Latin America is a fascinating part of the world. The South American continent is indeed home to unique landscapes, mythical places and sites steeped in history on the same land. From the discovery of the history of pre-Columbian civilizations to the long hours spent strolling through splendid cities with colonial architecture and monuments of incredible beauty, there are many experiences awaiting travellers in search of authenticity and a total change of scenery. Not forgetting, of course, the beauty of the breathtaking natural sites, which are home to a very rich flora and fauna, and the extraordinary encounters with the local people. Here are 5 destinations in Latin America to be discovered via the Terra Group travel agency network, an interesting solution which in many ways is likely to meet the expectations of the most curious travellers.
A trip off the beaten track in Peru
Peru is one of the largest countries in Latin America. So it goes without saying that a stay in this special territory is the promise of fascinating discoveries. Cradle of the Incas, the country abounds in archaeological sites that reveal their secrets. And what about landscapes? A trip to Peru is an opportunity to step into a land of contrasts and offers a variety of experiences, from the snow-capped mountains of the Andes to the endless panoramas of sand dunes or the lush jungle of the Amazon. On a trip to Peru off the beaten track, however, you should not miss a stroll through Lima, where you should remember to look up from the wooden balconies, then go and see the inner garden of the church of Santo Domingo before heading to Barranco, the bohemian district par excellence. Street art and the facades of colonial houses dominate the Pacific. Another city to be included in an itinerary: Cuzco, a city perched at an altitude of almost 3,400 meters above sea level, in the heart of green mountains, and home to many architectural and historical wonders. Among the Inca sites to be scrutinized in every detail, we must go see the large complex of buildings and terraces called Choquequirao, which is reached after a trek in the splendid Apurimac canyon. This site is a very nice alternative to Machu Picchu, and much less crowded. Finally, how not to mention the incredible landscapes of the country, starting with the Cañón del Pato, formed by the two Cordilleras, the Black and the White, and the Santa River. There, we cross the 35 tunnels built in the rocky walls of the Black Cordillera and we take the time to observe the magnificent waterfalls. At another point in the tour, it is the Parón Lagoon that calls the travellers, just to see the turquoise waters of the lake in which the snowy peaks of the Cordillera Blanca are reflected
Go and see the Mayan treasures, the cities and landscapes of Guatemala, a small and still unknown country
Guatemala is the Mayan heart of Central America. This small country, still too unknown to travelers from all over the world, has dozens of sites to explore. The colonial city of Antigua, the bustling market town of Chichicastenango, and the beautiful lakes and volcanoes that make the country a unique destination. Let's not forget to add lush jungles and very affordable food. A trip to Guatemala is an experience that is a must. We start our itinerary in the beautiful city of Antigua, an open-air museum, with its many monasteries and convents and its many cobbled streets that reveal colorful houses of rare beauty and flowering patios. The city is surrounded by three volcanoes, which should not be missed on a hike, such as the Acatenango volcano, particularly splendid at sunrise. Another unmissable activity is sailing on the wonderful Lake Atitlan. One can observe the surrounding volcanoes before reaching the Mayan villages, which perpetuate markets and traditional festivals. It is then time to discover the incredible Mayan sites, such as the Tikal site built in the 4th century BC, whose buildings spring out of the tropical forest. And what about the beauty of the site of Motagua, a respected city during the Mayan classical period, and whose beautiful stelae call the eye. Finally, you can also enjoy the Caribbean atmosphere of Livingston, a village that can only be reached by boat and which is appreciated for its peaceful atmosphere and the mix of different cultures.
