When's the best time to go?

The Spring months of March, April and May are generally considered the best for visiting Japan, both in terms of climate and the arrival of its famed pink sakura (cherry blossoms). Another fine time to visit is Autumn, specifically October and November, which is when the landscape is on fire with the colourful leaves turning on the maple trees. Anybody intending to make use of Japan's legendary snow sports infrastructure should obviously plan a visit during the winter ski season: December to February. Bear in mind that Japan's latitudinal range means that the climate is not consistent all over the country, but the flipside is that you can usually find good weather somewhere at any time of year.

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Where ancient and modern collide

Somehow Japan manages to be at once deeply traditional yet arrestingly high tech - a tricky equilibrium to maintain. However, this is a country that pulls it off with aplomb, and is all the more absorbing as a result. There is a powerful sense of cultural identity in Japan, where there are finely tuned social niceties for every occasion and where proudly upheld ancient customs survive intact after centuries. Tokyo is the obvious hub of activity, a huge metropolis as fascinating as it is crowded. The Japanese obsession with precision and punctuality is what allows this hugely populous city to function without descending into chaos.

Enjoy the frenetic pace as you explore ancient temples and busy markets, snack on sushi, pause for a drink atop gleaming skyscrapers, and absorb the all consuming Japanese culture all around. Beyond the capital, Kyoto is the temple hotspot laden with history, while Honshu is the scenic mountain region great for hikes. Head for Okinawa if you are hoping for some tropical beach time, or take a relaxing detour to include time in a traditional ‘onsen’ - hot springs. Famous for its autumn colours and cherry blossom to the iconic form of Mount Fuji, Japan's natural splendour is easily accessible.

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"“Great trip to Iceland - TravelLocal really understood the brief and delivered an ideal itinerary"

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Sparkling glaciers, soaring mountains, aquamarine lakes and breathtaking views galore, Patagonia is truly the gem in South America’s crown... and you could go!

Enter our competition to be in with a chance of exploring this magical region’s highlights on a trip for two planned by our wonderful expert local partner*. International flights are included and once you arrive you will trek the trails through the mountains of El Chalten, take a guided tour to the famous Perito Moreno Glacier and explore the stunning Torres del Paine National Park amongst many other activities.

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The prize is for 2 people to travel to Patagonia for 8 nights and the itinerary will follow this format. International flights are included in the prize. The competition closes on 31st October 2018 and the prize must be taken by 30th April 2019 (Argentinian national holidays are excluded). 
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Practical locally-verified advice on all you need to know about when to go and what to pack.

Insider knowledge on travel highlights, from relaxing in hot springs to exploring  ice caves

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"Remember that at such a northerly latitude, Iceland experiences extreme variations in daylight hours. In summer this works in your favour as you have really long days for sightseeing.”

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Argentina: One vast and beautiful playground.

A spirited country where reality often surpasses your preconceptions, Argentina comes with a side order of wow factor. Wide open wildernesses compete for your attention with sophisticated cities, staggering natural wonders and an upbeat culture. 

Will the drama of the peaks, glaciers and steppes tempt you to the far south, or will you be mesmerised by the glamour of a tango show in Buenos Aires?

If you love the outdoors and the romance of ranch life, venture out to the unimaginably vast pampas to ride with the gauchos.

 Foodies should allow a few days to tour the Mendoza wineries, renowned for gastronomic finesse, delightful boutique accommodation and great hiking possibilities, while those in search of exhilarating activities will find them in the lake district. 

With such variety on offer you might be hard pushed to work out how to fit it all in, but that’s where TravelLocal’s trusted local partners come in. They can advise you on exactly what you can expect from each region, help you to narrow down your choices, and arrange an itinerary that is time and cost efficient.

When's the best time to go?

The climate ranges from subtropical to subpolar. The north has hot, humid summers and dry, mild winters; the central regions are hot and sometimes stormy in summer, cool in winter; the south has warm summers and cold winters with some snowfall at higher elevations. The central coastline and the Río de la Plata estuary, which includes Buenos Aires, are best avoided from May until August, when the rains are heavy. If you’re in the wine-growing Cuyo region or the western Pampas, pack layers for variable temperatures. A hot, dry wind -  The Zonda - occasionally roars down from Andean heights, blowing for several hours, and can be followed by temperature drops.

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