May 27, 2015


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Custom Travel Beyond Peru and Patagonia



Though most of our travel requests involve planning amazing, seamless trips to Patagonia and the Peruvian Highlands, there are lots of other amazing places worth visiting in South America.

Here is a country-by-country list of off-the-beaten-path destinations and intriguing travel experiences for Custom Travel inspiration:


Argentina

Argentina Iguazu Falls Aerial View

Iguazu Falls Aerial View

What better place to start than Argentina, a country that has held a special place in our heart since Maradona led the team to a World Cup victory (just kidding I wasn’t alive then but I imagine it was great). With an elegant European culture and some of South America’s most extraordinary natural spectacles, Argentina has a unique character that exists nowhere else on earth. The country conjures up images of legendary fútbol matches, gauchos riding on golden plains, and condors soaring beside jagged Andean peaks.

Considering the fact that Patagonia partially lies in Argentina, we have explored this country thoroughly and have discovered the sweetest locations and lodges throughout. Whether it’s authentic polo matches on private estates, dove hunting in Córdoba, or a journey to Iguazu Falls, Argentina offers some amazing experiences and can cater a wide range of interests. Just to get your imagination going, here are some of the possible custom travel experiences we can arrange:

  • Tango Dancing in Buenos Aires
    Enjoy a savory porteño entreé at one of Buenos Aires’ finest tango shows, or head to a local milonga for a more authentic glimpse into Argentina’s tango culture.
  • Wine Tours in the Uco Valley
    Eat an exquisite cut of beef tenderloin at the famous Siete Fuegos restaurant on a vineyard in the Uco Valley and gaze at the snow-capped peaks of the Cordón del Plata range.
  • Cruise through the Straits of Magellan
    Take a luxury vessel through the Strait of Magellan in the wake of Charles Darwin and Ferdinand Magellan, discovering the extraordinary history and natural beauty of this legendary waterway.
Argentina Malbec Vineyard

Malbec Vineyard

Our Favorite Experience

Tasting different varieties of malbecs and torrontes grown in the Uco Valley on an award-winning wine tour.

Our Favorite Lodge

Legado Mitico—Nestled into the heart of Buenos Aires’ bohemian Palermo soho district, this luxury boutique hotel captures the historic essence of Argentina.

 


 

Bolivia

Bolivia Altiplano Alpaca

Altiplano Alpaca

Reigning as the Western Hemisphere’s highest, most isolated, and most rugged country, Bolivia renders countless opportunities for an outstanding adventure. With more than 60% of its inhabitants claiming Amerindian heritage, Bolivia ranks as the most indigenous country in the hemisphere, offering unrivaled opportunities for immersion amongst the Aymara, Guaraní, and other ethnic groups.

Our guides have traversed this mountainous wonderland from the southern jungles to the streets of the La Paz. Whether you’re looking to plan a full-on Bolivia Custom Tour or add an extension to Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia is definitely worth a visit.

  • Road Trips to Salar de Uyuni
    Follow a dusty Andean path across the altiplano to the eerily magnificent Salar de Uyuni—an otherworldly sea of salt situated more than 12,000 ft. above sea level.
  • Mine Tours in Potosí
    Venture into the depths of one of the world’s most harrowing silver mines beneath colonial Potosí and sprinkle an offering of coca leaves at the feet of El Tío—a native deity believed to protect the locals from the hazards of life in the mine.
  • Aymara Market Tours in La Paz
    Explore the bizarre indigenous markets in La Paz, one of the world’s highest cities.
Bolivia Isla del Sol Lake Titicaca

Isla del Sol Lake Titicaca

Our Favorite Experience

Catch a boat across the sacred lake to Isla del Sol, a fabled island that was said to be the birthplace of the Inca according to indigenous legends.

Our Favorite Lodge

EcoLodge La Estancia—Though not as over-the-top luxurious as the lodges you will find in Peru, EcoLodge La Estancia has a distinctly Andean, down-to-earth feel and an unparalleled setting overlooking Lake Titicaca.

 


 

Chile

Chile Valparaiso Jewel of the Pacific

Valparaiso, Jewel of the Pacific

Wedged between the rugged spine of the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Chile spans some 2,600 miles from the world’s driest desert in the north to the southernmost stretch of the South American continent. A land of expansive beaches, heavily forested fjords, sun-tinged vineyards and picturesque volcanic peaks, Chile is simply awe-inspiring. Considering the sheer beauty of the countryside, it is not surprising that some of Latin America’s finest authors and intellectuals hail from Chile.

