Ted Travels – Best time to travel to South America
I finally got my column back after the team hijacked this space over the last few weeks. Now I have a lot to catch up on, so stay tuned to all my tips and stories. Here we go.
We often get asked when is the best time to travel to Latin America? The answer is simple: anytime! If you were asked about the best time to visit Victoria, it would depend on the weather conditions and personally, I like it when the seasons are changing, between March to June, and September to November. Well, it’s the same for South America!
In fact, if you look at the map on page 1 of our brochure, you will see that Santiago, Chile has the same latitude as Sydney and Lima, Peru is similar to Cairns. This gives you a guide in terms of seasons and the best time to visit.
For example, between April and June is a great time to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, with clear, sunny days and crisp, cold nights and mornings. If your clients aren’t interested in the 4-day Classic Inca Trail perhaps they’d consider the one-day Inca Trail Express to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail Express involves a train ride to km 104 and then a 5-7 hour hike to the Sun Gate. It’s a great option for those without the time or stamina for the full four day hike, with views of lush, green cloud forest and snow-capped peaks on the way to Wiñay Wayna ruins – from there, trekkers join the “Classic Inca Trail” and enter Machu Picchu though Sun Gate. Wow factor guaranteed! July and August are also good months but there is going to be a lot more people hiking with you. Remember that only 500 permits for the Classic Inca Trail and 200 for the Inca Trail Express are issued per day which includes the guides and support staff for each group departure. We recommend booking around six months in advance to secure your spot on one of the world’s most renowned hikes.
May and June are also great months to visit the Pantanal in Brazil. Why? Because you get to see more animals and birds in the wet lands with sunny skies and it is a nice contrast to the bustling metropolis of Rio. My recommendation is to combine both for a full Brazilian experience. This is also a great of the year for travel further north – head to Quito, a beautiful colonial city set about 2850mt above sea level, in a valley surrounded by rolling green hills and snow-capped volcanos. Your clients can spend a few days exploring the city before taking off on an Amazon or Galapagos cruise. Adventurous travellers may like to experience “glam camping” in the rainforest. Both the Amazon and Galapagos Islands are great family holiday destinations.
For Patagonia, I would suggest visiting between October/November or late February/ March. Once again, avoid the peak season if possible which is December and January. Ask our expert staff about the best time to travel to our favourite places in Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, and all other countries in South America!
If you need more inspiration about South America, stay tuned for next week column!
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au