When it comes to Argentina, Andrea has the answers. While stylish Buenos Aires is her home base, she’s trekked through Patagonia, ridden with gauchos, sipped wine in Mendoza… and everything in between.
Since moving to Santiago eight years ago, Eileen has sat with huasos at a rodeo in Futaleúfu, eaten chancho en piedra near the river in Talca and bought olives in Punta de Choros. As a travel writer, she dispenses advice for a living, so feel free to ask a question!
Favorite beach town: Pichilemu
Best hiking near Santiago: Parque Mahuida, or Aguas de San Ramón
Favorite spot for lunch in the Vega Chica: Tía Ruth’s
Best place to buy souvenirs in Santiago: Pueblo Los Dominicos
A Lima native, Karina eats Peruvian adventure for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A travel guide in the Amazon and elsewhere, she loves helping people discover and appreciate what makes Peru, Peru.
Favorite Amazonian flower: lobster claw (heliconia rostrata)
Favorite type of ceviche: sea urchin
Favorite place to surf: Los Organos
Co-author of Lonely Planet’s Brazil guide and coordinating author of the Brazil section of South America on a Shoestring guide, Kevin has–not surprisingly–traveled extensively across Brazil. He learned to dive in Fernando de Noronha, sought after the perfect moqueca from Espírito Santo to Bahia and swam with pink dolphins in the Amazon.
Favorite São Paulo Restaurant: Maní
Favorite Beach: Praia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha
Favorite Bar Snack: Coxinhas at Bar Veloso, São Paulo
Favorite Ecotourism Destination: Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul
Lance Andrew Brashear
Having lived in Quito since 2003, Lance knows Ecuador inside and out, from the jungle to the coast to the Galapagos. When he’s not out there exploring, he’s relishing the joy of being a husband and dad.
Favorite place to get lost: Quito historical district
Favorite museum: City Museum in old town
Favorite Galapagos animal: Blue-footed boobie
Hi Colleen! If you’re interested in dinosaurs or archaeology, the Ischigualasto Provincial Park is definitely worth a few days of your time. The UNESCO World Heritage Site looks like a rugged moonscape—in fact, it’s often called Valle de la Luna (or Valley of the Moon)—and is the site of discovery for some of the oldest-known dinosaur remains. It is also the only place on Earth where nearly all of the Triassic period is represented in the ground. You’ll notice the unique rock-deposit colors in clay formations; they look like tall sculptures standing in file along the ground. The simplest way to visit the park is to either rent a car or take a guided tour. The closest Argentine city to the park is actually San Juan, which sits about 98 miles north of Mendoza. You can rent a car in Mendoza and drive up to San Juan, continue north to the town of San Agustín, and then take the newly-paved routes 510 and 150 to access the park. Once inside, you’ll be able to explore the park’s 25-mile-long Circuito Vehicular, a paved loop that encompasses the heart of the park. From Mendoza, you could visit the park as one long day trip. Another option is to go guided. San Agustín’s Paula Tour and Turismo Veza both offer tours to Ischigualasto Provincial Park. Have a great trip!
Navi. In December I drove to Cuenca from Quito. It’s a long drive and I stayed overnight in Riobamba, which is about half way. The roads are fairly decent, though between Riobamba and Cuenca there is a portion that can be very foggy. Driving in Ecuador requires vigilance. Some people would not be comfortable doing it, in which case the only alternative is for someone else to drive you. Buses are cheap, but they take a long time and you never know what you get in terms of the driver. Many do not have a sense of personal or public safety, but most get to and from in one piece. And it is far more inexpensive than renting a car. A good compromise could be a personal taxi or chauffer service that may be able to take you. I cannot recommend one, unfortunately, as many are informal services. You should consider these options based on who your travel companions are. If you are alone, a bus might be the best way to go for safety reasons. If you want to rent a car, the typical international agencies (Hertz, Budget, Avis) are available at the airport, but other local options exist as well. Costs vary, but they are comparable to U.S. prices, perhaps a little cheaper, but not a lot.
Hi Steve. May is a very good time to visit Peru since it’s not as cold. In August, temperature can fall below zero. Cuzco is very warm and sunny during the day so don’t forget to bring a sunscreen. You can wear a T-shirt and shorts, but I would recommend pants that zip-convert into shorts. At night, temperature can drop down to 7 C (44 degrees F). Machu Picchu is located about four hours away from Cusco in the Cloud Forest (a very humid environment). I suggest you bring plenty of water with you to avoid dehydration.
Hi Steve. What a great trip! The temperature range in Santiago is between 43 and 70 degrees F in May (6-21 C), with the temperature dropping quickly at night. You should be comfortable in t-shirts during the day, but bring long sleeves and a fleece or light jacket for evenings. You will probably not want to wear shorts during the day in Santiago in May. On Easter Island, the temperature ranges from about 65 to 75 degrees in May. It will be humid, and therefore you will be more likely to want to wear shorts and a t-shirt. Bring a long-sleeve shirt for evenings, and a windbreaker for comfort in the occasionally brisk wind.
Getting to Galapagos is simple, really. Several airlines offer flights from Quito/Guayaquil to the islands. LAN Ecuador has daily flights leaving in the morning. Flight time is about 1 hour, 45 minutes to the Islands from the coastal airport of Guayaquil (double your travel time if you originate from Quito). The islands sit 1000km, or 600 miles, off the coast. Tickets generally coast between $400-500 round trip. The big question is what will you do when you get there. You can look for packaged tours aboard a boat (reservations in advance, of course), which is one of the most common ways to see the islands. But often overlooked is the option to simply stay on one of the islands and then take day trips. Santa Cruz is the main island, home to the Charles Darwin Research Center. But Isabela, the largest island, is also a treasure often undiscovered by visitors to the island (tours often bypass this island due to time and logistics). Both islands have ample accommodations. Getting to Isabel will require an extra jaunt and therefore a little extra cash. Its further from the other island so day trips would be limited, but like all of the islands it has a wealth of natural beauty. Check out my blog post Staying on Galapagos Island for some ideas.
Trout are everywhere in the Andes, the question is how do you find a good fishing spot. After some inquiring, I think your best resource near Quito might be the Campucocha Fishing Lodge. I found it more difficult trying to pin down fishing Expeditions in Baños, but that does not mean they do not exist. They just do not seem to commercialize that activity as much as the other adventure offerings in and around the town. Anyone who asks about fishing in Ecuador, I also direct them to the expats who live near Cuenca, particularly James Drummond (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) who founded the Fly Fishing Club of Cuenca. You can hop aboard a quick LAN flight to Cuenca in 40 minutes. Best of luck and have a great time!
There are fishing opportunities throughout Ecuador. I inquired about who can offer fishing tours, particularly on such a tight schedule. You might try the Campucocha Fishing Lodge, located about an hour outside of Quito. They have a number of good testimonies from international tourists who came looking for a fishing excursion. The owner also enjoys deep sea fishing. Another alternative would be to fly LAN to Cuenca (40 minute flight) and hook up with the expats who put together the Cuenca Fly Fishers Club for a day or two. Contact them via their website. One of them is James Drummond. He has another blog site or write to him directly at email@example.com. James also suggested a possible site in Amazon (four hours from Quito) for good fishing: Kingfisher Lodge. Good luck and have fun!