Festivals, fashion, fine wines or fishing, whatever tickles your fancy, at A2A we are here to arrange the perfect trip dedicated to what you enjoy most.
Small GroupsAt A2A Journeys we specialize in fully bespoke trips to suit individual travellers, be that a solo traveller, couple, family or a group of friends. From multigenerational family trips, to global leadership organisations such as YPO we have also arranged many tailormade small group trips, centered around shared values, milestone events and designed to suit specific interests. To keep these trips exclusive, we can advise on the best properties to commandeer or boats to charter based on your group size.
We can arrange lunches or dinners at private estates, viewings of private art collections, private charter flights, cooking courses with renowned chefs, the list goes on. Small group travel can make some of the most exclusive experiences accessible and affordable. From a boys’ fishing trip in Patagonia to female bonding on an art and architecture tour through Mexico, you name it and we can arrange. For special interest group itineraries, a number of 8-12 participants is the ideal size and can work really well.
Travelling with a disability
Travelling with a disability or chronic illness of any description can add a whole new level of complexity to exploring overseas. Accessibility, amenities and general logistics are just some of the barriers that may make that bucket-list trip seem daunting, before we even throw in language issues, but we work with a great network of partners across Latin America and have arranged many complex trips for our clients - through meticulous planning and sound, first-hand advice on the practicalities of the region.
Where the disability is physical, hurdles such as cobbled colonial streets or steep Inca steps can sometimes be a challenge for those with mobility issues. We can advise on these potential pitfalls when choosing your destination – some places will lend themselves more easily to accessibly travel than others but, with enough forward planning, even tough to reach destinations such as Machu Picchu, Patagonia or Easter Island can prove accessible to all.
We are here to guide you through each of your concerns and ensure that everything is set on the ground, from accessible, specially-adapted hotel rooms, locally hired equipment such as wheelchairs where necessary, to suitable and understanding guides, to make that well-earnt break the journey of a lifetime for all travellers.
From the indigenous artisans of the Andean highlands to the established international scenes of the region’s most sophisticated capitals, artistic expression runs through Latin America’s veins. When it comes to contemporary works, Mexico and Brazil lead the pack, hosting world-class international art fairs. Zona Maco México Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City’s annual fair taking place each February has cemented their position as an art capital. Frida Kahlo’s and Diego Riviera’s should not be missed when in town.
Brazil’s Intohim Institute nestled in lush gardens near Belo Horizonte and founded by the former mining magnate Bernardo Paz is one of the world’s largest open-air art collections. One of the most impressive cultural displays in Brazil, the project is also a world-class experiment in binding art with nature. Elsewhere on the continent there are some top-notch museums and galleries – Uruguay’s unique Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo is an exciting artistic celebration housed in a formerly abandoned jail in Montevideo.
Bogotá’s Museo Botero celebrates Colombia’s most famous living artist with an impressive collection of his unique painting of oversized characters and curvaceous sculptures. Buenos Aires’ Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) is one of the best permanent collections of Latin American Art featuring ground-breaking artists such as Diego Rivera, Joaquín Torres García and Argentine figurative artist Antonio Berni. Many of the most remarkable collections on the continent are private with restricted access to the public, where, through our local connections we can arrange private viewings.
The region is also renowned for the prevalence of contemporary street art, cities such as Valparaíso in Chile, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro have their stories painted on their walls and a dedicated street art tour with a specialist guide can offer fascinating insight. Throughout Latin America we can organise specialised art tours, be your interest in viewing, buying or even creating art. We can arrange private after-hours tours of leading galleries, fix meetings with art dealers and curators and visits to artists’ studios. For any budding artists, we can arrange anything from a morning session with a talented graffiti artist, learning how to work with spray cans to dedicated painting trips.
From the pyramids of Caral built in the department of Lima, Peru 2,600 years BC, to modern architectures of the mid-20th century onwards, most notably in Brazil and Mexico, the structural landscape of Latin America is as fascinating as it is varied. In many cities colonial masterpieces were built atop Inca or Maya ruins that jostle for space alongside glass-covered skyscrapers. Before the arrival of Columbus many of the ancient civilisations of Latin America built their structures according to alignment with astronomical and cosmological features and large amounts of symbolism were included their city planning and architectural design. The advanced stone masonry and knowledge in engineering in this period is notable. Columbus’s arrival in 1492 and the centuries of European colonisation that followed heavily marked the design and planning of cities, most major city’s still today preserve much of the ‘old town’.
