Travel: Break for the Border; Swerve around Mexico This Year and Head Further Down to South and Central America's Truly Hip Latino Destinations

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Byline: Text by Gill Williams.

Costa Rica... animal magic

Fancy watching monkeys play in the tree canopy and jaguars slink through the undergrowth? Take an aerial tram above the rainforest of Costa Rica and you can. The country has at least 850 types of bird, sharing the jungle with big cats, armadillos and tapirs.

Spend a few days in the capital San Jose, where you can sign up for this trip through the clouds, visit a coffee plantation or trek to the bubbling, turquoise waters of one of Latin America's tallest volcanoes.

From the city, fly by light aircraft for a few days in Tamarindo, a resort village on the west coast ringed by mangrove swamp and coastal forest. And as the sun goes down over the Pacific watch leatherback turtles crawl across the beach to lay their eggs.

Latin lesson: a week in San Jose and Tamarindo with breakfasts and all flights costs pounds 742 a person in November when two share through Kuoni; call 01306-742888.

Argentina... tango-tastic

Make sure the seams of your stockings are straight when you learn to tango in Buenos Aires. This passionate dance whirls out of clubs on to the cobbled streets of the old San Telmo quarter. The best time to explore the neighbourhood is Sunday, when you can shop for bric-a-brac in the flea market accompanied by street musicians.

Stroll along the Rio de la Plata waterfront, stopping for coffee at a stylish bar along the restored docks.

The old city monastery is now a hip area for restaurants and nightlife and dinner costs no more than a tenner in a top restaurant. The cuisine is pretty meaty but there are leafier alternatives. Round off the night with a glass of Argentinean bubbly at the Bar Querandi, where Juan Pern swept Eva off her feet.

Latin lesson: five nights' B&B in a three-star hotel with flights on British Airways starts at pounds 750 a person through Journey Latin America; call 020-8747 8315.

Peru... a natural high

You might need to get fit on a treadmill before setting off for the high country of Peru - more than 3km above sea level. …