The heart of North America beats through towering forests, undulating fields, high-plain deserts, pulsating metropolises and offbeat oases.
Iconic cities that need no introduction are just the icing on this culture-laden cake. Yes, you have the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Smithsonian in Washington DC but the buzz of music, art and film finds its way down into everyday life, with citizens as often creating as consuming. From Toronto’s film festival to Mexico City’s thriving music scene, North America is a veritable smorgasbord of enlightening experiences just waiting to be uncovered.
However, even the most hardcore urban and suburbanites are forced to stop and gawp when confronted with the sheer natural beauty that is their homeland. Whether you’re relaxing on a virtually undiscovered beach, racing down the slopes of the Great White North or scaling the iconic crags of the Grand Canyon – North America is certain to take your breath away.
In this land, adventure is king. Venture on a Canadian wilderness trek, buckle up for the legendary road trip along Route 66 or explore ancient rites at mysterious Maya and Aztec ruins. Whatever your travel dreams, North America offers a kaleidoscope of cultures, cuisines, landscapes, history and adventures that are bound to fulfil.
You haven’t really travelled until you’ve taken on South America. Thirteen countries strong, the continent is home to astounding natural and cultural wonders, including the snowcapped peaks of the Andes, thousands of kilometres of magnificent white-sand beaches, captivating colonial towns and indigenous villages, and the Amazon rainforest – home to more plant and animal species than anywhere else on earth.
The challenge is deciding where to begin. With so much choice, it’s as though the continent was built for travel; a place that excites, thrills, challenges and infuriates.
Sweat yourself dizzy on an Amazon canoe ride before ending the day caiman-watching on a black-water lagoon. Brave a white-knuckle bus ride down Peruvian slopes and be astounded by endless Andean vistas. Endure Patagonia’s wind-driven rain while chasing life-affirming sunsets or simply lose yourself (and possibly your belongings) in the break-neck chaos of Buenos Aires or Salvador.
South America, however is not just about breathtaking sights – its stunning soundtrack is sure to leave your feet a-tapping long after you’re back in the day job. Samba spices up the sandy streets of Brazilian beach towns, Argentine folklórica (folk music) trickles out of truck radios in the pampas and the jolting rhythm of cumbia making those Andean bus rides even more absurd.
However, when it comes to experiencing this incredible land the real reward is undoubtedly the South American spirit. The entire continent approaches life with the enthusiasm of an old-fashioned road trip: windows down and stereo blaring. South America is a continent that engulfs you and changes you – your state of mind, your outlook on life. As soon as you step foot on South American soil, the transformation begins.