South America Luxury Tours

4 Reasons to Take One Now

South America is a quickly developing continent and beginning to hold its own as a coveted vacation destination. If you are the type of traveler who dreams of king-sized hotel beds, endless breakfast buffets, and pampering spa treatments, but also enjoy stunning scenery and a bit of local flair, here are 4 reasons why some South America luxury tours should on your travel wish list.

1. Affordable Luxury. South America is a country of contrasts, encompassing both striking poverty and stunning wealth. As a result, the cost of traveling to South America balances out to be quite affordable for visitors from abroad. A South America vacation is one of the best value travel decisions you could make. More and more 5-start hotels are beginning to appear, as well as top-end restaurants. In the capital cities of this continent you are likely to enjoy a full meal of gourmet dishes at half the price of what you’d pay in a large city in the United States or Europe.

2. Beautiful Diversity. One of the best things about visiting South America is that you’ll never get bored. Neighboring countries vary drastically, and even within one country you’re sure to see a variety of landscapes and cultures, and taste an abundance of different cuisines. In Peru, for example, you can visit the world’s second largest desert city (Lima), hike up snowy mountain peaks in the Andes (the highest mountain range in the Americas), or plunge into the deep and dense Amazon Rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world, home to an overwhelming amount of wildlife. Of course, you could also always swing over to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, or check out Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

3. World Class Attractions. South America is proudly home to some of the best natural and man-made attractions in the entire world. Machu Picchu is a must for any Peru tour, and you can live it up in luxury by taking one of the many offered Machu Picchu luxury tours, which tend to include quality private guides, rides on the stunning Hiram Bingham luxury train, and stays at the best 5-star hotels the country has to offer. Head down to Argentina and experience Iguazu Falls, a massive waterfall complex that puts Niagara Falls to shame. Or perhaps you’d rather visit Brazil and wave to Christ the Redeemer, one of the largest statues of Jesus Christ in the entire world. The statue is not the only impressive thing about Rio de Janeiro, as the lush mountains and crystal clear ocean waters put this bustling city very close to paradise.

4. Ease of Travel. It is undeniable that the world has many interesting and worthwhile places to visit, but few are as easy to see as South America. Direct international flights from most major cities bring you quickly to your desired destination and local guides, hotels, and restaurant owners in the top destinations are familiar with the standards and desires of many international travelers. The tourism market is largely bilingual, and with some preplanning with an expert travel company you won’t have to worry about a thing.

What to Watch Out for During a Machu Picchu Tour

Commonly called one of the best travel destinations in the world, Machu Picchu is a sight to behold. Situated on lush mountainsides and isolated from modernity, this ancient Incan complex is the highlight of many people’s South America vacation. However, to every heaven there is a hell. Make sure your Machu Picchu tour doesn’t take a bad turn south by watching out for these 5 Machu Picchu travel pitfalls.

Altitude.  Even if you’re not trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, it is still likely the altitude will take your breath away. Machu Picchu sits at an altitude of nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, and although there are places much higher, it is still enough to cause lightheadedness and a bit of altitude sickness.  The best way to deal with the altitude sickness is to take it easy as soon as you arrive into Cuzco, which is actually at a much higher altitude of over 11,000 feet above sea level. Drinking coca tea, an Andean favorite, as well as lots of water will help you adjust. Stay away from alcohol the first night, as that will further dehydrate you.

Rain. Machu Picchu sits in a part of Peru that has a distinct dry and rainy season. The rainy season is the strongest in the months of December through March. In fact, the Inca Trail is closed during the months of February due to heavy rains and mud slides. The ruins themselves, however, usually remain open, although you’ll have to access them from the town of Aguas Calientes at the foot of the mountain. If you do travel during this season, be prepared for the weather. Bring a rain jacket, boots with good traction that you don’t mind getting wet, and a positive attitude.

Sun. Even during the rainy season you’ll probably see some sun, and the sun here is strong. Although the sun is harsh throughout all of Peru, the higher you go in altitude to the more powerful it becomes. Even when it is cloudy you should be sure you’re either covered up with long sleeved clothing or wearing an adequate amount of sunscreen. Be sure to bring a hat and sunglasses as well.

Prices. Machu Picchu is not a budget destination. Although you can try to visit it on a shoestring, there are some prices you just cannot get around, like the entrance fee to the ruins themselves (which is nearly 50 dollars) and the price of transportation to the ruins, which require a train ride to the town of Aquas Calients. Even if you want to hike, the Inca Trail is a coveted excursion and prices are high and competition to book open slots fierce. This doesn’t mean you should visit Machu Picchu, you simply need to be prepared with enough money to make sure you can afford everything and have an enjoyable trip.

Quality. There are many Machu Picchu tours eager for clients. Make sure you book with a quality company or a quality guide. A trip to Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you don’t want it to be ruined by a company that cuts corners or by a guide that doesn’t know what he is talking about. Do some research ahead of time and ask fellow travelers for recommendations before you make any commitments.

5 Tips for Planning a South America Vacation

South America is a land of soaring mountains peaks, dipping canyon depths, and miles and miles of white sand beaches. The 13 countries that make up this continent are extremely diverse, yet all united by vibrancy slightly different from anywhere else. This spark makes South America a great vacation destination. If you’re thinking about taking a South America vacation, here are some tips to help you start planning.

1. Choose your destinations.

South America is big. It is diverse. You won’t be able to see all of it at once, so you’ll need to first narrow down your options. Do you want to take a Machu Picchu tour to the top of the Inca citadel in Peru? Do you want a South America luxury vacation where you‘ll sit back on the beach and sip cocktails (Brazil might be good for this!), or do you want to see stunning wildlife during a Galapagos cruise? Figure out what you want to do and where you want to go before you do anything else.

2. Remember the season.

If you’re coming from Europe or North America, it is important to remember that the seasons on the other side of the equator are opposite. That means in January it is warm, and in July it is cold (relatively). There are also massive weather differences according to region. For example, the Amazon has a distinctive wet and dry season, and each one has its pros and con. Research your destinations before you book anything.

3. Know your budget.

It used to be that South America was a budget destination. This is still true in some places, but in other you’ll find prices comparable to New York City or London. Brazil is one of the most expensive South American countries, and budget travelers will have to work hard to find a deal. Countries like Bolivia with relatively few visitors are cheap, if you’re will to explore on your own. A Peru tour package is one of the best value South America travel packages, because you can easily travel on a budget, or alternatively glam up your trip and make it Machu Picchu luxury tour. This is doable because Machu Picchu is so well known that quality tourist facilities have been established and well maintained.

4. Find a tour company.

Unless you’re backpacking on a shoestring, it is easier to travel with a South American tour company. There are pros and con to all types of travel companies, however, and you should know what kind of vacation you’re looking for and what you’re willing to spend before you book with anyone. Large international companies often charge a higher markup, but you’re usually guaranteed quality in terms of Western standards. Local tour companies will be cheaper, but their quality and language levels can be questionable. The best thing to do is find a neutral ground. International tour companies with offices abroad and in-country can be a great compromise in terms of lower prices but with in-house expertise.

5. Be prepared.

Finally, remember when you travel to South America, you’re traveling to a different part of the world. Things will be different. You’ll have to put toilet paper in the trash can rather than in the toilet. You won’t be able to drink water from the faucet. People will have a different idea of personal space. These are all the challenges and excitements of traveling abroad. Make sure you talk with your travel company representative or consult your guidebook before heading off. It is always better to be prepared!