South America is the kind of destination that fulfils all of your travel dreams. It has massive mountains, some of the oldest cultural sites in the world, vibrant, colourful crafts, incredible culinary traditions, and charming – yet crumbling – city centres. Peregrine and Intrepid can take you to four of South America’s most arresting destinations for a truly unique and intimate experience. The journey begins long before you touch down, however. Set off in comfort with Air New Zealand, flying to South America via Auckland, and the welcoming Kiwi hospitality will take you all the way there.
If the Galapagos are not on your bucket list, they should be. These incredibly exotic islands are one of the most unique archipelagos in the world. In April you can see sea turtles and iguanas nesting, in June, humpback whales and whale sharks move through, in July sea lions are mating, in September the sea lion pups are quite a sight, October blue footed booby chicks run about, in November green sea turtles mate and the whale sharks are back. In other words, whenever you visit, you’ll be blown away by the wildlife encounters you can have. Travelling with Peregrine or Intrepid you can experience the fragile ecosystems of the islands while helping to fund preservation projects run by the Charles Darwin Foundation. The foundation works with the Ecuadorian government to research, preserve and rebuild fragile and lost ecosystems in the islands, like the captive breeding of tortoises and iguanas, and the inclusion of the Galapagos as a World Heritage site.
Overshadowed by the more famous Inca Trail, this trail also leads you to Machu Picchu, but without one key thing: the crowds. There are as many as 500 trekkers on the Inca trail at any one time, meaning you’re never alone to enjoy the local way of life or the surrounding landscape. On the Quarry Trail, you’re usually in a smaller group of around 10 or less, and are often the only hikers on the trail, setting you up for more local interactions, and a more intimate experience. Intrepid and Peregrine work closely with Living Heart, a foundation that runs educational programs for the Andean people of Peru’s Sacred Valley, as well as nutrition and sustainable farming practices for the Valley’s poor and disadvantaged Indigenous population. What’s more, Intrepid is the only company that visits the Quarry Trail too, so you know you’re getting as unique an experience as they come.
Yet another incredible ecosystem unmatched anywhere else on the planet, the Amazon is a vast rainforest where tarantulas and frogs live in harmony in one web, where howler monkeys wail a wakeup call as the sun breaks the horizon, and where caimans (a kind of alligator) live in families on the edges of muddy pools, disinterested in passing humans. Experience the Amazon with Peregrine and you get to experience an ecosystem millions of years old, the most unexpected of wildlife, and languages and cultures that have remained unchanged for centuries. In the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon, for example, guests stay in a traditional lodge, operated by 170 local families rather than a business enterprise. The lodge provides this community with an income, as well as a school for the preservation of their ancient language and customs.
Beyond Buenos Aires and Santiago to the south lie the intimidating mountain landscapes of Patagonia, like nothing you’ve ever seen before. This remote region is home to myriad snow-capped peaks, rocky outcrops, vast steppes and imposing glaciers, where vibrant cultures and culinary traditions thrive. With Peregrine, experiencing Patagonia means you get equal doses of adventure and comfort. Explore winding rivers and wooded valleys, learn about the growing microbrewery industry and snap photos of mirrored lakes that look more like a painting than real life. Then discover the breathtaking Torres del Paine glaciers, including the monstrous 35-kilometre long Perito Merino Glacier, one of the few in the world that is advancing rather than melting away. And you’ll experience all of this with a side of heart-warming local culture and hot chocolate.
Fly with Air New Zealand to South America and jump on a Peregrine or Intrepid adventure. Talk to your local Escape Travel Tailor Made Holiday Specialist today, or call 1300 273 482.