Looking Back: South America


It’s amazing to realize that we’ve now been traveling for over four months and have already left South America to begin a few months journey in Africa.

To celebrate that time, I’m looking back on the highlights, things I never wrote about and even now have to dig back to remember.

By the numbers——-

We traveled for about 4 months through South America, moving around quite a bit. In total, we took 6 flights (mostly regional), 12 overnight buses, and numerous short trips via colectivos, subways, cabs, short distance bus, and private car.

We spent about $7700 total between the two of us, roughly $950 per person per month, including the flight from the US to South America and from South America to Africa, as well as all food, rooms, transportation, tours, entry visas, travel insurance, and monthly storage for our belongings back home.

We traveled to some of the more expensive parts of Latin America (Chile, Argentina, Brazil) and went under our ballpark daily budget of $35 each, something we expect to go over in Africa (month safari=$$) and hopefully under in Asia.

We stayed at 34 different guest houses / hostels / airbnb’s. Average spend for a private double room was $38/night, often including breakfast for both of us. Our cheapest hotel was $20 and the biggest splurge $86.

By the milestones——-

Most surprisingly lovely destinations- Bolivia, in general, was stunning, both its cities and countryside; my time in Areguá, Paraguay, included wonderful artisan and permaculture work (link), great food, and jungle beauty

Three places I’d most like to spend more chill time- Atacama Desert (Chile), Máncora Beach (Peru), Costa Verde (Brazil)

Three places I’d most like to return as a tourist- Amazonian Bolivia, Southern Patagonia (we didn’t do multi-day hikes due to a leg injury), far Northern Brazil

Best splurge lodging- Espacio Tierra in Atacama (link)
Best cheap lodging- Penthouse 1004 in Bariloche (link)

Best bus ride- overnight bus in Bolivia with El Dorado
Worst bus ride- death-defying trip from Uyuni to Potosi (story!)
Worst border crossing- into Chile from Peru, via Arica (passport control no problem, but customs check at 4am is pretty awful)

Favorite adopted pet- Pluto, the neighbors’ dog at our place in Atacama (photo)
Favorite adopted home furnishing- hammocks galore at our beach hut in Máncora (link)
Favorite adopted family member- Gabi, our ‘Mom’ on the Salt Flats tour, who took care of me when I had a nasty, hospital-requiring case of altitude sickness
Most interesting person met at a hostel- man in 60s who came to Chile by motorcycle from Alaska
Most relaxing hour- Ayurvedic yoga massage next door to our place in Ubatuba

Best sunrise- Bariloche, Argentina (photo)
Best sunset- Atacama Desert, Chile (video)
Best tour through impressive landscapes- Salt Flats tour (link)
Best birdwatching- Ubatuba, Brazil
Best beach- Trinidade, Brazil (photo )
Best kayaking- Bariloche, Argentina
Scarcest resource- potable water

Best music scene- Live street samba, Salvador, Brazil
Best street art- Valparaiso, Chile (photo)
Best art museum- Museo de Arte Indigena ASUR, Sucre, Bolivia
Best historical museum- Archivo Provincial de la Memoria, Córdoba
Best public park- roses in bloom at the main park of Buenos Aires, Argentina (photo)
Best celebration of public artwork- city of sculpture, Resistencia, Argentina (photo)
Best ages-old ruins- Sacred Valley and Chan Chan, Peru

Best splurge meal- tasting menu, Gustu, LaPaz (link)
Best cooked at home meal- tex mex in Bariloche (tortillas, cheddar cheese, and good lettuce- harder than you’d think to come by)
Best sandwich- Fuente Mardoqueo, Santiago or Estadão Lanches, Sao Paolo
Best empanada- La Vieja Esquina, Córdoba
Best pizza- curry pizza at French pizzeria, Areguá
Best bakery – El Pan de la Chola, Lima (link)
Best breakfast- breakfast sandwich from Pepe the Belgian, Máncora (photo)
Best ceviche- La Serena d’Juan, Máncora
Best llama dish- Restaurante El Nuevo Progreso, Tilcara
Best steak- Don Julio, Buenos Aires
Best soup- shrimp soup, Chi Cha, Arequipa (link)
Best choripan- food cart behind the Centro Civico, Bariloche
Best immigrant food- Japanese at Izakaya Issa, Sao Paolo (photo)
Best thing from a plastic cup- mystery veg cheese soup at a house party in Paraty
Best thing on a stick- anticuchos at Anticuchos Grimanesa, Lima (photo)
Best thing when we were feeling bad- instant chicken noodle soup packets
Favorite beer- drafts at El Growler, Valdivia (photo)
Favorite wine- you can’t go wrong even for $3/bottle in Chile and Argentina!
Favorite cocktail- caipirinha at Goya Beira, Rio de Janeiro

2 thoughts on “Looking Back: South America”

  1. Emily @ Books, the Universe & Everything says:

    I love these stats! It sounds like you’ve had an incredible time so far – I’ve enjoyed following along digitally, and I can’t wait to hear about your next adventures! Africa is high on my travel list – I hope to get there soon! Enjoy every moment!


    • Thanks so much for following along, Emily 🙂 I can’t wait to check out your blog now! I’m happy to share any tips if you head to regions we go to.


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