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Holly Stanley

I first fell in love with Latin America when I spent 5 months travelling across the continent. I was completely drawn in by the contrast in landscapes and cultures. From sweltering rainforests to barren deserts and snowy mountaintops, there’s such a huge diversity in destinations. Latin America is also home to some of the world’s funkiest cities, I’ll never get tired of re-visiting Rio de Janeiro. Now based in Buenos Aires, I enjoy the more local experience day to day.

Where are you back from?
The expansive vineyards of Mendoza. The region is perfect for an indulgent escape from reality. Wine is sublime but the food scene is also excellent. With plenty of stellar restaurants dotted around the region’s capital, the smaller more rustic options in neighbouring village Luján de Cuyo are always worth a visit.

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Why Buenos Aires?
Compared to cities like London or New York, Buenos Aires feels compact. Each of its barrios contrasts so much with each other. San Telmo for old world charm and Sunday meandering, Recoleta for upscale chic, Palermo for a more bohemian atmosphere and up and coming Colegiales for creative new food options.

It’s also a city that knows a good time! Late night asados (BBQs) and evenings spent sat outside sipping Malbec are all part of the routine.

Favourite watering hole in Buenos Aires?
La Fuerza, a funky little Vermouth bar on the edge of Palermo and Colegiales. Sourced from remnants of wine from Mendoza vineyards, they take their production seriously. I like to visit for an early evening aperitif.

For cocktails, Anasagasti. Set in a grand Recoleta mansion, there’s no sign on the outside. Upon entrance, wood panelling and chandeliers set the scene. Creative and original in their mixology, there are plenty of ingredients that aren’t usually seen on a cocktail list.

Home away from home?
A born and bred Londoner, I never imagined I’d want to move away from my hometown, but Buenos Aires has me hooked.

Why Plan South America?
The team are an exceptionally well-travelled bunch and between them have so many unique experiences and insights to share with future travellers. Never using generic itineraries, Plan South America really excels at crafting one of a kind journeys that may include a stay in a private estancia or a visit to an exclusive private collection. Plan South America has on the ground contacts and intel to make just about anything possible.

Ultimate travel playlist?
Anytime I listen to Bossa Nova I’m transported straight to Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro – which is never a bad thing. Anything by Jorge Ben Jor, will get me in the mood to pack my bags.

Favourite Latin American drink?
A caipirinha in Brazil sipped beachside, watching capoeira dancers perform to the backdrop of a sunset.

What’s the most offbeat travel experience you’ve had?
Living for a few months in a tiny Bahian village, in the North of Brazil was eye-opening. With much less infrastructure in comparison with the South of the country, the region sees far fewer European or North American tourists. Beaches are often empty and there are no huge resorts to ruin the view. Days were replete with exploring the Atlantic rainforest, surfing on the coast and feasting on homemade feijoada at night.

Favourite part of the Latin America lifestyle?
As a night owl myself, the more nocturnal way of life suits me well. Dinner isn’t usually eaten before 10 PM and the bars don’t usually fill up until long after midnight. If you happen to be up and about early in the morning at the weekend, you’ll notice how quiet it is!

Where is next on the list?
A trip to Colombia! From trekking the Ciudad Perdida to relaxing on the Caribbean coast and dancing salsa on the cobbled streets of Cartagena, I know it’ll be my kind of place.

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