its cloisters, the Casa del Moral and the Carmen Alto or Yanahuara viewpoint, with magnificent visits to the city and the Misti volcano.

Huacachina Oasis

This spectacular Chilean national park offers some of the best trekking in the world. Here, you will spend up to 8 hours a day hiking in the wild, but with some of the world’s most stunning viewpoints, there is no way you’ll get bored. For the W trek some hiking experience is highly recommended. (This is the big difference with the treks to Fitz Roy Mountain where there are many trekking opportunities for people of all ages and no experience is needed).

The best time to visit Chilean Patagonia is November to early March (summertime in the southern hemisphere). Although you'll compete with heavy crowds during this peak season, the weather is ideal for exploring Torres del Paine National Park and Tierra del Fuego. The W Trek in Torres del Paine is undoubtedly one of the best treks in Patagonia. This “W” shaped hiking trail highlights the best of Torres del Paine National Park, including Grey glacier, the French Valley and the Towers’ Base Viewpoint.

Nazca Lines

One of the great archaeological mysteries of history is found in the arid Nazca desert. Between 700 BC and 200 AD the Nazca culture developed in this area, in which its inhabitants created the Nazca Lines, removing the red stones and leaving the white sandstone underneath, thus forming huge geoglyphs with human, animal or geometric figures. The only way to see the figures is to fly over the Nazca lines by plane from its small airport located near the town of Nazca.

Other visits that are very worthwhile in Nazca, is the Chauchilla Cemetery, a necropolis from pre-Inca times, which is a perfect complement to the overflight of the Nazca Lines.

A good way to learn about the great history of Lima, Cusco and the surrounding Inca ruins, is to book tours with one of our local guides. They are engaging and knowledgeable guides who are passionate about their culture and their history. The guides make the difference and are responsible for all the unforgettable experiences that you will have in Peru.

We offer tailor-made holidays to Peru and other countries in South America. Tell us your interests, preferred travel dates and we will design your ideal trip. We handle all the details from start to finish. All you do is show up!

Other recomended destinations:

What to do in Calafate and El Chalten

Adventure Trips

What to do in Calafate and El Chalten

El Calafate is one of the three main cities in the province of Santa Cruz due to its population, behind Río Gallegos and Caleta Olivia. Located on the southern shore of Lake Argentino, it was officially founded in 1927, in order to populate the region. Staying in El Calafate is a good idea if you want to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and “Los Glaciares National Park”.

Perito Moreno Glacier

Those who travel to El Calafate generally want to visit the Perito Moreno galcier, located about 80 kilometers from El Calafate town, is the most famous of all glaciers.

On the brand-new catwalks - everyone builds their own route. In addition to the walk itself, I suggest including the navigation through the southern arm of the Canal de los Témpanos -one hour of duration- to have different views of the Perito Moreno northern wall.

One activity that we highly recommend is the Mini-Trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier. It covers all the highlights and you will spend enough time walking on the glacier and won’t get exhausted (as long as you have no disabilities, you will be fine).Bear in mind that this tour is very popular and there is a limit of people who can do this activity per day so it is key to get your tickets way in advance. Don’t wait to be in El Calafate to book your places.

More Ice

You can also signed up for an excursion called “Todo Glaciares” (All Glaciers). Departing by catamaran from Punta Bandera - almost 50 kilometers from El Calafate - you navigate between icebergs and the Upsala, Hein, Peineta, Seco and Spegazzini glaciers. The new Spegazzini base is ideal for walking and taking photos. On board the boat, there is a cafeteria, photographers service and everything you need to have a spectacular time. It is a tour that we highly recommend doing.

Something different is the 4x4 tour that borders the shore of Lake Argentino until you reach the viewpoint of the Punta Bonita Cliff, which offers unforgettable views at sunset. The tour continues to the Walichu Caves within the property of a Patagonian ranch. There, there are cave paintings and a delicious dinner is eaten inside a heated cave.

