South America is a land of extremes: lush tropical rainforests and windswept alpine peaks, glittering beaches and rugged interiors, bustling cities and empty endless plains. This is a continent chock-full of destinations rising to international prominence; a few years from now, you might be wondering why you didn’t travel there earlier! The Luxury Travel Agency’s love for South America continues to grow, and we’d love to share some of our favourite places and properties with you.
Luxurious Properties – Jungles & Valleys
When you think of South America, the first image that comes to mind is often the jungle. And for good reason: the Amazon rainforest is Earth’s largest, representing over half of all that remain in the world today. One in ten known species call the Amazon home, a degree of biodiversity unmatched around the globe, and this doesn’t even account for the continent’s other jungles! In a rapidly urbanizing world, a journey to these rainforests offers an opportunity to reconnect with an ancient landscape – one with unquantifiable value that must be preserved at all costs.
For a luxury experience in the heart of the jungle, there are few choices that can best the Mashpi Lodge. One of National Geographic’s “Unique Lodges of the World”, Mashpi is perched high in the treetops of Ecuador’s Chocó-Andean forest, nearly a full kilometre above sea level. We really do mean the treetops; the floor-to-ceiling windows of your room are eye-level with the upper reaches of towering flora, providing an unbeatable view into the life of the jungle’s creatures. The sounds of the jungle are even clearer from the open-air terrace, a favourite perch for birdwatchers, who are treated to magnificent displays from the 400 species found here (35 of which live nowhere else). Explorations abound at Mashpi Lodge: guests can enjoy unique jungle viewpoints on open-air gondolas and “sky bikes” that have been custom-built for unparalleled access to the rainforest. A day of waterfall treks and a night of sleeping in the clouds – what more can an adventurer ask for?
Of course, the wealth of South America is not only biological; cultural treasures abound. Most travelers will recognize Peru’s Machu Picchu as a site of outstanding importance – as they should – but its remote location should encourage visitors to make a longer trip out of their journey, and enjoy the striking environment they find themselves in. Machu Picchu overlooks the Sacred Valley, the heartland of the Inca Empire which once ruled the area. Here, the Urubamba River is flanked by mountains of staggering size, with agricultural terraces sustaining those who still inhabit the valley. It’s a magnificent destination, and The Luxury Travel Agency has fallen in love with the Sol y Luna property which calls the valley home.
While Mashpi is found in the treetops, Sol y Luna is actually much higher above sea level – three times, to be exact – and your experience there reflects the difference. Up in the thin alpine air, the colours are bolder, the wind cleaner, the sunsets more dazzling. Horseback riding is a popular pastime, while mountain biking, kayaking, and even parasailing over the snow-capped peaks can be enjoyed. The property itself is built in a traditional Peruvian style, with an emphasis on local touches. Low stone houses with terra cotta roofs welcome guests into a cozy space with original Peruvian art and working fireplaces that warm your toes during the cool nights. Rather than keep their own gardens, Sol y Luna works closely with local farmers who can sustainably grow the produce they need, which finds its way into exquisite dishes that marry ancient flavours with contemporary techniques. This property is a must for any travelers to Machu Picchu – it’s worth a visit all on its own!
Luxurious Properties – Remote Wilderness
The wild, rugged expanses of Patagonia have long attracted those whose thirst for adventure could not be quenched by lesser lands. Until the last several decades, travel to this mountainous region “at the end of the world” was limited to whatever you could carry on horseback; roads were sparse, and accommodation nearly non-existent. The spirit of exploration lives on – but travelers today have a few more resources at hand for a more comfortable expedition. A handful of luxury lodges have sprung up in the heart of the wilderness, offering an authentic experience nearly unmatched around the globe. One of the finest is the stunning explora Patagonia property.
A trip to Patagonia involves a substantial time commitment; in the case of explora, guests must fly into Chile’s capital of Santiago, then hop on a connecting flight to Punta Arenas (3 ½ hours), and finally ride with a staff member on a 4 ½-hour drive to the property. But once you arrive, every minute of that travel will be worth it. The views alone deserve the effort – the lodge is perched above the Salto Grande waterfall, which pours into the serene Lake Pehoé, all of it framed by the awe-inspiring mountains of the Paine ridge. Drinking in the views from your wood-furnished room, you might be tempted to do little else! But no one comes down to Patagonia just to sit around, and the explora team ensure that you have everything you need to tackle the Torres del Paine National Park, with over 40 “explorations” available to enjoy. If you’re looking for true adventure, you’ll find it here!
