Where have you just come back from?
Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands – the most unforgettable of experiences, where I got to swim with sea lions, penguins and giant sea turtles! Followed by mainland Ecuador where I visited stunning haciendas and cloud forest eco-lodges.
Before that I was meeting elephants, market shopping and riding vespa’s through Vietnam.
What should you never travel without?
A re-usable water bottle. I’d always avoid buying endless plastic bottles that, let’s be honest, are not always recycled.
Travel tune of choice?
Anything by Seu Jorge. His songs immediately transport me to a Brazilian beach, swinging in a hammock sipping on a caipirinha.
Top travel tip?
Learn common phrases in the language of the country you’re visiting…speaking even a little of the local language goes a long way. Also, always buy travel insurance!
Why Plan South America?
Because we are a passionate and knowledgeable bunch, and want to show you everything Latin America has to offer. We offer impeccable service and will make you feel looked after from start to finish. We have lived these experiences ourselves and with the help of our top quality guides, we will make sure you have the best and most immersive journey through some of the most breathtaking landscapes and cities in the world.
Where to go when in need of some pampering?
Definitely Mexico – whether at a beautiful old hacienda in the Yucatan jungle, or a white washed finca-style casa set on one of the best beaches of the world – either suits me just fine.
Favourite Latin American city?
Cartagena, Colombia. Stunning architecture and colours during the day with white sand beaches in easy reach, and at night the streets come alive with music where you just end up dancing the night away.
Best night out in Latin America?
My favourite nights out will always be in Nicaragua – in particular San Juan del Sur, where the vibe just sweeps you up, and carries you along to the beachfront bars for drinks and dancing. Flor de Cana is hands down the most delicious local rum so it’s a must when you’re there. And whether it’s at the start of the night, or on your way home, there are lots of stands selling the tastiest taco’s you’ll ever have in your life!
Where to blitz the shops?
For markets, my favourite stop is in the lovely Andean town of Otavalo in Ecuador. You can pick up some really gorgeous ponchos and weavings, not to mention the jewellery. for more upmarket shops I’d probably head to the hustle and bustle of Mexico city which has some excellent shopping options, as well as delicious Mexican snacks on standby for when you need a break from all the shops.
And to escape the crowds?
Awasi Patagonia. Because it feels like you’re at the edge of the world, with just the backdrop to Torres Del Paine for company. A wonderful place to sit and contemplate life, maybe with the odd hike thrown in to get your blood pumping.
A local dish you shouldn’t miss?
Ceviche in Peru! Followed by Causa, a delicious potato based starter usually with shrimp and avocado. Make sure you do this in Lima, which is fast becoming a culinary capital and should always be part of any Peruvian itinerary. I would recommend a street food tour around the lesser known district of Callao- absolutely superb.
Favourite restaurant in South America?
The fallen angel restaurant in Cusco- such a fun place to go even if just for a cocktail before moving on. It has amazing food but Cusco is full of excellent restaurants so you might need to double up your plans in order to make the most of your time!
What’s the most offbeat experience you’ve had recently?
Probably my experience bus-ing from coast to coast in Mexico and ended up in Oaxaca, conveniently just in time for their annual Mezcal festival (a close cousin of Tequila!). or simply just getting lost in Costa Rica on my bike, seeing where the roads would take me.
Must read before you travel?
I think the motorcycle diaries is an absolute must, as it follows Che Guevara (then a 23 year old medical student) and his friend Alberto Granado leaving Buenos Aires in 1952 on a journey through South America. This all took place on the back of a sputtering motorcycle dubbed La Poderosa (The mighty one).
Best lazy Latin journey?
Road tripping along the Uruguayan coastline. I like to think of it as a Latin version of rugged Cornwall, with more sunshine! Drive all the way along to the far end, the final stop at Punta del Diablo which is the best and most off the beaten track part of the coastline before you reach Brazil.
Favourite Latin American drink?
In Central America, it’s got to be Flor de Cana rum with soda and lime, from a beach-front bar overlooking surfers at sunset.
In Chile or Argentina it would have to be Malbec or Pinot noir, at a beautiful family run vineyard with the snow-capped Andean mountains in the background.