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JohnnyGuadalupe
Apr 25, 2008


After going through the threads on the travel forum, it seems that South America is woefully underrepresented. Which is a terrible, terrible thing. Especially when, in my humble, humble opinion, traveling in the continent of Allende and Bolivar is much more bang for your buck than the wold world. While the value of the dollar is declining you can still live on 10 dollars a day in Bolivia (By live, I mean live as a king). I have backpacked during two summers throughout the continent, once with friends and once with my significant other. The experience was amazing both times and I had a much better time than the month I spent in London living on cup noodles and sleeping in bathtubs.

The countries I have been to are: Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. Hence the title because I only need three more countries. Six if you count the Guyanas.

I don't really know if anyone is interested in hearing about this. The search for a thread like this didn't turn up anything, so forgive me if someone already did this. If people are interested I can post recommendations for any of the countries or larger trips. Advice on what to do in the three remaining countries, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, would be greatly appreciated. Especially on the difficulties of traveling inside Venezuela with camera equipment and the bans on money changing.

Feel free to ask about llamas spitting in your face on the Inca trail, participating in a psychoactive Aymaara ritual, Eating steak for every meal for a week in Buenos Aires or anything that comes to mind.

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DustingDuvet
Dec 12, 2004

I think we are flying in the wrong direction

This thread makes me really happy! I leave for 3 months of backpacking in 8 days. I am starting in Colombia for 1 1/2 months, then a stopover in Lima for a week, and Brazil for 5 weeks.

I have traveled in Ecuador for 2 1/2 months, Colombia for 1 month, and Bolivia for 1 1/2 months so let me know if you have any questions about backpacking in those countries. I can answer any travel related questions like what there is to do in each place, sample itineraries, which hostels are most fun, which clubs are the best, etc.


I do have some questions for you. I have a free 7 day stopover in Lima. I figured i would spend the week in the city. I am looking for a great party hostel. I have heard The Point and Loki are great. What do you think? Do i have time to go anywhere interesting in a week besides Lima? Are there any special foods i have to try. I know about ceviche and the pisco sour, anything else? Any interesting things to do in Lima that are not in the guidebooks?

As for Brazil, its pretty expensive so I am planning to just stay in Sao Paulo, Rio, and Salvador. Is $70 a day realistic for someone who stays in cheap hostels, eats out at decent restaurants, and likes to party at night? Would you recommend a Favela tour in Rio? Have you heard of the Fortal festival in Fortaleza?

JohnnyGuadalupe
Apr 25, 2008


To begin if you have a chance to go to carnaval (I imagine thats what you mean by festival since Fortaleza's one is during June) GO, GO, GO! You will hate yourself if you don't

Starting with Brazil. 70 a day is a good budget if you want to live it up. Be sure to not eat at tourist places (Prices drop by half if you just walk two blocks away from the beach). I ate everyday at nice places where the locals ate and partied a lot on 50 a day. The biggest recommendation I can make is to figure out public transportation and do things on your own so you don't have to take tours. The difference in tourist and local prices is ridiculous. I met an Australian who payed 100 dollars for a private Corcovado "tour", when the bus there costs 50 cents and the entrance costs ten dollars. She payed 90 dollars to get driven over there.

If you take a favela tour take a tour where you walk in the favela. There are guide tours and bus tours. In the bus tour you drive around while a guide reads from a script and makes you feel super scared cuz its soooooooooo dangerous. With a guide tour you get someone who lives in the favela to walk with you for a day, let you talk with people and actually understand what is going on. It is surprisingly safe because people know the tours benefit everyone. At the end of the tour there was a meal of feijoada at someone's house with six other guides, none of them had ever been mugged or anything. We are talking of thousands of tours when added up. I went with Marco Rocinha (That is probably close enough) and had a blast.

Personally if I were going to Lima for a week I would not stay in Lima. Lima is a nice city with attractions that can be seen in one or two days at most. The night life is ok, but you are going to Brazil, so you won't be blown away. 5 hours away is the beautiful oasis town of Huacachina, which is where I would spend the week. Huacachina is a oasis town in the middle of huge sands. Imagine watch the sun come up from the top of a sand dune three times as tall as your six story hostel, turning around and seeing a deep green lagoon surrounded by mountains of sand. The beer is dirt cheap, you can sandboard all day, the Swedish girls started taking their tops off because the French girls did and every night a hostel employee makes a fire in the middle of the desert so you can sit around drink and pass a joint.
Say hello to Erickson (Peruvian adopted as a baby by Scandinavian parents) if he is still a bartender. If you do go stay at the Casa de Arena. When you go home do you want to have unique stories or just say I stayed in a big city?

This page has pretty good pictures.
http://www.wackyarchives.com/offbea...of-nowhere.html

If you do stay in Lima don't take time to choose what you do. Most people go to every single museum, which you should not to. The museums with caveman dioramas and paintings of noblemen sucked in the seventh grade, and they suck even harder when you are wasting precious time in your South American trip. Read the descriptions of attractions and choose if you want to see the biggest collection of pots in South America in the Museo de Ceramica. (I appreciate culture but six floors of every conde and Virrey portrait in history is not anyone's idea of fun.)

There are a couple of things you should do in Lima. The Museo de oro, the catacombs under the main cathedral, la plaza central (For the virgin Mary with a llama on her head) the museum of modern art, El museo de arte italiano, see the ruins out of town, go to the Mercado General and buy souvenirs, take a taxi to the highest point in Lima and go out on the town at least once. Take time to walk around Lima and meet people, especially the centro, as it is a very colorful town that really captures the issues of the country. There was protests every day I was there and talking to people in them was a great experience . Seeing a family of four chase after their escapee pigs in the middle of the city was a beautiful surreal moment which would not have happened if I stayed on the main roads.

Drink chicha (Native aguardiente served hot from the pot and made with whatever they had at the time) eat every part of a llama you can find, especially anticuchos which are roasted llama heart kebabs served in Sabritas bags cut in half, and walk off the beaten path to get a whole roasted cuy (Imagine your pet hamster, but it weighs two pounds and has little mole claws). When my freinds and I ate one the locals almost stood up and cheered. My girlfreind recommends Quinoa because it is super expensive over here in the States and so uber nutritious. I don't travel to eat health food and didn't like it, it tastes like oatmeal made out of steel. Also, drink a lot of Inca Kola.

