SAT NEWS - BUCKET LIST WITH A TWIST
Dear Travel Partner,
before we get into this month's newsletter, we are happy to share that the voting window for the World Travel Awards 2021 has been extended until September 1st! If you would like to support us with your vote, you can register here and help us become
Argentina's Leading Destination Management Company 2021,
Peru's Leading Destination Management Company 2021,
Uruguay's Leading Destination Management Company 2021,
and Uruguay's Leading Tour Operator 2021!
In the spirit of discovering new things, we have prepared a newsletter full of exciting and rather unknown destinations and activities in our beautiful countries. Our bucket list with a twist doesn't highlight the main acts that made you decide to visit South America in the first place but rather shows you something new and unexpected to make your travel plans even more special.
Some of our recommendations are close to must-sees such as Machu Picchu or Rio de Janeiro while others involve some extra travelling. But we promise it will be worth it!
As always, this is just a small selection of the many possibilities South America has to offer. Please contact us if you are looking for more ideas - we are always happy to assist!
Enjoy reading and all the best,
your SAT Team
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BRAZIL - NEW SIDES OF RIO DE JANEIRO
|Rio de Janeiro
is a truly marvelous city and its main sights - such as Copacabana, Christ the Redeemer and the Sugar Loaf - inspire millions of people to travel to Brazil. But Rio also offers amazing places off the beaten path
and we want to show you two of our favorites.
Our first recommendation is
. You might glimpse the
small island in the Guanabara Bay
while your plane approaches the airport but it is not usually visited during city tours. Ilha Fiscal is home to a stunning palatial building that was once the seat of the Brazilian customs authority. It was designed by the engineer of the last Brazilian emperor, Pedro II, and
inaugurated in April 1889
. In November of the same year, it was the venue of the “The Last Ball of the Empire” before the monarchy was overthrown just a few days later and the Republic of Brazil was proclaimed. Today, the Brazilian Navy operates a
museum of cultural history
in the building. Ilha Fiscal can be reached by bus from the Naval Museum or by boat from the Navy Cultural Space and the guided visit lasts about 50 minutes.
Our second tip is an excursion to
. Located in the lush
Tijuca National Park
in São Conrado, it is considered one of the highest mountains in Rio (696m/2283ft). Although it is accessible by car, we definitely recommend you make the short
to the top. The
low-difficulty path leads through beautiful Atlantic forest
and you will be rewarded with of the most amazing views Rio has to offer: of the coastline and the city as well as the neighboring Pedra da Gávea mountain. Adventurers will get their real kick from a hang glider tour that starts at Pedra Bonita and ends in Pepino Beach.
For more ideas on how to spend your time in Rio de Janeiro, please contact us
Picture credit: INEPAC - Instituto Estadual do Patrimônio Cultural
COLOMBIA - A NATURAL PARADISE ON BOGOTA'S DOORSTEP
Bogotá is definitely a must-see for everybody who plans to explore Colombia - it is chock-full of beautiful museums, amazing architecture, spectacular restaurants and cafés, lively markets and so much more! But did you know that there is a national park just a 1.5h-drive from the city
that is as magnificent as it is hidden from most people visiting Bogotá?
Located on the eastern side of the Andes Mountain range,
Chingaza National Park
is truly a treasure trove for nature lovers and hobby photographers alike: the stunning
highland paramo landscape
majestic mountains and around 40 glittering glacial lakes
. It is home to a
great variety of wildlife
, such as condors, spectacled bears or deer,
, including the unique frailejón. Due to the high altitudes of up to 4,020m (13,190ft), the climate tends to be cool and you should be prepared for both rain and strong sunshine. A
local specialist guide
will accompany you during your visit and explain the details of this fragile ecosystem as well as its importance for the water supply of Bogotá. You can choose between
several hiking paths
, the shortest being around 2h and the longest around 5-6h. Each of them has a different theme, including an ancient sacred path of the Muisca people, a route to spot spectacled bears and a trail that leads to places where frailejones grow in abundance. Visitor numbers are limited
depending on the path and a reservation in advance is required in order to ensure availabilities. We will provide a lunch box so you can enjoy a picnic surrounded by the beauty of the park. If you are particularly adventurous, you can even plan a
multi-day trip to Chingaza and go camping.
