Meet The Insiders
When you really want to know about a place, you ask a local. That’s the idea behind our team of South American Insiders. These on-the-ground experts are always out and about, looking for the experiences found only in South America. Got questions? Fire away, and enjoy the benefits of some good, solid, insider information.
About Natalie SouthwickThis Boston-raised and Chicago-educated journalist never felt so at home as she does in Bogotá. In just over a year, Natalie swam in the jewel-blue Caribbean near Santa Marta, chowed on ceviche in Cartagena, hiked through misty wax palms in Salento, ogled dinosaur fossils in Villa de Leyva and danced salsa into the wee hours in Cali.
Natalie Southwick's FavoritesFavorite food: Ajíaco
Favorite coffee shop: Juan Valdez Café
Favorite hidden gem: José Celestino Mutis Jardín Botánico in Bogotá
Favorite place to spend all my money: Usaquén Sunday market
About Kevin RaubCo-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. Kevin also regularly tweets about his adventures @RaubOnTheRoad.
Kevin Raub's FavoritesFavorite 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
About Karina DavilaA Lima native, Karina eats Peruvian adventure for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She serves as a travel guide in the Amazon (and elsewhere), where she takes delight in helping people discover and appreciate what makes Peru, Peru.
Karina Davila's FavoritesFavorite beaches in Perú: Vichayito in northern Perú and Pulpos in Lima
Favorite Cevichería: El Rincón de Bigote
Favorite place in the rainforest: Tambopata
Favorite precious gem: Peruvian Turquoise
About Ilan GreenfieldIlan is a musician, composer, writer, translator and art enthusiast living in Quito with his wife and two children. He also created an Ecuadorian travel magazine christened ‘Ñan’ (or ‘road’ in Quechua) with a close group of colleagues. He says that Ecuador is as small as a peanut on a world map, but at the same time, the whole world fits snuggly within it. He certainly has a lot to tell and many reasons to invite you to come to Ecuador and, as they say, ‘take the plunge’...
Ilan Greenfield's FavoritesFavorite beach: Los Frailes
Favorite restaurant: Los Tiestos, in Cuenca
Favorite Galapagos Islands: Fernandina, the youngest, and Española, the oldest!
Favorite Ecuadorian band: Of course, that would have to be my band, the Swing Original Monks… check us out…
About Eileen SmithSince 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!
Eileen Smith's FavoritesFavorite 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
About Bridget GleesonIn the name of travel journalism, Bridget has been up to the highest cliffs of the Andes, down to chilly sea level at the end of the earth in Tierra del Fuego, and right in the center of the crowded dance floor at tango clubs in Buenos Aires. She fell in love with Argentina and its people and is happy to share what she learned with her fellow travelers.
Bridget Gleeson's FavoritesFavorite Tango Song: Niebla del Riachuelo (Cobián & Cadícamo, 1937)
Favorite Wildlife Experience: Whale-watching in Península Valdés
Favorite Café in Buenos Aires: Any of the 73 bares notables (historic bars) designated by the city
Favorite Cultural Experience: A traditional asado with choripán, Malbec and good friends
Your Latest Questions & Answers
I haven’t heard any updates yet…legislation moves sllllooooowwwwwllllyyyyy in Brazil! But what it is happening is that some of São Paulo’s best restaurants have taken matters into their own hands, offering their gourmet wares on the sidewalks in front of their establishments a few times a month. Examples include the city’s best Brazilian restaurant, Tordesilhas, which offers the Amazonian specialty tacacá on the sidewalk once a month in an event known as “Tem Tacacá na Tiete” (“There’s tacacá on Teite Street”); the city’s only gourmet Mexican restaurant, Obá, has begun offering cochinita pibil, chicken and beef tostadas and margaritas (as well as Thai) on the sidewalk on the third Thursday of every month; one of the city’s best spots for ceviche, Suri, does ceviche and cocktails (no open container laws!) from a sidewalk window in the restaurant every Sunday; among others. In Rio, an American artisan pizza maker named Sei Shiroma has been creating a nice buzz as well, serving authentic Neapolitan pizza in his mobile pizzeria called Ferro e Farinha (“Iron and Flour”) – Brazil’s first! You can follow is whereabouts on Twitter each night here (@Ferroefarinha).
Thanks for your question. When to visit Chile depends a bit on what you’d like to see and do while you’re here. The north is warmer and drier (the Atacama, the driest desert in the world crosses parts of it), and the south is cooler and rainier, with snow in some places. If you want snow and snow-related sports, certainly our winter (June, July, August) are a good time to come, and the north is lovely that time of year as well (though with cooler temperatures). One thing to consider is that if you are planning on crossing between Chile and Argentina, in the winter it is recommended that you fly, as the high mountain passes can be closed due to precipitation.
In the end, it depends a bit on what you’re looking for, sports and outdoor activities, warm weather or cultural events. Hopefully you’ve gotten a better picture now of some of what each of the seasons have in store for you on your visit to Chile.
Many travel agencies and tourist restaurants in Peru have vegetarian options. Make sure you make them aware of your dietary requirements. Two good options for vegan, vegetarian and organic food are Alma Zen and Raw Cafe in Lima or Greens in Cusco. You can also read my blog post on organic shops and restaurants in Lima to learn more about it.
Thankfully, it is as beautiful as it was when you visited it. I would say it’s event more organized now. The archeological sites are better protected because they’ve limited the number of daily visitors. For that reason, I would advice you to buy tickets in advance. You can check their availability here.
As you can see by looking at a map of South America, Ushuaia is about as far south as you can get. Flying to Peru is really the only reasonable option for covering the ground between these two cities, unless, of course, you have the time and desire to travel overland. LAN Airlines and its affiliates offer the most convenient flight combinations between Ushuaia and Lima, with connections at EZE (Ezeiza) in Buenos Aires. The quickest itinerary starts with LAN Airlines Flight 4977, which leaves Ushuaia at 12:35 pm, connecting in Buenos Aires, where you’ll switch to Flight 2428 and arrive in Lima at 11:05 pm. Explore similar flight combinations with LAN at www.lan.com. Have a wonderful trip!
Argentina has a fairly relaxed policy for foreigners entering the country: you don’t need a visa if you’re visiting for ninety days or less, just a valid passport. However, citizens of the US, Canada and Australia must pay a reciprocity fee before traveling. Currently, the fee for US citizens is $160. Go to the Provincia Pagos website, enter your credit card information and personal information, then print and save the document proving you’ve paid the reciprocity fee. Keep this paper with your passport: you’ll be asked to show it before boarding a flight into Argentina, and again when you reach migrations at Ezeiza, Argentina’s international airport in Buenos Aires.