For travelers with an ecological bent, South America offers plenty of intrigue – perhaps no destination is as synonymous with the pursuit as the Galapagos Islands. It was here that Charles Darwin traveled on the Beagle in 1835, an expedition which would lead to his theories on evolutionary biology that changed science forever. With mainland Ecuador nearly a thousand kilometres away, this is a completely unique environment that draws experienced travelers from around the globe.
In such a remote land, the quality of accommodation has mostly been wanting – until now. The Pikaia Lodge is perched on the edge of an extinct volcano, 450 meters above sea level, with unbroken ocean views on three sides and misty jungle highlands rising at its back. All rooms are outfitted with massive floor-to-ceiling windows and private terraces – the views are certainly the stars here. Internal design is kept crisp and simple; after all, if your trip to the Galapagos is going well, you won’t be spending much time inside! There is one suite with a private plunge pool, and we encourage an early booking if this is a must for you. One of the Lodge’s top features is their collection of yachts, each of which are elite options for their respective specialties. The 105-ft M/Y Pikaia I, its crown jewel, offers an unmatched day touring experience, with the size and stability to provide a comfortable onboard experience complete with private cabins for every guest. There’s no better choice for the adventure of a lifetime.
Luxurious Properties – Splendid Cities
For all its natural splendour, South America is also home to dynamic, cosmopolitan cities that tick all the boxes an urban traveler might list. Mouthwatering cuisine, lively nightlife, stunning museums and art galleries…the list goes on. Few cities capture the imagination like Rio de Janiero. The wide golden sands of its beaches host throngs of revelers to an endless backdrop of infectious samba beats, while Christ the Redeemer watches over the scene. If you’re keen on joining the party, you have to do it right – and the Belmond Copacabana Palace is the place to call home.
Built directly across the street from the world’s most famous beach, the Copacabana Palace has been the address to know for nearly a hundred years. This was the beach that made Rio famous, and the Palace is the host of the international jet-set who flock here to partake in the fun. The hotel employs a graceful art-deco design that never goes out of style; spacious rooms and suites are decorated in crisp white colours that enhance the sun-kissed atmosphere, with unobstructed views of the beach and the ocean beyond. Gourmands will love the multiple Michelin-starred restaurants on property, including Mee, the only pan-Asian restaurant in Rio to earn the distinction. For luxury travelers who crave being in the center of the action, there’s only one choice in the “Marvelous City” – the Palace awaits!
Further south, Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires beckons as a destination with something for everyone. This has long been one of the most diverse cities in the Americas, and it doesn’t take long to feel this heritage; one might walk past massive Catholic churches, gorgeous mosques, and Jewish temples on a night out, with opera houses and theatres of all description dotting the streets. In fact, the city is often referred to as, “the Paris of the South”, so vibrant is its culture. Buenos Aires strikes a delicate balance between honouring its past and embracing its future – and nowhere is this better expressed than the beautiful Park Hyatt Buenos Aires.
Also known as the Palacio Duhau, the Park Hyatt is an elegant hotel that embodies the spirit of Buenos Aires. The property is actually split in two, with a contemporary wing paired with a “Palace” building that echoes the city’s heritage. The interiors are impeccably stylish; the city’s socialites (of which there are no small number) flock to the hotel’s terraces and gardens for functions and laid-back hobnobbing. Argentine beef is world-famous for its quality – some cuts are so tender, you can cut them with a spoon – and the Duhau Restaurant offers some of the very best. The Oak Bar is the epitome of old-school cool, with deep leather chairs complementing the oak-paneled walls and wood-burning fireplace, with a terrace overlooking the lush gardens to top it all off. There’s plenty of choice in Buenos Aires, but for a truly discerning luxury traveler, the Palacio Duhau cannot be beat.
All of these memorable properties are part of The Luxury Travel Agency’s massive Partner Hotel network, with the best of South America represented. At all of our Partner Hotels & Resorts, we can offer the lowest rates, along with free benefits such as room upgrades, daily breakfast, spa credits, VIP status, and so much more! All you need to do is book with The Luxury Travel Agency, and this unmatched value is yours to enjoy.
We can help with everything from a simple hotel or resort booking to complete travel planning, including yacht and private jet charters, villas, and more! Contact us today via Whatsapp or telephone at +1-647-551-4560 and let’s start planning your next trip.
For more ideas to whet your travel whistle, check out our pieces on exclusive Park Hyatt properties around the world, or our article on Peru for more on this incredible country!