200 Years Of Independence

It's an exciting year for South America, 2010 marking from Spain for five countries: Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile and Colombia.

Celebration may be curiously thin on the ground, but a 200th birthday could be just the excuse to jet off from the UK.

Mexico
If planning a holiday to Mexico seems a little overwhelming, look for inspiration at Black Tomato. The bespoke travel agency plan trips that uncover Mexico's lesser known highlights including a sailing holiday around the country's west coast in a luxury schooner (from £3200), a tour of Mexico's hidden volcanoes and towns (from £1500) as well as a trip to the rather secret island of Mujeres (from £1499). www.blacktomato.co.uk

Chile
Responsible Travel organise a tour that travels the length of Chile taking in the salt flats and flamingos of the Atacama Desert, the vineyards around Santiago, the snow capped volcanoes and waters of the Lake District and the Torres del Paine National Park. It's fully escorted and the price includes flights. £3698-£3998, www.responsibletravel.com

Argentina
This vast country offers landscapes ranging from desert to galaciers as well as the dynamic and ever attractive city of Buenos Aires. Journey Latin America arrange interesting escorted tours including a package that starts in Chile's capital Santiago before going onto the Andes, passing through to Mendoza and Buenos Aires and ending up at Perito Moreno Glacier. Price includes flights. £3898, www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk

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Clayton Truscott

Clayton Truscott

Clayton is a comfortable traveller, having grown up in a small city that was far away from everything. He spent lots of time in the car as a child, driving up and down the coast of South Africa on surfing trips with his family. After studying abroad in the United States and spending a year working in London, he moved to Cape Town, where he completed a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. He now works as a freelance writer for various travel, surfing and action sports publications.