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aware when booking short-haul flights within the region, as baggage weight limits on regional or domestic flights are lower than on international legs. Flights between the main Andean


nations take between two and three hours, making them easy to combine in one two-week holiday, so pairing the Inca ruins of Peru with Ecuador’s dazzling Galapagos Islands won’t mean days wasted in travel time. For scenic variety, Audley Travel


recommends taking advantage of regional flights to combine southern Peru, Bolivia and the vast Atacama Desert in northern Chile, all in one trip. Just remember when planning these high-altitude destinations to factor in acclimatisation days in interesting places, as sites such as Lake Titicaca, spanning Peru and Bolivia, sit at a breathless altitude of 3,800m. Cox & Kings recommends taking


advantage of a new direct Avianca flight from Colombian capital Bogota to Cusco in Peru. It means clients can combine Caribbean beaches, coffee plantations and the Amazon rainforest with the Inca culture of Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, bypassing a stop-off in Lima and an extra flight. Alternatively, Gillian Howe, managing director at Geodyssey, suggests combining Peru and Bolivia. “After exploring the classic sights of southern Peru, you visit Cusco and then fly direct to La Paz in Bolivia in only 45 minutes,” she says. “From


On the water


There is another way to explore Latin America – by boat. Expedition cruise operators such as Australis and Skorpios connect the wilds of Patagonia in Chile and Argentina, sailing through the Beagle Channel and Magellan Strait, calling at Cape Horn and, on some voyages, even the Antarctic. Farther north in Argentina, ferries


cross the River Plate from Buenos Aires to the Uruguayan capital Montevideo in three hours, or to the pretty, cobbled Uruguayan town of Colonia in just 60 minutes.


And while it’s a short flight from Peru into Bolivia, a more romantic way to


cross between the countries is by boat on Lake Titicaca. The highest navigable lake in the world is shared by the two countries, so it is possible to travel from one to another by combining boat and bus travel to cross the border.


Pairing Peru’s Inca ruins with Ecuador’s dazzling Galapagos Islands doesn’t mean days wasted in travel time


there, you can fly direct to Uyuni and the stunning landscapes of salt flats and deserts in southern Bolivia, and travel on to the colonial city of Sucre and the silver mines of Potosi.” Journey Latin America’s Laura


Rendell-Dunn warns that when planning tours around Brazil, there are no direct flights between Rio de Janeiro and Manaus, the gateway to the Amazon. So, if you are planning a jungle experience for clients, factor in a night in Manaus so they can relax before the two to three-hour trip onwards to their jungle lodge.


w TRAINS This year, Latin America’s first luxury sleeper train, the Belmond Andean Explorer, launched in Peru. The sleek navy and cream locomotive trundles across the altiplano (high plains), connecting the pretty colonial city of Arequipa with Lake Titicaca and the former Inca capital Cusco. For customers on longer trips,


recommend they bring a smaller bag


for their cabin, as bigger suitcases will be stored away to save on space. The Andean Explorer can also be combined with the Belmond Hiram Bingham, which offers luxury day trips from Cusco to Machu Picchu. The Tren Crucero is a unique way to


explore Ecuador’s highlands and coast. Pulled by a steam locomotive, the train spends three nights winding its way from the capital Quito to Guayaquil,


72 travelweekly.co.uk 8 February 2018


PICTURES: TRAVEL BUENOSAIRES/CHAGU; SHUTTERSTOCK; TURISMO CHILE


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