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Where in central or South America?

(18 Posts)
newdawntoday Wed 09-Oct-19 17:47:05

Has anyone travelled in South or Central America and can recommend me a holiday destination?
We'd like to do something more adventurous with our kids next year (aged 11 and 9) and I have always wanted to visit this part of the world. I've done lots of travelling in the past and my kids are quite adventurous although my DH a bit nervy.
We are not big city people - more small towns, countryside and sea.
Looking for beautiful scenery, hiking, a bit of beach, ruins, maybe even jungle and just a little bit of culture.
We could go in any of the school holidays depending on when best suits the place and have leeway to take an extra week if it's a half term one.
Please help me narrow it down!

CherryPavlova Wed 09-Oct-19 17:54:40

Cuba is interesting.
Patagonia is stunning but may be better when children are older.

tinkerella1 Wed 09-Oct-19 18:14:25

Costa Rica! It’s eco tourism is fantastic and it’s a really safe country. I think it’s the only country in the world to abolish its army.
It’s got rain forests, and volcanos - them all seem to be pretty dormant and just seem to provide thermal baths.
You’ve then got the Pacific coast which has gorgeous beaches and we had macaws flying over us. On the Caribbean coast if you go in July/ Aug you can join one of the groups that watch turtles laying their eggs at night. The light pollution is next to nothing so it was my first proper experience of seeing the Milky Way - I’ve never seen so many stars.
July Aug is supposed to be the rainy season but apart from a couple of quick afternoon downpours the weather was great but the prices not so high.
We went with our kids when they were the same age so the flights were fine.
We did a package tour as we didn’t really know about the country and we covered a lot of ground in 10 days. We added some nights on the end and had a few days of beach time on the Pacific coast. It was worth it for the parrots flying over and the giant iguanas, monkeys and raccoons that hung about the beaches.
Couldn’t fault the country.

mightybuzz Wed 09-Oct-19 18:18:59

Belize!

Oct18mummy Wed 09-Oct-19 18:25:27

Peru most amazing country. You could hike to Machu picchu it’s absolutely breath taking x

BubblesBuddy Wed 09-Oct-19 19:19:29

Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. Everything you ask for and more. Or even Ecuador on its own. Beaches are better in the GI though. South America on the Pacific coast doesn’t always have the best beaches. They are quite far apart. However the Rainforest, cloud forest, small towns, markets and Quito (yes I’m know it’s a city) certainly makes up for it. The squares, churches and older parts of Quito are fantastic.

Also look at the Devils Nose railway and staying at an estancia.

ThomasRichard Wed 09-Oct-19 19:37:43

This is the holiday I want to go on with my DC (Costa Rica): www.intrepidtravel.com/uk/costa-rica/costa-rica-family-holiday-116982

Stopyourhavering64 Thu 10-Oct-19 14:22:09

Peru and Bolivia...Machu Pichu and Rainbow mountain from Cusco and then fly to La Paz to either got to Amazon or see the salt flats at Uyuni
Dd and her bf are there at the moment and the photos she's sending me look absolutely stunning...food is good too!

newdawntoday Thu 10-Oct-19 16:02:33

I want to go to all of them! Costa Rica narrowly has it at the moment. Wondering if I need to do a tour or whether I'll be able to save much by doing it independently? Anyone sorted it out themselves?

BubblesBuddy Thu 10-Oct-19 17:54:48

THe world and his wife go there. I would look at standard itineraries and use a tour company if DH isn’t up for it. You can do it yourself with some effort and the driving is easy. Whether you save anything is debatable. Audley travel have a more off the beaten track itinerary.

SJane48S Thu 10-Oct-19 21:15:06

We’ve been to Costa Rica - whether the world and their wives go there is debatable, it’s a more popular destination for Brits with families looking for a relatively safe but interesting long haul destination but is still a million miles away from inundated with Brits abroad kind of place. We booked all travel ourselves (we saved a good deal doing that way but you’ll find numerous people saying exactly the same thing) but it’s entirely up to you - I understand if you’ve not DIY’d a holiday before though why it may seem daunting and a tour company preferable. We hired a driver between destinations. It’s a beautiful country with an abundance of wildlife and adventure style activities. On the history front there isn’t a great deal to see and San Jose was a whole. Beautiful country though. We went in summer which is cheaper - there is usually an afternoon thunderstorm but no biggie.

SJane48S Thu 10-Oct-19 21:15:59

Hole not whole (well, a whole load of not very attractive maybe!)

LesLavandes Thu 10-Oct-19 21:22:19

How much do drivers cost in Costa Rica and did you book them whilst there?

SJane48S Thu 10-Oct-19 21:36:30

I can’t remember how much it cost off the top of my head (it was 4 years ago) but I organised that element in advance and found the company off Tripadvisor (where you’d find others if you want a number of quotes - I usually contact the 5 most recommended, outline where I want to go, when and then ask for a quote). It wasn’t extortionate though. A lot of people drive - I think some of the road infrastructure in the North is rubbish but where we went it was fine. Costa Rican driving style is a little madder than ours (lots of people on their mobiles) but not scary scary! We went to San Jose (interesting from an intro to the countries pretty unique to the regions politics and more recent history, safe but not at all lovely!), Arenal and Manuel Antonio. In retrospect I’d have swapped Monteverde for Arenal.

charm8ed Sat 26-Oct-19 14:45:54

When my DC were that age we went on a really good twin centre holiday to Rio and then flew to Iguassa and stayed on the Argentine side in a lovely hotel in the rain forest. When we were in Rio we did lots of good trips to the rain forest, sugar loaf mountain, Copacabana Fort, botanical gardens etc and then had some half days in the beach. For the second part of the holiday we visited both sides of the falls, an Argentine mine, Paraguay, a bird park place and also went on walks and chilled by the pool for an hour or so a day. We had 5 nights at each destination. It was a great holiday if you like doing lots of activities and something different each day.

Frazzled2207 Sat 26-Oct-19 14:56:46

I'd go to Costa Rica or Belize - a friend went independently with her kids to CR recently and loved it.

Only place I've been to myself in that area is Cuba which I found fascinating but not sure kids would. Very safe though.

fellyjish Sat 26-Oct-19 14:58:31

Belize and Guatemala - we went and went caving, to Tikal (incredible Mayan ruins), snorkelling with (nurse) sharks, rays and turtles, horse riding and paddle boarding! It was an organised tour with intrepid and was excellent!

Wizwoo Sat 26-Oct-19 15:04:22

I am in Costa Rica now with the familyand Id recommend it to anyone. Kids 9,6,5. We have organised it all ourselves on a budget so doing air bnbs and car hire. I couldn’t tell you an overall price but we are paying around £40 a night for basic but decent accommodation in beautiful surroundings. Right now we are on the Caribbean coast in a house with the beach on one side and jungle on the other. So much to do and see and easy to get around although I’m sure in the rainy season it would be a different story.

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