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Managing Director

Harry Hastings

I moved from London to Buenos Aires in 2005.  After stints writing for the Buenos Aires Herald and Time Out, I started a city concierge company, PlanBA, to share the knowledge and enthusiasm for my adopted city.

A passion for Argentina soon developed into a continent-wide fascination and, in 2009, Plan South America was born. I now call London home, but continue to explore as often and as widely as good sense permits.

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What was your last adventure?

An unforgettable few days in the Ecuadorian Amazon with the Sapara people.  The experience included traditional healing rituals, jungle treks, long swims down the Rio Conambo, meditation, dream interpretation, lessons in botany and shamanic ceremonies.  Before that, I was riding and trekking in the Andean highlands to the north of Quito.

Favourite restaurant in South America?

Good food and drink is a key component of our journeys. Don Julio in Buenos Aires was my second home when living there. I saw it transform from a word-of-mouth neighbourhood dive to one of the most highly regarded restaurants in Latin America.  Lo de Pepina, in Cartagena’s Getsemani, is a family-run bolthole of 8 tables and stunning Caribbean food. Lucifer, in Garzón, Uruguay, run by Mallmann protégé Lucia Soria, is a gem. Long lunches at Rio’s Lorenzo Bistrô and buzzy Braseiro da Gávea.  Lima and Bogota deserve their own chapters.

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the Andean route from Mendoza to Jujuy in Argentina’s northwest ranges through desert, subtropical jungle, high altitude vineyards, salt lakes, dusty market towns and huge fields of pungent red peppers drying in the sun. You may see the odd western tourist at the beginning and final third, but there’s a good 900kms in the middle where you’re very much off-piste.

– Harry Hastings

Best South American Road Trip?

I had always dreamt of driving the Pan American highway.  In 2008, a friend and I bought a car and drove 11,000km from Buenos Aires to northern Colombia. The adventure was beset by mishaps, some hysterically funny, others we were lucky to emerge from unscathed.  When faced with a burned out bridge in southern Colombia, we fjorded the rapids of a swollen river, emerging with four punctured tyres, a foot of water in the footwell  and smoke billowing from the engine; we navigated into a minefield on Chile’s border with Bolivia, picked up an extraordinary assortment of hitchhikers and mounted an exhilarating escape from a besieged Peruvian village.

On a less indulgent timescale, the Andean route from Mendoza to Jujuy in Argentina’s northwest ranges through desert, subtropical jungle, high altitude vineyards, salt lakes, dusty market towns and huge fields of pungent red peppers drying in the sun. You may see the odd western tourist at the beginning and final third, but there’s a good 900kms in the middle where you’re very much off-piste.

 

Favourite South American tipple?

El vino!  When living in Buenos Aires, I would always meet with a friend in the same bar every week to play chess, eat cheese and enjoy a bottle of Chilean Koyle Costa Pinot Noir or Argentine Tempus Alma Pleno. Cachaça and Mezcal also do good things for me.

 

Best souvenir?

Taxidermy. A friend traveling in Bolivia returned with a plump armadillo dressed in a natty sequin jacket. Otherwise, leather goods, art, ponchos, textiles, riding boots, panama hats, cowhides, hammocks, emeralds, a Brazilian sunga…

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I like W H Hudson’s Far Away and Long Ago – a quiet, lyrical portrait of life in the Argentine pampas at the turn of the century. And for guffaws and adventure: Peter Fleming’s Brazilian Adventure.

– Harry Hastings

Where is your next adventure?

Colombia, returning to Los Llanos – cowboy and anaconda country, up on the Venezuelan border – to visit a very special new camp. Then on to the Pacific coast and southern Amazon, which are both new to me. I find it the most captivating country and am always finding excuses to return.

 

Why PSA?

Because we pool all of our knowledge, resources and contacts into one glorious continent. I’m a great believer in specialising.  Our combined experience in the region and local network are peerless.

 

Must read before you travel?

We always create reading lists for of our clients ahead of their trips.  Few Latin American writers match Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s powers of description and lyricism. I also like W H Hudson’s Far Away and Long Ago – a quiet, lyrical portrait of life in the Argentine pampas at the turn of the century.  And for guffaws and adventure: Peter Fleming’s Brazilian Adventure.

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