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South American Highlights and Summary

A quick round up of our amazing trip to South America, before we start on South East Asia.


View South America 2013 on Roaming Rolts's travel map.

Number of days in South America:81

Countries Visited:
Peru: 21 days
Bolivia: 11 days
Chile: 13 days
Paraguay: 3 days
Brazil: 20 days
Uruguay: 4 days
Argentina: 9 days

Accommodation
34 different accommodations
+2 revisits
+3 nights camping (Inca Trail)
+7 night buses
+1 airport (São Paulo)
+1 night flight

48 different places gives an average stay of 1.7 nights.

Most frequent change: 7 nights, 7 different accommodations when
travelling from Chile - Paraguay - Iguassu Falls

Top 3 Accommodation
1. Apartment in Rio de Janeiro - just generally good, reasonably
priced accommodation.
2. Hostel in Foz Do Iguazu - good room, really helpful, friendly owner
and the best breakfast we had all trip.
3. Pousada in Paraty - nice room, 2 gorgeous friendly cats, lovely
outdoor courtyard with hamocks and swinging bench.

(Turns out they were all in Brazil, yet one of our worst was Alameda
Park Hotel in São Paulo, unless the payment for that never goes
through....The bed was literally solid and the whole place was
incredibly dated.)

Worst Accommodation
1. Calama, Chile - really skanky thread bare sheets, paper thin walls
and disgusting shared bathrooms. Seemed to just be lone men staying
there.
2. Uyuni Salt flats hostel - no electric, no heating (even though it
drops below zero at night), no showers, no hot water. Dorm room for 6.
We didn't get a choice on this one.

In our whole time in South America, we accidently booked bunk beds for
the twin room once (hehe!) And had to share a dorm room only twice. We
had ensuite the rest of the time on all but 2 other occasions.

Travelling Times

Time spent on buses: 141.5 hours
Time spent on flights (excluding connection times): 37 hours
Time spent on ferries: 13.5 hours

Total time travelling: 192 hours (8 days)

Stuff stolen

Robbed 3 times :-( + 1 hotel dishonestly taking $75

3 kindles
2 rucksacks
2 tablets
2 cameras
2 iPods
2 driver's licences
2 passports (amazingly handed in!)
1 mobile phone
Various amounts of various different currencies
Various tops

Highlights

We started this list on paper and it almost became a list of everything we did, so we've tried to condense it to our top 3 choices for each country.

Peru
The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu were a given for Peru, and so cheated by coming up with three more. (And even then we've got plenty more to add.)

Huacachina - Sand buggies and running down sand dunes
Lake Titicaca - Uros floating islands and Isla del Sol (I know this is Bolivia, but was more to save on our list!)
Cusco - Saqsaywaman Inca ruins and pony trek

Bolivia
La Paz - Mountain biking down death road and pedestrian day.
Sucre - Dinosaur prints park
Uyuni - 3 day excursion to the Uyuni Salt Flats

Chile
Iquique - Ghost towns of Humberstone and Santa Laura
Chiquimata - Copper mine tour
Santiago - Bella Vista Patio - restaurants and quirky little shops in a hidden courtyard.

Paraguay
Asunción - Train museum
Asunción - Regenerated neighbourhood by night

Puerto Iguassu - Argentina
Iguassu Falls and wildlife
Speedboat trip through the waterfalls

Foz Do Iguazu - Brazil
Iguassu Falls - We preferred the Brazilian side as you could see all the falls and get a greater impression as to their size and magnitude.
Bird park - good collection of toucans.
Churrascarrías - Eat as much as you like for about £8, which included about 15 different types of meat served to you from skewers.

Brazil
Paraty - Colonial coastal town with narrow cobbled streets and cute buildings plus relaxing boat trip to surrounding islands and beaches.
Ilha Grande - Car-less beach island on the way to Rio de Janeiro with white sand beaches (Lopez Mendes), jungle walk and colourfully lit beach bars by night.
Rio de Janeiro - Sugar Loaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer and favela tour around the largest favela Rocinha.

