Conclusions South America

Last updated on February 6th, 2019 at 04:01 pm

Conclusions South America: After 8 months traveling around South America.

 

Valle de cocora en Salento
Valle de Cocora ,  Salento , Colombia .

Panama and Costa Rica

Conclusions South America: Panama and Costa Rica are still a part of Central America, and not South America. But close. I spent 3 weeks visiting these two countries, 10 days each approximately. I visited the capital of Panama and Costa Rica. You need to be careful when you visit places that are not usually considered as tourist parts. But with a common sense and intuition about people, there shouldn’t be a danger you need to worry about. I stayed in paradise beaches, but these are too touristic, filled with many foreigners. There are some beaches where you can find more Americans and Canadians than local people. Many businesses were run for Americans and I much prefer local places. Prices are much more expensive than the other countries in Central America. I really loved people in Costa Rica though. People are so happy and fun, and they don’t stop smiling! PURA VIDA! About the food, the most of the dishes have rice, beans and banana added to them. My favorite ones, if talking about gastronomy, were milkshakes, fruits and fish. I ate lionfish and lobster which were so tasty. I love bananas, and they were so cheap. I met local people but most of the people that I met were foreigners.

Playa en Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro , Panama .

Crossing from Central America to South America

 

 Conclusions South America: Going from Central America to South America is a little bit tricky because of Darien Gap. Since this is a jungle, it is difficult to cross overland. You will need permits which are expensive, and you need to hire a guide for a few days to cross the jungle. If you don’t cross the jungle, you can go by boat. Take a speedy boat to Colombia or a sailor boat to Cartagena de Indias, spending a few days in San Blas Islands. The other option is to go by plane. Since there are only two options, and prices are expensive, I took the sailor boat from Panama to Colombia. At the beginning, it was a great experience. San Blas Island is so nice – paradise beaches, beer, eating, swimming. But the last two days sailing were so bad. I was dizzy every, especially when the boat sailed on the way to Colombia, 36 hours of non stop sailor trip. I felt so bad and all the people in the boat felt dizzy. Anyway, I got a great experience, meeting Kuna Yala people. It’s great that they don’t allow building hostel and hotels in that area. You can enjoy empty beaches,  relaxing the whole day with not much to do. If you like to do swimming, snorkling and practicing with the kayak, this will be a good place for you to stay at.
Los compis del viaje en velero
Sailing.

Colombia

Conclusions South America: This was the first country that I visited in South America. I spent two months there. I felt so at home, various beautiful seceneries, nice beaches and mountains. My favorite was in La Guajira! I spent a week traveling and hitchhiking until Cabo de la Vela, La Guajira, pitching the tent in beaches. I met wayuus (local people in Guajira), who let me pitch my tent at their home. People in La Guajira sleep in hammocks. I met some people who didn’t speak Spanish. Many beautiful mountains in Colombia, Tolima and  Eje Cafetero – it is so amazing! Salento is a great place in Eje Cafetero. I liked the cities very much. Medellin was beautiful and Cali was great for partying. I spent 10 days in Bogota and I did many plans. I was lucky to spend two weeks in Cali, for the feria, one of the most famous in the world, crazy party, full of people. In Colombia, people are very friendly always smiling. For me, they were the friendliest people in South America. Prices are expensive, especially transportation. Hitchhiking is working, but it takes time to get a ride. Sometimes, I was able to hitchhiked for free in local buses. I owe it all to Colombian people that are very nice. About gastronomy, I didnt like so much, but better than in Central America. Fruits, juice and milkshakes were really good. I tried some tasty soups. I focused in street food, and my favorite are potatoes with meat filling. Street food and juices were cheap, but the food was very unhealthy. I think, in my whole South America experience, Colombia was my favorite country for visiting. Not only because of the people, but also for the beautiful landscapes, cities, and beaches.

Cabo de la Vela , en La Guajira
Cabo de la Vela ,  La Guajira .
Papas rellenas en Popayan
Refilled Potatoes  , Colombia .

Ecuador

 Conclusions South America: After Colombia, I went to Ecuador, which was my second country in South America. I spent 3 weeks in Ecuador. I think, it’s enough time to visit the country, since it’s not very big. Ecuadorian people are very quiet,  friendly and polite. I think, Ecuadorian people were the most polite people in South America. Prices are  very cheap although I didn’t visit many places in Ecuador. I loved Quito, the architecture and city is amazing! Quito is one of my favorite cities, the architecture is breathtaking, and the views you can get are phenomenal. Guayaquil, is too big, the biggest city and financial center in Ecuador. Gastronomy was very similar to Colombia, but much cheaper and and with better variety of food. I loved Ecuadorian soups and fruits. Beer and transportation were so cheap. Beaches were really good. I enjoyed visiting Cuenca, the colonial city, in the South.
Vista desde el Mirador , en Quito
Viewpoint  ,  Quito .
Atardecer , en Montanita
Sunset  ,  Montanita ,  Ecuador .

