November 1, 2018
Top travel tips for South America and Antarctica
South America and Antarctica are two vast continents with an incredible range of destinations to visit and explore. There is so much to see and do, you will need to consider if you have time to see it all at once or plan multiple trips. Samantha Venditti and Georgie Menke-Somers of Travel Associates Noosa share their experience of this beautiful part of the world.
Why should someone consider visiting Antarctica?
Antarctica is one of the most amazing destinations you can visit. To be surrounded by the nature and the elements, that has nothing to do with mankind, is an incredible experience. It is a journey that will stay with you always and make you truly appreciate the world around you and how precious our environment is.
What are the highlights?
For me it was both the wildlife and the landscape. To be surrounded by the images you see on TV and realise the scope of it all is incredible. From the amazing penguin colonies to a single leopard seal laying on an iceberg, to a pod of whales so close you can almost reach out and touch them, is
a surreal experience. The amount of ice
and snow and the height of the mountains and glaciers was surprising as well. They
Is it as breathtaking as the photos?
It is so much more to be there than just looking at the photo. To be immersed by nature at its best is one of the most amazing experiences of your life. It is so easy to take photos that belong on a magazine cover while you are there, as everything is so spectacular. But to be in the elements where you are surrounded by the visions you see on the TV or in a magazine is humbling. The world out there is so vast and so spectacular.
Is the cost and travel time worth it?
The are so many different ways to see and explore Antarctica these days. If you are hesitant about spending three days at sea to get there, you can now fly to and from Antarctica and just enjoy the calm waters while you are at the Antarctic Peninsula. For me, part of the experience is the lead up to getting there. There is so much to see along the way. From watching the Albatross follow the boat, the first sighting of icebergs, to the expedition guides talking about what you see when you get there. A trip to Antarctica is not a cheap trip, but it will be one of the most rewarding in your life. If you have ever thought of going to Antarctica, you must go!
Why should someone consider a trip to South America?
It’s so diverse, you can really have so many different experiences. From warm sunny beaches and tropical jungles to beautiful snow capped mountains, there really is something for everyone.
What are some of the highlights of this destination?
In February we visited Rio for the famous Carnival. This has always been on my bucket list, it’s the world’s biggest party and draws over two million visitors every day. The vibe is contagious, filled with music and dancing, you can’t help but join in, and the people were so welcoming. Other highlights would be visiting Santa Marta Favela and catching the train up through the steep jungle track to get to the Christ the Redeemer statue, the lookout from the top, over the city is breathtaking. We also island-hopped through the Galapagos, this was like being dropped into the middle of a David Attenborough documentary.
What was your favourite experience?
Isabella Island. Within half an hour you can drive from the beach, through lush green woodlands, black lava rock fields and then arrive to green mountainous areas. This is where the Sierra Negra cauldron is, the second largest in the world. This island is also home to the giant Galapagos tortoise.
What are some of the must-do experiences in South America?
We hiked the Inca quarry trail. This was amazing! We trekked and camped through the Peruvian Andes for three days. We passed through villages and saw waterfalls and ancient ruins. We then spent a night in Aguas Calientes using the natural hot springs to rejuvenate before heading to Machu Picchu.
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