Uruguay
Montevideo - Wandering around the town and the best steak ever from the barbeque market.
Colonia de Sacremernto - Colonial port town
Colonia - Bike ride along the coast to the former bullring and a train museum, stopping at picturesque and deserted white sand beaches.

Argentina
Buenos Aires - Tango show and dinner - one of the highlights of our trip.
Buenos Aires - bi-century museum showing Argentina's history since 1810 to the present day and the MALBA contemporary art gallery.
San Antonio de Areco and Tigre - Excursion into Las Pampas and the Paraná Delta.

Overall our favourite country was Peru, as we felt this offered the greatest variety of attractions and you could easily spend a fortnight to 3 weeks visiting here as a normal holiday and would have the best experiences.

We thought Brazil was a very close second; however felt this was less culturally different to a lot of other more western cities. If you were to spend a week in Buenos Aires, you must add on an extra 3-4 days and take the boat to Uruguay to visit Montevideo and Colonia as they are such a contrast to the massive capital of Argentina.

Now for 26 hours flying on 4 different flights across a 10 hour time zone and 4 days to South East Asia to start the next part of our big adventure. Bangkok here we come!

Posted by Roaming Rolts 19:47 Archived in Argentina Tagged waterfalls boats rain travel bus chile plane highlights border bolivia isla_del_sol summary pedestrian_day itaipu Comments (4)

Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The beach island!

overcast 25 °C

90_DSCN0459.jpg

We took the ferry to Ilha Grande where after an hour and a half of navigating through the most picturesque islands and scenery, we docked on the main beach front to the port town of Abraão. Abraão is the only town on the island consisting of about 10 relatively short streets, all purposely built for tourists. There are no cars allowed on the island, which adds to the atmosphere of the bustling cobbled streets.

By night, the beach was tastefully lit up by the bars, which had stretched out towards the water's edge, using a variety of coloured lightbulbs. The whole beach front looked amazing and incredibly inviting. After stopping for dinner on the beach, we went for a walk in the water along the length of the beach, with the waves gently breaking at our ferry.

The following day, we set of at 8.45 to do one of the trails around the island, which was supposed to take an hour and a half, which would leave us plenty of time to catch the last boat to the beaches at 11.30. Our route took us past the former prison of San Lorenzo from the time when the island had been used as a penal colony. The majority of the prison had been demolished when it ceased to be a prison in the 1960s. There was still one dark and dingey cell block left, hidden by the trees looking out onto an empty sandy beach.

Our next stop was the aqueduct in the middle of the woods, next to a natural pool fed by a stream. The whole way round, we were led by a stray dog we'd picked up on leaving town. He was very sweet and acted like a little tour guide showing us the way.

Afterwards, we headed back into town and took a boat to another part of the island called Pousa, before walking 10 minutes over the hill to the famous white sand beach of Lopes Mendes with its crystal clear waters. It was like paradise with palm trees lining the beach edge and small islands in the sea along the horizon, adding to the beauty of the cove. With only a few boats going here each day and the walk time from the main town stated at 2½-3 hours, the beach was pretty empty with a clear view out to sea. Unfortunately it was quite windy on this side of the island and so after an hour or so, we walked back to the more sheltered cove of Pousa and spent the remainder of the time on the golden sand beach there.

We decided to go for a walk shortly before the boat back, and in the end decided it would be a nice walk back. After about 20 minutes we arrived at another beach with a rope attached to a tree, making it a great swinging rope. We spent about 15 minutes here before doing the hour and ten minute walk up and back down over the top of the island to Abraão, where we stopped for a beer at one of the beach bars. Clearly Chris and I are better hikers than we thought as it took half the recommended time to do this trail.

We both felt like we were on holiday here and if we didn't have all the Thai beaches to look forward to, would definitely have spent another day here.

Posted by Roaming Rolts 14:25 Archived in Brazil Tagged beaches night boats beer beach Comments (0)

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