In-country partner: Cazenave Argentina
Company overview: Since 1991, the company has provided highly customized tours for groups and FITs that showcase every corner of Argentina—from the Mendoza wine region and the peaks of the Andes to the streets of Buenos Aires.
Sample tour: Nature-based itineraries in Patagonia often combine visits to the Andes Mountains for hiking and horseback riding with a trip to coastal southern Argentina to see the abundant marine mammals and beaches.
Country fun fact: Tango, both a dance and a genre of music, originated at the end of the 19th century in the Rio de la Plata area outside Buenos Aires.
In-country partner: Metropolitan Touring
Company overview: One of the most diverse travel companies in South America, Metropolitan Touring has ground operations in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. The company also operates excursions to the Galápagos Islands on its fleet of ships.
Sample tour: The seven-day Golden Triangle tour includes three of Colombia’s top cities. Along the way travelers discover the history and architecture of Bogotá, take in the coastal beauty of multiethnic Cartagena, and visit coffee plantations in mountainous Pereira.
Country fun fact: Coffee was introduced to Colombia in the late 1700s and grew to become the country’s primary export during the 20th century.
In-country partner: Costa Rica Travel Excellence
Company overview: Costa Rica Travel Excellence provides adventure and nature-based tours that feature the rain forests, waterfalls, beaches, volcanoes, and colorful birds of the country.
Sample tour: The company’s Ultimate Caribbean Rainforest Experience goes to both of the country’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts. During their eight days, travelers will go rafting on the Pacuare River, check out a turtle refuge near Tortuguero National Park, and relax in seaside Puerto Viejo.
Country fun fact: While zip lining has been around for centuries—early courses aided transportation and were used for scientific purposes—the first “canopy tour” (commercial zip lining) was offered in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region in 1996.
In-country partner: Expedition Tours SA
Company overview: The tour operator develops itineraries for student and adult groups—big and small—that cover a range of themes, from ecotours and Galápagos adventures to archaeology and colonial cities.
Sample tour: The diversity of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is highlighted during a week-long program offered by Expedition Tours. Groups can learn the city’s history, see monuments and churches, discover the rich culture, and enjoy local culinary delights during the tour.
Country fun fact: The Galápagos Islands are home to dozens of species of endemic animals, including giant tortoises, Galápagos land iguanas, flightless cormorants, waved albatross, and Galápagos sea lions.
In-country partner: Grupo Meca Mexico
Company overview: During its 39-year history, Grupo Meca has offered guaranteed departures to all areas of Mexico, as well as fly-drive packages and tailor-made programs. The company also has itineraries in Guatemala and Belize.
Sample tour: The Mayas & Aztecs tour covers the lives of the country’s early inhabitants. The journey begins in Cancun with visits to Tulum, Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, and Mérida, then concludes with tours of additional archaeological sites in Mexico City.
Country fun fact: There are 35 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Mexico, placing the country first in the Americas and seventh worldwide in terms of number of UNESCO-designated places.
In-country partner: Domiruth Travel Service
Company overview: With offices across Peru and a multilingual staff, Domiruth is a valued partner for travel planners from around the world. The company has programs based around culture, archaeology, adventure, agriculture, gastronomy, and luxury.
Sample tour: Four Pearls of the South is a 10-day journey through the country’s most mountainous terrain. True to its name, the itinerary highlights a quartet of gems: Machu Picchu, Pampa Cañahuas Reserve, Colca Canyon, and Lake Titicaca.
Country fun fact: Peru is home to the largest pre-Columbian-era city in the Americas, Chan Chan. Now a well-preserved archaeological site in coastal northern Peru, it dates back to the mid-9th century.
Top photo: Whales of the coast of southern Argentina
Photo by Jorge Cazenave
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