Regarding Lima I would stay at the Point since it has a better location and cheaper beer. The Loki is nice if you have a limitless reserve of energy and don't mind not being able to sleep ever. Loki is terribly designed for people who do not want to stay up until eight in the morning and attracts a hard drinking Israeli crowd. Which might be your thing.

That turned out longer than I thought. So many good memories. I have a couple of questions. I am flying into Ecuador and making my way to Venezuela to fly back from Colombia. Do you have any recommendations on where to go? What places are overrated on the tour books? Things I should seriously do and which to avoid? I want to visit some national parks in Ecuador, how viable is it for me to rent equipment? Does Colombia deserve its bad rep?

JohnnyGuadalupe fucked around with this message at May 1, 2008 around 17:27

Riptor
Apr 13, 2003

here's to feelin' good all the time


JohnnyGuadalupe posted:

a whole roasted cuy (Imagine your pet hamster, but it weighs two pounds and has little mole claws)

aka guinea pig

DustingDuvet
Dec 12, 2004

I think we are flying in the wrong direction

JohnnyGuadalupe posted:

To begin if you have a chance to go to carnaval (I imagine thats what you mean by festival since Fortaleza's one is during June) GO, GO, GO! You will hate yourself if you don't

Yep, thats what I was referring to. For some reason, so many people don't seem to know about when i have asked so i figured it wasnt anything great. I actually planned my trip around it so i could go. Its actually in late july, not june. I may just have to get myself down there.


JohnnyGuadalupe posted:

Starting with Brazil. 70 a day is a good budget if you want to live it up. Be sure to not eat at tourist places (Prices drop by half if you just walk two blocks away from the beach). I ate everyday at nice places where the locals ate and partied a lot on 50 a day. The biggest recommendation I can make is to figure out public transportation and do things on your own so you don't have to take tours. The difference in tourist and local prices is ridiculous. I met an Australian who payed 100 dollars for a private Corcovado "tour", when the bus there costs 50 cents and the entrance costs ten dollars. She payed 90 dollars to get driven over there.

If you take a favela tour take a tour where you walk in the favela. There are guide tours and bus tours. In the bus tour you drive around while a guide reads from a script and makes you feel super scared cuz its soooooooooo dangerous. With a guide tour you get someone who lives in the favela to walk with you for a day, let you talk with people and actually understand what is going on. It is surprisingly safe because people know the tours benefit everyone. At the end of the tour there was a meal of feijoada at someone's house with six other guides, none of them had ever been mugged or anything. We are talking of thousands of tours when added up. I went with Marco Rocinha (That is probably close enough) and had a blast.

I have been hearing mixed responses about how much I will need in Brazil. I don't know any Portuguese so i'm thinking it will be tough to get the best deals. I don't book tours to attractions i could easily do myself but i do book tours when it involves adventure activities. I hear most hostels arrange favela tours like you were talking about. I hear Yellow Mellow in Rio is a lot of fun. Anyways, its good to hear i may not need $70 since thats more than i would like to spend. $50/day would be perfect.


JohnnyGuadalupe posted:

Personally if I were going to Lima for a week I would not stay in Lima. Lima is a nice city with attractions that can be seen in one or two days at most. The night life is ok, but you are going to Brazil, so you won't be blown away. 5 hours away is the beautiful oasis town of Huacachina, which is where I would spend the week. Huacachina is a oasis town in the middle of huge sands. Imagine watch the sun come up from the top of a sand dune three times as tall as your six story hostel, turning around and seeing a deep green lagoon surrounded by mountains of sand. The beer is dirt cheap, you can sandboard all day, the Swedish girls started taking their tops off because the French girls did and every night a hostel employee makes a fire in the middle of the desert so you can sit around drink and pass a joint.
Say hello to Erickson (Peruvian adopted as a baby by Scandinavian parents) if he is still a bartender. If you do go stay at the Casa de Arena. When you go home do you want to have unique stories or just say I stayed in a big city?

This page has pretty good pictures.
http://www.wackyarchives.com/offbea...of-nowhere.html

If you do stay in Lima don't take time to choose what you do. Most people go to every single museum, which you should not to. The museums with caveman dioramas and paintings of noblemen sucked in the seventh grade, and they suck even harder when you are wasting precious time in your South American trip. Read the descriptions of attractions and choose if you want to see the biggest collection of pots in South America in the Museo de Ceramica. (I appreciate culture but six floors of every conde and Virrey portrait in history is not anyone's idea of fun.)

There are a couple of things you should do in Lima. The Museo de oro, the catacombs under the main cathedral, la plaza central (For the virgin Mary with a llama on her head) the museum of modern art, El museo de arte italiano, see the ruins out of town, go to the Mercado General and buy souvenirs, take a taxi to the highest point in Lima and go out on the town at least once. Take time to walk around Lima and meet people, especially the centro, as it is a very colorful town that really captures the issues of the country. There was protests every day I was there and talking to people in them was a great experience . Seeing a family of four chase after their escapee pigs in the middle of the city was a beautiful surreal moment which would not have happened if I stayed on the main roads.

This place sounds like a good option. I actually saw some travel show where they went there a few days ago. I may just end up going there for a few days. Are there any other places I may want to look into? I really enjoy cities and the nightlife so Lima seems like a place i may just want to spend my time in.


JohnnyGuadalupe posted:

Drink chicha (Native aguardiente served hot from the pot and made with whatever they had at the time) eat every part of a llama you can find, especially anticuchos which are roasted llama heart kebabs served in Sabritas bags cut in half, and walk off the beaten path to get a whole roasted cuy (Imagine your pet hamster, but it weighs two pounds and has little mole claws). When my freinds and I ate one the locals almost stood up and cheered. My girlfreind recommends Quinoa because it is super expensive over here in the States and so uber nutritious. I don't travel to eat health food and didn't like it, it tastes like oatmeal made out of steel. Also, drink a lot of Inca Kola.

