April 14, 2013 by Guest Author
Filed under Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cycling, Eating and drinking, Fishing, Guest post, Leisure, Misc, Nature, Sightseeing, South America, Spa & Pampering, Walking, World
When it comes to appreciating the great outdoors, there are a multitude of destinations around the world which fit the bill, however, nowhere does it in quite as much style as Argentina. There’s a huge amount to see in this vast country, from waterfalls to wildlife, city streets to gaucho ranches, wine estates to stunning beaches. Here’s a low-down on the very best places for adventure in Argentina.
For some adventurous souls, Argentina’s southern state of Patagonia is the jumping off point for cruises to Antarctica. But there’s a lot more to this beautiful wilderness. Try heading down to the Los Glaciares National Park – filled with lakes, mountains and quaint local townships – for great treks and ice-walking. Crampon your way up the awe-inspiring Perito Moreno glacier and watch as huge blocks of ice falls away into the ocean as the glacier slowly advances into the water.
The Valdes Peninsula
It’s all about the wildlife in the Valdes Peninsula. Go offshore for some staggering whale-watching and feel the thrill as a humpback whale swims beneath your boat. A tour will also introduce you to some of the other residents of the area: orcas, dolphins, penguins, elephant seals and sea lions.
The kind of adventure on offer in Argentina is more of a gastronomic kind. Indulge in tours of the various wineries and dine at the indulgent in-house cafes and restaurants. Back in town, you can wander through the colonial plazas and leafy streets for a relaxing few days of fun.
The Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls is a sight to behold. From the Argentinian side of the falls you can thread your way above, below and through the waters and surrounding jungle on brilliantly designed wooden walkways. Because of this, it is sometimes said that ‘from the Brazilian side you see the falls, and from the Argentinian side you live them’. For a real taste of adventure, take a motorboat up to the very edge of the falling water – be deafened and drenched by the longest stretch of cascading water in the world!
If you’re a huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ kinda gal or guy, you might want to try your hand at dove shooting. Cordoba – Argentina’s second largest city – is one of the best places in the world for this sport. Stay on a ranch for the ultimate experiences and trek, cycle or horse-ride up into the surrounding hills for magnificent views and a lungful of fresh air.
The Lake District
From the city of Bariloche travelers can explore the snow-capped Andes and lakes of this stunning part of the country. There’s plenty of hiking, fishing, golf and horse riding on offer in the area, as well as some glorious spas and luxury hotels. Particularly adventurous types might want to attempt the lake crossing from Bariloche across into Chile – but only if you don’t mind leaving Argentina behind!
This article was brought to you by the luxury travel experts at Exsus, specialists in arranging luxury, bespoke holidays in South and Central America as well as other adventurous destinations around the world.
Photo credits: Perito Moreno by Matito, Peninsula Valdes by Berlotti, Peatonal by betta design, Iguazu Falls by Malingering, Dos Lunas Estancia by longhorndave, and San Carlos de Bariloche by Miradas.com.br.
More tales from South America
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In Costa Rica you’ll find an unforgettable experience awaiting you at Manuel Antonio, home to the world famous National Park that provides the locals and tourists with breath taking views and is home to many different species of wildlife. Here, you can take a walking tour and allow a guide to advise you how to spot the monkeys, a sloth or aqua life like crabs and turtles.
Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica
The National Park is also home to four beautiful beaches where you can take a stroll and embrace the views and ambience, but they also let you take a rest and soak up the sun rays. Or why not try your hand at surfing or windsurfing in Lake Arenal where the waters are always balmy allowing wind speeds to enhance your experience.
If a more action packed holiday is your thing, enjoy the exciting practice of white water rafting or on the other hand just take a trip to the hot springs situated in the volcanic land where relaxation is definitely on the agenda. If you wanted to go one step further try a relaxing massage to let your tensions drift away.
Unusual accommodation in Manuel Antonio
Afraid of flying? Or maybe you can’t get enough of it! Either way, Costa Verde hotel , Manuel Antonio,Costa Rica offers an unusual yet luxurious accommodation for its visitors. Say Hello to the Boeing 727 fuselage suite:
Compared to the other deluxe accommodations in Costa Rica the Boeing 727 allows you to experience your visit to Costa Rica in a stylish yet unusual way. The spectacular Boeing 727 fuselage suite includes a vintage 1965 Boeing 727 airframe. What’s so positive about being up so high? The stunning views of the Costa Rican beaches reminding you of the paradise you are staying in.
So how do you get to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for this fascinating experience?
Of course, you can fly to the capital of Costa Rica, San José as this will be very easy to travel from. Or some people decide to take city breaks in Mexico and decide to incorporate a short trip to Costa Rica into their holiday. It’s entirely up to you however, well worth investigating and well worth a visit!
More things to enjoy in South America
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This guest post by Paul Joseph takes us on an Amazon adventure from Manaus in Brazil to meet indigenous communities, wrestle with alligators and fish piranha for supper.
To us western, city-dwelling types, the Amazon Jungle holds something of a mythical, other-worldly, untouchable fascination. It conjures images of an exotic wilderness, an immovable living organism whose evolution remains invisible to the human eye.