Interested in exploring this secret gem? Please request more information here
URUGUAY - FROM TREES TO ANTIQUES
is many things: a modern metropolis, a colonial gem, a bustling seaside city, a culinary mecca... the list goes on! So it is really no wonder that there is a lot more to Uruguay's capital than meets the eye of most passing travelers. We have two amazing tips for you that will take your stay to the next level!
Sunday in Montevideo is a special day for shopping lovers, souvenir hunters and browsers. The city is home to countless second-hand stores and flea markets but on Sundays, the
Tristan Narvaja Street Market
makes your wildest vintage dreams come true! It has been an institution for over a century and is the place to go to find unique pieces to take home with you.
Original artworks and artisan products, second-hand and vintage clothing, used books, vintage cameras and record players, antique decor such as mirrors or lamps, old photographs, coins, stamps and posters
- the selection is endless! If you get peckish, there are numerous food stalls with fresh fruit, sweet snacks and savory street food. There are even street musicians creating the perfect soundtrack for the experience. The market starts at 7:30am and by 8:30am all stands will be open; we recommend to get there early!
After the bustling market, how about some quiet relaxation in nature?
Montevideo's Botanical Garden
is an extensive park with a collection of gorgeous
flowers and plants from all over the world
2km of trails
lead through the garden and give you the chance to observe native trees and shrubs, aquatic and seasonal plants and
more than 50 types of butterflies
is home to tropical flowers and plants while the
provides interesting details about plant physiology and also features a selection of botanical literature. The Botanical Garden is located inside an even bigger park, Parque Prado. It covers 106 hectares and also features a rose garden and a Japanese garden, if you want to explore further. A true oasis in the bustling city!
For details or more excursions in Montevideo, please contact us
ARGENTINA - CÓRDOBA AND THE LITTLE SEA
Córdoba is by no means unknown, it is much lesser frequented than destinations such as Patagonia, Iguazú or Mendoza. Easily reachable from Buenos Aires (1.5h flight), Córdoba is the
perfect blend between old and new: colonial architecture, modern buildings, traditional culture, a rich art scene as well as numerous excellent restaurants make for an enticing stay. Outside the city, you can visit several
ancient Jesuit sites, such as the 17th century town La Calera with its Jesuit church, or the UNESCO World Heritage site Estancia Santa Catalina, the region's largest Jesuit ranch dating back to 1622.
Nature lovers shouldn't miss
Argentina's newest national park which was inaugurated just this year 200km from Córdoba. With an area of 996,000ha,
Ansenuza National Park is one of the biggest in the country! It covers parts of the
Dulce River lands and the Ansenuza Lake, also known as Mar Chiquita - "little sea". Both the Ansenuza Lake and the Dulce River are saline; the lake is the biggest of its kind in Argentina. The water and the wetlands surrounding it are home to an
incredible biodiversity, including 380 species of birds such as Chilean, Andean and Puna flamingoes. There are also 31 species of fish and other wildlife, like Chaco tortoises, neotropical otters and maned wolfs. The park is an ideal destination for
bird watching, hiking, horseback riding and even sailing. For an extensive exploration of this beautiful national park, we suggest a stay in one of the cozy hotels close to the lake shore, for example in Miramar.
Please contact us
for more information about Córdoba and excursions to the Ansenuza National Park!
CHILE - FOLKLORE, STREET ART AND THE NATIONAL DRINK
As the capital of Chile, Santiago
is a popular destination and gateway to all the fantastic destinations that await visitors in both the northern and the southern regions of the country. Santiago itself is an amazing city and we think it deserves more of your time than it is usually given. Here are a few of our favorite activities besides a regular city tour that will show you a different side of this Chilean metropolis.
It is usually the coastal city Valparaíso that is famous for its street art
but Santiago also has color galore! One of the best districts to spot street art is Bellavista
, where a lot of shops and walls are adorned with amazing murals. In San Miguel
, the government inaugurated an open air museum featuring incredible graffiti and huge murals. You can also find lots of great pieces downtown
. You can either explore the streets on your own or join a dedicated tour.
