I first got the Latin America travel bug as a backpacker, spending six months before university getting myself overland from Ecuador all the way down to Ushuaia in southernmost Argentina taking in just about everything in between. When both time and money ran short a 36 hour bus journey from Tierra del Fuego to Buenos Aires did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for the continent, but did teach me a valuable lesson about planning trips!
Having studied Spanish at University I then managed to negotiate a stint in one of my favourite cities of South America, La Paz in Bolivia. Here I worked as a magazine editor out of the world's highest capital. In the name of 'research' I travelled the country extensively including an in-depth look at the Bolivian wine industry, before an essential detour to Salta and Mendoza in Argentina just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything! Through my work in the travel industry I have enjoyed frequent further travels to Latin America, and getting off the beaten track to some of the lesser known areas remains the thing that I find most interesting. Highlights for me include the north of Peru and visits to the Kuelap ruins and Gocta waterfalls, as well as down in the south taking on the Choquequirao Trek, a really challenging and rewarding alternative to the traditional Inca Trail.
My top advice when planning a trip is to give yourself plenty of time in each destination, and don’t try to squeeze too much in! Finding the balance between an adventure and a holiday is always difficult, but spending an extra day here and there enables you to really get to know a country and a specific area, and means you can do and see things that others might miss. My favourite example is the Los Fosiles Trek from Estancia Cristina close to El Calafate in southern Argentina. Where most fly in and fly out for Perito Moreno day trips, those with the luxury of an extra day have time to do this stunning walk with breath-taking views of the Upsala glacier and surrounding Patagonian landscapes.
Costa Rica is one of the best destinations in Latin America for families, with a huge range of things to do and see for all ages and interests. Travel around the country is easy and hassle free, whilst wildlife is abundant and most importantly, easy to spot! For the adventurous, hiring a 4x4 and driving yourselves makes for a great adventure.