Back Experience Latin America 2019 Newsletter

Tourism Statistics

Tourism statistics to Latin America

Up until the end of April 2019, there has been a 2.2% decrease in total departures to Latin America from the United Kingdom compared to same booking period in 2018. Total UK outbound figures have dropped by 3.7% during the same period illustrating some resilience from the Latin American travel market.

The Latin American destinations for UK travellers are Mexico, accounting for approximately 22% of all outbound visits to the Latin America region, followed by Brazil (17%), Peru (8.9%) and Colombia (8.8%).

Key growth areas (year on year) are Brazil (up 5.1%), Peru (up 3.7%), Argentina (up 7.4%) and the Dominican Republic (up 17.7%). Smaller niche destinations have also seen significant growth including the Galapagos Islands (up 20.6%), Guyana (up 8.2%), Guatemala (up 10.9%) and Honduras (up 8.8%).

Looking ahead at bookings for the next six months (from May – October 2019), key growth destinations include the Dominican Republic, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica and Ecuador. Niche destinations including the Galapagos Islands and Guyana are also performing well with significant increases in bookings over the next six months.

*Statistics provided by Forward Keys

Cruise News

Silversea Cruises to build a new luxury Galapagos Islands expedition ship

‘Silver Origin’ is one of only two ships being built exclusively for touring the Galapagos Islands. It will replace the ‘Silver Galapagos’ in 2020 and will feature innovative designs in both private suites and public areas. Preserving signature features such as the Observation Lounge and the Explorer Lounge was pivotal as this is where fascinating lectures on a range of subjects are held. In addition new features are being added such as a stargazing lounge. The ‘Silver Origin’ is equipped with six zodiacs, ten kayaks and other exploration tools for guests to enjoy while travelling around the archipelago.

Aurora Expeditions launch the first passenger vessel carrying Ulstein X-BOW® technology

October 2019 will see the launch of Aurora Expeditions’ new ship, the Greg Mortimer, as it sets sail from Ushuaia, Argentina for its maiden voyage to Antarctica. It is the first passenger expedition ship to use the patented Ulstein X-BOW®, which allows for more gentle sea crossings, and faster transit speeds as well as lower fuel consumption and air emissions. The Greg Mortimer will be loaded with all the equipment required to operate adventure activities such as Zodiac cruising, kayaking, diving & snorkeling, snow skiing, snow shoeing, mountaineering and climbing.

Quasar Expeditions leads Galapagos sustainability charge with new Conservation Yacht

In December 2019, Quasar Expeditions will introduce the M/V Conservation yacht, the first Galapagos ship with a comprehensive sustainability plan – encompassing everything from design to daily operations. The yacht’s pioneering features include renewable energy components, biodegradable amenities and an entirely carbon neutral footprint. This launch furthers Quasar’s mission to protect and restore the archipelago and marks the beginning of their transition to a conservation brand. From new recycling facilities to a Galapagos college scholarship fund, this sustainability initiative is the first of many Quasar has planned for the near future.

Quark Expeditions announces name of new build

Quark Expeditions’ first purpose-built polar vessel will be launched for the 2020/21 season with sales beginning in June 2019. The ship will optimise fuel, feature dual helicopters, quick deploy zodiacs, and a number of new features deigned to improve passenger experience such as spacious cabins, a variety of restaurants, library theatre, and spa and fitness facilities. With the introduction of its new polar vessel, Quark Expeditions will be adding new destinations, new itineraries and new activities offered on board the ship.

Antarctica21 adds third new ship to its air-cruise fleet

Antarctica 21 has launched the Magellan Explorer into the waters of Valdivia in Chile where construction will be completed. The new polar vessel will sail its inaugural voyage on 28 November 2019. Magellan Explorer joins Ocean Nova and Hebridean Sky as Antarctica21’s third ship in its fleet of air-cruise offerings and will feature private balconies on all cabins, observations lounge, dining room, bar, library, meeting room, gym and sauna.

Andean Travel Company makes three additions to its fleet

Andean Travel Company (ATC) has recently added three new vessels to its Galapagos Islands cruise fleet, the Motor Yacht Solaris, the Motor Yacht Aqua, and the Motor Yacht Equinox. The ships have been specially designed as completely new, modern and elegant yachts to fit every passenger’s comforts and needs. Passion for marine life has been brought to the fore in a new live-aboard diving cruise.

