Journeying through spectacular and remote landscapes often means slowing down the pace a little so you can absorb the beauty around you, perhaps chat to a member of a local community as you rest and generally take it all in. Whether trekking, by 4wd or on horse-back, these often become very special journeys. But there are times when the sheer scale and drama of what you wish to see can only truly be appreciated from the air.
Here is our pick of our most favourite scenic flights by light aircraft that give you truly incredible views onto some of Latin America’s most impressive natural and man-made wonders although there are many more from circling the Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio by helicopter, swooping through the Copper Canyon or reaching some of the world’s most incredible pyramids and archaeological sites such as El Mirador in Guatemala, flying over impenetrable jungle.
The Nazca Lines, Peru: Peru has some truly wonderful archaeological wonders to explore from the Inca sites in and around Cusco to the older civilisations of the Moche, Chimu and Chachapoyans further north but none has offered a greater mystery than the giant Nazca Lines etched carefully in the coastal desert a few hours drive south of Lima. Perfectly symmetrical geoglyphs of animals such as a spider, a monkey or a hummingbird or other simpler shapes such as spirals, circles or trapezoids mark the desert floor. The mystery remains as to how, when, by whom and, more particularly, why these shapes were painstakingly carved in the sand, perhaps around 200 BC, when their forms can only be truly appreciated from the air? We can take you there with a carefully selected archaeological guide to discuss the mystery for yourself. Then enjoy a candlelit private dinner out in the desert or even try sandboarding for a complete contrast to the Inca wonders of the Andes.
The Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica: The dark volcanic sands and dense pristine rainforest of the Osa Peninsula could in theory be reached by road but by far the easiest way and certainly the most beautiful is by air. The Osa remains one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets in that there are some stunning lodges here whose staff are passionate and dedicated about preserving the remote and pristine nature of this region but that not everyone makes it this far south – which is great for us! An early morning flight means clear skies as you swoop over the forest clad central mountains, spying farms and river valleys below. Then hug this dramatic coast as the forest and mangroves meet the sea and deserted beaches. If you are really lucky you may spot humpback whales breaching or swimming in the clear waters of the Golfo Dulce as you come down to land at either Puerto Jimenez or Golfito. For a chance to enjoy beautiful rainforest, deserted beaches, incomparable wildlife encounters and fabulous guides and lodges, then this is a panoramic flight you should not miss.
Ibera Wetlands, Argentina: Just like the better known Pantanal to the north in Brazil, Argentina has a vast region of protected wetlands (although as yet to be made a National Park which it should be) that floods seasonally each year and provides one of the nation’s most important wildlife sanctuaries, especially for spectacular birdlife such as the jabiru stork as well as many mammals from howler monkeys to Brocket or Marsh deer, capybara (known as carpinchos here), chinchilla, armadillo, anteaters and occasionally a Geoffroy’s cat. You arrive in the province of Missiones and then take a beautiful short flight by private small plane across these rich marshlands as flocks of birds glide across its expanse and deer look up from their grazing as you fly slowly overhead. Land at the private airstrip of a most beautiful remote lodge on the edge of the wetlands whose charismatic hosts will ensure you can ride and take drives or hikes in this beautiful region. Then perhaps you might head further north to a secret little boutique hotel on the edge of the Atlantic rainforest and overlooking the Paraguay River where you can access not only the spectacular Iguazu Falls but meet one of Argentina’s most engaging birding guides, Emilio.
For more information about our unique South America adventures by air, rail, 4 Wheel Drive, on foot or on horseback please, please contact us.