Kade kneels next to a stream formed by the San Francisco Glacier, about two hours outside Santiago, Chile.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Any Ideas?

One thing I have learned in my life is that, if you want to really know something, ask the right questions to the right people.  A while back, I started thinking about South America, a place I've never been.  I reached out to a Swedish friend and world traveler whom I met in Bangkok a decade ago.  We have kept in touch via e-mail, and I knew he had spent some time in South America after Thailand. So I asked him a question:

What if I had 4-5 weeks to travel around South America, where would you recommend, assuming that I wanted to hit several countries?  

I traveled for about two months.

As for countries to visit in S America, I've only been to Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil myself, and can recommend all of them. Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina are the expensive countries. Food and hotel prices can be the same as in the US. The really cheap ones are Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador.  Colombia is somewhere in between, having prices slightly higher than Thailand.

Colombia is a safe place.  Don't believe everything you read.  When I did my motorcycle trip I asked my local friends in Colombia where not to go.  Then I deliberately went to all those "dangerous" places.  I never felt in danger.  Nothing happened.  I never got robbed.  But people do, and I think it is because they don't know how to act in a foreign country.  They have no experience.  If you want to play it super safe, stay away from the "projects" and be in upscale areas only.  When I was in Liberia, Africa, some parts looked exactly like South Central Los Angeles, so it depends a lot on what parts of the city you go to.

If you are like me and like lush mountain regions, you will like Colombia and Ecuador.  Chile and Peru are like California - like a dry stony desert (not for me).  And, of course, most of the Amazon rain forest is in Brazil.  I'm not sure how to suggest an itinerary for you, depends on what you want to do.

I'll most likely be in Colombia in January, so if you happen to travel here it would be great to meet up.


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