As travelers become more interested in Latin America, tour operators are paying attention to the trends and expanding their offerings.
In 2014, Tauck is launching a new 11-day Patagonia tour as part of its Exotics collection. The tour, one of 31 tours in the portfolio, departs from January through March and from October through December and appeals to first-time travelers, as well as returning travelers to South America.
The tour starts in Santiago, Chile and then stops in Ultima Esperanza Sound for a 4-night stay at the Singular Patagonia Hotel, where guests can explore Torres del Paine National Park. From here, travelers head to Argentina for a 3-night stay at the five-star Los Sauces Casa Patagonia, near Glaciares National Park where guests will take a cruise on Lake Argentino.
“You can’t help but feel like an early explorer when visiting Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. It’s an area of southern Patagonia that wasn’t even fully mapped out until the national park was created in 1937,” says Kelly Rossiter, product manager, who helped develop the Patagonia tour. “Your sense is that it probably hasn’t changed much since then, especially with a visit to Estancia Cristina, a small ranch located in a remote area of the park only accessible by boat. As someone who lived most of their life in Colorado, I was stunned to be so moved by the sheer beauty and breadth of Patagonia.”
The tour then concludes with a 2-night stay in Buenos Aires at the Sofitel Buenos Aires Arroyo, where guests will see dancers perform an authentic Argentine tango.
Rates start at $6,490 pp dbl and include sightseeing and admission to all attractions; two intra-tour flights; all ground transportation; airport transfers; and luggage handling. For more information, call (800) 468-2825 or visit tauck.com.
After the growth in popularity for Peru, General Tours World Traveler has developed a broad range of tours appealing to younger travelers (ages 40 to 70) and family travelers visiting this destination.
“The range of product was specifically designed since we were trying to span the marketplace,” says Bob Drumm, president of General Tours. “Peru is popular because it is so diverse. Its innovative food, colonial and Inca traditions, and astounding scenery make it an alluring vacation destination.”
On Grandeur of Peru (rates starting at $4,499 pp), travelers stay at new eco-lodge Titilaka and visit the colonial landmarks in Lima; see the llamas and alpacas in Awanacancha, and learn about the traditional weaving activities; and take a rail journey through the Sacred Valley. Rates include escorted sightseeing and entry fees; 21 meals; nine nights of accommodations; all on-tour transportation, including three internal flights; luggage handling, and hotel taxes and service charges.
What makes these tours stand out to travelers are the guides, who are Peruvian but speak English, and “know their country well and know the needs of guests and small groups,” Drumm says.
Since the Small Group tours never have more than 16 travelers, guests receive individual attention, as well as a more intimate experience tailored to their interests.
In addition, on the Peru tours, General Tours tries to “get people close to the culture in the area than they could get on their own or with other group tours,” Drumm says. “We look for authentic experiences that provide a lot of engagement with locals because we think that’s a strong point.” Examples of this type of engagement are visiting homes in the Scared Valley and seeing the traditions of weavers and farmers.
When travelers pay in full at the time of booking, they can save $600 or more per couple and agents make a $100 bonus. For more information, call (800) 221-2216 or visit generaltours.com.
Latour is not only expanding its tours in Latin America, it is also opening two offices this year in Lima, Peru and San Jose, Costa Rica, meaning travelers heading to these areas will have direct access to the company and its services while in the destinations.
On its new 9-night Peru—A Symphony of Culinary Delights by private car tour, for example, travelers tour the country visiting markets with local chefs in Lima, Cuzco and Paracas. Highlights include a culinary class with a Peruvian chef in Lima; old school wine production and tasting at the El Catador Vineyard; and sailing the Ballestas Islands. Rates start at $4,915 pp dbl.
For more information, call (800) 825-0825 or visit latour.com.