Alana Lewthwaite

Travel Specialist
Alana Atacama

In my early 20’s I embarked on my first big trip overseas to Europe. Before returning to Australia I decided to detour via South America. I’d never even heard of Machu Picchu or Iguazu Falls but once I had visited this remarkable continent it sparked a passion and love for Latin America that is still with me.


Initially it was Buenos Aires that stole my heart and is a place that I love returning to. The Asado, that smell of the charcoal-grilled meats from the street vendors or more upmarket Parillas in every part of the city, the deep red Malbecs and the warmth and kindness of the people who were proud of their culture. While I am still very fond of Buenos Aires and the memories it holds, South America is a large continent, vast and incredibly diverse. I have decided not to have a favourite; instead I have made a Top 5, (in no particular order!)

1. The landscapes and natural beauty of Chile for those wanting to escape the cities. Great for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and photography. The Torres del Paine National Park is famous for a reason – seriously impressive and you may even see a Puma!

2. Peru, for astounding history and different cultures (beyond the Incas!)

3. Galapagos Islands for the lovers of wildlife. (Spending an hour in the crystal blue water snorkelling with four, very playful baby sealions has to one of my favourite experiences!)

4. The high-altitude lagoons of Bolivia. In the stark desert vista, what a surprise to find a lake of turquoise green water, home to thousands of perfect pink flamingos!

5. Whales in Antarctica. Growing up in Hervey Bay, I’ve been spoiled for whale watching experiences however seeing the Humpbacks in Antarctica gracefully glide around the zodiacs and then breach or show their fluke against a backdrop of icebergs – no words, breathtaking!


The question is always, what’s next. I’d love to see more of Central America, or hike some of the lesser known trails in Peru, or simple return to Buenos Aires and enjoy a steak with a glass of red!

Places Visited

Argentina: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Bariloche, Cordoba, Salta, Mendoza, El Calafate, Ushuaia, El Chalten (Los Glaciares National Park)

Brazil: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Paraty, Buzios, Fortaleza, Salvador, Natal, Ilha do Mel, Ilha Grande, Iguassu Falls

Bolivia: La Paz, Copacabana, Uyuni (Salt Flats)

Chile: Santiago, Valparaiso/Vina del Mar, Atacama Desert, Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine National Park, Punta Arenas

Colombia: Bogota, Armenia & Pereira (coffee region), Cartagena

Cuba: Havana, Baracoa, Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey, Trinidad, Santa Clara

Ecuador: Quito, Guayaquil, Otavalo, Cuenca, Amazon Rainforest & Galapagos Islands (cruise and land based)

Mexico: Mexico City, Taxco, Playa del Carmen, Tulum

Peru: Lima, Cuzco, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Puerto Maldonado, Puno & Lake Titicaca.

Uruguay: Montevideo.

Antarctica: Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, Lemaire Channel, Gerlache Strait, Bransfield Strait (Antarctica XXI)

View articles from Alana’s Travels:

  • Follow one of our experts, Alana and her journey through Ecuador with an adventure through the Amazon, a stay in a cosy Hacienda and the Galapagos Islands. ...