South America is the ideal destination for active travelers looking to dive into the sights, sounds and flavors of pre-Columbian cultures.
Cycling in Peru
Luxury tour operator DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. has recently announced Peru as its new destination for the year. Next month, DuVine is kicking off a new 6-day tour of Peru and the Sacred Valley by bike, filled with destination immersion, local experiences and excellent cuisine. During the tours, guests will tour the World Heritage Site of Cusco; Chinchero, a colorful weaving market in the Sacred Valley; and the ancient Incan citadel Machu Picchu, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. In addition, guests will meet with Misminay women from a local weaving community, ride their bike with the snowcapped Andes as a backdrop, and enjoy the unique cuisine of Peru, including ceviche and aji de gallina. Highlights of the tour include biking to the lagoon of Huaypo for a picnic lunch and a dinner next to the Urubamba River followed by a despacho ceremony.
Rates for the Peru: Sacred Valley + Machu Picchu Adventure Bike itinerary start at $5,095, and include some meals and luxury accommodations such as the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, a contemporary hacienda-style hotel located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, in-between Cusco and Machu Picchu. For more information, visit duvine.com or duvine.com/tour/peru-sacred-valley-machu-picchu.
Experiential Travel in Guatemala
Bella Guatemala Travel’s 10-day Dia de los Muertos itinerary in Guatemala seeks to submerge travelers in into the Mayan culture through a multitude of celebrations and activities such as chocolate-making workshops and explorations of ancient ruins. The cornerstone of the fall package tour, departing Oct. 27, is the annual All Saints Day Giant Kite Festival at Santiago Sacatepequez. Guatemala is the only country in the world to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, a 3,000-year-old tradition, by flying colorful, massive kites, which are believed to both communicate with and honor lost loved ones. The itinerary also includes a tour of Tikal National Park, a renowned archaeological site; La Azoteca Coffee Plantation, showcasing more than 130 years of traditional Guatemalan coffee growing; and the UNESCO World Heritage designated city of Antigua.
In addition to providing guests with plenty of free time for personal discovery, Bella Guatemala Travel’s Dia de los Muertos itinerary features a boat tour of the Lake Atitlan; visits to museums, churches and the celebrated Maya weavers from the Association of Women in Botanical Colors cooperative, plus an optional Pacaya Volcano tour for up-close views of the active 23,000-year-old volcano. Accommodations are provided at various luxury hotels, including Las Lagunas Hotel, a private nature reserve located in the Peten region offering fully equipped suites with private jacuzzis and patios overlooking a lagoon, and Hotel Aurora in Antigua, a quaint property surrounded by restored Spanish Baroque churches, museums and cobblestoned avenues. Rates for the Dia de los Muertos itinerary start at $4,495 pp dbl, and include accommodations, international flights from the U.S., transportation, tours, entrance fees, bilingual tour guides and three meals daily, including dinner at Kacao, a traditional Guatemalan restaurant at the heart of Guatemala City. No more than 16 guests are allowed in each tour. For more information, visit bellaguatemalatravel.com.
Trekking in Patagonia
Adventurous spirits without a fear of heights can join a group of no more than 10 on Patagonia Passion’s extensive tour of Torres del Paine and the Fitz Roy Massif in Patagonia. The new 9-day itinerary, departing February 2017, is the company’s newest multi-sport adventure and begins with a hike through picturesque landscapes during a week-long, full-circuit trek of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. During the less-traveled trek, guides, who have climbed extensively in Patagonia, will share hidden gems and experiences along the way. Afterwards, guests take a 3-hour drive to trek with local guides on the ice of Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier, one of only three glaciers in Patagonia that is growing. In the evening, guests enjoy an authentic Argentine asado, or fire-cooked meal, as guests settle in to their accommodations. The trip ends with a trek to Lago de los Tres at the foot of the Fitz Roy Massif. Rates for the 9-day Torres del Paine & Fitz Roy Massif trekking adventure start at $3,995 pp, and include local guides; all group gear (tents, stoves, cooking equipment, satellite phones, etc.); park entrance, camping, and back country hut fees; all transportation per itinerary, including catamaran transportation; and all meals while on tour. Airfare to Punta Arenas, Chile and from Calafate, Argentina; personal camping and trekking gear (clothing, trekking poles, sleeping bag, etc.); and alcoholic beverages (aside from those provided during meals) are not included. For more information, call (509) 863-5895 or patagoniapassion.com.