The discovery of a secret Colombia
Four times the size of France, Colombia is home to varied landscapes, magnificent cities and an incredibly rich culture. The country is not the most visited country on the continent, but it remains, for travellers who wish to venture there, one of the richest and most impressive countries in Latin America. In the discovery of a secret Colombia, one should not miss its most emblematic cities. We love Bogota for its cobbled streets, colourful colonial buildings and baroque churches. Cartagena is the other marvellous city, for the Las Bovidans district, its handicraft shops and colours, and the contrast with the modern district of Bocagrande, with its unique atmosphere. On the landscape side, a trip to Colombia is an opportunity to hike in the Tatamá National Park, a splendid mountainous area that is home to exceptional fauna and flora, climbing plants and a wide variety of parrots. Then, a horseback ride along the rivers of the Risaralda valley is a must, for its peacefulness and the beauty of the surrounding green nature. The greenery is also what characterizes an adventure in Trigana Bay, where you can also walk along very sparsely populated beaches. Sunny atmosphere, relaxation this time with an escapade in the Tayrona National Park, one of the pride of Colombia and Colombians. Tayrona is indeed heavenly beaches made of white sand, coconut palms and turquoise waters, the most famous of which is Cabo San Juan. There is also a preserved forest teeming with plant and animal species, a true paradise on Earth.
Costa Rica, the call of the wilderness
Costa Rica is the destination for nature lovers and ecotourism. Visiting beautiful national parks and nature reserves or engaging in a wide range of outdoor activities such as rafting or hiking at the foot of volcanoes, here is what awaits travellers seeking to discover a country that makes nature conservation a priority. After passing through the dynamic capital San José, it is time to set off to conquer the Poàs volcano, to see its three impressive craters. Then it's time for sport with a floating safari on the Rio San Carlos. Here, the jungle awaits travellers, with the possibility of encountering an exceptional fauna: crocodiles, monkeys, birds... The discovery of wildlife is a reason in itself to make a trip to Costa Rica. In the region of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, coatis, sloths, monkeys and tapirs are encountered, in addition to lush vegetation and the possibility of going to the Turrialba volcano. Once again it is time for a sensational activity with the rafting descent on the rapids of the Rio Pacuare. As you head towards the deep gorges, you should also keep your eyes open to see the wild animals that inhabit the surrounding area, including jaguars and beautiful colourful birds. Birds that can also be seen in the Corcovado National Park, which is home to red macaws and ferocious harps. On the marine side, you have to go to another national park, that of Marino Ballena, which surprises by the natural shape of the beach, in the shape of a whale tail. An incredible coincidence when you consider that humpback whales come to breed in the warm waters of this part of the country. Diving enthusiasts, Isla del Caño is the place to stop for a snorkel and to observe colourful fish, dolphins and manta rays that live side by side in a kind of underwater paradise.
Escapade in Nicaragua, in a country that is gradually reopening to tourism
Nicaragua is situated between the very popular Costa Rica and the lesser known Honduras. It's a destination where it's warm and sunny almost all year round. The population is also very friendly and there are plenty of activities to do, both for thrill seekers and nature lovers. Among the must-see cities, the capital, as a matter of course. Its historic district, its cathedral, are a must. Then it is in Léon that you must go and admire the architectural heritage, with churches of various styles. Museums are also numerous. And how can you not want to take the time to put your towel on the sand of the beaches of Poneloya and Las Peñitas? Before taking a horse-drawn carriage ride in the beautiful colonial city of Granada at another time, it is advisable to take a trip to the Miraflor Nature Reserve, renowned for its biodiversity. We then make a trek in a mountainous area that is home to more than 200 species of orchids, exotic flowers and where coffee is grown in some areas. Then, it's time for an adventurous walk towards the Mombacho volcano, made up of four volcanic craters, where you can observe sublime plants and a very rich fauna, especially its butterflies. Volcano lovers? Why not also plan a trip to Nicaragua and a hike to the Maderas of Omatepe? Its crater is occupied by a lake and the panorama offered on the surrounding nature, prone to good photo shoots. At the end of your stay, and to get a good dose of sunshine, you have to end up on Little Corn Island. This is where the sun and the beach are the only concerns, as is the sound of the waves in the Caribbean Sea. We then let ourselves go for a few hours of idleness, that we come to spice up by a snorkeling session to go and see the sea bed, or by a fishing session with the locals.