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Start off in Buenos Aires, South America’s liveliest city on the Argentina and Brazil tour. Take a walk past elegant French- and Italian-style mansions as well as down bright, ramshackle streets in the buzzy area of La Boca.
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Argentina is famous for its Malbec wines (perfect with the national dish of steak) but its climate also produces excellent whites. Torrentes is a grape unique to the country and has floral aromas and mineral tones – ideal for sipping on a warm afternoon. Stay on a traditional estancia (ranch) and watch the sun go down over the lush green fields.
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Buenos Aires is vibrant, energetic city but on a Rhythms of South America tour you’ll see the quieter side of life. You could go horse riding, learn to make empanadas or simply read a book and enjoy the peace. You’ll also learn about polo and, if you’re lucky, catch a game.
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The Iguazú Falls should be high up on your do-before-you-die list. Boardwalks on the Argentinian side allow you to get up close to feel its tremendous power. The falls are also home to over 400 species of birds, including the large Toco Toucan. The most well-known avian is the Great Dusky Swift; you’ll see them flying in huge flocks through the mist.
Perito Monero Glacier
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The 35-kilometre-long Perito Monero Glacier is one of the few glaciers in the world that is actually advancing rather than melting. An Explore Patagonia tour will take you across mirrored lakes and up into snow-tipped hills with superb views, including a mini trek onto the glacier itself.
Torres del Paine National Park
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Within Chilean Patagonia you’ll find the Torres del Paine National Park. Look out for the shy guanacos – an animal similar to a small camel but without the humps – and flamingos when you stop at Amarga Lagoon.
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Cuba has a vibrant music scene. Cities such as Havana and Santiago de Cuba have large Afro-Cuban population and Santiago de Cuba is the home of son music, a mix of Spanish guitar and African percussion. If you’ve ever wanted to learn salsa, this is the place to do it.
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A Cuba Highlights tour combines leisure, culture, coast and country, with local guides taking care of a small group of 12. You’ll be taken on a walking tour of the lovely Old Havana in the morning, have lunch at your leisure and can explore more in the afternoon. Don’t miss Plaza Vieja, Havana’s most architecturally diverse square that has its own microbrewery among many bars and restaurants.
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Havana’s streetscapes are decorated with many intricate mosaics. Check out Jaimanitas, a neighbourhood in north-west Havana – the homes and their surrounding walls were decorated when artist José Fuster opened his studio in the area and got to work.
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Trinidad is the most well conserved colonial city in Cuba. On a Cuba Highlights tour, one day is spent wandering the cobblestone streets to the sound of the old Chevrolets rumbling by.
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The fauna-spotting in the Galápagos Islands is second to none. On a Classic Galápagos – Southern Islands tour you’ll spend eight days on the comfortable Grand Queen Beatriz boat with plenty of swimming and snorkeling opportunities. Santa Cruz is the home to giant tortoises and land iguanas.
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On the eastern end of San Cristobál Island is Punta Pitt. Walk up the volcanic hill for incredible views of the golden beach and keep watch for sea lions and birds such as blue-footed and masked boobies and pelicans. The sparse vegetation makes it easier to see them.
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The marine iguana is only found on the Galápagos Islands and every island is home to lizards of different sizes, colours and shapes. Males have the ability to swim underwater in order to feaston seaweed and algae.
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The Galápagos sea lion lives only on these islands and off the coast of Ecuador. Sweet fact: a pup bonds with its mother in the first week of its life and develops a unique call so she can find it when she returns from hunting fish at sea.
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Pink iguanas were only recently recognised as a separate species to other types of land iguanas. There’s only around 200 left so spotting them on the slopes of Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island is a rare treat.
Mexico and Guatemala
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On a one-month Mexico, Guatemala and Beyond tour you’ll stop at Antigua in the Guatemalan Central Highlands. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre and is known for its Spanish-Baroque influenced architecture. There are plenty of markets, cafés and restaurants to check out on a free afternoon here.
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Venture deep into the Amazon by motorised canoe to your lodge on a Rhythms of South America tour. Each room at the lodge opens out onto the rainforest and, as there is no electricity in this remote part of the world, kerosene lamps light each room. Come dark, a local guide will lead you on a night walk through the jungle.
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If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet a friendly Peruvian alpaca in Cusco. Top attractions to visit during your stay here are the Coricancha temple, San Pedro market, the Plaza de Armas and the art-filled Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption.
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On a cruise around Lake Titicaca, you’ll stay for two nights on the island of Suasi but also stop by the floating Uros islands. The Uros constructed the islands by layering reeds to protect themselves from rival tribes in ancient times.
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A local guide will take you through the ruins of Machu Picchu and share stories of its history and the people of the region to deepen your understanding of this ancient site – though its true purpose remains a mystery. No matter how many photos you’ve seen, nothing will prepare you for Machu Picchu. On a one-day Inca trail trek, you’ll get incredible views of the ruin and also stop at Wiñay Wayna, which has an agricultural centre with numerous terraces, a religious sector and urban sector.