One of the great joys of travelling to far off lands is soaking up local culture along the way. South America’s ancient traditions and regional idiosyncrasies are reflected beautifully in its radical art, soul-melting music and resplendent festivals. We lovingly curate all of our trips to ensure that you experience the cultural wonders – great and small, celebrated and undiscovered – of every destination you explore with Plan South America.
South America houses some of the world’s most extraordinary works of art, and we pride ourselves on delivering specialised Art Travel experiences with unrivalled access to some of the continent’s most prominent collections. We will tailor your art discovery to your interests, whether classic, modern or contemporary, fixing meetings with collectors and curators, as well as visits to artists’ studios. Through our contacts across the continent we keep a tab on local word-of-mouth so that no experience, however extraordinary, is beyond our reaches. Let us open doors to some of the continent’s most exceptional collections and get you on the inside track of the South America art scene.
Collecting Art On Your Travels
There’s no need to worry about the hassle of lugging around your precious finds. If you fall in love with a particular piece, we will make the necessary arrangements for it to be sent home for you, completely stress free, as the perfect lifelong reminder of your South American travels. Ex-Sotheby’s, Pepa Portman, heads up this arm of the business and you won’t find a more passionate art aficionado in South America!
Four Must-Visit Destinations for Art Lovers in South America
Head to a former ink factory, now The Vergez Collection, in Buenos Aires, where you will find a lavish private collection of international and local contemporary art. It’s one of our favourite spots in the city and available by special appointment only. Another museum not to be missed is MALBA, followed by an epic brunch in the leafy courtyard at Croque Madame café, just a few minutes’ walk down the road. It is well worth exploring the Botanical Garden of Palermo, one of the city’s many parks, created by landscape architect, Carlos Thays, and considered to be his master piece. The garden, including a library, conservatories and numerous works of art and sculptures, makes a peaceful retreat from the city.
Where To Stay:
You’re spoilt for choice with gorgeous places to stay, from the palatial Alvear Palace to the boutique gem that is Legado Mitico, with each room celebrating a famous figure from Argentine history; the bedrooms in homage to literary genius Jorge Luis Borges and ‘The King of Tango’, Carlos Gardel, are our favourites, brimming with character. Art lovers will particularly enjoy a stay at Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt in stylish Recoleta, where a collection of paintings and sculptures by Latin American artists is housed in a beautiful contemporary gallery, ‘Paseo de las Artes’. Once you’ve taken a stroll through the gallery, indulge in a refreshing Caipirinha in the stunning hotel garden.
Whilst Colombia’s luscious Coffee Region or its mystical walled-city Cartagena are its crown-jewels, there are some true highlights in Bogota that we simply will not let pass you by. An absolute must is the invitation-only (that’s where we come in) 10th storey penthouse of José Darío Gutiérrez, who is considered to be one of the most important private collectors of Colombian art. Gutiérrez doesn’t collect mainstream art, and prefers to collect artists’ earlier works that reveal the moments they went through to develop their personal style. The collection has three main artistic periods: expressionism and political art of the ‘60s and ‘70s, conceptual art of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and contemporary art from 2000 up to today – a fascinating perusal. Better known and certainly worth a visit is Bogota’s Museo del Oro (Gold Museum). Over 55,000 pieces of gold are on display along with ornate jewellery, beautifully carved masks and other items belonging to pre-Hispanic cultures in Colombia. We have seen first-hand how Colombia’s art scene has thrived in recent years, and through our close connections with gallerists and artists all over the country, we can’t wait to share our little secrets with you.
Where To Stay: Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina is a converted historic mansion house in Bogota’s financial district, and a work of art in itself. Stone walls, exquisite hand-carved wooden furniture and classic antiques give this hotel an individual character and charm that will leave you completely enamoured. Many rooms feature grand fireplaces that add to the sense of timeless style and comfort as you settle into your home from home. The luxurious service that you’ll experience here is unrivalled in the capital and it’s the perfect base for exploring both the old town and new town on a day embracing Colombia’s abounding culture.
Lima’s bohemian Barranco district is a true hub of the arts with countless small galleries and private art studios to discover betwixt quirky cafes and boutique shops. Now home to many of Peru’s best-known artists, musicians, designers and photographers, we would recommend wandering Barranco’s charming streets by foot to really soak up its creative vibe. We will tailor your day to focus on your particular interests, whether that’s photography, sculpture or fine-art, our team of specialists can arrange a discovery entirely suited to your preferences. Larco museum is not to be missed – built on the site of a pre-Columbian temple, the privately owned museum exhibits a collection covering more than 5,000 years of history, including ceramics and textiles, as well as the famous erotic archaeological collection. Larco is top of our list for a spell-binding introduction into Peru’s art history.
Where To Stay:
Hotel B is the chicest arts-boutique hotel in Lima; its fabulous location in the heart of Barranco surrounded by neighbouring galleries is only outmatched by the stunning works of art that adorn its interiors. A belle-époque mansion, styled with imported Italian marble, exotic woods, high ceilings and open balconies, a stay here feels exclusive and grand in equal measure. The piece de resistance of Hotel B is its own fabulous art collection for guests to enjoy, and the hotel is linked directly to the Lucia de la Puente Gallery, where we arrange private viewings for you to take in the art in blissful tranquility.
In the lush countryside of Minas Gerais lies the epic Inhotim art park, owned by mining billionaire, Bernardo Paz. Inhotim is a vast artistic centre and one of the boldest architectural feats that the country has witnessed. Its ground-breaking and intriguing exhibitions as well as its astounding buildings and extensive gardens will leave you completely awe-struck. To really take in its nuances you will need at least a day here, if not more, as there are dozens of galleries, interactive experiences and botanical gardens to enjoy. Inhotim won’t fail to impress even the most discerning of art lovers and it wholly captures the creative spirit that defines Brazilian identity.
Where To Stay:
Ouro Preto UNESCO World Heritage Site is a small cobbled-street town a couple of hours’ drive from Inhotim. The old mining towns of Minas Gerais boast some of the finest Baroque art and colonial architecture in the country, and learning about the region’s history as the focal point of the gold rush is well worth it during your stay. We would recommend staying at Solar do Rosario, a charming, low-key hotel in an impressive historical building, where guests are treated to warm, personal service and lovely views over the city from the swimming pool. You’ll feel utterly relaxed here after a day on your feet at Inhotim. After your stay in Ouro Preto, a short flight by private plane over thick verdant forest takes you to the private luxury lodge that is our best kept secret in Brazil. You’ll never want to leave this charming eight-room farmhouse dating from 1715, set in the glorious rolling hills of the Ibitipoca Reserva.
We love creating exceptional travel experiences for you to take in local culture at every turn. If you’d like to focus your next South America trip on Art, or indeed any other particular passion, please contact our specialists to start planning your tailor-made discovery.