Central and South America are in high demand at the moment, and that’s no surprise to Danny Tyrrell, U.S. sales director for G Adventures. The Toronto-based adventure tour operator recently became a Virtuoso Preferred Supplier.
For 2016, the company is offering more than 30 new or enhanced small-group guided tours into Central and South America. They include a wide range of options for different budgets and interests, said Tyrrell.
“Central and South America are easy to get to, and continue to be among the most popular destinations for adventurous American travelers, given the relative ease of travel and visas to most countries there,” Tyrrell tells Travel Agent.
Travelers interested in exploring the region with G Adventures can choose Active, Yolo (You Only Live Once) and Marine tours, which include a nine-day Amazon River Cruise in Peru, and a 38-day ocean cruise up the South American Pacific coast.
The company has also introduced a new Classic tour into Northern Brazil for 2016.
“We anticipate it will be popular with the Summer Olympics attracting curious tourists this summer,” said Tyrrell.
G Adventures is also in the news of late with its high-profile collaboration with National Geographic.
“We’re especially excited to offer travelers an accessible and authentic way to travel with National Geographic through our new National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures. This line of trips offers 18 different itineraries into Central and South America (of 70, across the globe) and is designed to introduce travelers to an eye-opening variety of experiences that range from the educational and the thought-provoking to the awe-inspiring and wild,” said Tyrrell.
Also in the news is a new package from luxury adventure operator International Nature & Cultural Adventures (INCA).
From February 11 to December 22, 2016, INCA will feature eleven 10-day "Darwin Isles" departures. The program includes a night in Quito and a night on Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos to see giant tortoises in the wild and the Charles Darwin Research Station. An eight-day cruise about the Reina Silvia follows.
On Santa Cruz, guests stay at the eco-friendly Galápagos Suites in Puerto Ayora.
The overnight is important to help travelers adjust, company founder and president Bill Roberson tells Travel Agent.
“Our view is to help our guests ease into the place, and get a chance to recover from the trip to South America. They can do a little hiking, crawl among tortoises, and spend some time exploring the unique vegetation,” said Roberson.
Patagonia is another popular destination for INCA guests. The company’s 16-day "Patagonia Spring" itinerary includes two nights in Buenos Aires, three days on the Peninsula Valdes to see whales, seals and penguins, three days in Glacier National Park, two days in Calafate at the Perito Moreno Glacier, followed by five days in Torres del Paine National Park.
In business for four decades, the Emeryville, CA-based INCA offers “adventures with a conscience.” Ecologically-sustainable lodges on the Patagonia itinerary include the Estancia Rincon Chico on the Península Valdés , a UNESCO World Heritage site and a Biosphere Reserve. The estancia features nine miles of coastline where guests can hike, dive, ride horses or bird watch.
At Avanti Destinations, demand is high for gastronomic and soft adventure trips in Central and South America.
Perennial favorites, such as the Galapagos and Machu Picchu continue to reign supreme. But interest is growing for destinations such as Nicaragua and Uruguay, according to Avanti’s founder and president Harry Dalgaard.
Avanti has added some new 2016 tours designed to appeal to foodies. Wine, beer, chocolate and coffee experiences can be added as half or full-day activities. They also form the central theme of several three-to-five day itineraries in the region.
New offerings include “Chilean Beer Trail,” a full day tour of craft breweries in Santiago; “Remarkable Bars & Cafes,” a half-day private tour in Buenos Aires;
“Cultural Cartagena,” a three-night tour that includes a cooking demo and dinner, home hosted dinner, and walking tour, along with several tastings; “Premium Andean Valley Farm Experience,” a two-night stay on a working hacienda in Ecuador and a “Private Chocolate-Making Class” in Nicaragua.