A comforting walk within the city is the Laguna Nimez Reserve a few meters from Lake Argentino. The reserve is an important refuge for birds, some of them migratory. Flamingos, black-necked swans, geese and bandurrias stand out. The walk can be done in an hour and something and then indulge in something delicious in one of the restaurants on the waterfront. The entrance is very cheap and you can rent glasses for bird watching.

There are many things to do in the city, such as visiting the Glaciarium Interpretation Center. It provides an enriching experience with exhibits, interactive screens and modern technology. The Glaciarium’s goal is to raise environmental awareness and to grow understanding of glaciers of Patagonia. The facilities include a café, an ice bar and an Ecoshop, which sells a wide choice of objects made from discarded materials, recycled and with low environmental impact.

The food in El Calafate is really good too. If you eat meat, you can’t miss “La Tablita” and “Casimiro Bigua” for their Patagonic Lamb and other delicious local meals. Vegan and tacc-free offer is really wide in El Calafate too. And if you dare to leave the usual circuit, Rancho Apart is a closed-door restaurant that encourages sharing with others a communal table and delicious home cooking.

How many days should you stay in El Calafate? If you want to cover all higlights you need at least 4 full days.

Mountains Vacations

What to do in El Chalten

El Chaltén, the national capital of trekking is the base to explore. The Mount Fitz Roy, the Tehuelches called it Chaltén, a mountain that smokes from the clouds that crowd at the top.

It is in a privileged place on the edge of the northern area of Los Glaciares National Park and has become a tourist mountain village, adored by visitors from different parts of the world interested in hiking the Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre and the many needles of granite.

El Chaltén was founded in 1985 in order to promote population settlement in the mountain range of the province, with sectors in dispute with Chile. The first settlers were public employees. It is 220 kilometers from El Calafate and the journey to the town is rich in landscapes.

There are daily long-distance buses that depart from El Calafate Bus station to El Chalten. It usually takes 3.5 to 4 hour-drive with bus. You can hire a private driver or rent a car to do it on your own though we recommend you don’t drive if you don’t know the route. It is much better to have a local driver who knows what to do in case you have a flat tire or if you need help. There are no services along the road and you will not have internet nor phone signal along the way.

Is there WiFi in Patagonia?

There is almost complete coverage in large towns and cities across Patagonia, but when travelling between cities, cruising in the fjords or hiking in national parks there is little to no signal, and cell phones are not recommended as a reliable form of communication.

There are many treks you can do from El Chalten. You can find our tips and recommendations in this article.

This summer the photo of “Laguna de los Tres” has gone viral on social media, due to its spectacular views. The reviews say that it is a medium / high demand hike, although, honestly, it is difficult to say what is low or high demand for each one.

The only premise –something difficult to comply with when social media tips work almost like a mandate– is that there is no obligation to do anything. The fact that a photo is reproduced on Instagram in a certain place does not imply that one has an obligation to visit it or that they feel bad if they do not. Not all people have the same physical condition, nor the same desires.

Some things to keep in mind if you go trekking:

On difficult trails, clothing can be severely damaged; My jacket testifies to the intervention of the Calafate skewers, as does my scarf, which was curled up in a bush. Clothing as well as trekking boots can be rented. I walked in sneakers that also suffered severe damage. You have to bring lunch: a sandwich, apples, bananas, cereal bars and water. These are many hours of intense physical wear and tear. Most hotels prepare them.

There are almost no toilets on the trails and no cell phone signal. Under normal circumstances, you bump into a lot of people, but it all depends on the weather and the circumstances.

Important: the strong season in Chaltén begins in October and ends in April. The days are longer, the activities are operational, and the temperatures are kinder. In winter, there are some isolated activities, but it is suggested to consult a local operator ( like us )

In El Calafate most of the excursions are still operational in low season.