Chile is great for the ultimate adventure or a relaxing getaway and our team can design an unforgettable personalized journey to Chile that’s perfect for you. Here is a short menu of possibilities for a Chilean Custom Tour:

  • Visit Valparaíso
    Head to the notorious Jewel of the Pacific, where you will find hills covered in vibrantly colored buildings, an abundance of fresh seafood, and a peppy port nightlife.
  • Unearth Mysterious Ruins at Rapa Nui
    Catch a flight to Easter Island and marvel at the mysterious and massive monolithic Moai figures carved by native Rapa Nui islanders hundreds of years ago.
  • Spoil Yourself at San Pedro de Atacama’s Luxury Resorts
    Meander through arid moonscapes and admire the Atacama’s picturesque desert volcanoes from the spa on your private verandah.
Chile San Pedro de Atacama Lake

San Pedro de Atacama Lake

Our Favorite Experience

Catching a flight to the far north, and exploring the bizarre, otherworldly landscapes along the Bolivian border.

Our Favorite Lodge

Tierra Chiloé—Surrounded by remote mussel farms and fishing communities, this hidden eco-lodge gives you a true glimpse into a rarely seen region of Chile.

 


 

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Playa Grande Guanacaste

Playa Grande Guanacaste

An old friend and I once drove a Chevy Tracker South from Texas all the way through Central America to Costa Rica.Though it’s out of the “Andean Realm,” we fell in love with Tico-country and have spent many years exploring this beautiful stretch of tropical terrain ever since.

Nestled into Central America between Nicaragua and Panama, this small Central American country boasts steaming, highland hot springs, extraordinarily biodiverse tropical rainforests, and breathtaking beaches throughout the country’s 912 miles of coastline. The local ticos are notoriously warm and welcoming, and countless travelers have been captivated by their laid-back “pura vida” lifestyle.

I have personally lived in Costa Rica and have been all over the country—from the remote Osa Peninsula in the South to the peaks of the active volcanoes that encompass San Jose. Let us show you the off-the-beaten path gems that have yet to be discovered by swaths of tourists and design an itinerary for you to experience the best of Costa Rica.

  • Learn to Surf on the Pacific Coast
    Rent a board and paddle out to one of the countless legendary breaks along the Pacific Coast.
  • Raft in the Highlands
    Embark on a whitewater rafting excursion to a remote jungle lodge along the shores of the Rio Turrialba.
  • Zip through the Canopy of the Rainforest in Monteverde
    Cruise beside sloths and howler monkeys on one of the internationally acclaimed rainforest canopy tours.
Costa Rica Tortuguero Turtle

Tortuguero Turtle

Our Favorite Experience

Staying at an ecolodge near Corcovado National Park in the remote south, discovering flocks of scarlet macaws and pristine rainforest on the Osa Peninsula.

Our Favorite Lodge

Flor Blanca—A low-key series of cabañas nestled into the forest on Playa Santa Teresa, Flor Blanca is fit for celebrities and makes the best mojitos you’ll ever find.

 


 

Ecuador

Ecuador Highlands Laguna Quilotoa

Highlands Laguna Quilotoa

A mountainous country situated on a particularly seismic stretch of the Ring of Fire, Ecuador boasts an array of picture-perfect volcanoes that rise to astonishing heights. In fact, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo are the highest mountains in the world when measured from the core of the earth. Formerly a part of the vast Inca Empire, the ancestors of this great Andean civilization continue to thrive throughout the highlands. With archeological remains that have yet to be unearthed and Amazonian tribes that continue to evade contact with modern society, Ecuador is a cultural explorer’s dreamland.

Our experts have been to Ecuador and can weave together a world-class Custom Tour to the Galapagos or the Highlands (or both). We think Ecuador is one of the most underrated travel destinations in Latin America, and we’ve yet to send a traveler to Ecuador that disagrees. Though Ecuador is relatively small in size, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Here are a few of the many potential excursions we would love to arrange for you:

  • Luxury Cruises to the Galapagos
    Follow Charles Darwin’s famed voyage of the HMS Beagle to the Galapagos Islands, and observe the scores of endemic species that inhabit this isolated archipelago.
  • Quito City Tours
    Marvel at ornate colonial Spanish churches, monasteries, and mansions in Quito—Ecuador’s capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Amazon Eco-Tours
    Take a journey through the ancestral territory of the Huaorani to Yasuni National Park in the Amazon, and experience one of the most biodiverse places on earth.
Ecuador Cotopaxi from Quilotoa Loop

Cotopaxi from Quilotoa Loop

Our Favorite Experience

Venturing through rustic Kichwa villages on the Quilotoa Loop to a fabled emerald-blue crater lake nestled into the remote Andes.

Our Favorite Lodge

Black Sheep Inn—A humble abode with a splendid location in the lush green, volcanic highlands south of Quito, the Black Sheep Inn introduces guests to the authentic side of the highlands and is as environmentally sustainable of a lodge as you’ll find.

 

Whether it’s a trip to the Galapagos or a wine tour in Argentina, we apply the same mission when building custom tours as we do when planning our Patagonia Tours and Peru Small Group Expeditions: to craft an exceptional journey with seamless logistics, authentic experiences, and hand-picked luxury lodges that capture the traditional essence of its surroundings.If you would like to start planning your next Custom Tour to South America, you can call one of our travel experts at 1 888-996-3558 or email me personally at ryan@paragonexpeditions.com.