South America: what do you think?
Readers give the lowdown on their favourite places in South America.
My first encounter with South America was via Ecuador and the memory of it has stuck with me ever since. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the capital of Quito – my trip was focused on the southern capital of Guayaquil (which is set against a backdrop of jungle) and the coast around Montanita – which has quickly become a surfing hub of the continent.
I liked it so much I’m heading back for another three months this year – and this time I’m arranging my schedule to encompass a trip to the Galapagos – something I regret missing out on last time.
Bolivia is mental, but by far and away my favourite stop of the trip. Besides mountain biking down the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road,’ I watched locals hurl tomatoes at competitors seemingly fighting for the crown of ‘Midget Wrestler 2009’.
Argentina has such beautiful people – everyone was so friendly and helpful. We felt completely safe the whole time we were there and all the locals we met were so accommodating. There is such a variety of things to do there, great cities, loads of vineyards and great scenery.
Buenos Aires has an incredible atmosphere; the city has got such a European vibe. You don’t go out until 2am and then you’re out until 9am. You can go for a sit-down meal literally any hour of the day and the restaurant will always have people in.
Forget all of your preconceptions about Colombia – it’s not as scary as you’ve
heard! It’s actually a lovely place full of warm and inviting people. There are
certain areas of the country you won’t want to travel to but there are also
some really fabulous places like the bustling city of Bogota.
Washington DC, www.twenty-somethingtravel.com
Chile is an amazing country. What really stood out for me was its friendly people and diverse geography; in the north, there is the driest desert in the world – the Atacama Desert and in the south is icy Patagonia, not to mention the spectacular Andes and gorgeous beaches running down the side of this exceptionally long country.
I was lucky enough to visit Patagonia at the start of December and I was able to go to Torres del Paine. Trekking through the snow to reach the impressive viewpoints of the Torres and Glacier Grey is an unforgettable moment and I’ve never felt more like I was in some kind of magical Narnia-like land.
My friends and I went to see the penguins on Isla Magdalena where we were able to get right up close to them and also went to the Argentinean side and saw the Perito Moreno glacier – the world’s only advancing glacier and to Ushuaia where we got our passports stamped to say we had officially reached ‘the end of the world.’
Arequipa in Peru is a beautiful city which boasts Spanish colonial architecture. It’s a stylish city with great restaurants and a buzzing nightlife. In the surrounding areas you can visit snowy volcanoes, spot condors at the world’s deepest canyon or go white water rafting.
Rio de Janeiro was a surprise – it’s always advertised as a scary place with guns and gangs but it wasn’t anything like that. It’s a vibrant city and the locals were the friendliest people ever. I can’t speak Spanish but that didn’t stop me being taught to dance Rio style at a street party. Plus you will never see booty shaking like they do in Rio anywhere else in the world.