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The entire journey with Chimu Adventures was amazing! Our guides were great. The hotels were perfect. I couldn't think of going with any other travel company! - Ashharman
Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site, located 2,430m above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley.
Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site, located 2,430m above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley. It is the most famous of all Inca sites but it was not until 1911 that it was brought to the world’s attention by the American historian Hiram Bingham. The Incas abandoned the city just prior to Spanish colonisation meaning that the Spanish conquerors never had a chance to pillage the city. As a result the ruins are still in fantastic condition and given the location of the city – on a dramatic ridgeline surrounded by sheer cliffs and the Urubamba River on three sides – it truly is a remarkable place to visit. Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and in 2007 it was voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
With highlights such as the Valdez Peninsular, Moreno Glacier, Tierra Del Fuego, Torres Del Paine, El Chaten and the stunning Fjords of Chile, Patagonia is the perfect place to get up close and personal with nature.
With highlights such as the Valdez Peninsular, Moreno Glacier, Tierra Del Fuego, Torres Del Paine, El Chaten and the stunning Fjords of Chile, Patagonia is the perfect place to get up close and personal with nature. Landscapes change from semi arid plateaus to snow capped mountains ranges, stunning lakes, forests and volcanoes. An outdoor enthusiast’s Mecca, many people flock here to give their hiking boots a good work out. There is also horse riding, mountain biking, white-water rafting and skiing. However, you don’t have to have an adrenalin addiction to enjoy this stunning part of the world. Patagonia can also be enjoyed at a slower pace while staying in world class accommodation. Staring at the views, cruising the fjords, or visiting one of the many wineries are just some of the equally exciting but less exertive activities to be enjoyed here.
Many of the Galapagos’s unique animals exist in no other place on Earth. The Galapagos truly are a wonder that should not be missed.
A trip to South America would not be complete without including this phenomenal archipelago of islands to your itinerary. Many tourists visit Ecuador especially for the Galapagos. These volcanic islands, located 966 kilometers west of Ecuador’s Pacific coast, have never been connected to the South American continent. The flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands have developed in complete isolation, a fact that in many ways allowed Charles Darwin's to form his theory of evolution. Many of the Galapagos’s unique animals exist in no other place on Earth. The Galapagos truly are a wonder that should not be missed. Galapagos animals do not fear the proximity of man. Therefore you will be able to get right up close to these remarkable creatures – an experience not to be missed. It’s like stepping back in time… a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, snorkelers, divers, geologists and historians. If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to go here, you’ll remember the experience for the rest of your life. Daily flights are offered from both Quito and Guayaquil to Baltra, from where you will be transferred to your boat. The six most known islands are: San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Isabela and Floreana. Santiago and Fernandina are completely uninhabited. In addition there are further 12 smaller islands including Baltra and the uninhabited islands of Santa Fe, Pinzon, Espanola, Rabida, Daphne, Seymour, Genovesa, Marchena, Pinta, Darwin and Wolf as well as numerous other smaller islets spread throughout the archipelago. There are many different types of boat cruises on offer for touring the islands, from luxurious ships and catamarans to smaller yachts and motor-sailers. Itineraries range from 4 days to 15 days. Selecting the right cruise to suit your personal tastes will be crucial in affecting your overall experience. It’s important to take a good look at the description of the boat and each day of the itinerary to ensure that all your expectations are fulfilled. Most cruises operate on a 15 day / 14 night schedule, because National park regulations only allow operators to cruise for that period of time. These 15 days are then broken into shorter tour segments, which is why there are so many different options available. During that 15-day timeframe, a boat may not visit the same site twice, with the exception of the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. Regardless of the cruise you choose, all boats operate in a similar manner. The longest inter-island journeys are scheduled for during the nights. When you wake up the boat will already be anchored off the island you’ll be visiting that morning, maximising your exploration time. Every island visited will include a walk or hike (easy to intermediate), lasting from 1 to 3 hours. Your naturalist guide will lead you along clearly marked trails and give you fascinating information about each of the islands with its specific flora and fauna. Inflatable boats will allow you to visit many less-accessible places of interest such as estuaries, caves and coves and there will also be opportunities for snorkelling and diving - for those with a Diver’s Licence. If you are a diver, you will probably want to include one or more of the following sites on your itinerary: Darwin and Wolf Islands, Gordon Rocks (off Santa Cruz Island), Devil’s Crown (off Floreana Island), Cousin’s Rock (off Santiago Island) and Kicker Rock (off San Cristobal Island). When to Visit Galapagos Islands Galapagos climate is subtropical and dry, with comfortable temperatures year-round. The most recommended time to visit is between the months of January and June (the high season). It is generally warmer and sunnier during this time with higher ocean temperatures (of up to 23 degrees Celsius). The low season from July to November brings more clouds and mist, leading to possible light rains. From June, ocean temperatures can dip to as low as 15 degrees Celsius. For more detailed information on temperatures and wildlife observation month to month, as well as other more detailed touristic information, refer to our Chimu Galapagos Fact Sheet.
