Here we are again, fancy seeing you here! It’s another edition of our, rather fabulous, Ask the Experts series. Every week, we ask two of our most clued up Travel Experts for their opinions on the travel questions that have been on the minds of our blog readers.
If you have a question you’d like to put to our Experts, send it our way now. In the mean time, Lucy and Claire are here to answer the question that’s been plauging Lola from Sheffield. Lola what’s do you want to know?
Hi, I’ve always wanted to go to South America but unfortunately , because of work, I can only got for 2 weeks. Which country would you suggest I concentrate on as a first time traveller to the continent and what kind of activities could I do? Lola, Sheffield.
Great question! It’s easy to spend years exploring every nook and cranny of South America, but unfortunately not everyone has that long to spare! Ladies what do you suggest for Lola?
Laze on the deserted beaches of Paraty.
Lucy Bolton from STA Travel Leeds Vicar Lane says…
If you only have 2 weeks to travel South America I would, as you suggested, stick to one country so that you can fully experience it and not feel like you are squashing too much into a small time frame.
My perfect 2 week itinerary for South America is our Wonders of Brazil trip. You begin in the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro where you can do a city tour and see one of the wonders of the world; Christ the Redeemer, then climb Sugarloaf mountain for amazing views of the aptly named marvellous city. Chill out on the beautiful beaches of Copacabana and Ipenema with a Caiprinha in hand and just soak up the atmosphere of the city. The trip moves on down the coast to Ilha Grande, a gorgeous island with amazing lagoons for snorkelling, waterfalls and caves. Plus, there are many different and secluded beaches like Lopez Mendes and the black sand beach that are reachable by boat. Next to Ilha Grande is the seaside town of Paraty. The historical town allows you to see a different side to Brazil and it is seen as a get away spot for both tourists and Brazilians.
If you are going to Brazil then you definitely cannot miss the fantastic Iguassu Falls which also border Argentina, so hop over to the other side of the falls and tick another country off your list (even if it is only for half a day!)
My favorite part of this trip though has to be the Pantanal and Bonito. The Pantanal wetlands are a fantastic way to see lots of wildlife without going miles out of your way to go to the Amazon. (It’s actually meant to be better than the Amazon as the Pantanal is drier therefore you see more animals) There is so much to do here from Piranha fishing to jungle treks and night boat safaris, and there are so many different animals; monkeys, caimen, capybara, anacondas… this list is endless! Bonito is also a gorgeous eco town so the rivers are crystal clear making for perfect snorkelling and tubing. The trip finishes back in Rio for some last minute shopping and one last night of partying!
Spot condor at Colca Canyon.
Claire Whittington from STA Travel Brighton says…
South America is huge but you can still fit loads into a 2 week break, especially if you take one of our overland tours as all your transport and accommodation is sorted and you have a local guide on hand to make sure you really make the most of your time. I did an overland tour when I went to Peru and had the most awesome time so I would recommend the Peru Uncovered tour as it squeezes all the must see Peruvian highlights in to two weeks.
Starting in Lima you head straight to Arequipa and Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world, keep an eye out for the famous condors soaring overhead. From here it is off to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, I hate to say somewhere is ‘indescribable’ but I don’t think another word sums up the lake better, it is just so vast!
As you take a boat trip out on the lake, you real feel as if you are at sea as the horizon disappears and you are surrounded by water. Your boat trip will take you to visit colourful Uros people who live in reed houses on reed islands and fish in reed boat (you get the picture!). It is such an interesting look into a whole different culture and way of life.
Delve deep into the Amazn Jungle.
Next you are off to one of my favourite cities, Cuzco where you have to leave time for a bit of people watching as you sip a Pisco Sour on a balcony of one of the many restaurants and bars which surround the main square. From Cuzco you can go rafting, horse riding, ziplining and take an included day trip to the Sacred Valley. On day 9 you can choose to spend a day hiking to Macchu Picchu or, like me, take the train and just sit back and take in the beautiful scenery the Andes have to offer.
Your trip is nearly coming to an end but there is just time to fit in a visit to the Amazon Jungle where you will spend 2 days at a jungle lodge. Whether you choose to just chill out with a spot of wildlife watching, try your hand at piranha fishing or take the opportunity to visit the native Infierno community, I think you will agree it will be a pretty awesome end to your trip.