Peru

 Conclusions South America: I went to Peru, overland from South Ecuador. This was my third country in South America. It’s a huge country, and I spent three weeks there. It’s not enough time for visiting Peru. There are many interesting areas. Great mountains where you can spend days or even weeks if you like mountains. I visited Huaraz where landscape and views were great. People in Huaraz speak Quechua, and you can see people have red cheeks. They are living close to 4000 meters altitude. I had great experiences, as a local wedding in Chiclayo. People looked less friendlier than Colombia and Ecuador, in my opinion. Cars were always beeping at you, even if you were crossing in a pedestrian. They immediately shout at you, if you go slow or you get distracted. Gastronomy here was the best in South America. Ceviche, the national dish, was great, too much variety of potatoes, avocado, fish, and juices. Prices are so cheap for food and transportation. Even when paying for the cheapest food in Peru, you can tell the food is great. Cuzco is a nice place! The most visited city in Peru, it’s very close to Machu Pichu. Tours are leaving from Cuzco and it’s very busy and touristic place. Machu Pichu is amazing, I have no words to describe Machu Pichu! I was lucky that I was able to walk 32 kilometers from Oyantaytambo to Aguas Calientes where you can buy the tickets to go to Machu Pichu. I walked on the railway. Trains go so slow and sometimes you need to leave the way to let them pass, walking next to the river. The first part of the walk, I did at night which is little bit dangerous, because you can’t see anything. You can only see a little bit with the flashlight that I was bringing. But during the day, the walk was amazing, listening to the river and looking around such amazing landscapes! In Aguas Calientes, after buying your ticket, there is an hour of walk, upstairs to go to the entrance. Just go inside and enjoy yourself! You are never gonna get tired of taking pictures. Visiting Machu Pichu was my favorite experience during my trip in South America. Prices around Machu Pichu are crazy. 10 USD for a bus ride, just a few kilometers and train ticket to Aguas Calientes was over 50 USD, just 32 kilometers!
Con Jose y Arturo , de boda en Chiclayo
With  Jose and  Arturo ,  wedding at Chiclayo  .
Machu Pichu
Machu Pichu .

Bolivia

Conclusions South America: I was coming from Peru to Bolivia. I was totally integrated in the culture, after a few months traveling around South America. I spent a month in Bolivia, I think it’s enough time for visiting. It reminded me of an Asian country  and not too much like South America. People speak Quechua and Amaro in some places of Bolivia. Landscapes were amazing! The cheapest country in South America, food, accommodation and transportation. Isla del Sol and Titicaca Lake were amazing places! The highest lake in the world, it’s a perfect place for relaxing and enjoying walking around. Salar de Uyuni, was also amazing! A day trip in Uyuni Salar is touristic, but you can’t leave Bolivia without visiting it. On gastronomy, I liked empanadas salteñas and tucumanas and cheese bread. Street food was cheap but I got tired. The food was too heavy for me. Soda was cheaper than water, it was the first time that I saw this in a country. I think that its really bad for people. Bolivian people are very shy at the beginning but it gets better when you stay longer with them. Some places, they don’t even speak Spanish, especially old people. In my opinion, Bolivia is a great place for visiting. You are going to learn something new everyday .

Vistas de la Isla del Sol
Isla del Sol ,  Bolivia .
Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni , Bolivia .

 

Argentina

Conclusions South America: It’s a huge country. I left Argentina, on the way to Chile and Uruguay and went back to Argentina a couple of times. When I was coming from Peru and Bolivia, it was so different. Argentina looks like more European culture. I spent  two months, but sadly I didn’t visit Patagonia. If I need to choose a country for living in South America, it would be Argentina. In the North , people are very friendly and hospitable. Buenos Aires, I really liked it, I spent almost a month. I loved going out during weekends in Buenos Aires. Gastronomy is so good! Barbecue, dulce de leche, mate. You can´t find too many street food, if I compare it with the other countries that I was visiting before in South America.  Prices were so cheap in the supermarket, thanks to blue USD. If you exchanged USD, they will give you double money at that time. Transportation in the city was cheap, but long distances were so expensive. Not an issue for me since I was hitchhiking the whole way. I had great experiences hitchhiking, especially with truck drivers for long distances. Salta and Corrientes are nice and quiet cities for visiting. Mendoza is a great city, European style, it’s very close to the mountains and landscape is great! Argentinian people love talking about soccer and politics! Iguazu Waterfalls was a great place, too. After Machu Pichu, this was my second favorite best place for visiting during my trip in South America. I saw them from Argentinan side, you can also visit them from Brazilian side.

Con el mate y el dulce de leche
Mate and  dulce de leche .
Llegando a Catamarca
Hitchhiking  ,   Argentina .
Con Nico , paella al fuego
With  Nico  ,  Buenos Aires .

