As heroic adventurer Indiana Jones gets set to return to the silver screen this year in the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull you might be left wishing you could have an adventure of your own.
Well you can and, what’s more, it doesn’t all have to be biting insects and roughing it – you can now do it style. Thanks to Latin America’s fast-improving hotel infrastructure, many places worth exploring are within easy reach of luxury wilderness lodges. To help you decide, travel agency Journey Latin America has compiled a list of its top nine* Indiana adventures.
1. Lost cities & Coppola lodges
Explore the colonial town of Antigua and towering Maya pyramids of Tikal in Guatemala. Search for wildlife and enjoy outdoor activities in the rainforest, then chill out on the idyllic Caribbean coast of Belize. Or stay at exclusive lodges owned by legendary film director Francis Ford Coppola. Prices start from £1,339 per person, including flights, for 11 nights.
2. Trek to El Mirador
This is a tough, deep jungle expedition trek and a real Indiana experience. Hike for three days and 65km through virgin rainforest with local guides and mule support, while camping in hammocks. Explore Guatemala’s largest, most remote Mayan site all for yourself.
Prices start from £478 per person, including flights, for four nights.
3. Lost World trek to Roraima
Trek to the top of Conan Doyle’s Lost World, the unique Roraima plateau, home to mysterious rock formations, weird and wonderful wildlife and cascading waterfalls. It’s tough going but it’s one of Latin America’s great treks. After a good hike rest your weary legs on the Paría Peninsula’s idyllic beaches. Prices start from £366 per person, including flights, for a seven night trek.
4. Costa Rica adventure trails
Hike through tropical rainforests, cycle across verdant valleys and coffee plantations then raft the steep jungle canyon of the Pacuare River. Or if you perfer zip-line through the treetops on a canopy tour and walk on old lava flows on Arenal volcano for a true action adventure. Prices start from £1,059 per person, including flights, for eight nights.
5. Hidden kingdoms of the Maya
Inspired by last year’s release of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, travel to the lesser-known south of Mexico’s Yucatán. Wander the colonial streets and imposing ramparts of Campeche, discover vast Maya pyramids and wildlife in Calakmul and stay at the comfortable Explorean Kohunlich lodge. With more time, add a few days on the Caribbean coast. Prices begin at £1,019 per person, including flights, for seven nights.
6. Reef, rainforest & ruins
Explore one of Central America’s most diverse but least-visited countries. Marvel at the intricate carved Mayan temples at Copán, drive through coffee, cocoa and banana plantations and stay in luxurious jungle cabins in Pico Bonito. Relax in laid-back Roatán (Bay Islands) for great beaches and snorkeling/diving on the world’s second-largest reef. Prices start from 10 nights from £893 per person, including flights.
7. Trek to the other lost city of the Incas
With the world-famous Inca Trail already filling up fast for this summer, why not opt for a tougher, more off-the-beaten-track alternative – the Choquequirao Trek. Only accessible on foot – also along Inca trails – this challenging four-night trek with amazing Andean vistas takes you far away from the crowds. If time and budget allow, reward yourself afterwards with a trip by luxury train to Machu Picchu. Prices start at £268 per person, including flights, for a four-night trek.
8. Wonders of Iguazú and the Amazon
While you won’t be able to drive along the edge of the falls, you can explore Iguazú’s amazing jungle setting on the Best of Brazil tour. Other highlights include the exotic cities of Rio and Salvador. trekking in Lencois, piranha fishing from floating jungle lodges in the Amazon and the paradise of Ilha Grande. Prices begin at £1,498 per person, including flights.
9, Mayas and more for families
With the children all excited about the film, now’s the time to plan that dream family adventure to Central America. Start off in the colonial town of Antigua, visit the jungle Mayan temples of Tikal, stay at the Macal River Camp for wildlife and outdoor activities, then enjoy the beaches and snorkeling on the Caribbean. Prices start from £2,740 per person including flights for a family of four in two rooms for 11 nights.
*We were forced to exclude Guyana from Journey Latin America’s list as homosexuality is a capital offence in the country.