In all my travels and college courses where we have talked about chicha i still have not tried it. Aguardiente is the drink of choice in Colombia so i have spend many nights drinking it and still have a bottle i brought back. I havent tried llama or aplaca either so that will be a food to try. I tried cuy (guinea pig) in Ecuador and it was pretty nasty. Finally, i agree that quinoa is pretty bad. My mom used to feed it to me when i was younger.

Thanks a bunch for your advice. I'll write a bit about Ecuador and Colombia in a bit.

DustingDuvet
Dec 12, 2004

I think we are flying in the wrong direction

JohnnyGuadalupe posted:

That turned out longer than I thought. So many good memories. I have a couple of questions. I am flying into Ecuador and making my way to Venezuela to fly back from Colombia. Do you have any recommendations on where to go? What places are overrated on the tour books? Things I should seriously do and which to avoid? I want to visit some national parks in Ecuador, how viable is it for me to rent equipment? Does Colombia deserve its bad rep?

I will start with Ecuador. In Quito you will want to visit the old town with all of its restored colonial buildings. Just wander around that area for a few days if you have the time, its great. At night, head to La Mariscal where all of the bars and clubs are. La Mariscal is that gringo filled area that every latin american city has. In La Mariscal, you will also find all of the hostels, tour operators, places to rent equipment, language schools, etc. The clubs arent that great in Ecuador but Bungalow 6 is a pretty good time. Go on a wednesday for ladies night where they only let all the women in from 8-10 and give them all free drinks. Then they let the men in.... Go to parque Carolina on a sunday for a great atmosphere and to watch a bunch of people doing aerobics to techno music. Plaza independencia is also great on a sunday where they have live music in front of the presidential palace. If you go to the equator which is only 40 min. from Quito, make sure to visit the alternate monument since the official one is not actually on the equator like they claim. Papallacta is a great 1/2 day trip with some amazing hot springs surrounded by green mountains.

You can go whitewater rafting and caving in the jungle in Tena. Coca is a better jungle to visit if you want to see wildlife. Banos is probably the adventure capital of Ecuador. You can go rapelling, rent atv's, white water rafting, etc. Its got some hot springs which are ok.

Go to Montanita if you want a beach with nightlife and backpackers. Canoa is a quiet beach town if you prefer. Atacames is the beach town that all of the Ecuadorian tourists go to and when i went i was one of the only gringos there.

Otavalo is nice for its huge indigenous market. If you enjoy hiking or mountain biking then look up Cotapaxi.

Mindo is great to visit for its cloudforest.

The Quilotoa Loop is pretty nice for hiking.

For some good information about climbing and hiking in Ecuador you can visit http://www.ecuadorexplorer.com/html...d_trekking.html
I hung out with the author of the book for a bit when I was there so i can put you in touch with him if you want.

Colombia is my favorite country that I have been.

The carnival is Barranquilla is the best in Colombia. But don't bother going there unless its carnival time.

San Andres and Providencia are two big islands that are supposed to be great but you need to fly there.

The coffee region (Periera, Armena, Manizales, etc.) is supposed to be spectacular with unique scenery. Spend a few days on a coffee plantation and visit the coffee theme park.

There are some small colonial towns with Villa de Leyva, Barichara, etc. Barichara was my favorite but most people would reccomend Villa de Leyva the most.

Leticia is a safe jungle town on the border that you need to fly to get there.

Bogota was my favorite city. So much to do during the day! Stay in La Candelaria. Don't miss the Gold museum which has the largest collection in the world. Also, ask German in the Platypus where to find the club which is located on the 42nd floor of an office block.

Cartagena - fantastic walled city, well worth a visit but many people make the mistake of thinking that there is a huge amount to do here. 2 days should be suffice. Its what you would imagine Cuba to look like. You can also visit a nearby "mud volcano" to relax in. There are some excellent beaches (playa blana) you can get a ferry to from Cartegena.

Santa Marta - well worth a visit, a bustling port and gateway to the Machu Piccu of Colombia - Ciudad Perdida. But you will probably prefer to stay in Taganga which is only 20 minutes away by colectivo from Santa Marta and boasts some incredible beaches, top hostels and the second cheapest diving and snorkelling in the world. My reccommendation is the La Casa de Felipe hostel - reckoned to be the best in Colombia!
You must go to Taganga, a small fishing town on the ocean which has become a great chillout place for travelers and is only 15 minutes from a big city Santa Marta. Parque Tayrona is also really close by and has the best beaches in Colombia. You can also do the lost city trek from Santa Marta by organizing it in Hotel Mirimar. Its a 6 day trek through the jungle where you hike through mud, cross rivers, visit a cocaine lab, stay at military bases, and see indigenous villages. After 3 days, you end at an archeological site which consists of a series of terraces carved into the mountainside, a net of tiled roads and several small circular plazas. The only way to get there is this hike so you will have it all to yourself.

Medellin - Like a top european city - safer than ever and has all the attractions you could want including some great nightlife - I'm a big fan of this place....3 or 4 days depending on how much you like going out. -There is also great paragliding over the city too. If you are there in August there is a "flower festiva" which means lots of partying, events, and music.

San Gil - Can't speak more highly of this place. Shaun in Hostal Macondo will sort you out with the best rafting,abseilling etc you need. It's an absolutely heavenly place!

Cali - supposed to be the second best place to go out in South America (after BsAs) and it's also supposed to have the best looking women. The sights in and around cali are limited although San Cipriano - is a great daytrip. It's really hot and humid here and most can't handle that.

Popayan - It's a great university colonial town and it's also the gateway to San Agustin and Tierradentro which are 2 of south americas most amazing archeological sights - on the level of Easter Island due to the mystery surrounding them. Also there is an indigenous market about 1 hour from here not to mention hot springs and active volcanoes. The temperature is perfect too.

Pusscat
Mar 31, 2005

What's new, Pusscat?

I spent last summer travelling around South America (I made a thread with tons of pictures, in the archives hopefully.

I went to Ecuador (& Galapagos Islands), Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.

