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Travel tips from our favourite holiday tour guides

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Our holiday tour guides offer a depth of experience and knowledge that no guidebook or audio guide will come close to. If you want to hear the stories behind the complex carvings of a Mayan temple or the nocturnal behaviour of the jaguar in the Amazon; then ask one of our holiday tour guides. If you want to get the inside track on the best tango bars in Buenos Aires and a romantic restaurant for a late bite; no problem, speak to our guides.

 

We pinned down some of our very best guides so that you could get the lowdown on their favourite continent before they whisk away another excited traveller on another memorable travel experience.

 

This week we start by introducing two of our holiday tour guides – Ricardo and Amalia.

 

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Ricardo Barbosa who guides in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

What inspired you to become a tour guide?

I was a journalist and it happened to me to become a guide, and I loved it from the very first day. Being outside, not in a radio studio, showing my city and my country to friends is something that comes naturally from me.

 

What do like most about being a tour guide?

To be a guide of Rio and Brazil is easy and fun as going around with new friends.

 

 When guiding, what is the one thing you always have with you and why?

 I always have in mind that clients are friends, friends that are also clients.

 

Which areas of your country really stand out as must-visit destinations?

All of our national parks specially Pantanal, Chapada Diamantina, Chapada dos Guimaráes and Lençois Maranahenses.

 

Are there any seasonal events that you would recommend being in your country for, maybe even something most tourists wouldn’t know about?

The Festas de São João in the interior of Bahia

 

What do you think is the most amazing animal in Latin America and why?

As a birdwatcher and birdwatching guide I could make a list of 1,800 species/reasons to visit Brazil, but I will name one of my favourite monkeys, the lovely Golden Lion Tamarins.

 

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Amalia Alayza who guides in Lima, Paracas and Nazca in Peru.

What inspired you to become a tour guide?

My parents had a passion for travelling through Peru and they had a small collection of pre Inca art that I still have some pieces of. I love archaeology and that’s why a friend of my parents that worked on the National Tourist Bureau trained me to guide when I was in school. Later I studied to be a guide and since then I have been guiding, although I am also studying tourist administration and Hotel Management and a Masters in education.

 

 What do like most about being a tour guide?

Sharing with the guests the beauty of my country, our long history and the Islands in Paracas.

 

When guiding, what is the one thing you always have with you and why?

Patience, sense of humour, plus all the emergency phone numbers

 

Which areas of your country really stand out as must-visit destinations?

Definitely Cuzco with Machu Pichu, then Puno with the Titicaca Lake and the floating Island followed by Arequipa and the Colca Canon, the Nazca Lines and the Ballestas islands and Lima with its Museums and the down town World Heritage. In the jungle Puerto Maldonado and in the North of Peru Iquitos with the Amazon River.

 

Are there any seasonal events that you would recommend being in your country for, maybe even something most tourists wouldn’t know about?

I would say that the Holy wee in Ayacucho is amazing to see on holiday. But the train ride from Lima to Huancayo is a fascinating experience and it only goes now on long weekends in the Peruvian winter, so I have to do it again.

 

What do you think is the most amazing animal in Latin America and why?

The spectacled bear that lives in the high jungle of Peru – the author of Paddington Bear was inspired by this bear to write the book.

 

What tips do you have for families hoping to go on holiday to Latin America? – e.g. when to go, things to bring

Latin America has a lot to offer, come with an open mind and you will be surprised to find wonderful food, beautiful music, extraordinary scenery and history.

 

 To go to Peru on holiday my favourite time is the end of April – May as it’s the end of the rainy season in the Andes, where everything is still green and the weather on the coast is still warm.

 

How to dress in Peru on holiday – dress in layers, comfortable walking shoes, hat and sunblock. Bring a jacket for the Andes because you can have all types of weathers in 24 hours.

 

For trips to Machu Pichu and the jungle – insect repellent, rain gear and hiking boots as its hot and wet.

 

 If you go to Paracas be sure to bring your bathing suit!

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South America news

 

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Let’s start by giving you some South American news, which is a roundup of hotel specials, new direct flights as well as some good old tours. You know the thrilling, tingly feeling you get in your tummy when your plane starts its descent and you know you will soon set foot in a place you’ve never been to before.

The deeply satisfied feeling you get when you discover a new food that you love.

Or perhaps the intoxicated feeling you get when you’ve indulged in one too many of those drinks the locals swear by.

 

We love Latin America because it is a kaleidoscope of amazing adventures just waiting to be discovered.

 

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Save 15% when staying in 2 or more of the Tierra hotels in Chile

The Tierra Hotels are all set in enchanting destinations from where the adventurous can explore all of Chile’s beauty. Tierra Atacama is found in the starry desert of the altiplano, Tierra Chiloé among the austral waters of the Pacific Ocean and at the ends of the earth Tierra Patagonia. We love the ambience of the Tierra hotels; casual and friendly, it enables guests to mingle and get to know one another or find a quiet corner to relax and get away from it all.

 

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New direct flight to Costa Rica from London with British Airways

The rainforests and colourful wildlife of Costa Rica will be easier to reach by May thanks to a direct, twice-weekly service from London Gatwick to the country’s capital San Jose. Now there is no excuse not to visit. From cloud forest to Pacific shore, and colonial heritage to chic resorts – if you can’t find something to suit you in Costa Rica you should probably hand in your passport.

 

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Save 25% on the Alto Atacama hotel, Chile

Plus choose from complimentary spa treatment or additional complimentary bed for child up to 15 years at the Alto Atacama hotel, Chile

 

 

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Guatemala ‘Streets and eats’ tour

This is a new tour for adventurous eaters in Antigua. You’ll begin with a walk along charming cobblestone streets lined with brightly painted Spanish colonial architecture. Then it’s on to a local restaurant to sample authentic cuisine such as chuchitos, (Guatemala-style tamales), pupusas (cheese-filled corn tortillas), and even pigs’ feet! Buen provecho!

