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First & last time to South America - what to see?

ruzzi

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So I am early 30s, live in Australia and have the opportunity to have a holiday in South America this xmas with my gf and another couple.

This is my first time to South America and I doubt I'll go there again anytime soon. I'm pretty much a city person and not really into that touristy stuff. I've had great holidays and NYC, Hong Kong and Paris... which SF forumite wouldn't!?
Having said that there's just some things you have to see in your lifetime.

So my initial thoughts are:

1. 4-5 days "sight-seeing" at one or more of the following: Galapagos Islands, Macchu Picchu, Amazon.

2. 5-6 days relaxing/eating/drinking at one or more of the following cities: Buenos Aires, Rio, Sao Paulo, Lima

So which of these are must-sees for a first timer and any other recommendations for a 10 day trip?
 

HRoi

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if you liked NYC and Paris....go to Buenos Aires
 

texas_jack

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Macchu Picchu is pretty had to pass up. I loved it. Lima is kinda, blah. Keep in mind S. America is a huge continent so it's not like you're going to be taking the bus between these sights.
 

miker

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If you are going, you should go to Machu Pichu. Make sure to spend the night in Aguas Caliente instead of doing the day trip out of Cuzco. You will get a much better experience on the mountain without the day trippers. Spend some time in Cuzco as well. Lima is so-so.

You can do the Amazon out of Iquitos, Peru or Manaus, Brazil among other places.
 

GQgeek

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Originally Posted by miker
If you are going, you should go to Machu Pichu. Make sure to spend the night in Aguas Caliente instead of doing the day trip out of Cuzco. You will get a much better experience on the mountain without the day trippers. Spend some time in Cuzco as well. Lima is so-so.

You can do the Amazon out of Iquitos, Peru or Manaus, Brazil among other places.


+1 to this. I spent three nights at the inkaterra machu picchu and it's paradise there. The inkaterra is much nicer than the one at the site itself imo. Way more character, great food, fantastic service, and if you're with a girl, it'll go over seriously well.

You can't do everything you listed in 4-5 days though... You could maybe do machu and a really short rainforest tour though. Do MP, then fly from cuzco to puerto maldonado.
 

globetrotter

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2-3 days BA, 2 days lima, machu pichu, cartagena that does it.
 

GQgeek

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^^ why 2 days in lima? Least interesting place in peru imo. Maybe it's just me, but I hate jumping around too much.
 

globetrotter

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Originally Posted by GQgeek
^^ why 2 days in lima? Least interesting place in peru imo. Maybe it's just me, but I hate jumping around too much.

good food.
 

HgaleK

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Originally Posted by globetrotter
good food.

Coi!

Lima was cool, but wasn't as interesting as Machu Picchu. If MP is too crowded, the next mountain over is Wanna Picchu, which is not a bad hike.
 

em36

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Bear in mind the distances on this continent are huge, like flying from WA to QLD multiple times. That said, if you go to the Galapagos, you can fly to Quito and experience the Andes altiplano surrounded by breathtaking, glaciered volcanoes, something that you'll miss in Cusco, which is much more of a destination with rolling green highlands. One could make Machu Picchu a day-trip from Lima, a coastal town that has great food but it sleepy in the wintertime, however the tour companies and transportation solutions conspire to get you to stay the night. The best of their Cordillera Blanca, like Alpamayo is to the north of Lima in Ancash; Cusco is due east. Bariloche and Patagonia would be beautiful right now, but those are in Chile/Southern Argentina.

BsAs is a must do, and consider going for one day to Montevideo. Great restaurants and healthy vibe. Rio is Rio, really very special place. Cariocas are lovely people. Sao Paulo is chalk & cheese, but has spectacular restaurants, great nightlife, and erm, prettier girls.

p.s. The latter holds true only if you think girls in Vic are more attractive than those in SYD.
 

ruzzi

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Thanks all for the awesome feedback. Sf comes through again with the goods. Looks like the following are ahead of the rest at the moment (not taking into consideration order or travel times):

- Macchu Picchu (Sightseeing)
- Buenos Aires (City)
- Rio (Beach)

Honorable mention:

- Cartagena, which I was actually very interested in originally but don't know if I want to try squeeze it into a 10 day trip... looks like a place to chill for a few days at least.

em36: haha - Brisbanite here!
 

Britalian

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Colombian and Brazilian girls are lovely. The former not so expensive, I'm told.
 

scarphe

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Originally Posted by Britalian
Colombian and Brazilian girls are lovely. The former not so expensive, I'm told.

and if you are looking for the better colombian in looks go to panama not colombia, they are seem to be there.
 

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