By the mid-19th century most of Latin America was independent of Spain and Portugal, producing a reaction against 300 years of rule and its ubiquitous Baroque architecture. The new republics looked toward France and Italy for the transformation of the colonial city into a modern, cosmopolitan one. The Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City is said to be the first example of a Parisian boulevard in the New World. The current landscape of Buenos Aires is heavily marked by this golden age in architecture, this Belle Epoque influence. Modern architecture for the most part takes a more minimalist approach.
For architects or those with a keen interest in the field we can arrange city tours with architects or urban historians who can walk and talk you through the city’s architectural highlights with expert knowledge. Mexico City is a must-see, the vibrant metropolis is full of different eras crammed together: futurist Art Deco, classically ornate Colonial and minimalist Mexican modern designs. Perhaps the most famous example of Latin American architecture in recent years is the ambitious, planned, modern Metropolis of Brasilia. Brazil’s federal capital since 1960, the city was purpose-built during the late fifties by the young architect Oscar Niemeyer, the futuristic design is a testimony to the national slogan ‘order and progress’. From above, the city resembles an aeroplane.
In El Alto, neighbouring city to La Paz, Bolivia, a growing economy and a renewed sense of indigenous pride have led to the rise of a new style of architecture: the Cholet. The name is a cross between chalet and cholo, an often-derogatory term used in Andean countries to refer to the indigenous population. These statement properties, brainchild of self-taught architect Freddy Mamani are an explosion of colour and extravagance, inspired in the colours and forms of indigenous folklore of the Aymara bourgeois.
Wellness and Spiritual Journeys
Ancient civilizations of Latin America from the Olmecs, Aztecs and Maya of Mexico and Central America down to the Inca Empire of the Andean region have long incorporated: steam baths; massage using hot stones, aromatic herbs, animal fats and oils; and healing rituals into sacred parts of their culture. In many countries traditional medicine still plays a prominent role in healthcare. Drawing upon these age-old traditions, Latin America makes a perfect destination for modern day wellness and spiritual retreats, focusing on finding inner peace and balance.
From yoga practice on a private beach cove on Nicaragua’s Emerald coast, to eco-retreats in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru we can suggest the perfect programme for you to relax and recharge in the way that best suits you, be it a detoxing week of adventure spa on Brazil’s Ilha Grande or a wellness festival on Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa (beautiful beach in English). Perhaps you see your journey of spiritual significance in the form of a pilgrimage.
Scattered across Latin America are multiple sacred shrines which draw in tens of thousands of pilgrims. The majority of the pilgrimages are predominately Catholic, often with roots in pre-Columbian religious tradition. For those of faith who wish to add the divine element of a pilgrimage to their trip, we can happily arrange, one great example is the annual September pilgrimage to the Chapel of Señor de Huanca, near Cusco. An overnight hike of approximately six hours leads to the Chapel high above the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Its two water sources are believed to have miraculous healing powers.
Flowers and Gardening
Latin America is home to the world’s single most biodiverse habitat - the Amazon rainforest, where scientists believe 80% of the world’s flowering plant species grow, making it an unbeatable choice for floral enthusiasts. The region claims six of the world’s most biodiverse countries in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, their staggering variety of flora is any horticulturist’s dream. Environments range from wetlands and coastal ecosystems to deserts, tropical forests, extensive savannah grasslands and high-altitude Andean habitats hosting an impressive range of species. Colombia and Ecuador battle it out for the Orchid capital of the world, each boasting an impressive number of species at over 4,000 a piece.
Competition between these neighbouring countries is also fierce in the realm of roses, with Ecuador staking claim to the best roses in the world – it undoubtedly produces those with the fullest bloom. For those with a particular interest in flowers we can arrange bespoke trips with specialist guides, botanists and horticulturalists able to share their expert knowledge.
One of the most impressive displays of flower power is Medellin’s annual Feria de las Flores (flower festival), a spectacle not to be missed, for the first week of August the city erupts in a burst of fragrant colours as they celebrate the city’s largest festival, paying homage to the multitude of blooms found in and around the city.
A bit more challenging to time, but perhaps the most impressive of all floral phenomena is the ‘desierto florido’ or flowering desert which occurs roughly every five to seven years in the arid Atacama Desert when rains cause buried seeds to germinate and bloom into a magnificent carpet of flowers.