Dominated by the glacier-capped, 5,897m (19,347ft) Cotopaxi volcano, Cotopaxi National Park is only a two-hour drive south of Quito, but it could hardly feel more remote. Whether you’re up for the challenge of hiking to the summit or just following a gentler walking trail, such as the one around the Limpiopungo Lagoon, it makes an unforgettable addition to any Ecuador trip. You can visit and go horse riding as part of this eight-day adventure, which also includes a cooking class and walking tour in Quito, a bike ride along the Baños Waterfall Route, and an opportunity to go whitewater rafting in the Amazon rainforest.
Our nine-day Peruvian adventure takes in all of the major sights, from the otherworldly heights of Machu Picchu to the vast beauty of Colca Valley and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. All of that natural and historical discovery, however, is sandwiched between visits to two of the continent’s most charming cities. We start the trip in Cusco, where you’ll visit San Pedro market ahead of a cooking masterclass with a local expert, as well as a tasting session at a local coffee producer. We’ll end the tour in gorgeous baroque city Arequipa, surrounded by the region’s dramatic volcanic landscapes. You’ll take a walking tour of the city, including the must-visit Santa Catalina Convent, as well as a feasting frenzy in the city best picanterias – these traditional Peruvian lunchtime restaurants are a foodie’s dream.
The Galápagos Islands are renowned for their incredible biodiversity, which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and wild, volcanic landscapes, but among the many islands in the archipelago, there are some lesser-known spots that are definitely worth a visit. On boulder-strewn North Seymour, for instance, you’ll encounter an abundance of sea lions and magnificent frigatebirds, while South Plaza offers the chance to spot hybrid iguanas while hiking through cactus forests. Alternatively, you can snorkel with penguins off the coast of Bartolome. On this five-day trip, you’ll visit an uninhabited island in addition to experiencing the highlights of Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal.
Our Dazzling Brazil trip is framed by two of the country’s most famous cities, starting in Sao Paulo and ending with four thrilling days in Rio de Janeiro, but the quiet highlight of this trip will undoubtedly be your time in the beautiful town of Paraty. Here the streets are cobbled and whitewashed buildings are embellished with pops of vibrant Brazilian colour. We’ll embark on a walking tour of this Unesco World Heritage Site, learning about its history and discovering its finest nooks and crannies. The town is conveniently located right on the coast, and in the shadow of luscious mountain scenery, so you’ll also get the chance to explore Paraty Bay by boat and the Atlantic Forest by 4×4.
While the Andes are arguably Colombia’s main draw for travelers, it would be a mistake to overlook the country’s dazzling northern coastline. There aren’t many places in the world where you can trek through the jungle and relax on palm-fringed beaches against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, but the Tayrona National Park is one of them. You’ll enjoy a guided hike there as part of this eight-day adventure, as well as river tubing on the Río Don Diego, exploring Cartagena’s beautiful Walled City, and snorkeling around the tropical haven of the Rosario Islands. A visit to San Basilio de Palenque – the first African town in the Americas to be freed from slavery – offers a fascinating insight into the region’s complex history.