Anakonda Amazon Cruises launches first luxury cruise line in Ecuadorian Amazon

Anakonda Amazon Cruises has begun launching its series of luxury experiences deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The concept is to give travellers a once-in-a-lifetime experience in one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. The luxury experiences include conservation programmes, interaction with indigenous communities, and over-night glamping in the jungle. 

Aqua Expeditions adds the Aqua Nera to its fleet

In August 2020 the Aqua Nera will begin operations in the Peruvian Amazon. The latest addition to Aqua Expeditions’ fleet will have a distinctive modem interior inspired by the Peruvian Amazon’s black water lagoons and tributaries featuring 20 suites designed in collaboration with award-winning architects Noor Design. Guests can also expect a five-star Amazonia-inspired dining experience by renowned Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino.

Tour Operator Developments

Horizontes adds new tours Costa Rica tours

Inbound Tour Operator Horizontes has added three new itineraries to its already diverse Costa Rica portfolio. ‘The Blue Side of Costa Rica’ will take guests down into the depths of Costa Rica’s bio-rich waters in a diving exploration while ‘Caminos de Osa’ explores the Osa peninsula via its rivers and waterways looking for natural treasures that reside there. Finally ‘The Unexplored Adventure’ will take travellers on an adventure across the country undertaking activities such as trekking, waterfall jumping, horse-riding, rafting and biking.

Heliconia Amazon River Lodge launches new birdwatching itinerary

Heliconia Amazon River Lodge area has launched a new seven-day itinerary for birdwatchers in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon with an expert guide. It has also now been listed as a birding hotspot on E-Bird by Cornell University Ornithology Lab. The new itinerary takes birdwatchers into one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, the Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve, a paradise containing more than 490 bird species; some so endemic, they are not found anywhere else on the planet. Excited birdwatchers will also visit the islands on the Amazon River around Heliconia Lodge, where 500 species of birds have been recorded.

Mountain Lodges of Peru introduce Yoga and Wellness tour

New for 2019, Mountain Lodges of Peru has introduced an eight-day ‘Yoga and Wellness Experience to Machu Picchu’ —a holistic journey that includes a combination of exhilarating hikes, wellness workshops, and focused yoga practices along with unique cultural immersion experiences in remote Andean communities.

The road less travelled: new exciting off-road routes by LimaTours

LimaTours is now offering a series of off-road programmes in a four-wheel drive vehicle with the aim of reaching off the beaten track locations. These areas more often than not conceal magnificent natural and historical treasures that are unknown to many travellers. The off-road experiences go from full-day to three-day tours and take place in places such as Pachamanca, Choquequirao and Salkantay.

Vapues Tours adds new The Three Seas of Nicaragua Tour

Nicaragua specialist Vapues Tours has introduced a new tour titled ‘The Three Seas of Nicaragua’, designed to provide guests with a comprehensive view of Nicaragua. Beginning in Managua, visitors will then head to the Caribbean coast at Cayos Perla where they will kayak between the tiny islets, and snorkel on the reefs bustling with marine life. The itinerary also includes a stay at Las Isletas in the colossal Lake Nicaragua where guests will discover more of Nicaragua’s rich culture by visiting cigar and chocolate factories. The final stop is San Juan del Sur on the pacific coast staying in Morgan’s Rock Ecolodge and enjoying the many on-site activities.

PEAK DMC launches accessible travel experiences in Peru

PEAK DMC has launched a range of accessible travel experiences in Peru in partnership with tour company Wheel the World. With a focus on local interaction, the tours enable travellers with disabilities not only to visit iconic sites such as Machu Picchu, but to enjoy activities such as bike riding in the Sacred Valley with the help of specially-adapted equipment. Both multi-day and single-day tours are available, all of which can be tailor-made to suit individual needs and accessibility requirements.

‘Culture at the Equator’ with Latventure Inbound tour operator

Latventure has launched a new Galapagos extension to its existing ‘Cultures at the Equator’ tour. Guests can now go from the local markets, rainforests and mountains of Ecuador to the mega-biodiverse Galapagos Islands for a five-day tour. Two boat excursions take guests to discover uninhabited islands of the archipelago where they can snorkel, hike, relax and observe wildlife.

Crillon Tours introduce The Deluxe Airstream Camper Experience

Crillon Tours has introduced the ‘Deluxe Airstream Camper Experience’ in which travellers can tour the Uyuni Salt Flats in unprecedented comfort and privacy. Each camper comes equipped with hot shower, AC/heating, stocked fridge, a pair of bikes and caddies to explore the otherworldly setting. Excursions are available at guests’ leisure with itineraries featuring places such as Thunupa Volcano, Chiquini Cave, Pukara de Ayque, and Cajchi Island. Visitors can even count with the support of their own guide, a driver, personal chef and concierge.