Another favorite of ours is the
Violeta Parra Museum
, dedicated to a Chilean artist who was a real jack of all trades, including
folklore musician, potter, painter, weaver and poet
. Violeta Parra used her art as an expression of her political views and to shine light on the social problems during her lifetime (1917-1967). The museum exhibits her work, including embroideries, paintings, hand-written lyrics of her most popular song "Gracias a la vida" and her guitar. It also puts a strong emphasis on education, social unity and inclusion and offers regular activities
such as art and music classes. Additionally, there are concerts, dances, talks and readings.
Our last suggestion is something you can do all over Santiago: try Chile's popular drink "terremoto"
(earthquake). The cocktail received its name because the mix of Pipeño wine, Fernet Branca and pineapple sorbet will leave your legs shaky! It is refreshing, delicious and definitely unique. Pretty much every bar offers it but some of our favorites are La Piojera, Liguria, Sarita Colonia and Bar The Clinic.
to request details about the above activities or more ideas to explore Santiago!
ECUADOR - A SACRED VALLEY OF PETROGLYPHS AND CAVES
The Amazon region
is one of the most beautiful and naturally diverse places in Ecuador. We are going to show you one of our favorite places to explore if you want to stay off the beaten path.
is a stunningly lush valley in the eastern part of the Ecuadorian Amazon and the ideal place to go for people who want to
support ecotourism while also discovering local nature and culture
. Cotundo is also known as the Sacred Valley and it is most famous for its
by ancient inhabitants of the jungle, some of which date back 10,000 years. They depict sacred animals such as jaguars, snakes and toads as well as volcanos, spirals, squares and masks, and are of great spiritual importance for the Kichwa community. The valley also has a
network of caves
, some of them with stalagmites and stalactites, which can be explored. There are signs that suggest the caves have been used for ceremonies in the past. The landscape also boasts many
waterfalls, cascades, and rivers
that can be visited during jungle walks. The bigger rivers, such as the Jatunyancu, Toachi and Quijos, are perfect for
with rapids of difficulty levels from beginner to expert. Naturally, the Cotundo Valley is also a
treasure trove for wildlife observers
with spider monkeys, macaws, capybaras and ocelots being just some of the animals that can be found here.
In order to properly discover the valley, we suggest a minimum of 3 nights. Our favorite lodge in the area is the Huasquila Lodge
, located right inside the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve
. Their 20 rustic but comfortable cabins were built by people from the surrounding communities and the lodge has taken great care to make sure that seven of them as well as all common areas are wheelchair accessible
and in accordance with ADA standards. The lodge can be reached during a 3.5-hour drive from Quito or a 3-hour drive from the city's airport.
Please contact us
for travel ideas that include the beautiful Cotundo Valley!
PERU - CANYONS, CONDORS AND INCA RUINS
What is a Peru vacation without a trip to Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu? If you add another day to your stay in this must-see part of Peru, you can tick another item off your travel bucket list: a tour to the deepest canyon in the Americas
, also known as the Apurimac Canyon, impresses visitors with a depth of more than 4,000m (13,123ft). In comparison, the deepest point of the Grand Canyon is 1,857m (6092ft). The canyon was formed by the Apurimac River cutting a deep, steep valley into the mountain range. It can be reached during a
3.5h drive from Cusco
which is why excursions there usually start early in the morning (around 7:00h). There is plenty to see on the way to the canyon, including the archeological site of Killarumiyoc
, a temple ruin dedicated to the moon. It houses an impressive moon sculpture that was worked out of a single stone. Shortly after, you reach
, the ruin site of an ancient ceremonial center and resting place during the Inca period. After a stop for lunch in the small town
, the drive ends in the
. From there, you embark on a 1.5h hike to the
. It is perfect for
observing Andean condors
, who have found ideal living conditions in the Chonta Canyon. More than 100 condors inhabit the area! At around 14:00h, the majestic birds return from their daily hunt and you can observe them soaring through the canyon on the way to their nests in the mountain sides. You can also enjoy the
panoramic view of the deep valley
stretching out in front of you as well as the
surrounding snow-capped mountains
. Besides condors, you might spot other wildlife that is typical for the Andes, including Andean foxes, vizcachas, deer, eagles and hawks. You hike back to the community and return to Cusco in the early evening.
Feel free to request tour itineraries including the Chonta Canyon here
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