Chile

 Conclusions South America: I was coming from Argentina, so the first thing that you realize when you get to Chile is their accent. They speak so fast. I spent two weeks in Chile which isn’t enough for visiting the country. I didn’t visit too much. The best in Chile was the experience of meeting Miguel, a friend of mine. Chile is expensive and similar to Europe, especially Santiago de Chile, the capital. Valparaiso is a really nice place, and during the busy weekends, you can see street art. There are many bars and people playing music. Gastronomy was very good. Poroto, typical national dish, is a stew with white beans – this was my favorite! Empanadas, avocado, and sopaipillas were so good! You can find street food for an affordable price. I loved hitchhiking around Chile, it was so easy to move around.  I didn’t like that  you can see many social differences in Chile and that the people were very conservative. I missed the North and South of Chile, it’s a very long country and I just visited central part of Chile.
Con Arturo y Jose
With  Arturo and  Jose ,  Valparaiso .
La playa de Valpo
Beach ,  Valparaiso .

Uruguay

Conclusions South America: I spent a week in Uruguay, which isn´t enough time for visiting the country. A week more should be fine for visiting the coast. I was coming from Argentina, Buenos Aires, and for me, these were very similar countries, at least Montevideo. Similar people, I can’t differentiate their accent from Argentinian people. Customs were very similar . They have mate (typical tea in Argentina and Uruguay) while they are walking, as personal thing. But in Paraguay and Argentina, they use more for sharing. Prices were three times more expensive, at that time, than Argentina. Montevideo was great, I spent a week there and I really loved the city next to the coast, but the weather wasn´t the best during my visit. Gastronomy was great, barbecue and goat were my favorites. People were very hospitable and talkative. I visited Paysandu, near the border with Argentina. It was a quiet and relaxing place coming to Montevideo.

Montevideo. South America.
Montevideo .

Paraguay

Conclusions South America: I spent 10 days in Paraguay. It’s very similar to North Argentina. I was coming from Corrientes, and the accent and food was very similar. They have mate, but a cold one and it’s called terere. Also chipa, it’s a tasty cheese bread. For touristic trips, it’s not the best country, Paraguay in South America. That’s why many people, who are traveling around South America aren´t visiting Paraguay. The best in Paraguay was people, they were very hospitable. Prices are cheap, especially transportation. They speak Spanish and Guarani, some of them can talk both while some of them can’t communicate to each other properly.  It’s a very interesting country for traveling! I visited Asuncion. The best thing is that you can see just a few tourists and you can walk around and meet local people everywhere. I visited Ciudad del Este which is a crazy town. Full of people, selling and buying things. I really liked their gastronomy. Cheese bread and barbecue were the best and I enjoyed fruits and juices too.

Tomando unas cervezas con Silvio
With  Silvio ,  Asuncion , Paraguay .

Brazil

Conclusions South America: Brazil was the last country that I visited in South America. I was coming from North Argentina and Paraguay. I really liked Brazil, I spent two weeks there. I guess you need at least two months for visiting Brazil. It’s a huge country, two weeks was a short time. People are very friendly, especially in the North. They reminded me of Colombian people. I could manage with the language,  it’s difficult to speak Portuguese, but it’s very close to Spanish language. You can communicate, but you can´t understand everything. Beaches were amazing in Salvador Bahia, kilometers and kilometers long. Brazilian gastronomy, I didn’t like so much, it was very unhealthy, but it was very cheap, especially street food. Chicken and cheese bread which were my favorites. I loved juice and fruits in Brazil. Buying in local markets were cheap and people were very friendy. Prices are expensive, especially transportation. I didn’t like that there are many rich people and many people who are very poor, so  many social differences! Coming from the South to the North Brazil, you can tell many differences, especially about skin color. In the South there are more white people and in the North the most are black people. I liked more the North, I found people much friendlier. Brazilian people go crazy about soccer, beer and cachaza, national drink. They love staying outdoors! Conclusions South America done!!

Conclusions South America
Pelourinho , Salvador de Bahia .

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. He believes in travel without money. Recently, he finished a bicycle trip, 9500 km, from Madrid to North Cape.

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  • Great post! You went to all the places I want to go. Interesting that you liked Argentina the best for living. People have been telling me that Quito is very dangerous, but looks like it was fine? And great beaches? How exciting! I’m totally inspired to continue studying Spanish.

    Qué tenga un buen día!

    ciao,
    WW

    • Muchas gracias !!! Its gonna be very useful if you speak Spanish for enjoying !! You need to be careful in South America , but just that ! Its not like Asia about security . Beaches and landscape are amazing . Machu Pichu , Iguazu Waterfalls , Uyuni . Colombian beaches are really nice and Brazilian also !! Disfruta el viaje !! Adios !! Saludos !!

  • Thanks for sharing, great mini update for each country, we are going to South America next… this really helped with a few of our decisions, thank you!