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Old Oct 29th 2011, 11:03 PM
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Default Middle South America

I'm thinking of exploring some of South America next spring. At the moment, I'm considering flying into Montevideo, making my way to Buenos Aires, staying in the country side in or around the Andes and winding up in Santiago where I'd leave to fly home. Does anyone have any experience travelling in or around those areas and have any recommendations?
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Old Oct 29th 2011, 11:16 PM
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Default Re: Middle South America

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Originally Posted by drgoodtrips View Post
I'm thinking of exploring some of South America next spring. At the moment, I'm considering flying into Montevideo, making my way to Buenos Aires, staying in the country side in or around the Andes and winding up in Santiago where I'd leave to fly home. Does anyone have any experience travelling in or around those areas and have any recommendations?
Yes. >:-)

But my preference lies in other parts of the continent. I don't love Buenos Aires by any stretch of the imagination. I'm guessing having more free cash than I did at the time would make it more fun than when I was there, but honestly, it was the people that kind of sucked.

Are you thinking of doing the tourist thing, or the nitty-gritty shit? I did the touristy stuff in Peru and Argentina (to an extent), and got a little more elbow deep into Ecuador. There are some amazing parts of the continent, and some parts I would definitely avoid.

One nice thing about Argentina, though, including the countryside, is that in many ways it's Europe on the cheap. It's got Bavaria, the Alps, Paris, all rolled into one.

In other news, I fucking hate Argentina.

I've never been to Chile, but apparently Santiago is incredible. If you go on the right day, you might even see a general strike with 10,000 people on the street.

If you want to see the "real" South America, Ecuador is a great microcosm. It has kick-ass amazonian jungle (can be experienced as a tourist or not, if you know the right people), beautiful, cloud scraping mountains (with the capital nestled between a few), and apparently some beautiful beaches (I don't know, didn't go).

So I guess my advice would depend on what you want.
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Old Oct 30th 2011, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: Middle South America

Speaking of South America, one place I'd really like to see is Machu Picchu.



Btw, I've also heard that Argentina is the best country to visit in South America (for what that's worth).
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Old Oct 30th 2011, 09:12 AM
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Default Re: Middle South America

I think the best way of travelling is either moving to a country for a few years, or reading novels from that country.

The Machu Picchu is a mesmorising spectacle, but I don't want to ruin the image of it in my head, by going there and hearing loud-mouthed tourists.

(Yes, I'd be a tourist too, but I wouldn't be loud-mouthed)
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Old Oct 30th 2011, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: Middle South America

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Originally Posted by NickKIELCEPoland View Post
I think the best way of travelling is either moving to a country for a few years, or reading novels from that country.

The Machu Picchu is a mesmorising spectacle, but I don't want to ruin the image of it in my head, by going there and hearing loud-mouthed tourists.

(Yes, I'd be a tourist too, but I wouldn't be loud-mouthed)
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Old Oct 30th 2011, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Middle South America

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Speaking of South America, one place I'd really like to see is Machu Picchu.

Oh that old place?

...






Yeah. It doesn't suck.
Quote:
Btw, I've also heard that Argentina is the best country to visit in South America (for what that's worth).
Again, it depends ENTIRELY on what you are looking for. Between Buenos Aires, Patagonia and Iguazu, I can see why there are some who would target Argentina as their number one destination, but... eh.
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Originally Posted by NickKIELCEPoland View Post
I think the best way of travelling is either moving to a country for a few years, or reading novels from that country.
Well, I don't know that reading literature from a country counts as visiting, but definitely the best way to KNOW a country is to live in it, even if it's just for a month or two. Visiting and knowing are two different ways of travelling. .

Quote:
The Machu Picchu is a mesmorising spectacle, but I don't want to ruin the image of it in my head, by going there and hearing loud-mouthed tourists.

(Yes, I'd be a tourist too, but I wouldn't be loud-mouthed)
Then you are, theoretically, in luck. First of all, it's massive and very remote. It is pretty expensive and difficult to get to, so people don't just casually drop in. The people who make it there, are by and large the people who want to enjoy it for what it is.

And also, like I said, it's huge. A group of us spent about two hours hiking up to the sun gate (where most of those panorama views are taken from). One of my friends wandered off and found a grassy corner and took a nap.

I went at an interesting time in my life: I was wrestling with having arrived at the fact that I no longer believed in God. Machu Picchu is essentially a 30 acre open air cathedral, and very humbling and spiritual. It didn't turn me around and make me a believer again, but it is an absolutely mind blowing place to visit. I'm not sure there is anything like it in the entire world.
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Old Oct 31st 2011, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Middle South America

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Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
Yes. >:-)

But my preference lies in other parts of the continent. I don't love Buenos Aires by any stretch of the imagination. I'm guessing having more free cash than I did at the time would make it more fun than when I was there, but honestly, it was the people that kind of sucked.

Are you thinking of doing the tourist thing, or the nitty-gritty shit? I did the touristy stuff in Peru and Argentina (to an extent), and got a little more elbow deep into Ecuador. There are some amazing parts of the continent, and some parts I would definitely avoid.

