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Published: October 26th 2010
This is some general advice I would like to pass onto anyone who is travelling or thinking of travelling south America, sone of the advice could probably be used travelling any country.
Don't forget to pack
There are some things that I brought with me that I'm glad I did and some things I wish people would have told me to take before I went away so there's the list:
Headtorch - people won't be happy if you switch the light on after a night out at 3am in a dorm, take a headtorch avoid waking up 11 other people
Flipflops/Crocs - I preferred crocs as they were sturdier but a decent pair of flipflops would do and help alot in some of the filthy showers you might use.
Deet - essential if you are going to the jungle or iguazu and way better than taking malaria medicine for the rest of your life
Sunglasses - take a good pair and look after them you can get cheap replacements easily but they won't last as long
Decent watch (not expensive) - an essential when you are sticking to a schedule and need to catch buses, an alarm clock
Evacuation signs on the pavement everywhere
on it would kill two birds with 1 stone
Diary/journal - write everything down to help other travellers or of you have a memory like a sieve like mine just to remember the best bits
iPod touch/iPhone - a lifesaver with all the free wifi and way lighter then a notepad or laptop obviously has alot more advantages but not listing them all on here
Coat, walking shoes/trainers - spend abit more than usual on these they will last longer and keep you warm and supported, plus it's very hard to replace a good coat or pair of trainers in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia
Camera - if you can afford an SLR get one if not bring a decent camera every city will have 1 brilliant photo
Book - bring one you don't mind Reading twice the book exchanges are normally full of crap everyone has left for a good reason
Just a few things that I believe got us through South America untouched or robbed or without any illnesses.
If a local tells you not to go somewhere don't go there it's normally not worth it!
Don't listen to everything you hear we saw some
Sunset in Mancora
excellent places by ignoring fellow travellers, although saw some brilliant places by listening to people just go with your impression of there description.
Only use a guide book as a guide, wander around, speak to locals, grab a drink if you feel lost and consult the map or directions.
Don't buy too many souvenirs at the start of your trip remember you have to carry them or spend alot sending them home.
If you like somewhere send a postcard home it's a good way of remembering the place when you get back and telling everyone you ok.
Learn abit of the local language you don't need to be fluent but the basics definitely help!
Try everything once it's the only way to fully experience the food, activities and culture.
The best two bits of advice I got when I came away was use your common sense at all times and do something every week that scares you, it made my trip safe but very interesting.
Location, location, location
As I have not seen all of South America I cannot give a full list of the places you should see but I can pass on the brilliant places I
The Llamas of Machu Picchu
The Galapagos Islands - the gem of South America, it is still the best place I have ever been and with rumours of it closing to tourism for conservation my advice would be get there as soon as you can!Huachachina - desert town south of Lima, definitely worth a visit even if you don't stay overnight at least go and climb a sand dune.
Ilha Grande - even when we visited it in winter it was amazing I can't imagine what it would be like in summer, the place is like a Lunn poly advert shoot, amazing.
Mancora - beach resort in north Peru, sun, sea, surf and seafood do I need to say anymore?
Cusco - very touristy but don't let this put you off, a quirky city with lots of character.
Rio and La Paz - the only 2 big cities in South America with more to offer than the usual museums and monuments, a bold statement but my honest opinion.
Banos - even though it's Spanish for toilet don't think it's a dump has an eery feel to it due to the active volcano nearby but a very nice little town, although don't visit the
The famous witches market
Puerto Iguazu - not a great town but better than Foz and a must to stay at simply because of the falls.
Right in my opinion the most important part of travelling, I love food and in my opinion you have to try these foods!
Plantane, Ecuador - it's awful but you can't get away from it so you mayswell try it.
Alpaca, Peru - never found out if it was llama or another animal but it tastes very good
Cuy, Peru/Bolivia - guinea pig - never got to try it and didn't hear good things about it but if you get chance do it, I mean where else can you eat guinea pig?
Steak, Argentina - the best in the world, enough said
Empanadas, everywhere - essential south American snack and my favourite was the beef but the chicken were good and ham and cheese wasn't too bad.
Saltados, brazil - like empanadas but better only found them in brazil and ate alot of them
Lomo Saltado, Peru - basically beef and black bean sauce with chips and rice, get a good one and it's cracking
Chorizo, Argentina - there name for sausages and we
Favela tour, Rio
found th nicer ones were sold on street BBQ's
Sugar nuts, Argentina - on a cold day you can't beat hot sugar nuts warm you up a treat
Prawns, Peruvian coast or Rio coast - thought the good prawns would be everywhere but only found decent ones in the places above
Spaghetti, everywhere - on every menu but I guarantee it won't be great, only reason it's everywhere is because it's cheap not because there good at cooking it
Fruit - we went to south America expecting good fruit everywhere but only the rich places can afford to keep the good fruit the rest export the good stuff so don't expect good fruit unless your going to Brazil and Argentina.
I will finish south America by summing up in 5 phrases each country I visited:
Ecuador - galapagos, plantane, amazon, otavalo, Quito
Peru - lomo saltado, cusco, machu picchu, huachachina, flaring islands of puno
Bolivia - la Paz, death road, San Pedro prison, pampas, salt flats
Brazil - rio, lapa, iguazu, caiprinhas, cocacabana beach
Argentina - steak, iguazu, la cabrera, Mendoza, Boca Thankyou all for reading my blogs
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