Seeing the best of Brazil and Argentina


GO ASK JOAN:All your travel questions answered by JOAN SCALES

South American suggestions

My wife and I (both in our 60s) are planning a trip to Argentina and Brazil in 2013. For security reasons we would prefer to travel in a group. Can you recommend a good tour company? When is the best time to go? Presumably their winter is not the best, and their summer too hot (30-plus degrees)? In a two-week holiday what are the must-visit sites in Argentina and Brazil. – JS, Limerick

Like many places, spring and summer are usually the best times to travel there if you wish to avoid extremes of temperature. There is an agency in Ireland, Nuevo Mundo (0818-204488 and 01-241 2360, that specialises in trips to South America. The programme for next year’s tours is not available but you could give them a call and chat about an itinerary that would take in the highlights of Brazil and Argentina.

From the UK, specialist agency a variety of tours to South America throughout the year. For example, next year the Aracari Journey – Waterfalls and Wildlife will take place five times. It is a small group luxury trip staying in first-class hotels and lodges.

It begins in Buenos Aires for three nights with time to explore the city, dance a tango, and visit Uruguay for the day. The next leg takes you to one of the world’s most spectacular sights, the Iguazu Falls, where you stay before going to the Pantanal, the largest tropical wetlands, to stay in the lodge there. The final three days are spent in Rio de Janeiro with excursions to Corcovado to see Christ the Redeemer and explore the city.

Child’s play in the west

In October we want to take Australian relatives to the west of Ireland for a short break. They want to visit Mayo and Roscommon; their relatives emigrated from there. They have twins, aged almost two, so we need somewhere that is child-friendly to stay, maybe a hotel with a pool. – AK, Dublin

The trick to minding a pair of Terrible Twos is entertainment and routine. You will have your hands full, but two-year-olds are wonderful fun – they are chattering, inquisitive escapees. So wherever you stay you will have to keep that in mind.

If you are going to be travelling to the west during the October mid-term, some of the hotels have kids’ clubs so there will be lots of other children around.

Family hotels in the Galway area include the Galway Bay Hotel ( and the Maldron Hotel at Oranmore (, which is also child-friendly and has a kids’ pool.

Another hotel that would be within easy distance of the areas your relatives want to visit is the McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris ( It is a very child-friendly hotel and a convenient base for trips to Mayo and Roscommon.

Consider Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, which is a lovely town on the river, or Boyle, Co Roscommon, where you might also like to have a look at Abbey House ( for self-catering.

There is plenty to do around this area, and mum and dad would not have far to travel.

Will the South African weather play ball?

Our son is going to South Africa on a school rugby tour next July, and we are considering joining him for the last leg of the trip, in the Cape Town area, and extending his stay by an few extra few days for a family holiday.

However, many people tell us that it is fairly rainy in that region at that time of year, so we are undecided.

Someone else told us he went on a similar trip at that time some years ago and there was no rain. We don’t want to fly from one wet summer country to another! Can you give us any advice? – LFK, Northern Ireland

What one person considers miserable and wet, can be a normal day for us.

I remember being in Cape Town at the end of May and beginning of June one year and we were wearing shorts and teeT-shirts and while the locals thought it was freezing – it was 19 degrees.

July is right in the middle of winter and this year Cape Town area did get a higher than usual dose of rain. The average temperature for July is 16-17 degrees, but this year it ranged from 11-27 degrees, with no rain on 16 days. So it could be good rugby weather, but would mean taking a chance on getting some fine days, if you were going for 10 days to two weeks you could probably count on getting some fine days, but if only for a few days then you are taking a chance.

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