From the crumbling colonial facades of Cuba to the top of Macchu Picchu, there’s nowhere more alive and colourful than South America. A continent brimming with sheer diversity, this is where the enchantingly old and starkly new meet head-on, soaring city skylines peter out into pristine wilderness, and intriguing cultures and lively celebrations inject a certain verve and vigour that's undeniably contagious. Here's just a taste of what this sprawling continent has to offer.
British Virgin Islands
The only way to see the British Virgin Islands is to sail them! Okay, so that’s not completely true – but it’s certainly one of the best ways to take in the sheer beauty of it all. A beautiful, laidback and low-key Caribbean hotspot, you certainly won’t be the only one hoisting up the sales here (or else kicking back in a sun chair while somebody else does). This is a playground for the rich and famous and it’s one of the most popular sailing destinations on the planet. Glide into secluded bays touting white sands and shimmering waters, discover rugged atolls that are completely deserted and jump off to explore everything from ancient ruins to beautiful national parks. If seclusion isn’t your thing, there’s no shortage of fancy yacht clubs, thriving nightlife hubs and upmarket accommodation to keep your batteries (and your phones) charged between stops.
See the British Virgin Islands with G Adventures’ Sailing the British Virgin Islands tour.
Coffee, soccer and samba... three things you’re bound to encounter in Brazil – and which you absolutely must for a true encounter with the effervescent Brazilian way of life. Hit the dance clubs, restaurants and famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro – including the famous Copacabana – and experience the museums and theatres of Sao Paulo before retreating into the wilderness. Glide down remote stretches of the Amazon, spot animals in the Pantanal wetlands and witness the mighty Iguassu Falls tumbling down on the border with Argentina. From the electric dance clubs that pump out beats till daylight to the dazzling costumes and hip-shakin’ moves of the colourful Rio Carnival, Brazil is hard to top.
See Brazil on G Adventures’ Wonders of Brazil tour.
Cuba has been the Caribbean queen hot on the lips of many travellers of late. For years keen travellers have pined to experience Cuba before it “changes”, but there's no doubt that now that statement has never been truer. Wander the streets lined by gorgeous classic cars and crumbling colonial facades, dance the night away to salsa beats and immerse yourself in the tales of Che Guevara told time and time again. From the beautiful beaches to the cobblestone streets of Trinidad, the cigar factories to the lush landscapes of the Vinales Valley, and the ancient forts to the unique fusion on offer in Santiago de Cuba, this curious island nation always has a few tricks up its sleeve that you simply could have never expected.
See Cuba with G Adventures’ Cuba Explorer or Cuba Colonial tours.
The home of legendary Bob Marley, Jamaica goes beyond smooth reggae beats, dreadlocks, white-sand beaches and delicious spiced rum. Step outside the-all inclusive resorts to discover the vibrant Jamaican way of life, but yet still, the permanent relaxed state that infuses the island from top to bottom. Once you’ve seen your fair share of Bob Marley tribute shows, trawled through the Bob Marley Museum and the Appleton Estates rum distillery, don’t miss your chance to discover pirate lore dotted across iconic Kingston, join a coffee plantation tour or drumming lesson, and browse the colourful markets spruiking unique locally-made buys. Away from the chilled Jamaican bustle, the crystal clear waters are just as perfect for snorkelling as the waterfalls are for jumping in to explore.
See Jamaica with G Adventures’ Jamaica Encompassed.
Did you know Mexico has its own mysterious pyramids? Teotihuacan isn’t the only hidden gem lurking amongst the melange of ancient ruins, modern tequila farms, spectacular beaches and culture-laden villages and cities here. From the barren desert dotted with cactus that creeps up to the US border to the dense green jungle that envelopes the far south, diversity has never been more eager to impress. Of course, by city standards, this peaks in Mexico City, the heaving hub of it all, which claims a population large enough to rival entire countries – including Australia. But beyond the capital’s glistening gold shops, art galleries and museums, Mexico’s other centres tout beautiful colonial churches, colourful market shopping, nightlife and, of course, tasty (and often chilli-smothered) Mexican cuisine.
See Mexico on G Adventures’ Mexico Food and Culture tour.