Of course, the reality is that this vast, 1.7 billion acre stretch of broadleaf forestry is far from untouchable, or indeed untouched.
For decades environmentalists warned of the effects of Amazon deforestation on the global biosphere. In recent years there has been a shift in focus from human destruction towards human output, reducing the Amazon to a faint glimmer on the public consciousness.
The simple fact is that the Amazon doesn’t make headlines anymore. The Big Jungle has lost its cache amid the moral panic surrounding carbon footprints and wind turbines.
But to me, it is still a fascinating place. Every since I saw a documentary about South America as a child, everything about the Amazon – from its incomprehensible scale to its myriad of wildlife – has captivated me. I vowed to visit one day, but it was not until last year that I finally made good on my internal pledge.
From Rio de Janeiro, my travelling buddy and I flew to the city of Manaus, located towards the north west corner of Brazil. Itself boasting an intriguing history of lucrative rubber trading, Manaus is now the most popular jumping-off point for trips into the Amazon.
Across the city there are hundreds of tour companies vying for your custom, each promising the most authentic, value-for-money trip of them all. We opted for Iguana tours, who offered a 3 night stay in a Jungle lodge. The attraction of this tour was that it would take us deep enough into the forest to meet indigenous communities.
There is, of course, an ethical sensitivity when it comes to treading onto the territory of native folk. In a sense it is little different to walking into someone’s front garden uninvited. After all, the jungle is home to these people. It is where they live, work and breath. They feed off their environment – quite literally – and we outsiders have a moral responsibility to treat their life-blood with respect and care.
Our concerns were assuaged by the tour company who took us through the benefits to the local communities derived from tourism. An impressive 80% of tour guides were born in the jungle, and a portion of their wages inevitably trickles down to relatives who remain there.
Another factor we learnt about was the effects of government legislation. Tourism is hugely important to the Amazonian region of Brazil, and to encourage visitors there has been a clamp down on the ‘wild west’ style rules of law that once saw crime proliferate across the jungle.
And so it was time to begin our trip. Typically, the negative but unavoidable consequence of mass-tourism is that it creates an artificial environment – almost like a film-set where the main protagonists subconsciously begin to fulfil the role that is expected of them.
Happily, I can report that the Amazon has largely avoided this fate. The journey into the jungle from Manaus, by coach and then boat, is refreshingly free of commercial enterprise. Tourists are treated with the deference of customers, but never as walking bank notes.
Once settled in our lodge (there were eight of us on the excursion), we were given a detailed itinerary by our tour guide, a British Guyana-born gentleman who could climb trees with the same ease with which we walk down the street. First up would be alligator hunting by night – the best time for such an activity as the creatures’ green eyes can be spotted far easier in the dark.
This was an incredible experience. We were all invited to attempt to grab a baby alligator from the waters and bring it into the boat. This involved laying on your belly at the front of the craft with your hand ready to pounce as soon as you saw those green eyes. Unsurprisingly, only two of us took him up on his offer. I’d love to say I was one of them, but it would be a bare-faced lie, though I did hold one for a photo opportunity.
Then came the pièce de résistance. From the bowels of the boat, the tour guide brought out a large contraption that looked like it was designed to capture a large animal. And that’s precisely what it was. Our man then set his sights on finding a big’un, and it didn’t take him long. He thrust his device into the murky waters and after 60 seconds of grappling, he eased a six-foot alligator into our boat with its neck safely (we hoped) in his grasp.
The ‘gater kindly posed for photos before being unleashed back into its habitat. Magical stuff. And with that we returned to our lodge for a dinner cooked by on-site staff. We were warned, however, that the following day we’d be providing the food.
At first we weren’t quite sure what this would entail – all we knew is that the next day we were going fishing. Piranha fishing, to be precise. Can you eat piranha fish? Apparently so.
We boarded our aquatic transport once more and headed into piranha territory. I’d never gone fishing before, but enjoyed it immensely. I caught three fish, and as a group we totalled something like 20, and we returned home safe in the knowledge that no-one would be going hungry that night.
But before dinner it was time for a mini jungle trek, probably about 4km in total. Despite the sun having done down, the heat was almost unbearable, but the magic of the jungle meant we simply couldn’t turn back. During our walk we were shown how to extract and produce rubber from trees, and were also shown braches that contained water – a useful survival tip!
The following day, it was time to meet the locals. We were taken to a large village containing mud-huts and a church. The most striking thing was the size of every family – each one was at least six-strong. We were shown how they prepare their meals, using giant-sized wok-type apparatus and a food-stuff that resembled cous-cous. They were open to being photographed, and indeed seemed to revel in it. We asked questions via our multi-lingual tour guide and discovered that the families have little interest in leaving the jungle to experience a city life. For them, the jungle is life, and to depart would be an act of disloyalty.
And with that it was back to the lodge to pack up our stuff for our return to civilisation (as we know it). The Amazon had met all my expectations, and I would heartily recommend a visit to anyone.
Paul Joseph is a London-based writer and author. He has travelled extensively across North and South America, Israel and Europe. He is currently penning a nostalgic book on his home city called “Vanishing London”. He also works for diyflights.com, where users can compare flights to get the best deal.