Follow in the footsteps of Papillon with tour of 3-Guianas

2019 marks 50 years since the release of one of the greatest adventure tales, Papillon. The best-seller describes the life French prisoners experienced in the penal colony of French Guiana. To celebrate this anniversary, Wilderness Explorers offers a 12-day journey to retrace many of the locations in the book and learn about the fascinating cultures in French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana. The journey starts in the capital of French Guiana, Cayenne, before travelling along the coast of French Guiana to Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni and visit the Camp De La Transportation, before crossing into Suriname and onto the capital, Paramaribo. The adventure then continues to Guyana to visit Wakenaam Island where Papillon was imprisoned before he eventually ended up in Venezuela. The tour also spends time in the colonial capital, Georgetown, and includes a flight and day tour to the spectacular Kaieteur Falls.

Colombian Journeys adds new half day community experience in Moravia

Colombian Journey’s new half day experience in Moravia takes guests to one of the benchmarks for social and urban transformation in Medellin. The excursion begins with a tour of the neighbourhood to learn about the transformation made by the community in what used to be one of the areas of the city living in extreme poverty. Learning about the neighbourhood’s history, visitors will pass the old rubbish mound that has been transformed into a garden before discovering some of the many community projects underway in Moravia.

ATP introduce new tour to Iguazu discovering exclusive corners outside of traditional routes 

Argentina Travel Partners DMC has introduced a new tour discovering exclusive corners of the jungles surrounding Iguazu Falls. Just 45 minutes’ drive from the falls there is a small refuge hidden in the heart of the jungle on the Parana River, the perfect location to appreciate the immense biodiversity in jungle. The tour offers a range of activities such as trail walks, cultivating Yerba Mate tea with farmers, exploring hidden cascades and kayaking on the river.

Via Natura expands its services for 2019

In 2019, Via Natura is expanding its services by adding more meaningful experiences to their itineraries by creating experiences such as ‘Payment to Mother Earth’ a shamanistic ceremony in Pachamama and visits to Andean Communities where guests can learn how to weave Peruvian textiles or harvest crops. In doing so, guests will be supporting isolated communities that rely on sustainable tourism projects to keep their economies healthy and afloat.

KMS Travel Chile develops new programmes

Incoming Tour Operator KMS Travel Chile has developed a series of new bespoke programmes focused on soft adventure, cultural immersions and learning from the destination. These programmes take place in Chile’s extreme environments, from the mountainous terrain of the Andes, to the arid deserts of Atacama.

New online trip building tool for tailor-made South America tours goes live with Surtrek

Surtrek has announced the launch of Discover Your South America – a pioneering online trip-builder that allows every user to customise and personalise their trip. As a starting point, travellers can shape their trip around a recommended route using one of the template itineraries: across Peru, Ecuador, the Galapagos, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay, with trip types varying from wildlife holidays to culture tours. Following which they are able to choose from a selection of hotels, transfer options and activities, exploring the destinations while adding or removing days in each location, making each itinerary totally personalised.

Creter Tours introduces Rutas, Alma and Sabor tours

Rutas, Alma y Sabor is an initiative from Creter Tours designed to allow guests to discover the ancestral recipes from Ecuador. After a long period of research on the history of Ecuador’s cuisine, Creter Tours has developed gastronomic routes in which travellers can spend time with local communities learning the secrets of their ancestral recipes and traditions. The tours have been created with the aim of complying with responsible, community-led tourism.

Condor Travel introduce new ‘Weaving Stories’ portfolio

Condor Travel has introduced a number of new experiences into its ‘Weaving Stories’ portfolio that allows guests to experience first-hand the true essence of South America through its local people. The team at Condor Travel has carefully handpicked ambassadors that are passionate about life across the continent and provide their own insights into traditions and customs. Guests will have inside access to the Great Inca Trail walking hand-in-hand with members of the Raqchi Community in Cusco; learn the secrets of the Tango from Natalia, a professional Tango dancer; and cross the vast Atacama Desert with Sandra, a proud Atacamanian.

Native Trails publish My Trails 2019 edition

Native Trails has published the 2019 edition of My Trails, a special guide to Mexico with recommendations on over 600 excursions, 450 hotels and 200 restaurants. Valle de Guadalupe and Baja California come highly recommended in this year’s editions for their local wineries and vineyards.

