South America is catching on fast as a holiday destination with South Africans – but then, there are so many compelling reasons to visit this fascinating and vibrant continent.

From the spectacular, rugged vistas of the Peruvian Andes to the cosmopolitan beaches of Rio de Janeiro, South America is jam-packed with discovery and adventure.

And the continent is becoming so popular with South Africans that Trafalgar, this country’s leading provider of guided holidays, is sweetening its already-sweet deals and offering a great 10% discount on all South America holidays booked between 1 April and 31 May for travel before October 2012.

While there are too many to mention – really – here are 10 top reasons for why you should travel to South America for your next holiday:

·Machu Picchu: one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the so-called “Lost City of the Incas” is without question one of South America’s most incredible places. Situated on a ridge nearly 2 500m above sea level, it escaped discovery and subsequent looting by the Spanish Conquistadors, making it one of the best-preserved examples of Inca life

·The Iguassu Falls: situated on the border of the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentine province of Misiones, and flanked on either side by UNESCO World Heritage Site national parks, these waterfalls are one of South America’s most breathtaking natural attractions. Local mythology has it that a vengeful god planned to marry a woman, Naipi, but she fled in a canoe with her mortal lover; enraged, the god split the Iguassu River, condemning the pair to an eternal fall

·Carnival: nobody knows how to stage a street carnival like the Brazilians! We’ve all seen images of the spectacular costumes and floats, but there is nothing like seeing a Carnival procession first-hand (or even participating) – and there’s plenty of partying going on around the periphery. The most famous of Brazil’s carnivals is the one in Rio de Janeiro, but many other cities also stage their own events, each with its own particular flavour

·The caipirinha: a delicious (and rather intoxicating) cocktail traditionally made with limes, castor sugar and cachaça spirit, the caipirinha is just about a Brazilian national symbol. And there’s no better place to enjoy an authentic caipirinha than on Rio’s famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, where street vendors make them fresh. Don’t forget to try the various permutations, including versions using vodka or sake, or tangerines instead of limes

·Buenos Aires: the Argentine capital city is known as the “Paris of the South”, and is replete with culture, architecture, history – and, of course, it is the home of the most passionate dance of all, the tango. And there’s lot more besides, such as great shopping, fine dining and wonderful wines (Argentina is the world’s fifth-largest producer, and wine is the country’s official national liquor)

·Corcovado: one of the most familiar tourist sites in the world, Corcovado is a peak inside a national park within Rio de Janeiro’s city limits, and the site of the statue of Christ the Redeemer. This awe-inspiring, 38m-high high statue is easily visible from many parts of Rio – and the views of the city from the peak itself (the name of which means “hunchback”) are a must-see for any visitor

·Pisco: both Peru and Chile claim this fiery grape brandy as their own, but one thing is certain: it’s as South American as can be. Ranging in colour from clear to amber, pisco is well-known for making cocktails – from the delicious Pisco Sour to the South American version of brandy and Coke, known as the piscola

·Eva Peron: immortalized in the musical Evita, this Argentine first lady remains a revered figure – despite having died 60 years ago. A museum dedicated to her in Buenos Aires is a must-see, as well as her grave in the city’s La Recoleta cemetery, where many prominent Argentinians from all walks of life have their final resting place

·Cusco: the historical capital of the Incas, this Peruvian city – situated 3 300m above sea level – is a fascinating treasure trove of history. Originally settled by the indigenous Killke people, who were later conquered by the Incas, the city was eventually taken over and sacked by the Spanish conquistadors. All of these periods are well-preserved in Cusco, which attracts around 2-million visitors a year

·Lima:Peru’s capital and South America’s fifth-largest city, Lima was founded in 1535 by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who called it the City of the Kings. Situated along Pacific desert coast, Lima enjoys a surprisingly moderate climate. It is filled with architectural and historical discoveries, from Latin America’s oldest university to the chilling catacombs of the Church of San Francisco, as well as great options for the more modern pursuits of shopping and eating out

“Trafalgar’s South America guided holidays encompass all of these wonderful discoveries – and then some. The sights, smells and sounds of South America truly are intoxicating, and it’s easy to see why South Africans are increasingly choosing South America for their holidays,” says Trafalgar managing director Theresa Szejwallo.

“There’s so much to see and do that is unique to this fascinating continent, from ancient cultures to modern-day pleasures – at prices that make a South American holiday friendly to many a pocket, especially with our fantastic 10% discount offer,” says Szejwallo.

Issued by marcusbrewster on behalf of Trafalgar.

For further information, please contact Alexa Holtzhausen on, or (011) 022 9711.



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