The current requirements at the time to enter the province of Santa Cruz are:

Negative Covid certificate (PCR or antigens)

• Covid insurance

• Certificate of circulation in circulation Santa Cruz

Please check a local operator such as Ideas South America LLC about the requirements to enter Argentina and Patagonia. Since the requirements are very dynamic and they change fast. Let us know if you are happy to receive emails from IDEAS including the latest travel guides, tips and information.

Places to visit in Patagonia

Places to visit in Patagonia

Due to Patagonia’s size and its endless highlights, many people may find it intimidating to plan a trip to this vast region. As a professional local tour guide who travelled Patagonia extensively, I have learned a lot about Patagonia. For this reason, I want to share some useful information that will help you plan a trip of a lifetime.

Tailor-Made Trips

Here are some considerations to bear in mind when planning your trip:

#1 -Patagonia is twice the size of Italy and depending on the time of the year weather fluctuates greatly.

Firstly, Patagonia is a vast region (over 350,000 sq miles) that stretches across two countries: Argentina and Chile. With 9 National Parks, Patagonia is characterized by its diverse landscape and the presence of four well-differentiated seasons. Depending on the city or national park you decide to travel, be aware that the geography, the climate and the attractions will vary.

Never forget to check the average temperatures and the rain season of that particular area you want to visit.

patagonia-fitz-roy travel

#2 – The time of the year you go to Patagonia matters.

The best time to visit Patagonia is in late Spring, Summer ( between October to March) and early autumn (April-June), due to the pleasant temperatures. However, the region’s diverse offerings mean you can find something to enjoy at any time of year.

In order to make the right decision, you need to decide which activities you want to do. If you want to see Penguins, you need to book your trip at the time of the year when penguins arrive along the Patagonian coast. Or if you want to trek on glaciers, then you need to book your trip between October and early March before it gets too cold to do that activity. During Winter, most National Parks in Southern Patagonia close.

Mountains Vacations

#3 - Patagonia presents two regions

The Andean Patagonia

The Extra-Andean Patagonia

The Andean Patagonia stretches along the Andes Mountains and its rich in pristine lakes, glaciers, permanent snow-capped peaks, flora and fauna conservation areas; and the extra-Andean Patagonia spreads over a plateau gently sloping towards the sea, creating a wide underwater platform.

We suggest that you focus on one region and explore it deeply. If you have 15 days available to travel, then you can combine both regions and visit the lake district, the glaciers and the east coast to visit the penguins. Or you may want to combine National Parks by the Andes Mountains, organize some trekking days and end your trip in Punta Arenas in Chile.

IDEAS Travel South America

#4 - Bariloche is the gateway of Patagonia (and a “must” to include in your trip to Patagonia).

One of the best known destinations of Río Negro province is Bariloche (a renowned ski resort located in Northern Patagonia). Winter as well as spring and summer are great times of the year to visit it. The pristine lakes are surrounded by the Andes Mountains and it’s a great place for doing outdoor sports and trying the famous Patagonian food, including trout, Patagonian lamb and other delicious meals typical of this region. Near Bariloche, in the state of Neuquén you can find different attractions: hot springs such as Copahue and Caviahue, ski destinations such as: San Martín de los Andes (Cerro Chapelco), Villa La Angostura (Cerro Bayo), Villa Pehuenia (Batea Mahuida), as well as the peculiarity of a National Park (Los Arrayanes) within another National Park (Nahuel Huapi).

Chubut has a ski center (La Hoya) very close to Esquel, Los Alerces National Park, an old train heated by firewood and with wooden seats (La Trochita) traveling through part of the plateau.

#5 –August through November are the best months for whale watching in Peninsula Valdes.

In the province of Chubut, right by the Atlantic Ocean, you can visit Peninsula Valdes and walk among huge colonies of southern elephant seals and Magellanic penguins. You can snorkel with sea lions or navigate next to Southern right whales. Bird-watching is also a very popular activity since there are over 180 local bird species. The coastline is stunning too. Near Valdes, the Welsh culture can be appreciated in Gaimán ( charming town by the Atlantic coast) and Trevelin town. If you are looking for beach resorts, then you should head towards the thriving city of Las Grutas or San Antonio Oeste known as beach destinations. (Both beach resorts are located facing the Atlantic Ocean).

