The time to be back in South America finally came this past month when we embarked on a 6 country trip during almost three weeks. Only for two months Brazil lifted their requirement of a tourist visa for Americans, and even when I don’t need one because I travel with a Costa Rican passport Matt my colleague is an American and he needs it normally.
Planning a trip to South America can be a little harder, at least it is different than Europe or Asia where one can find a lot of low cost airlines and many hotels. We were able to use miles and we found incredible good deals in reward flights because regular tickets can be exorbitantly expensive.
Our trip started in Lima Peru, for most of the hotels we used loyalty points so we were able to stay in some very good properties paying almost nothing. Lima is a vibrant capital, with many excellent restaurants. Peru has a long standing wine tradition. We flew from Lima to Cuzco, an ancient colonial city and rather than going to Machu Picchu we decided to stay in the city and enjoy the vibe and the amazing service of the JW Marriott.
From Peru we flew to Brazil, Sao Paulo was our first destination, it is a huge city but one with personality. Uber was our ally in that part of the trip. This is a cosmopolitan city with great parks and friendly people. Another 40 minutes flight took us to Rio, just one day there and we were able to confirm it is the “wonderful city” (the name locals give to Rio de Janeiro). Beautiful beaches, supper happy locals, wonderful pizza, amazing mountains. Everything comes together to make of this one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
After a week in Brazil we reached Buenos Aires. What a wonderful capital! It is beautiful and clean, very European and super affordable. I loved the many good restaurants, the café culture and the very abundant good quality wine.
Uruguay is around the corner, or the be more exact: on the other side of the river. A direct flight to Montevideo can be very expensive but a ferry ride costs only 80 USD round trip. Uruguay is a very unique country, with super high quality of life. We rented a car and drove all around, including the vineyards. Yes, Uruguay as well has wine and we can say it is some of the best wine in South America. Montevideo is a very interesting capital, Punta del Este is the chic beach destination of the south and the long hours of driving along farms and hills were some of the most relaxing time we spend in our trip.
Chile was the last stop of our Trip. Santiago is modern capital, where everything works very well. It is probably the most expensive of the destinations in South America but it is worth every penny. Once again we spent an evening enjoying a collection of great local wines: it was a heavenly experience!
I have been many times in South America, but this trip was special. It was a lot in very short time but it makes me remember how beautiful these South American destinations are. If you are in the process to plan a trip just lets us know we will happy to share with you all our tips.