Tag Archives: South America

Reflecting Back on South America

24 Mar

Our time in South America has come to an end after spending one month and two days here. It’s been a great experience and we’ve already gone through so much. We’ve struggled together through rain and difficult terrain on the Inca trail but were rewarded with Machu Picchu and one of the best experiences of our lives. We’ve seen Easter Island moai, trekked on a glacier, got drenched by Iguazu falls from both sides, and was guided through a favela. We’ve met new friends and found that we’re not the only ones in this world with this crazy idea of doing a RTW trip. We’ve interacted with locals and have seen true generosity from many of them even through our language barrier. We’ve stayed in nice hotels (Buenos Aires) and total dumps with leaking gas and ants and cockroaches (Rio de Janeiro). We haven’t had a single delay in our flights or any lost hotel reservations (knock on wood!). Most importantly, we’ve stayed safe and healthy through it all. I can only hope for this luck to continue as we move onto Asia.

South America by the numbers:
11 airplane flights
10 different airports
4 countries (Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil)
11 cities (Lima, Cusco, Hanga Roa, Santiago, Valparaiso, Buenos Aires, El Calafate, El Chalten, Puerto Iguazu, Foz de Iguasu, and Rio de Janeiro.
3 wonders of the world visited

Now Asia bound!


Engaging People: Peru

6 Mar

In our everyday lives we typically keep to ourselves and rarely engage strangers in conversation. This trip is another story however! While we aren’t brazen enough to chat with each person that crosses our path, we’ve been giving it a shot every now and then.

Couple behind us at looooong customs line at Lima airport: American, medical student (him)/nurse (her) spending 5 weeks in the outskirts of Cusco volunteering at a hospital.

Charles: college student majoring in hotel management, working part time at our hostel in Lima. Though he didn’t look like it, he told us that he is part Irish and Japanese. Really sweet guy, and we have the same taste in TV shows. See earlier post about me accidentally spoiling a plot line for the show Revenge.

Us being silly in the patio of our hostel.


Solo traveler at our hostel in Lima: British, talked our ears off. Must be the longest conversation in English he’s had in a while! He is a seasoned traveler (why are companies outside of the US so generous with PTO??) and for his 40th birthday he went on a 3 month trip around South America.

Matt: Australian born owner of a restaurant in Cusco called Two Nations. He was quite a chatty Cathy as well! See blurb about British traveler above. Lived in Indonesia and Thailand before marrying a local, and opened up his restaurant in Cusco 5 years ago. Waxed poetic about the Asian food in Melbourne.

Llama Path buddies: group of awesome folks from Norway, Germany, Australia, and Canada that we bonded with during our Inka Trail to Machu Picchu hike, put on by the tour company Llama Path. A 4 day/3 night hike covering 28 miles with a 13779 ft. pass and camping with no showers allowed the 11 of us to get to know each other reaaaaally well, and we bonded quite nicely. Luckily we all spoke English pretty much fluently so communication was a breeze. They are all seasoned travelers so we were able to exchange travel stories and advice. It is refreshing to chat with non-Americans!


Looking forward to meeting more folks along the way! So far we have met people from 6 different countries! It will be hard to top our Llama Path group though!

To Tour or Not To Tour

15 Feb

image via Cafepress

Many of the vacations I took as a kid were tour-based (6am wake-up call, only 1 hour in a museum that usually takes a solid afternoon to explore, 10 minute pee break or the bus leaves without you, buffets and chains galore).  Tours are a great option for those who like to just show up and leave the planning and itinerary up to someone else.  It’s not really our style to go on such tours, we find many tours to not be at a pace that we like (either way too slow or rushed).  But I know there will be days where I will just want to wake up and let someone show me around for the day.

So in the spirit of trying new things (or giving old things a chance), I’ve researched some tours for South America that I’m pretty excited about!

For Machu Picchu, we booked with Llama Path based on our friends N+M’s recs.
In Santiago, I’m leaning towards the Spicy Chile walking tours, and in Buenos Aires, the Buenos Aires Free Tour has rave reviews.
Hielo y Aventura is a must for Patagonia.

Other places we’ll probably forgo tours are Easter Island and Iguazu Falls.  We’re undecided on whether we’ll go on a favela tour in Rio.  Would you do a favela tour?

So what’s the verdict folks?  Do you love tours for its convenience and ease, stay away cus it’s not your cup of tea, or are you like us and somewhere in between?  Share in the comments or in the poll below!

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