At Contours Travel we believe in an honest approach to planning a trip, suggesting sights, selecting accommodation and discussing the practicalities in the itinerary.
We’d like to share with you some of our best insights from Latin America. Keep on reading to meet the team!
Ted, Managing Director, first explored South America as an overland bus driver in the mid-1970s. Since then he has been back more than 100 times over the past 40 years and has visited over 35 counties in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands
Ted’s Travel Experience:
Ted’s experience reads like a library of Lonely Planet Guides. He knows almost every inch of every country he has visited which includes Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Guyana. In Central America, Ted has journeyed to: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama and El Salvador. He has also been to 20 of the Caribbean islands, including: Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bequia, Cuba, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, San Andres (Colombia), St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Maarten, Trinidad, St. Thomas, St. Vincent, St. Croix and Bermuda. Most recently he traveled Antarctica where his Zodiac glided into a Humpback Whale!
- My Latin American highlight: swimming in the Napo River in the Ecuadorian Amazon with my son Lucasz. Another great memory was a very close encounter with a Speckled Bear family while doing the Inca Trail. We had to stay quiet and hide so the baby bear would cross the trail!
- My advice would be: Taste the red wine! Squeeze half a lime into anything. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track, you’ll be sure to find something very different.
After working for Contours Travel for over 5 years, Heather went on an overland one-year-trip around South & Central America to discover new hidden gems and refresh her already wide knowledge. She has now been with us for almost ten years!
Heather’s Travel Experience:
All over South America and Central America: Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala & Cuba.
- My Latin American highlight: The Guajira Peninsula in Colombia and the Salt Flats in Bolivia
- My advice would be: Don’t try to squeeze to many destinations into one trip, it is better to go slowly to actually get a feel of every destination!
- The next destination on my list is: Mexico!
Ines is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and has been working for Contours Travel for over 7 years. She is our Product Manager and is also in charge of the Contours Collection Small Group Tours.
Ines’s Travel Experience:
Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay in South America and Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
- My Latin America highlight: Salta in Argentina for its beautiful landscapes and Guatemala for it’s friendly people
- My advice would be: try to learn a little bit of Spanish; it will give you plenty of opportunities to have conversations with locals and this will undoubtedly enrich your South American experience!
- The next destination on my list is: Ecuador (Amazon & the Galapagos Islands) can’t wait!
Rod entered the travel industry as a Group Tour Leader all over the world. He was a driver and guide touring African Safaris and finally settled in South America escorting tours all over the continent for over 6 years!
Rod’s Travel Experience:
He has been to all countries in South America except the Guyanas.
- My Latin America highlight: watching the Tungurahua Volcano throwing lava kilometres into the air and watch the lava flows down the edge of the volcano, at Baños, Ecuador.
- My advice would be: to not miss Colombia or Patagonia – not always on first trip, but well worth going back for.
- The next destinations on my list are: Brazil and Mexico.
Emma has travelled extensively through Latin America, going overland from Mexico, all over Central America and all the way to Brazil.
Emma’s Travel Experience
Mexico, Cuba, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina & Brazil.
- My Latin America highlights: the 3 weeks I spent in Guatemala, our journey across Bolivia’s remarkable Salt Flats and sailing by yacht through the San Blas Islands in the Caribbean Ocean.
- My advice would be: not to try and fit too much into a small amount of time. Enjoy and experience the places that you visit properly so you can get a proper feel for what the destination is all about.
- The next destinations on my list are: Patagonia (checked!) followed closely by the Galapagos Islands (checked!).
Brett has vast experience in the industry and loves everything Latin American.
Brett’s Travel Experience
Mexico, Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.
- My main Latin America highlight: hiking through the Torres del Paine National Park.
- My advice would be: Less is more. Try not to squeeze too much into your trip. Instead spend extra time at the places you are at. Immerse yourself in the culture and don’t be afraid to try new things!
- The next destinations on my list are: Ecuador – such a diverse country from the Amazon Jungle to the Andean highlands down to the coastal beaches and Galapagos Islands.
LETICIA MEIRA MAIA
Leticia was born and raised in Brazil where she lived for many years. She is an expert in her country and has also been to Argentina, Chile and Peru. Leticia has been sharing her knowledge and passion for the many amazing destinations in Latin America throughout her years of experience in the travel industry.
CLeticia’s Travel Experience:
Chile, Argentina, Peru & Brazil.
- My Latin America highlights: My favourite destinations include the ancient ruins of Peru, the colonial towns of Minas Gerais and the beautiful beaches of northeast Brazil.
- My advice would be: Meet the people! Taste the food! Dance! Enjoy the colours and unique flavours of Latin America.
- The next destinations on my list are: Mexico (booked: May 2017!) and the Galapagos Islands.
Carla came over to Australia all the way from Chile in South America and has been working for Contours for over a year. Carla is our Office Administrator, with many years in the travel industry guiding tours in Santiago!
Carla’s Travel Experience:
Chile, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba & Panama.
- My Latin America highlights: Rio de Janeiro. It’s so alive and colourful that makes you just want to drink a nice caipiriña in Copacabana beach dancing samba! My second highlight is the Atacama Desert, the salt flats are one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen.
- My advice would be: Try to live the local experience, don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track, eat as much as you can and of course enjoy the beautiful Carmenere wine in Chile!
- The next destinations on my list are: Tayrona National Park in Colombia and Mexico City! Can’t wait!
ANA CRISTINA LARA HEYNS
Ana has recently arrived to Australia after traveling in South East Asia from Mexico. With a background in Anthropology and Tourism, she has been working in Market Research, Project Management and Travel Writing. She is now coordinating Contour’s Digital Marketing and Communications strategies.
Ana’s Travel Experience:
Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Panama and Colombia.
- My Latin America highlight: Oaxaca is my all-time favourite and Yucatan’s landscapes, cenotes and gastronomy.
- My advice would be: Take a day to lose the map and wander the less transited places and talk to everyone.
- The next destination on my list are: Copper Canyons in Mexico, Cuba and Chile.