Venezuela

Venezuela is where the Andes mountain range meets the Caribbean – a land of astonishing variety that many believe is the ideal introduction to South America. The Orinoco River separates the vast plains from the tabletop mountains of the Gran Sabana. In the west, the northern tip of the Andes creeps up into the country…

Uruguay

For many European visitors, there’s something strangely familiar about the landscape of Uruguay. Largely devoted to agriculture, the green countryside is dotted with sheep and cows. As far back as 1868 – when the British built a railway connecting the capital, Montevideo, with the countryside – Hereford and shorthorn cattle were reared in Uruguay. It…

Surinam

For such a miniscule country, there’s an awful lot going on in Suriname – an intriguing combination of Dutch, Asian and African roots which influences the culture, festivals, food and street life. In Paramaribo, the capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you could almost be in Amsterdam as you stroll along the waterfront past…

Peru

Other than being able to name a certain little bear with a penchant for marmalade, most people would be struggling to come up with more than a couple of Peru-related facts. Everyone knows about Machu Picchu, the myth- and mist-shrouded Inca citadel, but hands up those who knew that Peru boasted more ancient archaeological sites…

Paraguay

An air of mystery hangs over this little-visited pocket of South America, a country of farmland, forest and folklore. Landlocked Paraguay has had a strange history of charismatic leaders, steadfastness and isolation. It’s often assumed that the Spanish and Portuguese conquered all of South America, yet in Paraguay events took a strange turn when the…

Panama

Panama is the crossroads of the Americas. Panama can be heady stuff indeed – but years of occupation and the ‘Big Ditch’ are not its only claim to fame. There are unexplored coral reefs, minute frogs in red, orange and yellow, the intriguing archipelago of San Blás, vast stretches of cool highlands and thundering rivers.…

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a friendly and peaceful country that has received some negative press over the years. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing, for, while other countries in the region have been flooded by tourists, Nicaragua has managed to preserve its authenticity and character. The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua is full of…

Honduras

Honduras is the second largest country in Central America but its population is no larger than that of neighbouring El Salvador, the smallest country. The capital, Tegucigalpa, is a chaotic celebration of colonial architecture divided by steep cobbled streets. Get out of town and the mountainous interior has minimal road access, keeping it firmly off…

Guyana

Guyana is truly a wild frontier – a land of few roads, pristine forest and ecotourism opportunities aplenty. The coastal region is dominated by a mixture of coconut palms, calypso music, Dutch drainage systems, Hindu temples, rice and Demerara sugar. Leaving the sea behind, it is a land of waterfalls and rainforest, giving way to…

Guatemala

Guatemala is a land of kaleidoscopic colour. The red lava tongues of its volcanoes contrast with the shadows of the caves in the southern Petén, believed to lead into a mysterious underworld, jagged with stalactites and stalagmites. Further south, blankets of white sand coat the Caribbean Coast near Lívingston, while on the black-sand Pacific Coast,…