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Big South America trip next year: looking for suggestions. - Page 4

post #46 of 62
Happy together.
post #47 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scarphe View Post
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.

I will be there in the low season so hopefully it won't be too bad. I'm gong to take spanish 202/203 before I go. I'm sure it will be useless for conversational skills, but reading and writing isn't a prob for me because of my french. I'll probably start listening to spanish lessons in january. I don't really have time before then. Maybe i can transfer them to my phone though...

What's an emerald store?

I bought the Footprint Guide to South America today. I'm getting a good idea of travel times by bus now. It's not so bad and i'll do many of the trips by bus. A cohesive plan is starting to form. Brazil is looking better and better to me though. If only I could fast-forward to next May!
post #48 of 62
im guessing an actual emerald store? columbia is known to have the best emeralds in the world. ditinguishable by their 3 phase inclusions. there is your gemmology lesson for the day.
post #49 of 62
You can prep by watching the film Green Ice with Anne Archer and Omar Sharif.
post #50 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
I wilbe there in the low season so hopefully it won't be too bad. I'm gong to take spanish 202/203 before I go. I'm sure it will be useless for conversational skills, but reading and writing isn't a prob for me because of my french. I'll probably start listening to spanish lessons in january. I don't really have time before then. Maybe i can transfer them to my phone though...

What's an emerald store?

I bought the Footprint Guide to South America today. I'm getting a good idea of travel times by bus now. It's not so bad and i'll do many of the trips by bus. A cohesive plan is starting to form. Brazil is looking better and better to me though. If only I could fast-forward to next May!
you have slight problem there does nto esixt low period in cartagena at least in my xp and i have been there almost every month of the year. but even if ter are toursists you will still have good time. just rmeber to use the formal whe you speak in spanish even between friends and parents and children they use use usted. it seems really unusual at first but you get used to it.

an emerald is the green mineral ( I think tat is how it is spelled in english) thus the title i gave the store. These places have people that stand outside hawking at first emeralds but they will continue to talk following you asking what you want putas, nieve or may be emeralds. the weird thing is that 60% of these people speak italian.
if you want anymore specific info abuot cartagena or cali simply ask they are the two cities i know the best in colombia.
post #51 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?

i was going to mention this. if you are new to spanish, argentina is not the best place to take lessons. learning spanish from an argentine is like learning english from father guido sarducci. i recommend colombia or chile.
post #52 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by West24 View Post
im guessing an actual emerald store? columbia is known to have the best emeralds in the world. ditinguishable by their 3 phase inclusions. there is your gemmology lesson for the day.



Quote:
Originally Posted by matadorpoeta View Post
i was going to mention this. if you are new to spanish, argentina is not the best place to take lessons. learning spanish from an argentine is like learning english from father guido sarducci. i recommend colombia or chile.

Hah. Ok thanks.
post #53 of 62
Thread Starter 
FWIW, I spent the last two days figuring everything out. The first thing is that it's going to cost me more than 10k with all the things I want to do. Probably 13 to 14k because of the diving. I'm also going to take 80 hours of 1 on 1 spanish classes before I leave over the internet. The reason I have to do this is mainly due to my diving goals. Cartagena doesn't have great diving and there's no language school on San Andres, so I don't want to spend a whole month in a mediocre place when I can hop on a $150 flight and have exceptional diving.

This is basically what my trip will look like:

Colombia

1 week of diving and being a beach bum on each of these islands:
Isla de San Andres (1 week of diving)
Providencia (1 week of diving)

General sight seeing and night life:
Cartagena (few days), Santa Marta (couple days), Bogota (four nights)

Ecuador


Otavalo (couple nights)
Galapagos (2 weeks, dives + land tours)
Quito & area (1 week)

Bolivia

La Paz (couple nights)
Lake Titicaca (couple nights)
Cusco & Machu Picchu (couple nights: since i'm in the area it makes sense to go back).
Salar de Uyuni (4 day tour of salt flats and other stuff)

Chile

Atacama Desert (4 days of riding, hiking, moonscapes, volcanoes, geysers)
Santiago & Valparaiso (5 days)

Argentina

Mendoza (3 days, wine tours)
Buenos Aires (1 week)
Patagonia and Tierro del Fuego region: Ushuaia ->Punta Arenas->Puerto Natales->Torres del Paine->El Calafate and Parque Nacional Los Glacieros (1 week)

Uruguay
Montevide, Colonia, Punta del Este (5 days)

Brazil
Iguacu Falls (2 nights)
Rio (12 days)
Salvador (11 days)