For those who wish to see some South American wildlife and get close to nature, a trip to Brazil would not be complete without a stay in the Pantanal.
For those who wish to see some South American wildlife and get close to nature, a trip to Brazil would not be complete without a stay in the Pantanal. As the largest tropical wetland area in the world, the Pantanal is sprawled over an area of nearly 200,000 square kilometres, and extends into neighbouring Paraguay and Bolivia. During the wet season, around 80% of the floodplains become submerged, attracting a biologically diverse range of plant and animal species. The Pantanal is actually considered to be the world’s densest flora and fauna ecosystem. The delta’s wide open wetland spaces make animal spotting a lot easier than in the neighbouring Amazon, offering great photographic opportunities. Additionally, the Pantanal is thought to be home to up to 1000 bird species, creating a paradise for bird watchers. When to Visit the Pantanal The Pantanal can be visited year-round, however seasonal variations are extreme. The wet season generally runs from November until March, with monsoonal rainfall causing extensive flooding. This can cause some roads to be impassable, however most Pantanal lodges stay option year-round despite this. These lodges provide suitable transfer vehicles that can deal with the terrain. February is the height of the rainy season. The best time for spotting wildlife is during the dry season (Apr-Oct), with bird watching at its best between July and September, and chances of spotting a jaguar highest in September-October.
Comprising two (domestic and international) terminals, Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport is Colombia’s busiest and the third most trafficked airport in all of Latin America. As the most convenient aviation gateway into the country, Bogota International Airport handles over 50 percent of the air traffic in and out of the country, with over 30 million people transiting through its gates …READ MORE
A fascinating icy wonderland home to some of the most iconic wildlife on earth, as well as imposing glaciers, dramatic fjords and breathtaking frozen horizons, Svalbard is the famed ‘last stop’ en route to the North Pole. An archipelago floating over 800km north of the Norwegian mainland, Svalbard is, quite literally, built on ice, and is as spellbinding as it …READ MORE
The largest rainforest on the planet, one sensational adventure: will it be lodge or river cruise for your unforgettable Amazon adventure? Planning a trip to the Amazon rainforest is one of the most coveted bucket-list adventures for those who travel anywhere in Latin America. Given the sheer size of this jungle haven (almost 7 million square kilometres) access points into …READ MORE
Kicking off a brand new year with a Latin American adventure is too good an idea to pass up. Global festive season notwithstanding, January is simply a superb month to visit some of the most iconic highlights in the whole continent. Not only to escape the freezing temperatures of the Northern Hemisphere but because NOW is when you’ll find the …READ MORE
Boasting a complex climatic system dictated by altitude, rather than latitude, Bolivia is, in some respects, a year-round destination. Having said that, the country does fall under the tropical rain season spell and, given the remoteness and lack of major infrastructure in its most revered spots, this can cause severe travel restrictions at certain times of year. Being such a …READ MORE
With a rich indigenous history dating back 4,000 years, Guatemala is one of the most enriching countries to visit in South America. Once an ancient hub for the Maya Empire and subsequent Spanish colony, the country has suffered tremendous blows throughout its existence thanks, primarily, to its precarious location locked between much more dominating countries. Forever a pawn and relentlessly …READ MORE
Discover the fascinating history of Belize, from Mayan stronghold to nature-lover’s paradise. Belize is often described as ‘Mother Nature’s best-kept secret’ and one of the world’s last untouched travel destinations, but it is often overlooked by mainstream tourism. Revered by avid SCUBA divers, Belize boasts the world’s second largest coral barrier reef. Beyond the tropical azure beauty, you will find …READ MORE
If you happen to be reading through all of our month-by-month best of’ guides, you’re probably seeking that sweet spot: that month of the year when everything, or at least the great majority of Latin American destinations, are at their best. Well…consider it found. Welcome to what we like to call…Awesome April! April marks the start of autumn in the …READ MORE
Travelling to Antarctica is an expensive endeavor. Given its location, there is no way you can get there without spending a significant amount of money. One of the cheapest options available, though, is to take an Antarctica overflight, which depart each year out of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Such trips are certainly convenient, but are they worthwhile? Antarctica Flights These flights are taken …READ MORE
It’s quite astonishing to imagine a small island of only 11 million people could elicit such extraordinary images by the mere mention of its name. Cuba, a country synonymous with revolution, resistance, socialism, rum and cigars, is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world. Despite the recent easing (and not) of tensions with the USA, its archenemy for …READ MORE
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Unsurprisingly it’s something I’m often asked – where should I go and how should I travel to South America? I guess the answer can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like. What I mean by that is that people like to approach their travel planning in different ways and so I’m going to provide a range of answers …READ MORE
The Top UNESCO-listed Attractions in South America are a spellbinding collection of historical, cultural and natural wonders. Combined, they represent all that is so revered about this continent: from the amazing wilderness brimming with unique wildlife to all the ancient cultures that have shaped human evolution on our planet. Include a few or all on your next South America journey …READ MORE
