Brazil and Iquitos make top 10 lists

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Brazil and Iquitos make top 10 lists

Amazon Rainforest, Brazil - Brazil For Less

Each year Lonely Planet publishes a list of the top ten countries and cities to visit in the coming year.  We were excited, but not surprised, to learn that Brazil and Iquitos ranked number two and six on the respective lists.

Brazil has always been a favorite destination in South America and anyone who visits the country quickly realizes why.  Famous for its stunning scenery, lively Carnaval celebrations, and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Brazil is a fabulous destination in South America.  So, why did it make the list this year rather than the previous year?

Brazil just recently won bids to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016, which means the country is investing billions of dollars into developing infrastructure. Budget airline companies such as Azul and Jetblue are creating a healthy dose of competition and forcing other airlines to lower their prices.

These relatively new changes will make Brazil travel easier and less expensive for foreign visitors.  Additionally, private corporations are in a flurry to create more hotel rooms in a hurry, which means hotel prices will see a dramatic, although possibly short-term, drop.

Iquitos is often overlooked by travelers to Peru which is a real pity. Iquitos is an enchanting river city in the middle of the Amazon and only accessible by boat or plane. Despite its remote location, the city was part of the rubber boom in the late 1800s and early 1900s when wealthy plantation owners built mansions along the river’s banks. The city currently has a cosmopolitan climate with a mixture of Peruvians, Columbians, and expatriates, as well as a sizzling nightlife.

Iquitos is also one of the best places to begin an Amazon tour. Travelers can spend a few days in Iquitos before venturing into the jungle to stay at a jungle lodge, or take a luxury Amazon River cruise to see wildlife.

Situated in northeastern Peru, Iquitos used to be somewhat difficult for travelers to reach. However, Peruvian airlines LAN just recently opened a new direct flight from Cusco to Iquitos which makes it easy for travelers to combine a stay at a jungle lodge with a Machu Picchu tour.

For more information about visiting either of these two destinations on your next South America vacation, please contact one of our travel advisors who can help you customize your trip.

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Challen is a contributing writer for our travel blog.

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