After leaving South-America here some of our travel facts & figures for South-America:
In total we spent 111 nights in South-America.
88 of those we stayed in hotels/hostels and this was the cheapest hostel on our trip in Bolivia (around 8 EUR for 1 room/night):
11 nights we were camping (3 nights during the Ausangate Circuit in Peru and 8 nights during the Torres del Paine Circuit):
7 nights we stayed with friends (Thank you, Whei-Oh!):
and 5 nights we spent in overnight- buses and saved the money for a hostel 🙂 But not every bus was as comfortable as this one…
Way of Travel:
As distances are large, we had 10 flights while travelling in South-America. When possible we took the bus, even if this meant very long rides. For example our 24 hour bus ride from Puerto Iguazu to Buenos Aires. Generally we had very good bus experiences with good on-board catering. However we also had few very bad bus rides, especially in Bolivia. But all in all, we had the feeling that it was the best way to travel especially in Peru and Bolivia.
We did not rent a car in all of South-America and with the crazy way of driving in most regions, it seemed better to chose other ways of transportation. On the Easter Island we hired a scooter and it was a lot of fun to explore the island on two wheels 🙂
In South-America we visited the following 6 countries:
Peru (40 nights):
Most of our time in South-America we spent in this wonderful country. From the Pacific coast to the Andean highlands, from modern cities back to the amazing Inca sites like Machu Picchu or the Sacred Valley: Peru has it all 🙂
Our “first-time” experiences in Peru: Trekking with a guide, a cook and a horseman, hiking passes over 5’000 meters (the air get’s thin up there), brushing teeth at over 4’000 meters under a freezing star-spattered sky, an earthquake in Arequipa, boarding sand dunes and for Tini it was the first trip south of the equator.
Bolivia (14 nights):
At the end of our Bolivia trip we had the feeling that we actually spent more time in this beautiful country than just two weeks. On the one hand we saw so much of the amazing landscapes and had great experiences, on the other hand we had to deal with the low development state. For example there was rarely hot water, a lot of waste, sometimes no electricity and we had to take our own toilet paper everywhere…
Our “first-time” experiences in Bolivia: House-Running in La Paz, ZipLining at the end of the Worlds Most Dangerous Road and the depressing visit of the Silver mine in Potosi. The highlight was definitely the tour to the unique Salar de Uyuni because of the stunning landscapes and the new friends, Sergio and Mario, we found there!
Chile (25 nights):
Our visits to Chile were split into several visits: The first time we entered by bus in the very north region of the Atacama desert, coming from Bolivia. The second time we entered in the very south from Argentina. The last time we flew to Santiago from Buenos Aires before we headed on to Easter Island. On the one hand Chile was, especially compared to Bolivia, very well developed and there are real shops and even an underground metro in Santiago! On the other hand we had great days in the wilderness regions in the far south of the country. Besides the great wines and the mouthwatering Completos we will surely never forget the adventurous crossing of the John Gardner Pass as part of our 9 day circuit in the Torres del Paine National Park. And finally our visit on Rapa Nui was surely one of the highlights of our trip!
Brazil (16 nights):
We had some great days in Rio and with Whei-Oh, our caring host we did not have to worry about anything. The fruits in Rio were just incredible sweet and tasty, the beaches were great and the relaxing lifestyle of the Cariocas (that’s how the native inhabitants of Rio are called) was just amazing. Our trip to Fernando de Noronha with its dream beaches was fantastic and the Iguazu Falls were surely unforgettable. It will surprise you (*not*), but a little bit over two weeks in Brazil are definitely not enough. We have to revisit one day and get to see more of this enormous country!
Argentina (16 nights):
Due to its extend Argentina is a country full of extremes, some of which we experienced during our travels: Starting with rain forests in the north, to the bustling capital Buenos Aires in spring time and finally being welcomed by a snow storm in southern Ushuaia! Meeting with Sergio and Mario and getting invited to a homemade Asado made our time in Buenos Aires very special. Thank you guys for your warming welcome! Argentina is definitely a country that we have to visit again, as we only got a little insight in a bit over 2 weeks.
Uruguay (1 day):
Our day-trip to Uruguay was great and we got a first impression of the country. We both nearly knew nothing about the country, but it seemed quite well developed, the people were very friendly and everybody was carrying a little bag with the obligatory mate equipment around with them.
Lost & Found:
Once again we were very restrictive about buying souvenirs 🙁 Especially after we found out how expensive it is to send a package from South-America (over 400 US$ for a 5 kg package from Peru).
God news: We did not get robbed or kidnapped, nor did we loose anything in South America. Bad news: We suffered the obligatory diarrhea in South-America, Tini less than Andy.
We ate such a variety of food in the last months and already shared much of it with you.
Especially the fruits were sooo tasty, for example the best mangoes and first-time exotic fruits in Peru:
And the sweetest papayas, pineapples and watermelons in Rio:
We had regional specialties like Guinea-pig in Peru:
The churrascarias in Rio are a heaven for all meat-lovers:
And one of the highlights was definitely the home made Asado from Sergio in Buenos Aires:
Especially Tini yearns for desserts and one of our favorites were the Churros in Rio:
Most of the food was really great, but some was mainly to satisfy hunger (especially in Bolivia where we almost became vegetarians):
But it wasn’t only the food that was special, sometimes it was also the location where we were eating. For example during our Ausangate trek (Peru) in desolate areas over 4000 meters in our red dinner-tent:
And during the Colca Canyon trek (Peru) in a remote village, where the food was prepared with seemingly ancient methods:
Or during the Salar Uyuni trip (Bolivia) on an island in the middle of the amazing salt flat:
Or the self cooked pasta that we had to carry for several days around the Paine massif (Chile):
Besides the food we also discovered some new drinks we really liked, for example the Pisco sour in Peru, some of the different beers we were trying and after tasting countless wines in Argentina and Chile we now have some favorites as well! And not to forget the best Caipirinha we ever had: freshly prepared at the Copacabana beach 🙂
Arriving in Peru without speaking any Spanish and some concerns about safety and the way of travelling in South-America, we quickly figured out that we did not have to worry too much. Most of the people were very friendly and helpful and as time went by, we even improved our Spanish skills 🙂 It was no problem to get a room or food and even buy bus tickets or organize a trip somewhere.
But after nearly four months in South-America, it is time to move on!