I won't go into too much detail right now, a) because Dusting Duvet is probably more knowledgable than I about most of them and b) because I should really be panic-writing an essay right now.

But if you have the money you must must must go to the Galapagos Islands when you go to Ecuador. They are absolutely amazing and definitely the experience of a lifetime.

I'll just post a few pictures from my time there:













On the Ecuador mainland I highly recommend Baños, a hot spring town with plenty of outdoorsy activities to do, and Otavalo, THE place to shop (worldfamous market).

If you want to get an authentic Panama hat (no, they are not originally from Panama) on the cheap then head down to Cuenca.

While you're in Quito you might as well do the tourist thing and head to the equator (Mitad del Mundo), however, don't just go to the big government monument (which isn't even on the equator anyway). There's a great little place on the road towards the new museum (on the real equator) that talks about how "the site of the real equator had been marked centuries before the French mucked it up by an pre-Inca Ecuadorian people of astronomers and sunworshippers called Coros (I think)who built a big temple on a hill right on the equator line. From there they followed out all sorts of equinoxial lines. Then they built all their important temples and sites on these lines. Now of course the Spanish then went and destroyed these, building their churches on top, so now the church spires follow the exact line of the sunset, which is quite amazing to see on video. "


DustingDuvet, when you're in Lima, check out Museo Larco and the amusing collection of erotic pottery! NSW!



Also, alpaca steak is absolutely delicious - and this coming from an extremely fussy eater. Cuy on the other hand...

I'm happy to answer any questions about any of the countries mentioned above, and I'll be keeping an eye on the thread as I hope to go back and cover all the parts I missed!

SexyBlindfold
Apr 24, 2008
i dont care how much probation i get capital letters are for squares hehe im so laid back an nice please read my low effort shitposts about the arab spring

thanxs!!!


Y'know, as a Chilean I've always been curious: What's so great about Chile for you first-world tourists anyway?
I mean- everything that you can see in the deep south as far as landscapes go (and activities like rafting and trekking, I guess) is incredibly fancy, and San Pedro de Atacama, in the middle of the desert, is another touristic hotspot, but if I'm not mistaken, foreign tourists seem to regard Chilean cities as infinitely more boring than their, say, Argentinian or Peruvian conterparts. Other than Valparaíso, I can't think of a single city that people would visit in order to actually enjoy the city rather than check at a hotel and spend most of the time on the countryside. Well, maybe Santiago, too, but you would really, REALLY need to know what you're looking for and most of it you can find at other cities in the continent anyway.
So I ask of you Goons Who Often Go Outside, what's the deal with us?

Whitefish
May 31, 2005

After the old god has been assassinated, I am ready to rule the waves.

I'm backpacking in South America for a month this year. We're starting in Rio but spending most of the time in Peru and basically doing all the gringo stuff: Lima, Nazca, Arequipa, Puno, Cusco and then Iquitos (via Lima). At least, that's the plan anyway. We've booked the Inca trail and our flights in and out, but that's about it.

Any advice on Arequipa and Colca canyon? I've heard there a lot of cool stuff to do there (river running, trekking etc.) but I'm not sure what the best way to spend my time would be.

JohnnyGuadalupe
Apr 25, 2008


SexyBlindfold posted:

Y'know, as a Chilean I've always been curious: What's so great about Chile for you first-world tourists anyway?
I mean- everything that you can see in the deep south as far as landscapes go (and activities like rafting and trekking, I guess) is incredibly fancy, and San Pedro de Atacama, in the middle of the desert, is another touristic hotspot, but if I'm not mistaken, foreign tourists seem to regard Chilean cities as infinitely more boring than their, say, Argentinian or Peruvian conterparts. Other than Valparaíso, I can't think of a single city that people would visit in order to actually enjoy the city rather than check at a hotel and spend most of the time on the countryside. Well, maybe Santiago, too, but you would really, REALLY need to know what you're looking for and most of it you can find at other cities in the continent anyway.
So I ask of you Goons Who Often Go Outside, what's the deal with us?

Why the low self esteem?

Valparaiso is one of the most ridiculously beautiful cities in the world. This is putting it up there with Paris, Buenos Aires, Rio, Cuzco and London. Santiago has the history of Salvador Allende, Pablo Neruda, el cerro Santa Lucia, el cementerio General, Colo Colo games (And more importantly fans) and one of the coolest music scenes in the continent. Also you can buy Casillero del Diablo at dirt cheap. I got to see Los tres while I was there and they put up a great show.

The only thing is that Chileans are super difficult to understand. Sipo, yapo and all of that. They are not quite as open to help tourists as in other countries and its a bit more expensive. Still, Chile was one of my favorite countries.

JohnnyGuadalupe fucked around with this message at May 4, 2008 around 07:01

JohnnyGuadalupe
Apr 25, 2008


Whitefish posted:

I'm backpacking in South America for a month this year. We're starting in Rio but spending most of the time in Peru and basically doing all the gringo stuff: Lima, Nazca, Arequipa, Puno, Cusco and then Iquitos (via Lima). At least, that's the plan anyway. We've booked the Inca trail and our flights in and out, but that's about it.

Any advice on Arequipa and Colca canyon? I've heard there a lot of cool stuff to do there (river running, trekking etc.) but I'm not sure what the best way to spend my time would be.

Es ese el presidente Fox en tu avatar? Cool.

Arequipa is a really fun university town that has a lot to do and is surrounded by natural beauty. You can go on a day trip to do extreme sports (White water rafting, rappelling and the such) and then go out in the night. In Arequipa pay a little bit more for a place from where you can walk home, its worth it.

Colca Canyon is famous for the condors and the many little indigenous towns you go through. I would go for the longest trek they offer, three days I think, because I took the one overnight one and regretted it. It is really amazing and a very enjoyable trek with you stopping in small towns along the way.

Whitefish
May 31, 2005

After the old god has been assassinated, I am ready to rule the waves.

JohnnyGuadalupe posted:

Es ese el presidente Fox en tu avatar? Cool.

Uh, it's supposed to be Nietzsche. I'm not sure if that's who you're talking about.