 

 

Mount Fitz Roy, Patagonia, Argentina

 

 

 

 

Salkantay Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

 

If you’re considering going to Peru to see the famous Machu Picchu then take a look at this new film. It showcases the Salkantay Inca Trail which we think is an ideal trek if you’re fairly fit and want to explore the local area as well as see Machu Picchu. You’ll experience remote native communities at the base of the sacred Salkantay snow peak before joining the Inca Trail path to Machu Picchu.

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Luxury Travel Peru

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Luxury Travel Peru these days is very different to just 5 or 10 years ago.  Then, it was all about the destination (it still is about where you go by the way) and you were given a very limited choice of hotels to choose from.  Today you are spoilt for choice.  A number of luxury Peru hotels have sprung up over the country, making Peru a luxury destination.

 

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The luxury Peru hotels leading the way are the locally owned Inkaterra group whose hotels in Cuzco (La Casona), Machu Picchu (Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel), the Amazon (Reserva Amazonica) and newly opened Sacred Valley hotel (Hacienda Urubamba) are simply superb.

 

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The main reason we like the above hotels is because they have been created in harmony with their local surroundings and although we never like a chain hotel, this group are different. We also like the fact that a luxury Peru holiday can be combined with hotels owned by local people, which will only help the local economy in the long run.

 

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There are of course other luxury hotels in Peru which we would recommend.  Some are new, whilst others are tried and tested and never seem to lose their character.  These luxury Peru hotels include; the relatively new Hotel B in Lima, which has a stunning interior design, spacious rooms and incredible personal service – we also particularly like the bar area!

 

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The Titilaka Hotel on the edge of Lake Titicaca, which has stunning rooms overlooking Lake Titicaca and a wide range of tailor made activities, ensure a truly luxury Peru experience.

 

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One of our favourite of the ‘older’ hotels is the Casa Andina private collection in Arequipa.  This colonial building was converted into a hotel and still retains all the details of a bygone era.  There are a variety of rooms here, so you will want to talk to us to make sure you have the right one!

 

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So if you thought Peru was a backwater hotel destination, think again, they are leading the way in luxury travel.

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Sir David Attenborough discovers biggest creature to have ever walked the earth in Patagonia, Argentina

Now we at Latin Odyssey love Sir David Attenborough as much as the next man but this time he has really outdone himself.

 

On the evening of Sunday 24th January he showed us how he helped uncover the biggest creature to have ever walked the earth.

 

At 6.30pm the Latin Odyssey team were all glued to the TV watching his latest programme – Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur. Set in Patagonia, Argentina it’s a truly awe inspiring story about a discovery of the largest animal to ever walk the Earth – a new species of the plant-eating titanosaur.

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Source: Radio times

 

This dinosaur discovery sprang from a chance observation by an Argentinian farm labourer.

He was working on the dry, barren plains of Patagonia and he spotted something very unusual. There was a large bone sticking out of the ground. The bone was 2.4m long – that’s very big, even by dinosaur standards. As you can imagine the paleontologists all around the world became very excited – as did everyone else, including us!

 

The more the investigation team dug, the more bones they found, dozens of them, belonging to a titanosaurus that lived 100m years ago.

 

Some geeky stats for you. The 130ft-long dinosaur was 65ft tall and weighed 77 tons. And the big thing is that until its discovery, it was thought that the world’s largest dinosaur was the Argentinosaurus, which was discovered about 25 years ago. So this one was bigger and that’s why its discovery has stunned the science community and sent dozens of experts racing to this remote part of the Patagonian desert.

 

If this programme inspires you to find out more about Patagonia as a holiday destination take a look here at what you can expect and suggestions for where to stay

 

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Two BIG reasons why you should go to Brazil right now

It’s indisputably the ‘in’ country on earth right now, and somewhere that we at Latin Odyssey have fallen in love with several times over.

 

You’ve probably talked about going there. You no doubt know someone who’s been and came back enthralled.

 

Let’s face it. On paper. As a holiday destination. Brazil has it all.

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There are more beaches than you can shake a bikini at.

 

There is the largest rainforest in the world – the Amazon – home of the Amerindian tribes and wildlife of all shapes and sizes.

 

There is the rowdy beauty of the Rio carnival and the pulsing afro Brazilian beat of Salvador.

 

I could go on all day…

 

And oh yes ..there is the rather large sporting event it’s hosting in 2016 – the Olympic Games.

 

Whilst it may seem like a dream destination, there are two things have been holding other people back from visiting this, one of the most the most spectacular countries in South America.

 

The first is cost. Over the last five years Brazil has become heart-stoppingly expensive. Hotels in São Paulo, the business capital, or beachside Rio de Janeiro, cost more than in London or Zurich. However now things have changed. Brazil is in the grip of recession and prices have plummeted. It’s now suddenly a lot more affordable for travellers.

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The second is infrastructure. The strength of the economy in past years as well as the arrival of big events such as the World Cup and the Olympic games have resulted in significant investment in local infrastructure meaning that the country is easier and safer to travel around than ever before.

 

Lower costs and improved infrastructure mean that it is an exciting time for travellers to look into Brazil as a holiday destination.

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If you’re looking for some inspiration as to where to go – read our Brazil highlights here

 

Latin Odyssey has been crafting holidays to Brazil for over 13 years. Our specialist Brazil  team have travelled extensively throughout the country and we make regular trips to ensure that our knowledge is up to date, and that we remain wholly opinionated!

 

Give our Brazil team a call today on 01491 410 492 (UK) or +1866 724 1590 (US)

 

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