South American Trip Advice needed

Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2012 07:57 am
A friend of mine won Top SalesPerson of the Year from her company and has been given two tickets to Rio, with a five night all expenses included stay for two and has invited me to go with her. It's actually not free but heavily subsidized. I was going to go during that time to France with my husband but he has work he can do and thinks I should take this opportunity.

So, we'll do France another time and I'm off to Rio in April. We can fly into anywhere we want, and fly out of Rio. So I thought - Lima - Machu Picchu, of course. We're going to go for about 18 days and wanted to take in a few countries. Since we have to pay about $1500 for our portion (each), I don't want to spend more than that again for the rest of the trip.

I thought of Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina, along with Lima and Rio. I'm not too familiar with S.A. so would appreciate any and all advice/suggestions from those who have been there.
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Reply Mon 6 Feb, 2012 08:28 pm
Okay, so thankfully I didn't need your advice, since I didn't get any, but just to update you... we leave Canada on April 6th for Buenos Aires... we're going to be there a week. We're going to take polo lessons at a polo ranch and then play a match Smile I'm 5'2 and she's even shorter so that should be quite funny. We're going to take tango lessons, of course, and eat some meat and drink some Malbec. Her son has a film production company and they have a satellite office there and he's going to provide us with a tour guide/chaperone for some of the time. Fun!

Then two days in Uruguay (MVD) and 6 days in Rio. Should be fun!!
Reply Mon 6 Feb, 2012 08:37 pm
Sounds like a fantastic trip. I've no advice to give, other than if I were you I'd take a side trip to the Iguzu Falls. I've always wanted to see them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iguazu_Falls
Other than that, I hope you have a ton of fun. Sounds like you will already. Take photos, please and thank-you.
Reply Mon 6 Feb, 2012 08:56 pm
I've never been there, so I couldn't tell you anything about it. I am jealous though. Buenos Aires is one city I'd love to visit. It's quite a trip though - around 20 hours with one stop.
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 05:43 pm
Hey you.. the falls are OUT. It's a two night stay and $300, and we're already renting an apartment for the week we're in BA, PLUS, there are issues with yellow fever, so I'm content to see them on youtube.

Will take photos and take notes for when someone else goes... you know, cafes, restaurants, etc.

I think it's going to be a lot of fun.
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Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 05:46 pm
Well... that's the price you pay - getting to TO is not too bad, and the layover there is only 1.5 hrs and it's 3 hours from TO to BA, so it really is do-able. I've never had a desire to visit SA other than Venezuela and Peru, of course, but now that I'm committed... I'm doing a lot of internet research and it will be great.

We rented an apt in BA for $470/week, all in, that has a gym and a pool (yay) and is centrally located. Her son has some things planned so we'll se what that's about.
Finn dAbuzz
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 06:20 pm
Have fun but stay away from the Mean Streets. The kids who live there grow up, if they are lucky, to be UFC champions.

Also, do not eat raw meat or fish, no matter how classy the joint looks. Found myself delirious in a hospital in Chile after eating cerviche. Fortunately my company, at the time, moved me to an "American" hospital.

Machu Picchu if you are incredibly fit or surprisingly fit.

Montevideo is highly recommended.

Don't listen to Anthony Bourdain and stay away from the street food. It's tempting, but very dicey.
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 06:27 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
pssst..it's ceviche. Laughing
Finn dAbuzz
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 06:44 pm
Oh...thanks for that correction, as anal as it may be.
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Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 07:56 pm
Yikes, how did I miss this! What a kumquat I am!

My first take is Buenos Aires. I've a long time but not very annotated friend from there, through Abuzz - he only posted once on Abuzz, asking about how to get to the northwest U.S. from wherever he was landing, and I answered. Wonderful person, architect and artist who also loves/loved Rome, we emailed for quite a while. He was/is a good painter. Not a romance, to dispell that, but regard.

I know some amount about argentinian history - which is in contrast to my knowing nothing at all when I went to Guatemala. I recommend reading up. You'll feel less dissociated, if not by much.

Anyway, me, I'd be going to Buenos Aires, and I'd have to go to Rio, which I've loved from fourth grade for the wrong reasons but still read about.

Sao Paolo, yes.

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Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 08:40 pm
Enjoy yourself Mame. Rio is georgeous from a distance but a bit less lovely up close. Still it is well worth the visit and you can have a great time there. The Cariocas are detectably different from Brasilians from other regions, particularly Sao Paulo and the North.

Lots of clubs and restaurants in Rio and if you like the characteristic Brasilian soft Jazz you'll find lots of that. Rio can feel a little crazy at times, but if you can get in synch with it you'll have a great time. You may enjoy a visit to Paqueta island in Guanabara Bay - easily reached by boat from the city and once a local favorite for romantic liaisions. No automobiles and possibly very tourist infested by now.

In your shoes I would make my excursions from Rio to Montivideo and Buenos Aires, and skip Lima. You'll probably find the contrast with Rio striking and evocative of the different attitudes of Brasilians and Argentines. The Recoleta district has lots to offer including the rather gothic cemetary where Eva Peroin is buried, and a few yards away that of the Irishman (Browne} who led their forces in driving off the British in 1807 (always something to celebrate). Also a Trip through the San Telmo district and beyond to La Boca (the old port district where the old tango culture was centered) is a must. I find a strange off quality in Buenos Aires that appears characteristic of the country - almost wonderful, but strangely missing something.
Reply Fri 10 Feb, 2012 06:13 am
Hey, thanks for your suggestions. We are going to spend two days in Montevideo between BA and Rio. I want to visit Punta del Este and Colonia on day trips. We have booked all our hotels now.

Aside from the polo lessons we've arranged, and the planned tours her company is putting on, I had the idea to do a couple of boat trips - maybe the Tigre system - I saw that in Frommer's. I saw we could also do the one you suggested, and I'd really like to do that. Also, we're going to take the Buquebus and ferry from BA to Montevideo.

Since we're going to be there, we'll certainly have to do something about tango - maybe take a lesson and then go and watch the experts.

Will let you know what the vibes are - how they compare to yours.

I'm also interested in doing some yoga and maybe taking some zumba classes down there, comparing them to what I do here. That'll be Rio, of course, since zumba's a Brazilian phenomenon. We're staying at a hotel right on the beach there, but in BA we're in Las Canitas, I believe. I've read all about the different neighbourhoods there and Recoleta is lauded.

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