JohnnyGuadalupe posted:

Arequipa is a really fun university town that has a lot to do and is surrounded by natural beauty. You can go on a day trip to do extreme sports (White water rafting, rappelling and the such) and then go out in the night. In Arequipa pay a little bit more for a place from where you can walk home, its worth it.

Colca Canyon is famous for the condors and the many little indigenous towns you go through. I would go for the longest trek they offer, three days I think, because I took the one overnight one and regretted it. It is really amazing and a very enjoyable trek with you stopping in small towns along the way.

Awesome, thanks. Have you been to Iquitos? We're trying to work out the best way to see the rainforest from there. I guess we'll try and get some accomodation in a lodge via some sort of 3-4 day tour.

JohnnyGuadalupe
Apr 25, 2008


Whitefish posted:

Awesome, thanks. Have you been to Iquitos? We're trying to work out the best way to see the rainforest from there. I guess we'll try and get some accomodation in a lodge via some sort of 3-4 day tour.

He kind of looks like ex-president Vicente Fox from Mexico. A lot more than Nietzche in my humble opinion. Cool avatar either way though.

As for Iquitos I haven't been up there. I went to the Rainforest in Bolivia and had a good time. While I was in Peru we were told that the boats up there where highly unreliable. When we asked for time estimates to go up there see everything and come back, everyone basically told us "We have no idea at all, but probably not more than two weeks." Have you seen "The motorcycle diaries"? That is basically the boat you get on. To me that sounded awesome, but I had a flight to catch and not enough flexibility in my schedule.

If you wanna do it go ahead. Just beware that you might be stuck in a shantytown in the Amazon basin waiting for someone to figure out whats wrong with the boat for a couple days. I heard a couple stories of people having the times of their life but missing flights. Make sure you plan accordingly.

SexyBlindfold
Apr 24, 2008
i dont care how much probation i get capital letters are for squares hehe im so laid back an nice please read my low effort shitposts about the arab spring

thanxs!!!


JohnnyGuadalupe posted:

Colo Colo games (And more importantly fans)
The only thing is that Chileans are super difficult to understand. Sipo, yapo and all of that.

Oh man, that reminds me of this.

Whitefish posted:

Iquitos

You've probably heard this a thousand times already, but if you're going to Iquitos (or anywhere in northeastern Peru for that matter) you'd better be carrying A LOT of bug repellent - specially if you're very white. Also if your schedule includes Ecuador, do NOT cross the border at Tumbes.

So yeah, I can only advise for the basics.

DustingDuvet
Dec 12, 2004

I think we are flying in the wrong direction

It seems appropriate to post links to some youtube videos (not mine) related to South American travel.

La Paz - Bolivia- http://youtube.com/watch?v=_JG8cghKVL8
The salt hostal in the Salar-[/b] http://youtube.com/watch?v=kXWdSAQqwpo

Colombia- http://youtube.com/watch?v=Tf-21rb7VJw
Villa de Leyva, Colombia- http://youtube.com/watch?v=JH7bN920kwg

Banos, Ecuador- http://youtube.com/watch?v=Pp1nzDy8p04
Why You Can't Sleep on an Ecuador Bus- http://youtube.com/watch?v=JUgt7Kk-U1A
Bus Ride from Quito to Baños- http://youtube.com/watch?v=4XS11c6z7M8

The Gringomobile Diaries- http://youtube.com/watch?v=9r7JHAqoZJs

Whitefish
May 31, 2005

After the old god has been assassinated, I am ready to rule the waves.

JohnnyGuadalupe posted:

If you wanna do it go ahead. Just beware that you might be stuck in a shantytown in the Amazon basin waiting for someone to figure out whats wrong with the boat for a couple days. I heard a couple stories of people having the times of their life but missing flights. Make sure you plan accordingly.

Yeah, we'd heard that as well. That's why we were thinking of booking a specific tour to take us into the rainforest rather than simply doing it ourselves. Not as fun, but we don't have the flexibility with time unfortunately.

SexyBlindfold posted:

You've probably heard this a thousand times already, but if you're going to Iquitos (or anywhere in northeastern Peru for that matter) you'd better be carrying A LOT of bug repellent - specially if you're very white. Also if your schedule includes Ecuador, do NOT cross the border at Tumbes.

So yeah, I can only advise for the basics.

Not going to Ecuador but thanks for the bug spray tip. I've been to a few rainforest areas before so I'm used to that sort of thing. Fortunately I seem not to get bitten so much, but my sister (who I'm travelling with) is a magnet for bugs. We'll definitely have plenty of bug spray with us.

roflcopter thief
Nov 22, 2007
¿por que no te callas?

DustingDuvet posted:

This thread makes me really happy! I leave for 3 months of backpacking in 8 days. I am starting in Colombia for 1 1/2 months, then a stopover in Lima for a week, and Brazil for 5 weeks.

I have traveled in Ecuador for 2 1/2 months, Colombia for 1 month, and Bolivia for 1 1/2 months so let me know if you have any questions about backpacking in those countries. I can answer any travel related questions like what there is to do in each place, sample itineraries, which hostels are most fun, which clubs are the best, etc.


I do have some questions for you. I have a free 7 day stopover in Lima. I figured i would spend the week in the city. I am looking for a great party hostel. I have heard The Point and Loki are great. What do you think? Do i have time to go anywhere interesting in a week besides Lima? Are there any special foods i have to try. I know about ceviche and the pisco sour, anything else? Any interesting things to do in Lima that are not in the guidebooks?

