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A colorful architectural jumble of old clapboard houses and crumbling mansions, the captivating port town of Valparaíso comprises Chile’s cultural core. A UNESCO-protected gem of a city, the hodgepodge of hills and rickety cable cars here make for fascinating ambles, but “Valpo” may very well be South America’s most underrated locale. In the midst of a tourism renaissance, a bevy of happening little eateries, hotels, and boutiques have been cropping up about town. Recently back from a five-night stay there, I’m fresh off the ground with some of the best value recommendations for sleeping, eating, and taking it all in. Read more
There’s a reason we love to visit the wine country: The closer you are to the source of what’s swirling in your glass, it seems, the more you appreciate that cabernet or chardonnay. But if driving from tasting room to tasting room isn’t quite your style, consider sampling wine Chilean-style, perhaps with lunch in a hundred-year-old estancia or in a sunny garden with cheese made onsite. Even better, Chile’s long, thin profile means that you can go from wine tasting to sitting on the beach, scaling the Andes, or exploring colonial-era cities in a single day.
Chile’s wine country stretches for hundreds of miles, but producers in the central part of the country are less remote and offer easy access to Santiago’s modern airport and Valparaiso’s hill-strewn landscape. Steeped in the kind of gritty chic that arrives with the leading edge of a comeback, this seaport city is now filled with brightly painted frescos on nearly every surface, funky galleries and shops and tiny food-centric restaurants. Quirky funiculars ferry passengers up and down the urban Matterhorns that divide the city into San Francisco-like neighborhoods studded with mansions built by 19th-century industrialists.
I am getting married in January of 2012, and I am looking for a honeymoon spot for me and my fiancé in Central or South America. We are really adventurous and are looking for an all-inclusive place to stay for the first half of the week; then we’d like to do some exploring to get the real feel for the city and country that we are in. I thought I would ask you for suggestions since you guys are the travel experts. Are there any trips that some of the employees have gone on and loved?
My recommendation: Split your time between Santiago, Chile’s capital, and San Pedro de Atacama, an off-the-grid desert oasis set about 8,000 feet above sea level and perfectly positioned for romance.
For years, National Geographic has inspired readers of its popular glossy magazine to journey to exotic lands, with its stunning images and first-rate travel experts. Now, in a move that’s a natural extension of its work over the years, Nat Geo has finally joined the ranks of adventure travel outfitters.
The Society has recently announced its aptly named National Geographic Adventures, which are sure to spike the adrenaline of any adventure traveler. They feature 11 unique itineraries that will combine cultural and physical activity among some of the most incredible landscapes on the planet, from hiking in Patagonia (photo above courtesy of Flickr/Rick McCharles) to horseback riding across Mongolia to kayaking into Alaska’s sea wilderness with bears, whales, and otters.
Each itinerary has been crafted with the input of an esteemed Nat Geo expert, ensuring an experience as rich in history and culture as it is in adventure. Trips are designated with an activity level rating from easy to strenuous, with an “ultimate challenge” option available. Guests will stay in accommodations ranging from quaint mountain lodges and inns to luxury tents; the maximum group size is just 16 to ensure an optimum experience. Read more
In 2011, follow through with your New Year’s resolution to travel more by making that elusive South America vacation a reality. LAN Airlines has announced a fare sale to South America that includes Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay, with round-trip rates starting from $399! Best of all, these fares from select U.S. cities are valid between January 1 and December 31, 2011, so whether you’re trying to exchange the winter blues for a dose of summertime in the Southern Hemisphere, or you’re planning a vacation well into next year, these rates will be your best friend. Flights must be booked by December 15, 2010.
Sample Round-Trip Fares to South America (Excluding Taxes):
• Miami?Quito, Ecuador: $399
• New York?Guayaquil, Ecuador: $429
• Los Angeles?Lima, Peru: $599
• New York?Lima, Peru: $599
• San Francisco?Sao Paolo, Brazil: $799
• Miami?Buenos Aires, Argentina: $899
• And more!
THE VALUE: These fares are an average of $150 off competitor’s rates!
THE CATCH: Blackout dates apply during portions of July, August, and December. Taxes and fees not included.
