Audley launches new South America brochure
Audley has launched a new South America brochure with expanded sections on Colombia and Uruguay, which are becoming more accessible and increasingly popular with travellers.
Colombia is enjoying a new-found stability and an increase in visitors is fuelling improvements to infrastructure, making it much easier to tour the country’s numerous attractions. Along with sophisticated modern cities such as Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia is also home to colonial treasures including Cartagena and Villa de Leyva, as well as incredible mountain scenery, lush cloudforest, pristine barrier reefs, verdant coffee plantations, steamy jungle and beautiful beaches.
It is now also possible to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Agustín, home to remnants of a pre-Inca civilisation. There are impressive burial chambers and ritual edifices and huge statues spread throughout the valley where it is thought that Mayan-like pyramids and other structures may also lie buried (archaeologists have so far uncovered a mere ten per cent of the site).
Although a fraction of the size of neighbouring Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay has plenty to offer visitors as a stand-alone destination, with a variety of cultural and outdoor activities. It is ideal for self-drive and Audley recommend spending some time on an estancia as well as making the most of the beautiful beaches in the José Ignacio area. They particularly recommend Estancia Vik – a stylish ranch experience with options to ride with a gaucho or to have a polo lesson, as well as having a pool, spa and gym.
Other new highlights in the brochure include:
- Bolivia – the chance to stay in a deluxe airstream camper in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. Enjoy the complete isolation of a night in the middle of the salt flats with your own private chef and a luxurious camper complete with heating, a lounge area and private bathroom.
- Peru – there are a number of superb ways to enjoy the magnificent scenery on the way to Machu Picchu but one of the newest is the lodge-to-lodge trek operated by Mountain Lodges of Peru. Sometimes referred to as the Weaver’s Way due to the textile weaving traditions of the villages it passes, this trek follows the original Inca route through spectacular scenery, local communities and roaming alpaca, ending in the small town of Lares where walkers finish the final leg to Machu Picchu by train.
- Patagonia – Audley have spent time researching unique experiences in Patagonia. The brochure features an expanded section on the Aysén region in Chile, which is a more off-the-beaten-track, isolated area of Patagonia but with breathtaking attractions including the Marble Caves and the O’Higgins Glacier.
- Argentina – new to the brochure is The Puna area – the name given to the high altitude grasslands, valleys and plains extending across the central Andean range. The section in northwest Argentina is particularly striking and travelling overland across the Puna can involve passing through four different ecosystems in one day in a series of simply astounding landscapes.
- Ecuador – Audley have included a new section on Mindo and the cloudforest reserves. These regions are home to an exceptionally high diversity of birdlife with over 350 species, including myriad hummingbirds, plate-billed mountain toucans and vibrantly coloured trogons and tanagers. They are working with a number of birdwatching lodges including the rather unusual El Monte Lodge, which is reached by a short canopy zip line across a river and which grows much of its own produce and generates hydro-electric power for the log-cabin style rooms.