Quimbaya Latin America unveils new itineraries

Quimbaya Latin America has unveiled its new multi-destination itineraries. The itineraries have fixed departures and offer a number of destinations including Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil. Thanks to experienced teams based in 11 countries, the multi-destination itineraries offer passengers rich and varied experiences.

Airline News

Guyana becoming more accessible with new flight routes into Georgetown

The previously untapped destination of Guyana is now opening up to tourism with a number of major airlines launching new flight routes from the capital, Georgetown. In December 2018, Copa Airlines was granted permission to add another flight to its already busy Guyana-Panama route taking it to a five times weekly service. American Airlines has also announced a new daily service launching from New York’s JFK International Airport to Cheddi Jagan International Airport in December 2019. With this new service, American Airlines will make Guyana more accessible to the world and its key tourism markets with JFK International Airport acting as an international hub.

Norwegian increases South America services

Following the success of the recently introduced London Gatwick – Buenos Aires route, which has now increased to a daily route from a four flights weekly service, Norwegian Airlines launched a new Gatwick – Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport route on 31 March2019. Norwegian is now operating six domestic routes within Argentina: Mendoza, Cordoba, Salta, Iguazú, Bariloche and Neuquén.

LATAM Airlines will renovate its cabins to improve passenger travel experience

Over the next two years, LATAM Airlines will renovate the cabins of two-thirds of its global fleet serving both long- and short- haul routes, with a $400 million investment. The Premium Business class will boast a new seat design (including a full-flat bed), direct aisle access, ample space for personal items, and an improved in-flight entertainment system on an 18” personal screen. Passengers in Economy will also have the option to upgrade to LATAM+ Seats, offering more space, reclining seats and premium services such as priority check-in and boarding. The first newly renovated aircraft will arrive in 2019 and, for approximately two years, will be in service alongside others with the current configuration.

Air Europa announces new flight routes

Air Europa will consolidate its presence in Latin America with the commencement of two new flight routes to Panama and Medellin in June becoming Air Europa’s second and third new Latin American destinations to 2019 respectively. The airline has also announced a new codeshare option with Copa Airlines for travellers arriving in Panama to continue on to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador or Guatemala. This codeshare is in effect as of 3 June when the passengers of the inaugural flight land in Panama and will provide all passengers from there on a quick and convenient connection to other Central American destinations.

One Ocean Expeditions introduces new flight route from Santiago to Falkland Islands

One Ocean Expeditions has announced the chartering of a pioneering new international flight route from Santiago, Chile, to Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands, for an easy access route to Antarctica. The new route is exclusive to passengers travelling on board the RCGS Resolute expedition and hopes to provide a saving in the costs and transit times that are usually incurred passing through various international airports. Guests sailing between 31 Dec 2019 – 17 Jan 2020, on board the new Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica ‘Mega-Colonies’ voyage will experience this exciting new flight route.

HOTEL NEWS New Corocora Camp opens in Colombia’s Los Llanos region

Corocora Camp, a new luxury tented camp, has opened in Colombia’s Los Llanos region. The camp features four luxury tents all with full double bed, private shower and bathroom, binoculars and wooden decking for wildlife viewing. Activities in the camp include wildlife spotting giant anteaters, howler monkeys, deer, anacondas and the possibility of puma or jaguar. These can be done from safari jeep, horseback or day or night walks. On top of this it offers cultural interactions, including local music nights and food tasting as well as the opportunity to ride out with local cowboys rounding up cattle and seeing their daily work.

Remota Patagonia Lodge publishes new manuals of excursions for 2019-2021

Remota Patagonia Lodge has published new and improved manuals of excursions for the 2019-2021 seasons, allowing for more extensive and exclusive activities to guests staying on one of its All-Inclusive programs. The new manuals will offer several new and exciting excursions such as rock climbing, mountain biking and kayaking.

Royal Palm Galapagos introduces new camping experiences

Royal Palm Galapagos has become the first luxury hotel to introduce a camping experience in the Galapagos Islands. The property is located in the lush Miconia Forests in a secluded 195-hectare private estate in the valley of two extinct, cinder cone volcanoes and offers a range of camping options. The glamping experience is designed to make camping as easy, cosy and comfortable as possible in an enchanting setting.