One nice thing about Argentina, though, including the countryside, is that in many ways it's Europe on the cheap. It's got Bavaria, the Alps, Paris, all rolled into one.

In other news, I fucking hate Argentina.

I've never been to Chile, but apparently Santiago is incredible. If you go on the right day, you might even see a general strike with 10,000 people on the street.

If you want to see the "real" South America, Ecuador is a great microcosm. It has kick-ass amazonian jungle (can be experienced as a tourist or not, if you know the right people), beautiful, cloud scraping mountains (with the capital nestled between a few), and apparently some beautiful beaches (I don't know, didn't go).

So I guess my advice would depend on what you want.
I'd be inclined to lean more toward "touristy". Generally, I tend to do the touristy things on my first visit to places and then go off the beaten path in subsequent visits when I've seen the tourist stuff and am more familiar. I don't have a good concept of places that are safe and places that are iffy in South America, and that's something that I'd prefer not to worry undully about. Not as much a matter of concern, but bang for my buck. I'd prefer not to have to spend time during a trip worrying about security logistics and which places to avoid. And, having never been there before, everything is a new experience, so "new and touristy" versus "new and off the beaten path" both involve "new", which is what interests me.

I'd like a mix of experiencing the cities and seeing sites in the countryside, as well. I don't know if Ecuador would be in the cards, given that what I'm really looking to do is fly in, get around via various forms of local (non airplane) transportation and fly out. My understanding is that there's probably a day's worth of travel between Buenos Aires and Chile, so extrapolating, going into the more northern countries seems as though it'd eat up more of my time in transit.
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Old Oct 31st 2011, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Middle South America

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Speaking of South America, one place I'd really like to see is Machu Picchu.

I'd like to see that too, though I don't know if it's going to be logistically feasible, given the other destinations that I'm looking at.

Quote:
Btw, I've also heard that Argentina is the best country to visit in South America (for what that's worth).
I had heard good things as well, Donkey's experience notwithstanding. However, I'm in the precarious position of not recalling from whom I heard those things and thus not knowing if I'm likely to share tastes with those people.
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Old Oct 31st 2011, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: Middle South America

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Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
Oh that old place?

...






Yeah. It doesn't suck.

Again, it depends ENTIRELY on what you are looking for. Between Buenos Aires, Patagonia and Iguazu, I can see why there are some who would target Argentina as their number one destination, but... eh.
Well, I don't know that reading literature from a country counts as visiting, but definitely the best way to KNOW a country is to live in it, even if it's just for a month or two. Visiting and knowing are two different ways of travelling. .



Then you are, theoretically, in luck. First of all, it's massive and very remote. It is pretty expensive and difficult to get to, so people don't just casually drop in. The people who make it there, are by and large the people who want to enjoy it for what it is.

And also, like I said, it's huge. A group of us spent about two hours hiking up to the sun gate (where most of those panorama views are taken from). One of my friends wandered off and found a grassy corner and took a nap.

I went at an interesting time in my life: I was wrestling with having arrived at the fact that I no longer believed in God. Machu Picchu is essentially a 30 acre open air cathedral, and very humbling and spiritual. It didn't turn me around and make me a believer again, but it is an absolutely mind blowing place to visit. I'm not sure there is anything like it in the entire world.
Oh well, in that case, I'd like to go to the Macchu Picchu. But I have heard that they might build a cable train up to it, so that lazy, fat, burger-eating ignoramuses will be able to go there and ruin it for people who genuinely want the experience.
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Old Oct 31st 2011, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Middle South America

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Originally Posted by drgoodtrips View Post
I'd be inclined to lean more toward "touristy". Generally, I tend to do the touristy things on my first visit to places and then go off the beaten path in subsequent visits when I've seen the tourist stuff and am more familiar. I don't have a good concept of places that are safe and places that are iffy in South America, and that's something that I'd prefer not to worry undully about. Not as much a matter of concern, but bang for my buck. I'd prefer not to have to spend time during a trip worrying about security logistics and which places to avoid. And, having never been there before, everything is a new experience, so "new and touristy" versus "new and off the beaten path" both involve "new", which is what interests me.

I'd like a mix of experiencing the cities and seeing sites in the countryside, as well. I don't know if Ecuador would be in the cards, given that what I'm really looking to do is fly in, get around via various forms of local (non airplane) transportation and fly out. My understanding is that there's probably a day's worth of travel between Buenos Aires and Chile, so extrapolating, going into the more northern countries seems as though it'd eat up more of my time in transit.
Just to be clear, touristy and off the beaten path is available in all of the countries. Much like visiting, say, Detroit, there are safe parts and there are parts you probably shouldn't venture. I mean, take Colombia: it has some of THE BEST tourist locals on the continent, but it is also the only, and longest standing, warzone in the hemisphere.

I never rode the cross country buses in Argentina, but apparently they are very nice. I think it would be a piece of cake to do a couple of days in Buenos Aires, spend a couple days traveling through the pampas, do some hiking in the Andes, and then land in the middle of Santiago. You'd also see two very different South Americas. Chile is apparently pretty amazing to visit.
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