A dissection of our six months in South America
18.02.2013 - 28.07.2013
Time flew by while we were making our way around the massive continent that is South America. At the same time however, if we think back to what we were doing waaaaay back in Chile, it really seems a lifetime ago and we have covered a lot of distance since then, seen many weird and wonderful sights and met a lot of characters along the way.
Although this is not the last blog (you are stuck with us for another four months), it is a final round up of our time in south America complete with rankings and some number crunching...
Total days in SA = 161
Countries Visited = 7 - Chile (20 days) Argentina (25 days) Brazil (19 days) Bolivia (28 days) Peru (18 days) Ecuador (30 days) Colombia (23 days)
Hours spent in Transit: 515.5 hours or 3 weeks! (This excludes getting too and from the continent)
Distance Covered (Approximation according to google maps) - 23,780 kilometres (Wowsers)
Number of different accommodations frequented = 52
Number of caterpillars performed on boats = 2
We were pleasantly surprised with the quality of accommodation/hostels across the whole continent. With the help of hostelbookers, we never booked more than a day ahead, had recent reviews available at all times and meant party hostels were easily avoided. Hurray! We found ranking them difficult so we have come up with a list of hostels which provided something a little different to the norm.
- Black Sheep Inn - Chugchillan, Ecuador (For $35 you have accommodation and three meals a day and get to poo in a composting loo at this charming eco lodge - wonderful place)
- Alaska - Bariloche, Argentina (A little way out of town but awesome ski-lodge vibe with a shared area that everyone uses)
- Lisetonga - Rio, Brazil (Sweet hostel at the bottom of a favela and a fiesta every night with cheap Caipirinhas)
- Casa Loma - Minca, Colombia (Eco lodge at the top of the hill, hammocks aplenty, meals available so everyone sits around eating together)
- Costeño Beach Surf Camp - Tayrona, Colombia (Right on edge of national park, spectacular beach and great setup of cabañas. Everyone eats together, hammocks avail for sleeping)
- La Serrana - Salento, Colombia (Wonderful eco lodge overlooking green hills and coffee plantations. Everyone eats together)
The above accommodations seem to have a theme and that is we really liked the hostals where they bring people together. Too often it was easy to stay in our room watching countless episodes of whatever our favourite show was at the time. When forced out into socialising, it really did create a wonderful atmosphere and made the stay that much more enjoyable.
And one to avoid....
- Hotel Union - Carceres, Brazil (We had very little options in this border town - dank, gross and hospital mint green - think "The Beach" in Bangkok)
Camera (A good one if possible. Ours was good but lacking zoom)
Go Pro (Amazing movies made with this little puppy)
iPad Mini (Lifesaver - used to browse web, watch TV on the buses, read books from kindle store - we only wish we had one each)
Polar Fleece Eye mask and Gel Earpugs (Although we tried to avoid dorm rooms, noise and light is inevitable in a lot of these places regardless)
$$$$$$$$ - All of the following values are in AUD
Average Daily Spend per country:
Note: We have divided out Galapagos from Ecuador because it unfairly drove up the average spend when it was included
Division of Spending:
Surprisingly not a huge amount on food
Speaking of food though - our top meals of the trip:
1. Central - number 50 restaurant in the world - totally awesome. Lima, Peru
2. Roast Chicken a la Hayley - so good to be able to cook a roast - gravy included. Bariloche, Argentina
3. Choripan - Totes awesome saus in bread with chimichurri sauce from a street vendor.... Buenos Aires, Argentina
4. Gustu - New restaurant opened by owner of Noma. Amazing food with local produce. La Paz, Bolivia
5. El Boliche de Alberto - Hands down best steak EVER. Bariloche, Argentina
6. La Mar - Cevicheria amazingness. We do love raw fish. Lima, Peru
Overall the food was not mind-blowing on the trip. A good meal which was a bit different from fries, meat and rice, was really hard to come by. And the abundance of bad touristy pizza didn't really hit the spot either. South American cuisine is certainly nothing to write home about in general, but there is wonderful produce there just waiting for someone to do something wonderful to it. We didn't go hungry though, so don't worry, we are no where near faded away.
What were mind-blowing, were the experiences over the last 6 months. Here's our top 6 (in no particular order as trying to rank them hurts our brains):
- Torres del Paine, Chile - 4 day tramp
- Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia - 4 day salt flats tour
- Galapagos Islands, Ecuador - 8 day cruise
- The Pantanal, Brazil - 2 day tour of the wetlands
- Salkantay trek, Peru - 4 day tramp up to Machu Picchu
- Navimag, Chile - 4 day boat trip to Puerto Natales
Lost Items (With the responsible party annotated alongside):
Earphone Splitter (???)
Ticket Santiago to Valpo (HPL)
Sophs Earphones (HPL)
Hayleys Cardigan (HPL)
Hayleys Cap (HPL)
Sophs Night Bag (SIJ)
Hayley's earphones (HPL)
Hayley's drink bottle (HPL)
Hayley's Socks (HPL)
Hayley's Sunglasses (HPL)
Hayleys Hat (HPL)
Sophies Drinkbottle (both parties responsible HPL had already lost hers...)
I think it is fair to say, I should not be responsible for any items of value. Thankfully nothing of great importance was lost (Probably because Soph was stuck carrying all our money and credit cards), but I did manage to retain possession of our passports. Go me.
We made it to the end of South America and it's certainly been an adventure of epic proportions. We've learnt a little Spanish, put our toilet paper in the bin, become amateur videographers, grown an acute dislike to taxi-drivers, learnt to sleep on a bus, gained a fruit shake addiction, lowered our standard of hygiene and loved (almost) every minute of it, and all of this without getting sick once, or mugged in anyway. Great result!
Well, enough of that - we will leave you with a link to the journey in a nutshell - in video format.
Thanks South America its been a hoot.