#6 – Perito Moreno Glacier is the highlight of Santa Cruz Province

Santa Cruz, on the other hand, is the land of stunning glaciers (Perito Moreno, Upsala, Onelli.), lakes (Argentino, Viedma, San Martín, Pueyrredon, Buenos Aires, among others), plateau and Cueva de las Manos (Hand Caves), an Unesco World Heritage. It is an archeological site with stenciled outlines of human hands located over the cave cliffs along the Pinturas river canyon, on the northeast of Santa Cruz province.

#7 – Head to El Chalten for the best treks in Patagonia

The Andean town of El Chaltén is the National Capital of Trekking in Argentina and it is located at the base of Mount Fitz Roy. In this stunning natural scenery you have multiple and varied options for walking, climbing, going on excursions and expeditions.

Most activities are free and do not require previous hiking experience in the mountains, however for the most demanding treks you can hire a guide for peace of mind and to learn more in detail from each place.

You can reach belvederes with breath-taking panoramic views using little time and effort!

patagonia-trekking-perito moreno

#8 - Torres del Paine National Park is the highlight of Chilean Patagonia.

This spectacular Chilean national park offers some of the best trekking in the world. Here, you will spend up to 8 hours a day hiking in the wild, but with some of the world’s most stunning viewpoints, there is no way you’ll get bored. For the W trek some hiking experience is highly recommended. (This is the big difference with the treks to Fitz Roy Mountain where there are many trekking opportunities for people of all ages and no experience is needed).

The best time to visit Chilean Patagonia is November to early March (summertime in the southern hemisphere). Although you'll compete with heavy crowds during this peak season, the weather is ideal for exploring Torres del Paine National Park and Tierra del Fuego. The W Trek in Torres del Paine is undoubtedly one of the best treks in Patagonia. This “W” shaped hiking trail highlights the best of Torres del Paine National Park, including Grey glacier, the French Valley and the Towers’ Base Viewpoint.

Adventure Trips

#9– Ushuaia: A trip to the End of the World

Ushuaia is one of Argentina's top destinations, and for good reason. This beautiful city, perched dramatically between the Martial mountains, the bay and the Beagle Channel, is popular for its absolute beauty, spectacular marine wildlife, and because it is regarded as the southernmost city of the world. You can navigate the Beagle Channel in one day, explore Penguin Colonies or do outdoor sports in the southernmost national park of the world. Also all cruise ships and expeditions to Antarctica depart from Ushuaia’s port.

In this part of the world, you will learn about explorers Magellan, Sir Francis Drake, Captain Fitzroy and Darwin and you can also view whales, dolphins, penguins, condors, and elephant seals.

#10– Ushuaia to Punta Arenas: 4-Day Cruise to explore Fjords

Built in 2010 with a capacity of just 210 people, the Stella Australis cruise ship offers a comfortable, yet adventurous experience for all passengers. There are options for relaxed or more vigorous excursions to suit different activity levels. A professional expedition team leads small groups on nature walks, Zodiac tours and offers onboard lectures that make every moment of this Patagonia small ship cruise a memorable adventure.

Itineraries vary among the 5 and 9 day programs, and include both one-way and round trip options. You can choose to sail round trip from either Ushuaia or Punta Arenas, or you can take a one-way cruise between the two and combine Chilean Patagonia with Tierra del Fuego and other areas in Southern Argentina. Let us know your travel schedule and we will help you find the best option that works with your itinerary.

Whether you choose to visit the lake district or the Penguin Colonies in Chubut, Patagonia will make an indelible mark on your memory.

Bear in mind that If you are thinking of traveling during the high season, you need to start booking your trip with at least 10-8 months in advance.