22 November 2017

I’ve binge watched ‘Narcos’, marvelled at Pele and Ronaldo’s pitch-perfect skills and lusted after Giselle’s looks. Now I’m ready for some real time South American adventures but travelling solo? Not on your nelly.

Amazonian rainforest, ancient ruins, pulsating nightlife, remarkable wildlife, warm and welcoming people, it’s no surprise the wonders of South America create some of the best travel experiences imaginable. And take it from someone who knows, the very best way to see this vast continent is in a group.

Ryan Woodford-Kelf of STA Travel at Sylvia Park has travelled to virtually all corners of the globe but says some of his best travel experiences have been as part of a tour group. “G Adventures take the hassle out of what will undoubtedly be a trip of a lifetime. It is like guided backpacking, appeals to travellers of all ages, and is good value. “

Ryan’s three-week tour of South America began after a flight to Buenos Aires. “We took a ferry to Uruguay to a little town called Colonia del Sacramento. If there’s one city you have to see in Uruguay for its architecture and charming atmosphere, it’s Colonia.

“Next stop was the capital Montevideo followed by a stopover at a ranch in Estancia where we ate great meat! Then we travelled overland to the Iguaçu Falls which were absolutely amazing, breath-taking.“ “The sound of hundreds, even thousands of waterfalls in one space is incredible – the noise, the smell, multiple rainbows. There is lots of wildlife around such as monkeys and coatimundis and colourful butterflies and insects typical of the rain forest.“

Ryan was in a group of 12 like-minded travellers who wanted to experience a true taste of South America. “The advantage of travelling with G Adventures is you get to see the ‘real’ South America thanks to its network of local guides who take you to places well off the tourist track.

“Beach life is very important and there is none more important than those at Rio and Copacabana. Beaches are so busy, there are people playing beach football, relaxing, parties from sunrise to sunset – life is spent living on the beach, they don’t seem to do much else.” In contrast to the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan areas, Ryan enjoyed his visit to the quieter parts of the Brazilian coastline, which included Ihla Grande, a small island that is credited with having one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Lopes Mendes. “Clear blue skies, crystal water and golden sand, it was nearly deserted bar a few locals and our small tour group. The scenery of Brazil is fantastic but what really impressed me about the country is the laidback lifestyle, the colour and carnival atmosphere wherever we went.”