Marriott hotels in Costa Rica present their new rooms inspired by local nature

Marriott hotels in Costa Rica has introduced newly renovated rooms overhauling 498 rooms and revamping them with Costa Rica’s natural beauty as the inspiration. Featuring coffee culture undertones and beach vibes, the rooms aim to bring a new luxury experience to guests in a traditional Hacienda environment.

Mountain Lodges of Peru introduces new Cusco property to the collection in 2019

In January 2019, Mountain Lodges of Peru introduced the design-led X.O Art House to its small collection of luxury lodgings in the UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Cusco. X.O Art House is Mountain Lodges of Peru’s third Cusco property, offering self-catered apartment-style accommodation. Guests staying in X.O Art House’s contemporary property will be able to order tourism services via an iPhone and Android app.

Upgrades and developments at Casa Andina Hotels

The Casa Andina Premium Cusco and Casa Andina Premium Valle Sagrado Hotel and Villas have both been reclassified to 5* properties on accounts of their exceptional service and high quality facilities. Furthermore the Casa Andina Premium Miraflores’ lobby and events rooms have been remodelled with plans to remodel the rest of the guest rooms soon to get underway.

Hotel Hangaroa offers exclusive private programme to guests

Hotel Hangaroa on remote Easter Island is now offering an exclusive private programme at no additional cost for all guests that stay in the Maunga Suite and book the Full Experience programme. Guests will have a private transfer from the airport, two half daily private excursions, and daily sunset cocktails for no added cost. The offer is valid from April 2019 until March 2020.

Other News

Explore Ecuador at the After Nyne Gallery with Metropolitan Touring

Earlier this year Metropolitan teamed up with Olympus cameras and took a group of five professional photographers on a two-week journey around mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands to capture their culture, flora and fauna. The collection of images will now be presented in the ‘Exploring Ecuador’ exhibition running from 12-18 June at the After Nyne Gallery in Holland Park. A specially produced photography book will be available to purchase, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Galapagos Conservation Trust.

Rainforest Expeditions celebrates 30 years of sustainable tourism

Rainforest Expeditions was founded by Eduardo Nycander and Kurt Holle in 1989 when it launched three wildlife ecolodges: Posada Amazonas, Refugio Amazonas, and Tambopata Research Centre. Now in their 30th anniversary, Rainforest Expeditions will be honouring personalities who inspired people to protect nature such as Sir David Attenborough and the famous wildlife photographer Frans Lanting. As for the adventurers, to empower solo travellers, the company is skipping the single supplements in three rooms per lodge from November 2019 until March 2020.

Inca Rail implement new waiting rooms in Ollantaytambo

The Inca Rail company, which offers travel experiences from Cusco and Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Pueblo, has implemented new rooms for a better service to customers waiting to board. There are four new waiting areas: a room exclusively for Private and First Class services, an area designed as a Coffee Bar Station and a room for 360° and Voyager services. All are equipped with WiFi enabled screens loaded with entertainment and tourist information.

Island Expeditions host special guest instructor

Island Expeditions has announced that Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) expert Norm Hann will be joining as a guest instructor and trip coordinator for the 2019-20 season. Hann is a professional Canadian paddleboard adventure athlete and elite team member with Boardworks Surf. One of the trips he will be coordinating is the Coral Islands SUP journey where guests can glide over the coral reefs observing sting rays, grouper and a fascinating marine underworld.

NIZUC Resort & Spa to boost its health and fitness offering

NIZUC Resort & Spa on the Mexican Caribbean coast will boost its health and fitness offering to guests in September 2019 with a residency by renowned London-based performance coach, Artur Zolkiewicz, in a week-long initiative designed to coincide with the global World Wellness Weekend project. Having graced the front covers of health and fitness magazines including Men’s Fitness, and with a roster of clients that includes A-list celebrities and models, Artur will be based at NIZUC Resort & Spa from 19-25 September 2019, during which time he will host a class each morning as well as bespoke personal training sessions.

Andando Tours introduce diving aboard M/Y WildAid’s Passion

Andando Tours‘ yacht M/Y WildAid’s Passion will now be able to offer diving activities during its nature cruises. Although much of the M/Y WildAid’s Passion’s itinerary will remain the same, the new operation permit allows snorkeling and diving activities in some of the most naturally rich locations on the planet. One such highlight is Punta Espejo, located on Marchena Island which will be visited in the eight-day ‘East’ itinerary.

Images are available here.


Editorial notes:

The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) is represented by LOTUS. For more information a/o images, please contact Kate McWilliams, Lucy Keenan or George Leonard ( / 0207 953 7470). For more information on LATA, please visit