Don't be fooled by the backpacker image of South America that still persists: the finer things in life are extremely well represented here.
These days most areas of the continent offer a wide choice of top-end accommodation, including a number of truly superlative properties, often enhanced by their inimitable Latin American character. There are a great number of exceptional restaurants dotted all across the region, and Chile and Argentina in particular are producers of world-class wines.
You'll also encounter luxury in a less traditional sense, from unique private excursions in extreme environments of ice or desert to upscale fixed camps in stunning locations. And of course, to put the icing on the cake, Latin America has in spades what money can't buy – the incredible beauty of nature, fascinating history and culture, and the warmth and welcoming spirit of local people.
The tailor-made experience allows you, with our expert help, to design a totally bespoke and personalised holiday: speak to our knowledgeable and passionate travel consultants to begin planning a trip that will perfectly encompass everything that luxury means to you.
Latin America's best hotels
Whether your ideal hotel is an indulgent countryside retreat, a boutique urban gem, a historical building converted to the highest modern standards or an idyllic beach resort, the possibilities are broad and varied. With our unrivalled, first-hand knowledge of Latin America's accommodation options, we can help match your taste and preferences to the perfect base for every step of your itinerary.
We would recommend you consider prioritising the class of room – a suite in a slightly less extravagant hotel may be preferable to a standard room in an absolutely top-end one, for example – and opt for the best location budget will allow, particularly in areas of outstanding natural scenery such as Torres del Paine.
Here is a small selection of our favourite luxury hotels continent-wide:
The beautifully restored haciendas of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula
One of the most exclusive beach resorts of Mexico's Mayan Riviera
Small and exclusive Belmond magic on the Caribbean coast
Gracefully restored converted monastery in Cusco
Elegant boutique hotel in Cusco's colonial centre
A newly opened restored convent boutique hotel in Cusco
A luxury hotel and activity experience on the shores of Lake Titicaca
The iconic, historic must-stay hotel in Copacabana
A luxury hotel is the only accommodation on the edge of Iguazú Falls
A wonderful first class retreat on Brazil's northeast coast
The elegance of a byegone era is where the glitterati stay in Buenos Aires
Ultra elegant restored first class ranch in the pamapas
Stay at a top class wine lodge in the vineyards of Mendoza
Luxurious comfort in the wilds of the Patagonian steppes
In the Atacama Desert, base yourself at a modern first class hotel with top notch excursions
The same goes for the sister hotel in Patagonia, luxury property the midst of wild scenery and a tempestuous climate, and on Pacific Easter Island
Enjoy the opulence of a luxury hotel in Santiago
Enjoy the journey as much as the destination with the best transport on tarmac, rail, river, sea or sky. Luxury can of course begin at the airport for business class travellers, but there's certainly no reason why it shouldn't continue upon arrival in Latin America. Enjoy the services of a private car, with guide and driver, to make travelling seamless no matter where you are going (or hire your own if you prefer). You could even board the Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu, an eminently luxurious train journey that recaptures the golden age of rail travel.
We also offer first-class cruises in the Galápagos Islands and along the Amazon, bringing a new meaning to creature comforts.
Among our favorites are:
In the Peruvian Amazon, two breathtakingly stunning luxury vessels with a clean contemporary design
There are several first class yachts cruising in the Galapágos Islands, we love
Grand Odyssey, a stylish contemporary vessel
Isabella II, a long standing favourite in the region
When it comes to the touches that will make your trip extra special, Latin America offers the scope to go above and beyond. For the ultimate in luxury and privacy, we can offer hotels on their own private islands, or even charter a Galápagos yacht to give you and your party a personal tour of the magnificent archipelago.
On the other hand, in remote wilderness areas where ‘luxury' in the traditional sense may simply not be available, we can still deliver all the adventure with none of the discomfort. Try for example the Travesía to Uyuni with explora, charting the surreal and epic terrain of Bolivia's salt flats with hot showers and chef-prepared meals in the heart of these spectacularly isolated plains.
Also with explora, you can ride across the deserts of Atacama and the steppes of Patagonia, with a wonderfully luxurious place to eat and sleep at the end of the day.
Riding at explora
The outdoors in comfort
Combine nature with nurture at one of our favourite eco-lodges, high-end tent camps or luxury expedition cruises to the Galápagos or Amazon – or choose a first-class hotel in a thrillingly remote and striking setting, such as the unsurpassed Explora en Patagonia. Venturing deep into Latin America's extraordinary wilderness need not mean forgoing comfort, attentive service or gourmet dining.
Even trekking has been given a comfortable twist by the Mountain Lodges of Peru, a godsend to those who hanker after the Inca Trail experience (in this case the Salkantay route to Machu Picchu by the back door) but cannot face nights under canvas. And the cosy yurts of Patagonia Camp are a magnificent starting point for treks in Chile's Torres del Paine National Park, even providing a base for much of the legendary 'W' route.
The best food and wine
Latin American gastronomy is amongst the world's most exciting and creative, with several distinct regional cuisines, a unique blend of historic and geographical influences and a growing number of internationally acclaimed chefs. We send our restaurant recommendations along with your travel documents: for an idea of what's in store, take a look at two of our staff's personal dining suggestions in Peru and Patagonia. We can, of course, also help with selecting hotels with the most exceptional restaurants.
Peru in particular is a dream destination for food lovers, with an extraordinarily varied and unique cuisine and a capital that is fast gaining a reputation as the continent's gastronomic epicentre, while Argentina is another epicurean fantasy. This is a country that really knows how to live life to the full: steak to die for, vineyards harbouring magnificent wine by the barrel load and an indulgently sophisticated restaurant scene are just some of its many pleasures. A stay at a luxury vineyard hotel will be a hugely rewarding addition to a holiday for anyone who appreciates fine wine. Furthermore Brazil offers an array of world-class restaurants, while Mexico's cuisine impresses in its authenticity and intense flavours.
Luxury group tours
If you like the idea of exploring Latin America's most iconic destinations in the company of likeminded travellers, a group tour could be for you. We have been running escorted group tours in Central and South America for over 30 years and our itineraries are expertly crafted and led by our own award-winning guides.
We offer two ranges of group tours, of which our superior range is decidedly comfortable. Our Luxury Patagonia and Luxury Peru in particular make use of the very best hotels and are designed to showcase the ultimate highlights of South America in lavish style.