THE DETAILS: To book your flight, visit www.LAN.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to help find a hotel to complete your vacation!
Use our South America Travel Guide to find the perfect destination.
If you need any extra incentive to add a dash of adrenaline to your next trip, consider this: Americans came in dead last in a recent survey designed to gauge travelers’ taste for adventure, behind Kiwis, Canadians, Australians and Brits (in order of most to least adventurous).
The survey, done by adventure travel specialist Intrepid Travel, asked 1,000 respondents from five countries to reveal how likely they were to try a variety of travel experiences. The “intrepid” survey choices included eating a deep fried tarantula, sleeping in village hut, going on safari, haggling at local markets and exploring ancient ruins.
Of course, surveys like this should be taken with a grain of salt, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t consider haggling in a local market or traipsing around ancient ruins all that intrepid (though yes, eating a hairy arachnid, deep-fried or not, would certainly earn you that honor in my book). But the survey did provoke a fun trip down memory lane to some of my most exciting – and, therefore, cherished – travel moments. Here are a few: Read more
Even with newfangled GPS gadgetry out there in increasing numbers, a good, old-fashioned map remains a staple for any self-respecting adventure traveler.
To that end, the National Geographic Society, the gold-standard source for maps for nearly a century, recently announced plans to expand its AdventureMaps line. The expansion will bring travelers a slew of new options for finding their way in increasingly popular adventure destinations such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Thailand. Countries and cities in Africa, the Middle East, South America, Asia, and Europe are also on deck for a total of 60 new destinations by the end of 2012, and 30 more by summer of next year.
Flights to South America can be lengthy – and often pricey. LAN’s new sale solves both these problems by offering the comfort of business-class seats for as little as $899 (round-trip). That’s less than the cost of most economy rates! Flights are available to Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Argentina from major U.S. cities like Miami, Boston, New York, Chicago, and more. Plus, to make this offer even sweeter, the airline is tossing in a free domestic flight within South America in economy class – saving hundreds of dollars on your connecting flight. This offer expires September 29.
THE VALUE: An average to ticket to South America will easily set you back around $500 to $1,500 or more in economy class, and $1,200 to $5,000 for business-class tickets (depending on the route). Factor in $100 to $300 for a round-trip flight within South America (which you’ll receive with your business-class purchase) and the savings quickly add up.
THE CATCH: The lowest fares are found from Miami, but you’ll still enjoy significant savings from other cities, too.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.lan.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find great rates on airfare.
Check out our South America Travel Guide for ideas and advice when planning your trip.
LAN Airlines has announced a new sale on round-trip fares from eight U.S. cities to cultural hotspots in South America. Fares start as low as $399 on flights from Miami to Lima, Peru, but there are plenty of other exciting destinations, including, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; and Montevideo, Uruguay that are reduced up to 30 percent. Whether an exotic beach in Uruguay, the glaciers of Patagonia, or a bustling Latin American metropolis, these rock-bottom rates will get you to those tantalizing, far-off locales. Tickets must be purchased before April 5 and the offer is valid for travel through June 15.
In addition, LAN Airlines has announced nonstop service from San Francisco to Lima beginning in July 2010, making it the only nonstop service from San Francisco to South America. Visit www.LAN.com for more information.
Sample Fares (Round-Trip, Excluding Taxes):
• Miami–Lima, Peru: $399
• San Francisco–Lima, Peru: $599
• New York–Buenos Aires: $799
• Los Angeles–Montevideo, Uruguay: $799
• New York–Santiago, Chile: $899
• And more!
To book your flight visit www.LAN.com
Just a week after Mother Nature unleashed a whopping 8.8-magnitude tremor onto south-central Chile (one of the largest ever recorded), leaving nearly 800 dead, thousands more homeless, and entire cities in the Maule region, like Concepcion, without electricity or running water, the country is functioning and open to tourists. Despite continuing aftershocks, Turismo Chile announced that most of the country’s major tourist attractions – Patagonia, the Atacama Desert, Easter Island – remain accessible, having escaped with little or no damage, and many hotels, even in affected areas like Santiago, continue to operate with only minor interruptions. Read more
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