1. It's affordable. Been to Europe lately? Cities like London, Paris, and Berlin, have become insanely expensive, especially for American travelers, who aren't enjoying the best exchange rate right now. Even in the smaller villages, you order a latte and you don't know whether to drink it or put it in a safe. In South America, on the other hand the dollar is still strong, and you can enjoy a relaxed vacation without worrying about money.
2. Sensational climate. On average, South America is warmer than North America, and since North America's winter is their summer, it makes the perfect getaway during our winter months. It's much easier to face months like January and February when you've got a killer tan!
3. It's sexy. Let's be honest, is there such thing as an unattractive Argentinean or Brazilian? Perhaps it is the sun-kissed skin, fitness focused lifestyle, and the blending of multiple cultures that makes them some of the most beautiful people on the planet. The kicker is that for some reason, many of them think the same thing about Americans, and that all-American look goes pretty far in South America! You come back the States feeling like the celebrity you are. Truthfully, Rio de Janeiro is the plastic surgery capital of the world, so being beautiful is something of an art and an obsession—not that anyone's complaining.
4. It's down-to-earth, yet fabulous. South America's biggest cities, such as Buenos Aires, Rio, Lima, and Sao Paulo are chic and sophisticated, with their fingers on the pulse of fashion and design. However, explore the nightlife of these cities and you will meet the nicest, most down-to-earth people, many of whom speak English or at least will try. Did I mention they love Americans?
5. South America is a leader in design, with modern museums like the Museum of Niteroi in Brazil, and ultra cool hotels such as the Faena Hotel and Universe in Buenos Aires and the Hotel Unique in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Just stepping into these places makes you feel cool.
6. Incredible Food. During Zoom Vacations' last trip to Buenos Aires, everyone in our group kept saying, "You just can't get a bad meal in this city." Especially if you like red wine and red meat, you will be in heaven in South America. Arguably the best food, however, is found in Peru. Peru's climate is suitable for growing virtually everything. In the sacred valley of the Incas alone, you will find over 70 varieties of corn, each unique and complex. Combine that with the fact that Peru is a huge melting pot of cultures and you get fusion food that is inventive, savory, healthy, and high quality. In one meal, you can taste elements from Japan, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, and more.
7. World-Renowned Site-seeing. South America has dozens of Unesco World Heritage sites, and it is home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Guanabana Bay in Rio de Janeiro, which is often described as a perfect bay, with a surface like glass. In addition to this, South America's most visited sites include mystical Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands, Patagonia, the Amazon rainforest, Easter Island, the Nazca Lines, Iguacu Falls, Lake Titicaca, and Brazil's beaches and islands. This is in addition to gorgeous cities and countless charming villages where you will find rich culture and beautiful surroundings.
8. Well-Developed Tourism Infrastructure. Tourists have been coming to South America for years, and local governments have capitalized on this, investing millions of dollars to show their guests a good time and to make sure they tell their friends to visit as well. From small, unique, boutique hotels called posadas, to luxurious 5 star resorts, to historical palaces and monasteries-turned hotels, South America offers a little something for everyone. For instance, the Monasterio in Cuzco Peru is an early 16th century monastery, which has been converted by Orient Express hotels into a sensational 5 star property, offering culture, luxury, history, and breathtaking beauty under one roof. Travelers can also depart Cuzco for Machu Picchu in ultimate luxury, aboard the Orient Express Hiram Bingham 5 star dining train. Other unique accommodations include the Ariau Towers in Brazil's Amazon jungle, where guests enjoy tree-top views of the rainforest, the Posadas of Paraty, Brazil, where travelers will fee like they have stepped back in time 300 years, and glamorous hotels in Buenos Aires, embodying the look and feel of Paris, at a third of the price!
9. It's safe. You may have noticed that you haven't heard much about South America in the news lately. Terrorism as well as natural and manmade disasters have largely moved on to other parts of the world, leaving South American relatively unscathed. Armed only with common sense, travelers can enjoy South America in safety and comfort. The incidences of theft and violence that you do hear about are often exaggerated, and generally and relegated to non touristy areas.
10. It's home to incredible global events! South America is a land of celebrations and culture, many of which attract global attention year after year. The most notable, of course, is Rio's Carnaval, a 5 day celebration of life, love, and humanity, which culminates in a massive parade competition between 13 samba schools. New Years Eve in Rio is equally magical, as over two million locals and tourists, clad all in white, descend on Copacabana beach to watch the night's sky ignite with fireworks. They will bring with them flower offerings for the African Sea Goddess, Yemanja, in order to clense their sins for the past year.
Zoom Vacations, a global gay vacation company offers incredible gay group and independent trips to South America, including Rio for New Years and Carnaval with a post trip add-on to the colonial town of Paraty, an exploration of Peru including Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and a dazzling Argentina vacation including Buenos Aires and Iguacu Falls. You can find more information on their website at www.zoomvacations.com or call 866 966-6822.