About Boutique South America
We are a specialist travel company in Melbourne who works with discerning Australian travellers to plan, create and deliver unique and memorable holidays.
Our Vision, Mission and Values
Our Vision is to transform the world through Considered and Responsible Travel, make an impact on individual traveller’s lives as well as the communities and cultures they visit.
We consider ourselves, first and foremost a destination expert and make it part of our mission to inspire and educate more and more Australian travellers about the wonders of South America. We want to challenge the myths and misconceptions about travelling to South America, that it is a backpacker’s destination, that it is too far, unsafe, or difficult to get to and move the continent higher up more people’s bucket lists.
We value quality, flexibility, authenticity and personalisation and aim to infuse each of these values into each and every journey to the continent that Boutique South America prepares.
Our Story – Founder of Boutique South America
Boutique South America was born out of years of industry expertise crafting and delivering hundreds of bespoke holidays to South America, a vast collection of personal travel experiences and the burning passion for her home continent held by our founder Katherine Garces.
She observed many travellers making the same mistakes when planning and travelling to South America, often only skimming the surface of the many different places they visited because they were rushing their way through the continent. She also saw many adventurous or curious travellers missing out on some incredible places perfectly suited to their interests because they had not heard or knew little about South America’s attractions other than the standard places that ‘every other tour company’ visited.
So she decided to do something about it and created a travel company with a difference, or many differences.
Understanding that there are many different types of travellers and that they also now book and plan their travel in different ways, unlike other tour agencies she based her offering to suit different travel personality types: Build it Yourself packages are highlight programs that can be purchased individually as a one off, Custom Travel Packages suit travellers who want to stay longer and have a choice of how to explore different cities and Bespoke Journeys offer a complete ‘Done For You” travel service for fussy travellers with limited time to spend planning their dream trip.
And with more and more travellers taking to the internet for their travel research, she felt it was important for independent travellers who were not backpackers to have a voice. That’s why Boutique South America is progressive in its approach to giving travel advice, working to educate you through our expert based Inspire Me travel blog as well as other travel tools and guides we make available to save you time and help you get a head start on planning your holiday well.
And although travel can change you inherently as a person, change for the many communities in the countries you visit is often not proportionate to the cost of travel, so we are working to bridge that gap by partnering with GlobalGiving so your trip can make a greater positive impact.
By committing ourselves to the principles of personalisation through our aim to deliver ‘Travel that is as individual as you are,’ ‘Slow Travel,’ and Responsible Tourism, the concept for Boutique South America was born, as a fresh and inspirational travel company for the digital age
Who should travel with Boutique South America?
Travellers who value experience
Boutique South America’s approach is ‘experential’ in nature, we choose to feature destinations with plenty to do and craft programs based on you experiencing them in enjoyable and profound ways.
Travellers who value choice and flexibility
We don’t believe travel is a one size fits all kind of product, that you know what you like better than we do and that there’s always usually more than one way to experience an attraction. That’s why we give you an element of choice through the different travel styles we cater to.
Travellers who value their safety but also their freedom.
You’re adventurous but value your safety and want to be looked after without someone ‘cramping your style. By booking with Boutique South America, you have someone to turn to if something goes wrong, both on the ground and back in Australia but enough free time and space so you don’t feel like you’re being babysat.
Independent travellers rather than group travellers
You’re independent back home so why wouldn’t you be when you travel? Independent travel means that we create a program to fit your needs around what matters to you. Rather than visit places regardless of whether you are interested in it because that’s part of the program, you nearly always have an option to tailor it to suit you with Boutique South America.
Travellers who appreciate a local perspective
You want to learn and discover more than what you read about in a guidebook. Our local guides can share a unique perspective with you as you explore, with most of them professionally and even university educated as well as bilingual.
Travellers who understand that location and comfort are important when choosing a hotel.
If you’re only staying in a place for a few nights, there is a difference between a good and a bad place it truly makes a difference to your overall trip if you stay in a good or bad. And a bit of character doesn’t hurt too.
Travellers who like their adventure ‘soft’
You may want to hike, ride, raft or climb in a gorgeous setting but want to be comfortable at the end of the day and have a good night’s sleep.
Worldly folk who see travel as an investment
That’s right, you know that your travels will often serve as the base for your memories for many years to come and you know that you deserve a ‘great’ holiday rather than just a good one.
Who should not travel with Boutique South America?
Travellers looking to ‘rough it’
There is nothing wrong with backpacking or hostelling your way through South America, many youngsters and first timers travel this way. This is just not our style, as we prefer hotels to hostels for reasons of comfort, flights vs. long distance bus travel for the convenience and hours saved travelling, locally led excursions for extra perspective and trusted transport for your safety.
Group Tour Travellers
Many group tour programs favour what appears to be a low cost over a relaxed pace, enough time to explore and quality hotels with character so we don’t operate this way. We don’t offer programs with set departure dates and minimum numbers as we prefer to work to your schedule and be able to operate most days including busy travel times.
You are most welcome to contact us however if you have a group of your friends or people of the same interest who want to do a tour together and we can craft a program for you.
Travellers looking for the ‘cheapest’ option in each place
The level of accommodation in Latin America can often be lower than advertised by western standards so we choose hotels aimed to meet and exceed your expectations. Even our bronze level hotels are more of a 3.5 star grade and better than most of our competitors as we would rather you come back overjoyed with your experience than risk your travel disappointment.
Travellers who just want to tick a place off their list
We believe travel is so much more than just visiting a place, taking a photo so you can show you’ve been there and moving onto the next place without another thought. We believe the beauty of travel is that it immerses you into new lands, opens your heart and mind, often changing and transforming you as a person and we strive to create as many memories and moments during your trip as possible.
Travellers who want everything on their holiday rigidly controlled
Travel planning is what we live for but that doesn’t mean that you should’t have some freedom when you’re actually in South America. We prefer to give you some ‘me time’ rather than round the clock schedules of group tours that seem don’t seem to give you a minute to relax or even explore a place to yourself.
Travellers who want to rush their way through.
Knowing full well just how big the continent is, we don’t believe you can see everything in South America in one go so you are better off not trying. Time is one of the greatest luxuries you will ever have and we believe it is better to stay longer in a place and truly immerse yourself in it than spend a day travelling to the next place. You are better off making the most of your time in a few places than constantly flying in and out on a whistle-stop cookie cutter tour that will have you coming back exhausted.
Travellers looking for just flights or hotel bookings
There are so many flight or hotel booking engines you can look at but travelling with Boutique South America offers so much more than that. Boutique South America’s difference is that as a specialist South America tour operator, we care about what you do and experience in each place, almost as much as you do. We live and breathe South America, so we offer our knowledge and expertise to you and co-ordinate your often many flights, hotels, and excursions seamlessly together, so you can travel hassle free from place to place and country to country, for a relaxed and rewarding holiday.