South America has a lot in common with Europe, which dates back to the colonial era in the 15th century. There are some great stories and there is so much to explore in South America, while many people don’t know too much about the history. Read some of the quirky stories Chad Carey (Co-founder of Chimu Adventures) tells about the …READ MORE
Packing the right clothing for a cross-continental jaunt through South America is arguably one of the most daunting tasks you’ll face. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy Seasonal Dressing Guide for South America. Because figuring out what you should pack, what you should ditch, and what you should definitely not leave home without, can be mighty confusing to the uninitiated. Whether …READ MORE
It’s hard to cover every nook and cranny when you are travelling to one of the largest continents on the planet, that’s why we’ve put together a list of must see destinations in South America. A vast place with ecosystems ranging from the driest desert in the world, to snow-capped peaks to the might Amazon river. Must see destinations in …READ MORE
The wildlife in South America is arguably the most varied on the entire planet. If not for culture and historical highlights alone, then at the very least for breathtaking nature and an array of utterly unique wildlife. The land of glaciers and tropical rainforests, vertiginous mountains and outstanding beaches, is home to a kaleidoscope of endemic wildlife. Most of it …READ MORE
Each country has its own currency with US Dollars being readily exchangeable throughout most of South America and accepted in many large hotels, top-end restaurants, supermarkets and major stores. Argentina - Argentinian Peso (ARS) Bolivia - Boliviano (BOB) Brazil - Brazilian Real (BRL) Chile - Chilean Peso (CLP) Colombia - Colombian Peso (COP) Ecuador - US Dollar (USD) French Guiana - Euro (EUR) Guyana - Guyana Dollar (GYD) Peru - Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) Suriname - Suriname Dollar (SRD) Uruguay - Uruguayan Peso (UYU) Venezuela - Bolivar (VEF) Please check websites such as www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for up to date exchange rates prior to your departure.
Portuguese and Spanish are the primary languages of South America. The majority of South Americans speak Portuguese but most South American countries are Spanish-speaking. English is spoken in Guyana, Dutch and Indonesian in Suriname and French in French Guiana.
Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion in South America. In the Andes and lowland South America, shamanism and animism are common.
The level of fitness needed will depend on the South America tour that you choose to take in terms of countries to be visited and the types of activities to be included in your itinerary. Many parts of South America are at altitudes above 2000 metres, where there is a risk of altitude sickness. Altitude sickness effects everyone differently and usually has nothing to do with your general fitness level, but we highly recommend acclimatizing at altitude before taking strenuous treks or walks.
Most South American countries have now recognized that tourism plays an important part in their economies and governments have taken great steps in the last few years to change South America’s poor security image. You will find a strong police presence in the towns, cities and sites most frequently visited by tourists. To minimise security risks we recommend the following: - do not show any outward signs of wealth or wear expensive jewellery - keep your valuables in your hotel in safety deposit boxes - keep any valuables that you must carry with you hidden, as pickpockets can be present in crowded areas and around tourist areas - use only taxis with official identification - avoid going on your own to remote areas/ruins where tourists would not be expected to go - always keep your day pack and camera close to you and never leave them unattended
Visas are required by some nationalities for travel to certain South American countries. Please refer to the detailed information on the specific countries that you plan to travel through for visa requirements.
You could spend anything from a few days to several months travelling in South America, depending on whether you plan to focus on just one country, or maybe just one experience such as the Inca Trail. Or whether you plan to encompass several countries in your South America travels. Chimu Adventures offers itineraries to suit every time frame.
South America can vary greatly in terms of prices in each country. Our South America tours include breakfast daily and many other meals may also be included in your itinerary. As a rough guide for additional spending money based on having moderately-priced lunches and dinners and buying a few souvenirs at local markets, we suggest the following budgets: 15-25 USD per day - Bolivia 20-30 USD per day - Peru, Ecuador, Colombia 25-35 USD per day - Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela 30-40 USD per day - Chile 35-45 USD per day - Brazil 30-50 USD per day - The Guianas
We recommend that you visit your doctor or a traveller’s medical centre for current information specific to those countries that you will be travelling through. As a general guide we recommend the following: - Yellow Fever – Especially for jungle areas - Hepatitis – Both A and B (twinrix) - Typhoid - Diphtheria - Cholera - Rabies - Tetanus
Most countries in South America use the European style outlet which contains 110v. Please visit the below link for more information on each country: http://electricaloutlet.org/
What you need to pack will depend on when and where you plan on travelling and on the activities that you plan to include whilst on your South America tour. The following should act as a useful checklist of essential items: • Passport, photocopy of passport & spare passport photos • Travel Insurance documents • Air tickets and itinerary • Foreign Currency (US$) and/or debit/credit cards, traveller’s cheques • Money belt • Small daypack • Basic first aid kit • High UVA sun block • Sunglasses & sunhat • Mosquito spray & insect repellent • Comfortable walking shoes/boots • Sandals • Long sleeve tops and trousers • Light-weight clothing • Warm clothing (depending on itinerary and time of year) • Camera with spare battery and memory cards • Security code padlock • Adaptor • Small torch