South America has long been a firm favourite for South Africans not only because of the affordability aspect, but because of the variety it provides all travellers, regardless of travel style and preferences.
If culture, adventure and the outdoors is your vibe, South America should be at the top of your bucket list.
If the beach and good vibes is your thing, Brazil is the place to be.
From the festivals and favelas of Rio de Janeiro to the steamy trails through the Amazon rainforest, Brazil is the big daddy of South America.
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Brazil is Rio Carnival which is held before Lent every year. The first festivals of Rio date back to 1723 and has grown immensely since then.
The typical Rio carnival parade is filled with dancers, floats and adornments from numerous samba schools from around Rio, with around 2 million people lining the streets as part of festival celebrations each year. The vibe and energy at the carnival is second to none. Keen to experience Rio Carnival first hand? There are trip options that ensure you're covered with guides, group escorts to the hottest street parties, Sambadrome Parade tickets, and daily pre-carnival parties.
Outdoor enthusiasts, nothing can beat immersing yourself in all the Amazon rainforest has to offer. Be it watching animals in their natural habitat or spending time admiring the breath taking sunsets, you'll be spoilt for choice in this outdoor wonderland.
Looking for the ultimate photo opportunity?
Look no further than Salar de Uyuni (most commonly known as the Bolivian salt flats) - the world's largest salt flat! It's the legacy of a prehistoric lake that went dry, leaving behind a desert-like, 11,000 square kilometre landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-studded islands. You're unlikely to find any wildlife around the salt flats, but you're bound to find many a pink flamingo. The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/08/03/bolivia-salt-flats-photos_n_4689867.html put together a gallery of some of the most magical photos taken of this earthly wonder.
If this has got you itching to take epic pics of your own, STA Travel has an 11-day Bolivian Discovery trip which will expose you to awe-inspiring geography, cities rich in colonial history and indigenous culture. From La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, travel to the crest of the Andes and the middle of nowhere for three days of incredible off-road exploration of the Uyuni Salt Flats.
Fancy a fiery tango and a football game?
Best to plan a trip to Argentina. Be it the local championship, South American Champions League or just a friendly match - football in Buenos Aires is a big deal. Locals and visitors alike look for any reason to watch a match live. Every week Milhouse run a trip to the stadium to see Boca Juniors, River Plate or the National Team. While you're in town, head on out with locals for a night of fine dining and signature Argentinian tango performance. Seeing the passion of the dancers will blow you away and have you yearning to learn the tango for yourself.
From jungles & rainforests, to volcanoes, beaches, cool coffee plantations and even cooler locals, Costa Rica is a haven for discovery. Discover the rainforest on a Tirimbina chocolate tour; raft the rapids on the Sarapiqui River; set sail on an awesome boat trip to spot many dolphins, whales, sea turtles and birds; and so much more, all of which form part of Contiki's really cool 15 day Costa Rica unplugged trip which includes some incredible turtle excursions.
If “getting there” is stressing you out
Worry not, because you've got options. One ideal option is LATAM, Latin America's largest airline (with the region's most complete network.) From 3 October 2016, they will be flying passengers between Johannesburg's O.R Tambo International Airport and São Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport, three times a week.
The flights between Johannesburg and São Paulo will be operated on their technologically-advanced Boeing 767-900. The aircraft features 191 seats in Economy Class and 30 in Premium Business. Premium Business passengers and passengers on qualifying oneworld tiers will have access to over 650 VIP lounges around the world through the oneworld partnership, offering you the chance to relax with a shower, catch up on business, or sample excellent cuisine before exploring over 1 000 destinations in more than 150 countries. Not bad, right?
Adapted from a press release for IOL