As for Brazil, its pretty expensive so I am planning to just stay in Sao Paulo, Rio, and Salvador. Is $70 a day realistic for someone who stays in cheap hostels, eats out at decent restaurants, and likes to party at night? Would you recommend a Favela tour in Rio? Have you heard of the Fortal festival in Fortaleza?
Did you say Fortaleza? I'm going to be residing there over the next couple months (and I would like to find out more about Fortal too, http://www.fortal.com.br says July 24-27; everything I've heard about Fortal (admittedly not much) tells me it's like a mini-carnaval) and one thing I would like to remind you of is the presence of malaria in the more rural parts of Brazil (and other parts of South America, really). The threat is mostly non-existent in Fortaleza, Rio, Sao Paulo; pretty much the coastal cities and southern areas are fine.
http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/dest...maps/brazil.htm

DustingDuvet
Dec 12, 2004

I think we are flying in the wrong direction

roflcopter thief posted:

Did you say Fortaleza? I'm going to be residing there over the next couple months (and I would like to find out more about Fortal too, http://www.fortal.com.br says July 24-27; everything I've heard about Fortal (admittedly not much) tells me it's like a mini-carnaval) and one thing I would like to remind you of is the presence of malaria in the more rural parts of Brazil (and other parts of South America, really). The threat is mostly non-existent in Fortaleza, Rio, Sao Paulo; pretty much the coastal cities and southern areas are fine.
http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/dest...maps/brazil.htm

There really is not much information about it in english on the internet. If i do make it to Fortaleza, would it all be possible to stay with you for Fortal?

DustingDuvet fucked around with this message at May 24, 2008 around 18:13

mintskoal
Oct 24, 2006

livin' the dream


SexyBlindfold posted:

Y'know, as a Chilean I've always been curious: What's so great about Chile for you first-world tourists anyway?

I was in Puerto Montt, Osorno, and Pucon in March and I loved every minute of it. As a whole, I thought the people in Chile were exceptionally nice, welcoming and personable. I always felt safe and the country is BEAUTIFUL. It's such a dramatic change from the US that I was just fascinated with it. I've been a lot of places and Chile is right up there on my list of favorites.

I spent the most time in Pucon and did some whitewater rafting, laying on the volcanic sand beach, and climbed Volcan Villarica, which was one of the most amazing things I've done in my life. Pucon itself was a great, laid back, easy going little town that reminded me a lot of Lake Tahoe, but without all of the uppity rich people.

Also, the food is outstanding!

roflcopter thief
Nov 22, 2007
¿por que no te callas?

DustingDuvet posted:

There really is not much information about it in english on the internet. If i do make it to Fortaleza, would it all be possible to stay with you for Fortal?

Also, i am finnally traveling in Colombia now so if anyone is interested in reading my blog (with lots of pictures), its http://jasonsinsouthamerica.blogspot.com/
I would be willing to let you stay with me if it weren't for the fact that I will be living with a host family until at least August, sorry =P But if you wanna meet up I can probably do that! When I arrive in Fortaleza and find out more about Fortal, I will try and update this thread with more information. Best of luck.

DustingDuvet
Dec 12, 2004

I think we are flying in the wrong direction

Lets keep this thread from dying!




DustingDuvet fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2009 around 20:17

KosherNostra
Dec 31, 2004

WHERE DA PIRATES AT?

Hey DustingDuvet, I helped you with your resume awhile back, I think. Keep the pictures coming! I hope to make it to Colombia soon. You still planning on working in South America?

cranberry juice
Feb 15, 2008


I've been dying to go back to Europe, but since the exchange is making this really expensive, I've realized that it would be a good time to think about planning a trip to South America! My first, really basic question, is that I haven't studied spanish since I was in high school. I graduated in 2002, and took 3 years. I replaced the spanish in my head with the french that I took in college.

How would I fare in a country like Peru with limited Spanish? I am open to studying spanish before going, don't get me wrong there, but I'm just curious about what you guys have to say.

Whitefish
May 31, 2005

After the old god has been assassinated, I am ready to rule the waves.

I need to get vaccinations for Peru and I'm not sure whether to get one for Rabies. It's pretty expensive and I don't know if I need it. It says you should get it if you're going to be more than 24 hours away from medical attention at any time or if you're going to be handling animals. I'm not planning on the latter, but I don't know about the former. I'm probably going to stay a rainforest lodge somewhere near Iquitos, but I don't know if I'm likely to be a long way from medical attention there. But I'm guessing a lot of tourists do that stuff and don't have rabies jabs?

Ramrod Hotshot
May 30, 2003
*conquers u*

What's the best way to travel cross-country through SA? I mean really cross country...like from Rio to Cuzco, for example, which would take you through some serious wilderness...to say the least. Is this even possible by road (or rail)?

Ramrod Hotshot
May 30, 2003
*conquers u*

Pusscat posted:


But if you have the money you must must must go to the Galapagos Islands when you go to Ecuador. They are absolutely amazing and definitely the experience of a lifetime.


Is there any way to Galapagos other than airplane? And how cheap is a flight from Ecuador to Galapagos?

KosherNostra
Dec 31, 2004

WHERE DA PIRATES AT?

cranberry juice posted:

How would I fare in a country like Peru with limited Spanish? I am open to studying spanish before going, don't get me wrong there, but I'm just curious about what you guys have to say.

You people need to realize these are countries, large ones, and as such you can't just say "Peru" and ask such a general question. That's like me asking if I can get by in the U.S. with limited english. Maybe in Little Havana, but probably not as much in Topeka, Kansas. Right?

If you're going to Cusco, where there is a large tourism industry, then you can get by with limited english. In Lima, depends, but you could probably get by. Most middle-class and up tend to learn at least another language, usually english. However, if you're in Trujillo or Piura, it might be harder.

Kaiser Bill posted:

What's the best way to travel cross-country through SA? I mean really cross country...like from Rio to Cuzco, for example, which would take you through some serious wilderness...to say the least. Is this even possible by road (or rail)?

Yes, we luckily have roads now. Who would have thought?!?! You can find trains every now and then, but your best option is just going via bus. From Rio you could go to São Paulo->Cataratas del Iguazú, the falls-->Buenos Aires, and from there you have a number of option. You could go through more of Argentina then Chile(Mendoza then into Valparaíso, Chile) or more of Argentina then Bolivia, then crossing into Perú. Lots of ways to do it. I'm not saying you can only stop in those cities on the way of course, many ways to do it.

Pusscat
Mar 31, 2005

What's new, Pusscat?

Kaiser Bill posted:

Is there any way to Galapagos other than airplane? And how cheap is a flight from Ecuador to Galapagos?

I can't remember properly, but flying is definitely the main and best way to get there.

