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
This 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.
Favorite 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
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
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
June 2012 Questions
Definitely! You don’t need to leave Santiago to find great places for skiing! You can get there using public transportation or through one of the agencies that organize daily trips (mainly located in Las Condes borough). Some of the main ski centers include El Colorado, Valle Nevado and La Parva.
The closest ski area is El Colorado, just 24 miles from the center of Santiago. Valle Nevado (28 miles from Santiago) and Portillo (103 miles from Santiago) are known as the biggest ski areas in South America. La Parva, is located 31 miles east and has 30 tracks that are connected with Valle Nevado. From here you will have a unique panoramic view of the capital of Chile.
Chile is recognized as one of the safest countries in South America. As in any country, travelers should be careful and use common sense. Always keep an eye on your belongings and don’t leave them unattended. Be careful in crowded places and when using public transportation.
Four worlds! The Amazon, Andes Mountains, Coast, and Galapagos Islands.
Everybody knows about the Galapagos. It’s a must-see, but not at the complete expense of everything else on the mainland.
Consider that during the course of a day you could drive from the coast of Ecuador (pristine and undeveloped in many spots) through the Andes Mountains and into the Amazon Basin. No other place offers you that possibility. But of course, you will want more than a day to see each region.
The Amazon Basin has more species of plants and animals in a few acres of Ecuadorian rainforest than in all of North America. Exotic plants, monkeys, parrots, and things you never knew existed!
The Andes Mountains are one of the greatest mountain chains in the world – they are actually two ranges, the eastern and western cordilleras – and they run right through the heart of Ecuador. Between the cordilleras is a valley known as the Avenue of the Volcanoes that offers some of the hemisphere’s most breathtaking scenery and dozens of majestic haciendas full of history and local culture.
And finally, the coast. More than just pristine beaches, one can discover a world of archaeology, artisan crafts, rich coastal food, eco-tourism, adventure tourism, agro-tourism, sports, national parks, and community-based tourism. It is the birthplace of the Panama Hat, and one of the best places in all of Ecuador to eat.
You should book through a certified agency, which are the only organizations that are able to purchase permits – and they run out very fast, so I’d recommend booking at least 6 months in advance to err on the side of caution.
You’re in luck. The tango scene in Argentina’s capital is undergoing a major renaissance right now. The dance never lost its appeal with older Argentines, and it’s long been popular with tourists. But for years, the only places visitors could experience it were cheesy stage shows. These days, however, both the music and the dance are being embraced by a younger set of hip porteños. It’s still very popular with the older generation, too, so in local venues, you can now mingle with tango enthusiasts of all ages—dancing, singing, and enjoying the tradition together. A good place to start is La Catedral, an 1880 church-turned-concert-space in the Almagro barrio. Every Tuesday night, starting around 10 p.m., there’s a raucous milonga, featuring a 6-piece band of piano, accordion, and violin players, as well as a few singers, who park themselves in the center of the dance floor and play music until 4 a.m. or later, while couples of all ages tango around them. Another gem, also in Almagro, is Lo de Roberto, a cozy hole-in-the-wall with just five tables and a few barstools. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, locals come to watch 82-year-old Osvaldo Peredo belt out tango classics along with a guitarist. Osvaldo has big shoes to fill: Years ago, this bar was the favored watering hole of famed tango singer Carlos Gardel.
It depends on the area you visit but the main touristic areas –Tambopata in Puerto Maldonado, Manu and Iquito –are all Malaria free. Just be sure to have the Yellow Fever vaccine 10 days prior to arrival.
If you are an art lover or a history lover or simply someone who wants to see and understand an activity that transcends the limits of your lifetime, walk into the Saint Augustine Convent at the corner of Guayaquil and Chile streets in old town. This 17th century convent has set up a makeshift workshop where a team of eight restorers are working to conserve and restore a series of paintings originally produced 350 years ago.
The wow factor is in the story that these paintings tell (the incredible mastery of the original artist), the discoveries made by the restorers (interesting facts and mysteries surrounding some of the works), the size of the paintings (2×2 meters), and the intricacy and minutia required in restoring each one (they take 9-16 months each).
The workshop is open to the public so visitors can see and understand the amazing restoration process and talk to the restorers who will gladly put down their tools and show you what has been happening to these paintings over the past 350 years.
Travelers can enjoy Chile year-round.
However, September is a great month if you enjoy springtime weather. In September you can also partake in Chile’s National Day festivities and experience true Chilean culture.
If you like winter sports, visit Chile in July or August. Keep in mind that winter break is in mid-July so rates can be higher and ski areas have more visitors.