Bucket List on a Budget: South America
Ecuador's Galapagos Islands
Looking to get the best value for your travel buck? Here, six surprising facts about the continent that will make you want to visit — including the fact that it’s a great deal for Canadians.
It may be winter in South America, but with many of the best countries situated closer to the Equator, the temperatures in South America’s winter (our summer) are much more comfortable than they would be at the height of our winters.
Plus, according to our contacts at the global hotel search and booking engine Booking.com, the world-class architecture, sophisticated culture and Michelin-star dining are just three factors that makes this spot hot with their customers searching for places to go this summer.
The company adds that, “You can find all of this in the diverse cities of South America, each with something unique to offer travellers. From majestic waterfalls and Amazonian jungles, to unparalleled cuisine and historical sites, these cities are just begging to be explored.”
Did you know there’s a World Cup for Tango and it’s in Buenos Aires, Argentina?
Every August Buenos Aires holds the world’s largest festival dedicated to the passionate dance where elite dancers come to compete. Spanning two weeks, performances, dance classes, art exhibitions and milongas (dance parties) showcase the sensuality of the Argentine people (And its completely free!) The classic architecture of Buenos Aires provides a beautiful backdrop to the celebrations and makes it a fantastic city to just get lost in.
You probably won’t believe that street art is legal in Bogotá, Colombia
There aren’t many places in the world where street art is legal, let alone encouraged! In Bogota, local businesses and even the government openly support the work that graffiti artists do. This has resulted in a thriving street art scene and the city is now recognized as one of the top places to see quality street art in the world. Bogota is covered in colourful and meaningful artwork that is constantly changing and completely free.
Attention Foodies: Lima, Peru is the food capital of South America
Lima is the international gateway to Peru and often recognized for being the first stop for adventurers travelling on to Machu Pichu. However, Lima has established itself as a major player in the international culinary community and is now known as the foodie capitol of Latin America.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has a thriving contemporary art scene
Rio De Janeiro is best known for its iconic beaches and vibrant Carnival Festival but there is a lot more to discover. Rio is filled with quirky museums, from the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum that’s shaped like a UFO to the futuristic looking Museum of Tomorrow dedicated to climate change and sustainability. You can even take a day trip from the city to Inhotim, an outdoor contemporary art museum built by an eccentric millionaire and surrounded by botanical gardens.
You can see the Milky Way from Copacabana, Bolivia
Copacabana is technically a town but it’s easily accessible from Bolivia’s capitol city La Paz and well worth the journey. Copacabana is the perfect base for exploring the sites of Lake Titicaca where on a clear night you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye. If this experience isn’t already on your bucket list, it should be.
Penguins, swimming lizards, and over 400 species of fish call Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands home.
Visiting Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands is like stepping into a National Geographic documentary. Each island offers something unique and ranges from barren black volcanic rock to white sand beaches surrounded by gemstone-blue waters. For wildlife lovers, as those shown above, there’s plenty to see including penguins, fur seals, giant tortoises, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, hawks—the list is endless. Hikers can explore the volcanoes while aquatic enthusiasts can swim with the tropical fish. Finally, history buffs can visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn why this cluster of islands served as the inspiration for his Theory of Evolution.
Where to stay: The award-winning Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel on the island of Santa Cruze is ideally located in the middle of the Galapagos. Set on a private beach the property offers Cordon Bleu gastronomy, beach front living and a hammock in each room.