Chris Wilmot-Sitwell

Luxury holiday with cazenove+loyd

Co-Owner and Director

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Latin America was an obvious choice to expand into when I joined cazenove+loyd. Incredible landscapes, a challenging infrastructure and a paucity of reliable people working in tourism on the ground. We were able to develop relationships with lodges and guides to offer something truly extraordinary and now cover virtually every country in South and Central America.

I still get an incredible buzz from Latin America and take every opportunity to work with Sarah and her team to make travel in the region for our clients that magical combination of pioneering and exciting but at the same time ensuring it is safe and reliable. Latin America can offer this as a destination, like no other part of the world. The infrastructure and level of lodges and hotels has improved beyond recognition in the (almost) two decades we have been working there, but it is still far from sanitised and bland.

Longing to return to…

BRAZIL- AMAZON, LENCOIS MARANHENSES + INHOTIM

The combination of Santarem, The Amazon and the virgin white beaches of River Tapajos is the ultimate South American adventure for those who want to do it in a non commercial way but still in great comfort.

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My next destination…

the galapagos, ecuador

With a son, in particular, who can recite the facts from virtually every David Attenborough programme, I really feel that the time has come to visit the Galapagos Islands with my family. I can’t think of a better family destination for anyone interested in Planet Earth.

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Chris's Views

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE in central+south america?

It sounds a cliché but Peru really does have ‘something for everyone’. However many photographs you see of Machu Picchu, the reality and scale of the real thing never fails to blow you away. You can trek, mountain bike and whitewater raft in spectacular Andean scenery not far from the main sites of Southern Peru virtually without seeing another tourist. Particularly for families with active teenagers, the ability to combine the great outdoors with ancient Inca culture and to practice some Spanish along the way and all in the long Summer break makes it a fantastic destination.

give one piece of advice to someone travelling to latin America

Try to cover one country/one area well rather than cramming too much into a trip to Latin America. And build in a few road or boat journeys rather than always travelling by air. Every time I travel to Latin America I come across fellow travellers who are covering far too many areas and never have time to enjoy a single one. It is a tragedy as part of the pleasure of travel is gaining a perspective and a sense of place. There is also a romance in covering vast distances by land and some of the border crossings - Salta/Atacama or Argentina/Chilean Patagonia are sensational in terms of landscape.

one activity that everyone must do in central+south america

Hangliding from just below the Christ in Rio and landing on the beach. But I am NEVER doing it again. We had just organised a 5 day party in and around Rio for a Client's birthday. Having seen 20 of them paragliding and having seen the mixture of fear and excitement I just had to do it myself. But I think there might have been some Dutch courage still in my veins from the previous evening.

Three of My Favourite Places

brazil

rio carnival

Over the many years that we have worked in Brazil, we have organised for numerous clients to visit either the Carnival or the Winners Parade in Rio. It is a real skill to get it right but all return exhausted but elated. The logistics (and the prices) are a nightmare. Usually we have a group of two or four clients to get in and out safely and enjoyably. A few years ago, I accompanied a 50th birthday party of 40 to the Winners Parade and we even negotiated places in the parade itself complete with costumes. Like the clients (even more so after the stress), I returned exhausted but elated. It is an experience I will never forget.

amazon

river adventures

About 15 years ago, I heard of a boat which operated in the Pacaya Samara Reserve. Most Amazon experiences are a disappointment because the habitat is compromised or the lodges are too big...but I knew that the right boat in an area as remote as this would be a winner. The 10 days I spent in the area was incredible from a wildlife perspective but the boat was a disaster and we never sent a single client. At last there are some great Amazon experiences in Peru, in Ecuador and in Brazil but, as always, we need experienced and objective members of the team like Emily to kick the wheels first.

Galapagos Islands

Life Changing Trips

A bit of a 'cheat' to call it 'favourite' as, amazingly, I have never been to the Galapagos. But it's a favourite with every client we send there. We know the operators and boats well (and also know the bad guys... and there are many). So a trip to the Galapagos is often the first 'educational' trip which our Latino Trainees take. The're usually updating us on something which is tried and tested. It's a pretty cushy first trip by anyone's standards...and it can lead to great things personally and professionally: Just ask Lucy Slater who is now married with 3 children partly due to a Galapagos encounter and she heads up our Latino team over a decade after that fateful trip.

Chris Wilmot-Sitwell's Memories

Luxury tailor-made trip to Cambodia

Get Out Of The Car – A Lesson From Angkor

After a dreamy few days exploring, mainly by bicycle, parts of the Mekong Delta that few tourists get to see, the temples of Angkor were always going to feel busy. But, especially just after Chinese New Year, the contrast was even starker than I had anticipated. Even in the few years since I last visited Siem…

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Chris's Picture Gallery