Nothing compares to witnessing your children experience the world for the first time. Whether scuba diving with sea lions or crafting textiles with artisans, expand your loved ones’ horizons on an unforgettable family holiday in Latin America. We’ve selected a handful of our favourite homes, each offering unique skill-building opportunities and the chance for families to immerse themselves in the local way of life.
Family holidays in Argentina’s estancias
Families seeking a home away from home need look no further than a traditional Argentine estancia. These welcoming, comfortable properties are ideal for longer stays.
Among the oldest in the country, Estancia El Bordo offers a slice of the authentic gaucho lifestyle. Feast on mighty asados (Argentine barbecues), ride on Peruvian Paso horses and gawk at caiman on a nature reserve. In the evenings, dance and cookery classes are immensely entertaining for all ages. Under-threes stay for free and babysitters can be arranged for parents wanting to slip off for a massage.
For a completely secluded experience, journey to Estancia La Maipú in the farthest reaches of ancient Patagonia. It’s a two-hour drive from the nearest paved road to this remote outpost, which is available to rent on an exclusive basis. Nestled amidst towering Andean peaks, the 45,000-hectare estancia on the shores of Lake San Martín is home to guanacos, horses, sheep, and the elusive puma. Go riding through petrified forests to the Chilean border, camp out in the wilderness, cast a line for trout and return in the evening to a glass of Malbec and a feast of slow-roasted meat, prepared over an open fire by La Maipú’s chef.
Pata Lodge, Chile
At family-run Pata Lodge, the Patagonian wilderness is a precious tool for learning. As well as cosy cabins, there’s an on-site school teaching everything from beekeeping and sheep breeding to yoga practice and astronomy workshops.
Watch children discover the great outdoors, rafting down the Futaleufú River and kayaking across glittering lakes. Nearby, in the Futaleufú National Reserve, deep ravines make for excellent canyoning. Delve deeper into the Andean scenery on horseback or mountain bikes, spotting Huemul deer grazing peacefully among the trees.
Young pirates can hop aboard Pata’s sailboat, which navigates through shadowy fjords and towering glaciers. Keep a keen eye on the waves; these waters shelter whales, dolphins, penguins and sea lions.
After each action-packed day, tuck into home-cooked cuisine at the organic farm-to-table restaurant.
Casa Yahri, Colombia
The magic of Casa Yahri lies not just in its charming colonial facade, but in the opportunities it provides to nurture creativity. The elegant villa is tucked away in Barichara, a storybook village in Colombia’s Andean heartland. Here, workshops with local artisans will tap into children’s artistic side through ceramics, clay painting and weaving. They’ll create homespun handicrafts as well as vivid family memories.
Get the whole family cooking with masterclasses in regional cuisine, before discovering the coffee-making process at a nearby finca. Adventures abound, from horse riding and paragliding in the Chicamoya Canyon to waterfall rappelling along the Fonce River. Should you wish, you can rent out the entire villa to enjoy the leafy terraces and spacious suites all to yourself.
Comuna do Ibitipoca
Set amongst glorious rolling hills, Comuna do Ibitipoca is a serene oasis where nature reigns supreme. The ranch is styled in rustic, chic decor, with colourful Brazilian handicrafts adorning the walls.
Whether riding Mangalara horses, spotting wildlife in the Atlantic Forest or scrambling into rugged caves, the 3,000 acre nature reserve is the ultimate playground. Venture into the Ibitipoca State Park and you’ll be rewarded with dramatic waterfalls and spectacular rock formations. Then unwind with gentle yoga classes and spoiling treatments at the barn spa. Tuck into picnics made with fresh produce from the land at secret spots around the reserve. After each day, watch the sun set over vast sculptures of figures, taller than the rainforest trees.
The best season to visit for pleasant, sunny weather is from April to September, making this an excellent spot to settle into over the summer holidays.
Galapagos Safari Camp
What better way to get kids excited about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution than surrounding them with dragon-like reptiles and giant tortoises? A family holiday to the Galápagos brings textbooks magically to life.
The archipelago is home to the most diverse ecosystem on the planet. Budding scientists can snorkel with turtles and sea lions and witness marine iguanas sneezing saltwater. Up-close encounters with the inhabitants of these enchanted isles are sure to inspire inquisitive young minds.
Up in the wild highlands of Santa Cruz Island, the luxury tented family suites at Galapagos Safari Camp are wonderfully spacious. As well as an infinity pool, you’ll enjoy ocean views from your veranda and guided activities from scuba diving to surfing.
Hacienda Montezuma, Costa Rica
For a taste of traditional Costa Rican country living, few places can rival Hacienda Montezuma. In the shadow of Tenorio Volcano in the Guanacaste province, this vast working cattle farm is run by the most attentive team imaginable.
Ignite a lifelong passion for the natural world with fascinating conservation programmes. Jaguars, sloths, monkeys and toucans live on the finca’s private reserve, where youngsters can release rescued ocelots, set up cameras and hone their tracking skills.
While seasoned riders help sabanero cowboys muster cattle on horseback, keen gardeners can harvest fresh vegetables and young swimmers will be enthralled by sparkling rivers, waterfalls and natural pools. Al fresco dining is a must, from sunny lakeside picnics to firepit feasts under the stars.
Conveniently for those constricted by school breaks, the hacienda has five-to-seven night family holiday experiences. But if possible, we recommend an extended stay to settle into the invigorating pura vida lifestyle.