I'm planning on getting 30-40 dives in.
Now I just have to wait and pray that Israel doesn't bomb Iran.
post #54 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
Brazil Iguacu Falls (2 nights) Rio (12 days) Salvador (11 days) I'm planning on getting 30-40 dives in. Now I just have to wait and pray that Israel doesn't bomb Iran.
That sounds like an amazing trip. Glad you're going to Salvador, I think you'll really like it. I imagine there must be diving there, which is why you're spending 11 days. Otherwise, you would be spending way too much time there if you intend to just stay in the city. There are a ton of cool islands to visit off of Salvador. I went to Morro de São Paulo for the day, but with being in Salvador so long, you should definitely island-hop. Morro de São Paulo does not allow cars and has a lots of backpackers/hostels/cheap hotels. Its probably awesome to spend a few days there as a base and move from island to island.
post #55 of 62
As a way of saying hello to everyone I thought I would offer what little advice I have on Chile.

I apologize if this is all obvious and old hat to those better traveled than myself.

I enjoyed Santiago when I was there. I stayed in the el Golf neighborhood and felt very safe there. I have no knowledge of other areas wrt safety just my single point of reference. I was at the Ritz Carlton (which was very nice) and there is a few streets close by where they have many restaurants with excellent food. If you find a restaurant called Happenings (BA style steak house), you have found the street I am talking about.

As someone else stated the trains are very good and clean. They will take you downtown ( a couple of minutes) if you are in the el golf area without a problem. Or you could walk.

I was there in their summer, but I remember someone saying something about people training for the Olympics there Skiing. I don't ski so I had no interest in the conversation. There are open face cooper mines you may be able to see one of those.

In Valparaiso there is of course the beach, though I don't know what that would be like if you go during their winter. There is the beach area, but the things to see are more spread out in this area, so a car would almost be needed unless you joined a tour.

There is a casino in the beach area (you can't miss it) with clubs and this is really a place to be. I think it was Sunday night (or maybe Saturday) that things really got lively.

A couple of final notes:

People eat very late in Santiago. Later than people who think they eat late. I remember going to a place at 9:00 pm (Happenings, as it were) and the place was pretty quite. When I left at midnight it was jammed. People eating dinner, not drinking.

I wouldn't bother with Hooters except maybe for a laugh. The women are pretty enough, but it is not doing well.

People in Chile have absolutely no concept of a queue.

I hope some of this information is new and useful to you. SA women are beautiful and fun, it sounds like a good trip, I hope you enjoy yourself.
post #56 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StockwellDay View Post
That sounds like an amazing trip. Glad you're going to Salvador, I think you'll really like it. I imagine there must be diving there, which is why you're spending 11 days. Otherwise, you would be spending way too much time there if you intend to just stay in the city.

There are a ton of cool islands to visit off of Salvador. I went to Morro de São Paulo for the day, but with being in Salvador so long, you should definitely island-hop. Morro de São Paulo does not allow cars and has a lots of backpackers/hostels/cheap hotels. Its probably awesome to spend a few days there as a base and move from island to island.

My itinerary for Brazil is fairly fluid. One reason I'm leaving so much time for Brazil at the end is that I don't know what will happen in Ushuaia and Southern Argentina. I may not be able to get out that quickly because I am going to be there in the winter and buses don't run every day. So in case something happens or I get stuck there, I still want to have enough time to spend in Brazil. If everything does go to plan, I may also go to the Pantanal after Igacu, which would shorten the time i spend in Rio and salvador a little bit.
post #57 of 62
I'm not sure how tight your schedule is but my gf is from ecuador and always says one of the first places she wants to take me to is Banos, a town that is supposedly right underneath a huge volcanoe.
post #58 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpticar View Post
I'm not sure how tight your schedule is but my gf is from ecuador and always says one of the first places she wants to take me to is Banos, a town that is supposedly right underneath a huge volcanoe.

I'll be in the region of several volcanoes during the course of my trip (several in Chile too). Before I leave I'm going to figure out which ones are most active and go to those ones in the hopes of seeing something interesting. ^_^
post #59 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
Chile

Atacama Desert (4 days of riding, hiking, moonscapes, volcanoes, geysers)
Santiago & Valparaiso (5 days)

Argentina

Mendoza (3 days, wine tours)
Buenos Aires (1 week)
Patagonia and Tierro del Fuego region: Ushuaia ->Punta Arenas->Puerto Natales->Torres del Paine->El Calafate and Parque Nacional Los Glacieros (1 week)

punta arenas, puerto natales, torres del paine is chile and i am so jealous. i can't afford a patagonia trip -_- take pictures!!!!!!!!!
post #60 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shellshock View Post
punta arenas, puerto natales, torres del paine is chile and i am so jealous. i can't afford a patagonia trip -_- take pictures!!!!!!!!!

I know, but I was typing in order that I would visit them and wasn't going to make another Chile heading just for that. I'll definitely take lots of pics.
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