There are 2 main airlines (TAME and Aerogal) but the prices are much of a muchness. TAME quotes current price from Quito - Galapagos as $379.48 (it used to be a little less during low season, but not sure if this is the case any longer). From Guayaquil - Galapagos it's quoting $326.62. I think most of the Quito flights stop in Guayaquil anyway (3hrs flight inc. stop from Quito - Baltra island). When you arrive you must pay $100 entry to the islands.

A trip to the Galapagos is very expensive (especially if you do a good, long cruise and get to the more distant islands) but it is so so worth it. It was definitely one of the highlights of my time in South America.

--

Also, for travelling around - bus and air are your best bet. Some distances might be worth flying, but it depends how much time/money you have and what you want to see along the way. My trip went Mexico - Ecuador (flight). Ecuador - Bolivia (flight). Bolivia - Peru (bus). Peru - Chile (flight). Chile - Argentina (bus). Argentina - Uruguay (boat/bus). Argentina - UK (flight). The long distance buses/coaches are very very good and comfortable, but not as cheap as you might think.

This thread makes me miss travelling so much!

ZombieJesus
Feb 26, 2005

He died for your sins, he rose for your BRAINS

Well aren't I glad I found this thread?! I was going to go and book a flight to BA tomorrow.

So for the last year or so I've had a big plan to head to South America, learn spanish, buy a car and drive as far as I can across the continent. Insanity? death wish? awesome? please let me know.

Questions:
- Is Buenos Aires a good starting point, considering I want to be somewhere that will keep me entertained for a month or two while I do Spanish courses?
- Is it possible to immerse myself in the language to a degree where I'll be able to speak it enough to get by throughout SA (minus Brazil of course) in such a short time? (on a related note, does anyone know of good total immersion language courses in BA?)
- Is buying a car in BA at all possible/advisable, and how possible would it be to say... drive to Peru/Ecuador?
- I have both an Australian and Italian passport, is the Italian (EU) passport going to be better?
- Does this sound like a good way to see south america, considering I'll have 5 or 6 months (maybe more), or would you prefer to do it through standard long-distance travel methods?

This is by no means my first travel experience - I've done the touristy things through western europe, hired a car and driven around california and nevada, driven from Johannesburg to Capetown, etc, and I easily prefer driving over any other method of travel; in my opinion it is just the perfect way to see the country while having the flexibility to do whatever you want. However, this would be my longest driving effort, and I (currently) know next to no spanish (however, I'm looking to fix that).

STA travel has a sale in May on flights to Buenos Aires, ~au$2000 I think, which is an insanely good deal. However, I dont want to book that if theres somewhere better to live while I learn spanish, so please help! Otherwise I'll book that and try flying internally at first, is that easy/cheap?

Thanks

DustingDuvet
Dec 12, 2004

I think we are flying in the wrong direction

Kaiser Bill posted:

Is there any way to Galapagos other than airplane? And how cheap is a flight from Ecuador to Galapagos?

No, there is no other realistic way to get there. Pusscat answered the question about the flight cost. If you are worried about cost then i would reccomend doing the Galapagos on your own. Get to the islands (about $500 with the park fee) and book day tours with travel agencies on the islands. Ferry to other islands. Stay in hotels (as cheap as $5/night).

DustingDuvet
Dec 12, 2004

I think we are flying in the wrong direction

cranberry juice posted:

I've been dying to go back to Europe, but since the exchange is making this really expensive, I've realized that it would be a good time to think about planning a trip to South America! My first, really basic question, is that I haven't studied spanish since I was in high school. I graduated in 2002, and took 3 years. I replaced the spanish in my head with the french that I took in college.

How would I fare in a country like Peru with limited Spanish? I am open to studying spanish before going, don't get me wrong there, but I'm just curious about what you guys have to say.

KosherNostra answered the question pretty well. But tons of travelers go without Spanish. If you want to be able to communicate with locals, get a novia, etc. then its best to take an intensive 2 week/1 month spanish course in a city. Ecuador is known for speaking the clearest Spanish. Argentina not so much.

DustingDuvet
Dec 12, 2004

I think we are flying in the wrong direction

Whitefish posted:

I need to get vaccinations for Peru and I'm not sure whether to get one for Rabies. It's pretty expensive and I don't know if I need it. It says you should get it if you're going to be more than 24 hours away from medical attention at any time or if you're going to be handling animals. I'm not planning on the latter, but I don't know about the former. I'm probably going to stay a rainforest lodge somewhere near Iquitos, but I don't know if I'm likely to be a long way from medical attention there. But I'm guessing a lot of tourists do that stuff and don't have rabies jabs?

I am not a doctor so i suppose you should not take this advice to seriously. But many travelers i meet, myself included, do not have the rabies vaccincation. If you will be staying in a lodge i would not worry nearly as much then if you were planning a boat trip through the amazon for a week.

KosherNostra
Dec 31, 2004

WHERE DA PIRATES AT?

ZombieJesus posted:

Questions:
- Is Buenos Aires a good starting point, considering I want to be somewhere that will keep me entertained for a month or two while I do Spanish courses?

I'm just going to say this, but lots of foreigners pick Buenos Aires to speak spanish and I don't know why. Well, I do, but it's stupid and I can't really understand it. Yes, it's more "European", why foreigners want that is beyond me, I suppose so they can feel slightly more comfortable. However, the Spanish spoken in Argentina, lunfardo, isn't really spanish. Native speakers can understand one another fine, it's not that different, but many of the verbs have completely different conjugations and prononciations. I've met foreigners who studied "spanish" in Buenos Aires and then came to Peru and were having a hard time because:
-They barely learned the spanish to begin with, I mean full immersion or not, it's a whole new language and you have limited time
-The spanish they learned is virtually only spoken in Argentina (some Uruguay too)and as such they couldn't speak as fluently as they thought they could.

Sure, you'll have a good time in Buenos Aires and it's more "european", I suppose (good choice coming to South America for that...), but don't go there stating you're going to "learn spanish". There are various other places to learn spanish cheaper and far better. In the end, every person i've met who goes to Argentina to "learn spanish" really just wants to party and have a good time. That's fine, just know your priorities.

