Monthly Archives: October 2011

Community Tourism in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a good place to get closer to the country and people by visiting or staying in a communtiy tourism project.  Esteli in the north of the country probably has the most well known project with many family homes where you can stay, eat local food and go hiking and horse riding.  The island of Ometepe also has plenty of fincas and family homes where you can stay.  Into Latin America’s Central America consultant recently visited the village of Santo Domingo in the Chontales region of Nicaragua to discover what there is to see and do there, and to stay with a local family.  You can read all about it here

Sloth in Nicaragua

The very lazy sloth in Santo Domingo

 

Santo Domingo Panorama

Santo Domingo, Nicaragua Panorama

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Tips for Planning Tours in South America to Save Money

In the current economic climate we are all looking for ways to get more value out of our hard earned cash.  South America remains a great value destination in general and is as popular as ever with visitors from all over the world.  Read on to learn about ways to help you get great value while maximising your South America experience.

Wherever you go, travel advisors at Into Latin America will know how you can save money and still have a wonderful trip.

  1. Chose a few key destinations.

Choose the main ‘must sees’ for your trip and then look at what can be visited from there.  For example, in Patagonia instead of flying to multiple destinations, look at visiting a couple of main destinations and then making short trips.  From El Calafate in Argentina, you can visit Perito Moreno Glacier, El Chalten for excellent hiking,  and then travel over to Chile for Torres del Paine National Park as well as the Sorreno and Balamaco GlaciersPerito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

2. Consider travelling by bus. 

Peru has excellent, safe and comfortable buses; especially convenient for travelling in Southern Peru.  Remember the days when airlines were like this; with reclining seats, meals, in-seat entertainment and high levels of service?  Consider travelling by bus for destinations in Peru such as Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, Nazca and Ica.

3. Connect to your final destination on the same day.

It is a nice idea to arrive in the main city, spend a night and then continue to the next destination.  If you think you can face it though, consider connecting to your short internal flight on the same day.  It will save on airport transfers and hotel bills.

4. Try the lunchtime menus.

There are lunchtime menus to suit all pockets

Meal at Ciccolinas

In all Latin American destinations, local restaurants serve good set lunches at a much lower price.  These are often three course meals, including a drink and cost around a half of the price of a regular meal.  There may be one or two options; or only one choice for that day but they are served quickly, and are generally good quality.  Look out for the restaurants with queues out of the door and ask for the álmuerzo or ‘menu del dia

5. Shop when you get there.

small girl wearing two hats

Buying hats in Peru can be a great experience

 

Don’t go shopping for clothes for your trip; buy your clothes when you arrive.  Cusco and Puno in Peru and Otavalo in Ecuador are perfect places to buy warm sweaters and hats; Argentina is the place for leather goods and Rio has trendy Havaian flip flops (thongs) at cost a fraction of the usual price.

6. Travel out of season.

Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Rio, Iguazu and Santiago have definite seasons where hotels increase their prices dramatically.  These high seasons might not only coincide with the busy tourist season, but also during conference season,  or when a city is hosting a large music festival as well.  Ask Into Latin America
when is the best time to travel.

7. Investigate stays in lodges and haciendas.

Beautiful and peaceful haciendas in the plains of Patagonia and amongst the volcanoes of Ecuador or the Brazilian countryside are wonderful places to stay.  They may appear more expensive on first looking but when you count in the activities and meals there can sometimes be little difference in price.

8. When a saving isn’t a saving after all.

Sometimes it may seem a good saving to take a group rather than a private tour – but consider how much more valuable it is to you to go at your own pace  and have a guide who can answer your specific questions.  Some places suit a group tour; while others you might want to savour on your own.