By John Ridler - PR & Media Manager
Rio de Janeiro is without doubt the best known city in South America and this fame makes it a magnet for visitors to the continent.
The iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer on Mount Corcovado, wide beaches filled with tanned beauties, a mountain named after a sweet bun and the spectacular fantasia of the Rio Carnival are all a clarion call to visit Rio.
But there is so much more to South America on the menu.
Let me briefly share some of my favourite destinations with you.Argentina
Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina is also named the ‘Paris of the South’, and just a short time in the city will explain why.
Learn the seductive tango, shop on elegant boulevards and follow in the footsteps of Evita Peron to get into the spirit of this vibrant city.
For a day of fun take a trip to a cattle ranch for a Gaucho party that includes a beef laden lunch, folk music, dancing and cowboys demonstrating their horsemanship. Delicious local wines are also on the menu on this fun day in the countryside.
The more adventurous should head south to remote Patagonia with its massive glaciers, view the Iguazzu Falls in the north or take a leisurely break in the famous wine lands at Mendoza.Chile
Take one of the most unique journeys on earth: cross the Andes– by boat and coach!
The ‘Sail the Andes’ journey takes you from the beautiful lakeside town of Bariloche in Argentina to Puerto Varas on the Pacific coast in Chile.
The three lakes you traverse offer panoramic views of the towering Andes and even an active volcano.
The elegant capital city Santiago sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes and Chilean Coast Range and you can visit a wines estate in the morning and take to the slopes of a ski resort in the afternoon.Peru
Peru is certainly a country of amazing contrasts.
This is home to ancient cultures and its extreme biodiversity extends from arid plains on the Pacific coast in the west to the Andes range which runs the length of the country, from lake Titicaca which is the highest navigable lake to the Cola Canyon which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
A typical tour of Peru will start in the lofty city of La Paz in neighbouring Bolivia. Once you are acclimatised you cross Lake Titicaca with its unique floating islands made from local reeds, home to the locals, their animals and even vegetable gardens. The lake crosses the border into Peru and you then travel down to Arequipa to view the astonishing Cola Canyon. Picturesque villages cling to ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate their crops on stepped terraces cut into the mountainsides. Your next is Cusco which was once the capital of the Incan empire and the gateway to the jewel in the crown, Machu Picchu. A train journey takes you through dramatic Andean landscapes to the Incan city that was lost for 4 centuries. The city escaped destruction by the Spanish invaders and was discovered in 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham. A guided tour will take you to the most important sights at this awe-inspiring citadel. Push out the boat and stay overnight so that you can witness the eerily beautiful sunrise before taking the train back down to Cusco.
Then travel to the north east to board a luxury boat on the upper reaches of the Amazon River. View the mighty river from the top deck over lunch or take excursions into the dense rain forests and you might even see the playful pink dolphins Brazil
You might have already visited exciting Rio de Janeiro so now it is time to see more of Brazil. A trip down to the Iguassu Falls is a must. This is the largest waterfall system in the world and this awesome sight never disappoints. Next you should consider travelling up to Manaus to explore the mighty Amazon River and the lush rain forests.