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Big South America trip next year: looking for suggestions. - Page 3

post #31 of 62
Maybe Jon has some advice on picking up girls in Buenos Aires.
post #32 of 62
I was very impressed by the canal, myself. I would see it, but you don't have to spend a lot of time, if it isn't that interesting to you. I would love to take a cruise through the canal, I haven't done that. I have sat at a bar on the banks and watched the action for a few hours.
post #33 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
I was very impressed by the canal, myself. I would see it, but you don't have to spend a lot of time, if it isn't that interesting to you. I would love to take a cruise through the canal, I haven't done that. I have sat at a bar on the banks and watched the action for a few hours.

What's the action? Just boats going back and forth?

I would kinda like to see it. I could probably take a tons of cool pictures there, but I don't know. I'll have to think about it once i have a better idea of how long it will take me to get around and how long i spend in each place that is of higher priority.
post #34 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
What's the action? Just boats going back and forth?

I would kinda like to see it. I could probably take a tons of cool pictures there, but I don't know. I'll have to think about it once i have a better idea of how long it will take me to get around and how long i spend in each place that is of higher priority.

yeah, but what you have are large ships that have been designed specifically to fit in the canal, going through the canal in and out of the lockss, being pulled by specially built trucks. it is hard to describe - but it is something that you pretty much can't see anywhere else in the world.
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
yeah, but what you have are large ships that have been designed specifically to fit in the canal, going through the canal in and out of the lockss, being pulled by specially built trucks. it is hard to describe - but it is something that you pretty much can't see anywhere else in the world.

Panamax, no?
post #36 of 62
Santiago is really cool

Cartagena is beautiful.
post #37 of 62
Thread Starter 
It sounds kinda neat, but I don't think I'll realistically be able to fit it in. Jumping back and forth all over the place will kill my budget.

Given that I will be travelling in the opposite direction from what I originally intended, I'm thinking about doing my language courses in Cartagena. I think i'd have more to do than in BA (since it's winter, after all). I could spend time diving, on beaches, salsa, spanish courses, etc. I'd probably find a cheaper apartment too. I can't imagine it being a huge tourist destination with the fear most people have of visiting Colombia.

I was reading a diving blog and apparently some guy was diving in a small village and said you can get a tour of a cocaine processing plant for $20 lol. They blindfold you for the trip. Sound like a good idea? Think they'd allow me to snap some pictures?
post #38 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Santiago is really cool

Cartagena is beautiful.

What do you like about Santiago so much?
post #39 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
So I decided to suck it up and keep my job until next May when i'm done school, as it will make paying for this trip easy. I'm planning on a 4 month trip from the beginning of May until the end of August next year. I figure that if i skip the luxury hotels this time, I can do it on a tentative budget of around 10k. I may have to adjust for the diving, but that's ok. My priorities are 1) get my spanish to a good level 2) have fun and relax (women, dancing, beaches, diving) 3) see lots of cool stuff and take lots of pictures. 4) Get a Dive license and do lots of diving (gonna buy an underwater kit for my camera) ^_^


I intend to spend my first month in Buenos Aires. I'm going to take intensive spanish for a month before i head out to more rural areas and less developed countries because I won't have a bilingual spanish-speaking girlfriend as a crutch this time. Aside from that, everything else is flexible so I'm open to ideas from anyone that's spent time down there.

This is what I can think of so far:

Argentina: Buenos Aires (tango and spanish lessons, just have fun), Patagonia region, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Ushuaia (southermost city in the world), Mendoza (wine country), Iguazu Falls.

Uruguay: Montevideo.

Chile: Torres del Paine national park (penguins and more glaciers/mountains), Santiago and valparaiso. Not sure what else there is to do in Chile so I'm open to suggestions at this point. If I can find the time to get back in to very good climbing shape, I could also do a lot of it in Chile/Argentina.

Bolivia: Salar de Uyuni (largest salt flats in the world), La Paz, Lake Titicaca, maybe Isla del Sol.

Peru: seen much of it already, but missed Southern Peru on the last trip. Might go to Ica and Arequipa and then catch a flight in Lima to my next destination. Haven't really considered logistics so I might skip it completely.

Ecuador: Galapagos Islands, Quito, maybe spend more time in the rainforest (could also do this in Brazil). Do some diving there.

Brazil: Huge country. Aside from a short stay in Rio, haven't a clue what to see. Could use suggestions from anyone that's spent time there. I'll probably minimize my time here since I'm trying to improve my spanish and not portuguese. Then again, the beaches of Brazil are supposed to be great (as are the women, but with no portuguese it would be difficult), so I might spend more time here. I don't know...