DustingDuvet posted:

KosherNostra answered the question pretty well. But tons of travelers go without Spanish. If you want to be able to communicate with locals, get a novia, etc. then its best to take an intensive 2 week/1 month spanish course in a city. Ecuador is known for speaking the clearest Spanish. Argentina not so much.

Ecuador? I've heard "so and so is known for the best Spanish" for about every other country in South America, the main ones being Peru and Colombia. So take that with a grain of salt.

otiefrep
May 13, 2008


The carnaval was in the beginning of march from what I can remember, what you have right now are some mini-carnavais during the year, mostly on the northeast. I think the best option in terms of food is a Churrascaria de rodisio where you pay around 15-20$ in a good restaurant and can eat as much as you want of meat, if you saw the simpsons episode in brazil it´s that meat on swords.

Pusscat
Mar 31, 2005

What's new, Pusscat?

KosherNostra posted:

...Sure, you'll have a good time in Buenos Aires and it's more "european", I suppose (good choice coming to South America for that...), but don't go there stating you're going to "learn spanish"...



Ecuador? I've heard "so and so is known for the best Spanish" for about every other country in South America, the main ones being Peru and Colombia. So take that with a grain of salt.

I definitely agree with the first point. There's lot of crazy Argentine stuff (bloody "vos", it's madness!) that won't be useful/understood in a lot of other South American countries. Another thing to consider is that BA is a long long way away from other SA countries. If you picked somewhere more central like Ecuador it would be a lot easier to get to other countries and see more variety than if you started all the way at the bottom with BA and worked your way up (depends what you're going for/how long you want to spend there though).

However, I disagree with the second point and instead concur with DustingDuvet (based on personal experience only). I've been learning Spanish for about 10 years and was visiting SA having just spent a year in Mexico, so I was pretty fluent. I would say that Ecuadorian Spanish was by far the easiest and clearest to understand. Chile and Argentina were definitely the worst. Can't say for Colombia as sadly didn't have a chance to go there that trip.

Ecuador is a lovely country and you could quite easily base yourself in Quito to learn some Spanish and have great weekend trips off all over Ecuador while you improve. Depends what you're looking for in your base. Quito definitely felt more "South American", in contrast with BA, which, while a great place, didn't make me feel "oh my god, I'm on another continent and everything is soooo different". (Santiago de Chile is probably the most "European" of the places we went). I'm sure wherever you go you'll have a great time. But, if I were you, I'd get started on learning Spanish now so you don't struggle quite so much when you first arrive!




Vaccinations - I ended up getting rabies vaccines before I went out to Mexico as I wasn't sure if I'd end up in a hovel in the middle of nowhere. When my mum came out to travel South America with me she didn't bother with the vaccine as we weren't going to any really remote places where it was likely to be a potential problem (and therefore wasn't worth spending £120/$240 on). So it definitely depends on what your plans are for while you're there.

http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk is an excellent resource on travel health advice - worth checking out before you travel.

hecko
Nov 24, 2005
¿donde estoy?

KosherNostra posted:

I'm just going to say this, but lots of foreigners pick Buenos Aires to speak spanish and I don't know why...

As Argentinian living in Buenos Aires I've never understood why of all places they choose this city to learn spanish, we use a very deformed version of the language ( example: in almost every spanish speaking country cojer = to grab something, here cojer = to gently caress) Maybe they come here because it's a place they'll feel more "like" home or they just use it as an excuse to partying and buying cheap leather boots or jackets.
The traditional places in South America with the most "correct" spanish are Bogota and the andean regions of Ecuador.

dontpanic
Aug 17, 2004
you do it to yourself

ZombieJesus posted:

- Is Buenos Aires a good starting point, considering I want to be somewhere that will keep me entertained for a month or two while I do Spanish courses?

I'm a native English speaker, and I don't think you'll have any problems learning Spanish in Argentina and then visiting other countries. The difference isn't nearly as big as people are making it out to be. Apart from the language issue, Buenos Aires itself is great.

quote:

- Is it possible to immerse myself in the language to a degree where I'll be able to speak it enough to get by throughout SA (minus Brazil of course) in such a short time? (on a related note, does anyone know of good total immersion language courses in BA?)

Starting from scratch, I'd guess that you'll be at an intermediate level after a few months. Look up ECELA if you want a good language school in BA.

iamking
May 1, 2005


Hey, I'm going travelling in Northern Chile/Southern Peru before going to Santiago to study in July. I have a vague itinery, just wondering what you guys think of it..am i missing anything amazing? Or (even better) do you know of anything really good that is 'off the beaten track' which you can share?

3/4 days in San Pedro de Atacama, trips I think geysers, salt plain and moon valley.
Bus up to Arequipa stopping in some towns along the way.
Colco Canyon for 2 day (1 night) trip.
Q: Are there any good rafting activities available here?
2 days in Ica/Huacachina (really don't want to miss this one out!)
Pisco and Paracas inc. island tour
3 days in Lima
3 days in Cusco/Machu Picchu

Thanks!

P.S. the pictures in this thread look amazing (esp. Halapagos and Huacachina) - can't wait to go!

Whitefish
May 31, 2005

After the old god has been assassinated, I am ready to rule the waves.

DustingDuvet posted:

I am not a doctor so i suppose you should not take this advice to seriously. But many travelers i meet, myself included, do not have the rabies vaccincation. If you will be staying in a lodge i would not worry nearly as much then if you were planning a boat trip through the amazon for a week.

Yeah, that was what I was thinking. I'm pretty sure we're not going to be doing anything like that (would love to, but not enough time). I'll think about it some more.

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Tetrix
Aug 24, 2002

United we play, United we win

I am awaiting answers to iamking's questions and I also have a few:

1. I have never been backpacking before, but I would like to spend about 3 weeks in South America in the fall. Would I be able to do it as a novice? I have traveled quite a bit to other continents and don't consider myself a moron!

2. Would I be able to do Rio to Iguazu to Buenos Aires to Chile (Santiago and San Pedro de Atacama) to Peru (Machu Picchu, Ica, Nazca maybe, Lima) in 3 or 4 weeks?

Thanks!

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