Colombia: definitely Cartagena and Islas del Rosario (more diving). Not sure how much time I'll spend in Bogota. I intend to leave colombia to the end of the trip since my spanish will be best at that point and if my camera equipment gets jacked it won't spoil my enjoyment too much.

Panama, Costa Rica, etc.: Would like to tack this on to end of trip if there's still time. I'm open to suggestions since I'll try hard to fit them in. Could do yet more diving here. ^_^

I'll probably rent a nice apartment in Buenos Aires for a month and stay in hostels for the rest of the time. It seems to be quite easy to find safe and clean places to stay down there. I'll probably have to spend more in the Galapagos and Rio, but in other places I'll be spending like $20/night so it's not a big deal. I'm going to try to limit air travel to keep travel costs down and see more of the countries i'm travelling through.

Packing will be a bit of a challenge. It will be a long trip and I'll have to prepare for average temperatures of 0 to 30. I'd like to have nice clothes for going out at night in BA (temps there will be 5-17 celsius) but I don't want to carry around too much stuff when I'm on buses, as I'm a little paranoid of things getting stolen. Has anyone done a trip like this before? How did you pack? I'm probably going to bring two sets of camera equipment. I'll keep one on me and one in the hotel. I like taking pictures so I don't want to be stuck with a point and shoot if i get robbed.

Most importantly, what am I missing on my list of things to see and do? For those that have been to brazil, what is a must see/do? For those that dive, what are the best spots? It's something i've wanted to do for a long time so i'd like to do as much of it as possible.

I suggest you get a copy of Rosetta Stone tapes and start to spend an hour or so every day working on the language. There is no better preparation for your intensive course work in country. There is nothing that will enhance your travels more than being able to communicate with the locals. I can tell you based on my own experience in learning French and Spanish that the intensive course will not be enough. I would also suggest you buy some flash cards to build vocabulary. Seguro de viaje
post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman View Post
Panamax, no?

exactly. it is pretty cool - they are huge, and fit the canal like a finger in a glove.
post #41 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
It sounds kinda neat, but I don't think I'll realistically be able to fit it in. Jumping back and forth all over the place will kill my budget.

Given that I will be travelling in the opposite direction from what I originally intended, I'm thinking about doing my language courses in Cartagena. I think i'd have more to do than in BA (since it's winter, after all). I could spend time diving, on beaches, salsa, spanish courses, etc. I'd probably find a cheaper apartment too. I can't imagine it being a huge tourist destination with the fear most people have of visiting Colombia.

I was reading a diving blog and apparently some guy was diving in a small village and said you can get a tour of a cocaine processing plant for $20 lol. They blindfold you for the trip. Sound like a good idea? Think they'd allow me to snap some pictures?

my friend just came back from a 6 month vacation in SA. and he actually did go to a cocaine processing plant in columbia!
post #42 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by West24 View Post
my friend just came back from a 6 month vacation in SA. and he actually did go to a cocaine processing plant in columbia!

That takes some balls (or maybe just a little stupidity), not only due to the possibility of being kidnapped or killed, but also an army raid at the wrong time. I'm not sure how they'd react to the claim that you were just taking a tour. It would be mighty tempting though. Not many people would have that story to tell.
post #43 of 62
The mind reels... was it like visiting a vineyard where they have "tastings"?
post #44 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman View Post
The mind reels... was it like visiting a vineyard where they have "tastings"?

I doubt it would only cost $20 in that case. Besides, if i ever did something like that, I woudln't taste. The last time I got high was a long time ago and I didn't react well to it (weed, but it was laced with something). I swore-off drugs at that point, not that i was ever a big user beyond my 13th birthday.

edit: btw Rj, did you like the video? I was tremendously disappointed that it didn't draw any comments.
post #45 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
It sounds kinda neat, but I don't think I'll realistically be able to fit it in. Jumping back and forth all over the place will kill my budget.

Given that I will be travelling in the opposite direction from what I originally intended, I'm thinking about doing my language courses in Cartagena. I think i'd have more to do than in BA (since it's winter, after all). I could spend time diving, on beaches, salsa, spanish courses, etc. I'd probably find a cheaper apartment too. I can't imagine it being a huge tourist destination with the fear most people have of visiting Colombia.

I was reading a diving blog and apparently some guy was diving in a small village and said you can get a tour of a cocaine processing plant for $20 lol. They blindfold you for the trip. Sound like a good idea? Think they'd allow me to snap some pictures?

actually you will find cartagena filled with tourists. and n the larger part of the tourism is from the region or european you will find very few gringos. for example cartagena is cheap foreign destiantion for vacations for the that part of the world. plus brush up n your spansih before you even go to colombia the immigration documents that you need to fill out o the pane are in spanish only.

stay awy from the snow factory if you want tat stuf go to a emerald store they will sell you anything you want.
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