Category Archives: South America

Santiago

We got up to do another tour today but this one for Santiago, where we were staying. We started the tour in more of the historic district and it was amazing. Between the brand new buildings are these massive old beautiful mansions. A lot are too expensive so they’re just sitting there abandoned, others were bought by the government for the police station, etc. The government created this law that the fronts were not allowed to be torn down ever again, so instead people had to build back from the beautiful fronts with newer modern buildings. It created a strange but weirdly beautiful mix. 20140731-165908-61148692.jpg

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We swing across town and it’s completely modern. The biggest sky scraper in South America is here along with Denny’s, Ruby Tuesday’s, Dunkin, Armani, and Longchamp. So strange.

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We ended up wandering around this part of the city just shopping and hanging out. It’s probably the most expensive city I’ve been in in South America. It did have a ton of shopping though.

So this was the night before but it belonged with Santiago. We went out in this area called Bellavista. It’s across a river from the rest of town and really hip. It’s all meant for young people covered with bars and cafés. We found out through people about this thing called Miercoles Po. Apparently every week they have this massive party at a different club and is meant for foreigners traveling and they get in for free with proof. (Who else is out on a Wednesday anyway?) People were out here and there but there was no question which club was “Club Chocolate”. There was a massive line and tons and tons of people. It was just so cool that they put something together like this that people find out through social media to come together. We had a great time.

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All in all, Chile wasn’t my favorite. But I was a fan of Santiago. We still had a good time and made the most of it.

Viña del Mar y Valparaiso

Today we had a group tour in Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. They’re about 1.5 hours from Santiago where we were staying.
We first went to an old president’s house turned museum in Valparaiso. It was okay… 20140731-154104-56464459.jpg

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Then we went to the town center in Valparaiso.

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Next we went to the famous garden clock.

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After that we got lunch at this way too fancy restaurant by the sea.

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But we had a great view and even got to see sea lions throughout the meal.

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After that we stopped by their casino in Viña del Mar. And got to see the view from there.

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After that we stopped by to see the only Moai statue on the mainland of Chile brought over from Easter Island.

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Next to it there was this massive mansion and you can see the recent earthquake damage in the form of cracks and even a hole if you look closely.

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All in all the day was just meh. It was all spent in the car and way too long at lunch. It didn’t give me a great taste or liking for the area in all honestly. I have friends who have been here and loved it; I blame the tour.

Perito Moreno

Perito Moreno is a glacier about 80 km from the town of Calafate in Patagonia. We stopped once along the way farther from the glacier for the view. 20140728-131042-47442783.jpg

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The glacier is considered a UNESCO world heritage site and is known for it’s ruptures. It was absolutely beautiful.

We first paid around $20 to get into the park then around $14 I think to take the boat ride.

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The boat ride was pretty cool but maybe not really worth it. We didn’t go to the park itself until afterwards and realized the boat wasn’t totally necessary.

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(I had to do one cool pose at the glacier.)

We were on our way home and the tour guide asked us where we wanted to get dropped off. What? Turns out we could go to a museum or an ice bar. Since we were in Patagonia and it was only $16 to go (all you can drink, half an hour), we thought we might as well go to the ice bar. It was okay… Mostly just freezing. I’m glad I did it once but don’t plan on ever doing it again.

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There’s not really much to say on the city/town of Calafate other than it’s what you would expect. Tiny, wintery, a lot of lamb. Except in the rest of the country there’s just stray tiny dogs but here they’re all big. I’m a big dog person too so it really broke my heart. We made sure to always have left overs to feed them.

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Iguazu River!

The next/last day in Iguazu we went to the Argentina side of the falls. We didn’t really do too much of the paths though, this time it was all about the Grand Adventure. We did the top trail of the falls pretty quickly. 20140727-092451-33891627.jpg

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We didn’t really hit the bottom much and got right on to the safari trail (boring) and then the boat ride. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who goes to Iguazu. The boat ride is seriously a must. When I came originally we didn’t even see the trail down where you get onto the boat, which is pretty awesome also. So they strapped us into life vests and there was about 30 of us on this pretty tiny boat.

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The first time around to the falls we barely got wet and just got the wonderful close up view.

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We went back around a second time and got completely SOAKED. Literally the little boat went moatering right next to the falls. Couldn’t get too great of a pic for obvious reasons.

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After that we spent a lot of time on the trail from the boat launch back to the regular trails. It was incredible.

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After we got our stuff out of the water proof bag, the cookies we had were in pieces. So what else to do then feed them to do coatis?

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Iguaçu Falls (Brazilian side)

I went back to Iguazu because Brittany’s mom wanted her to see it if she was going to send her to Argentina. I was more than happy to go back but got skeptical after our rainy trip… But am so happy I did. The Brazil side was much more panoramic and absolutely amazing. The border crossings was easy but annoying, the guide took care of everything. The side was much less explorative and just one trail you followed along. 20140726-174704-64024803.jpg

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Back to my favorite city!

We left Guayaquil for Buenos Aires, I absolutely love Buenos Aires! I was weary of our “tour” since I had been on one before. But I shouldn’t have been, this tour was so amazing, only us, and the weather was perfect. The tour guide was a younger woman and spoke perfect English, she was great.

First we went back to the historic district, I’ve already posted the pink palace and such. This time we went into one of the museum/churches. They had guards everywhere, England status. 20140726-110432-39872009.jpg

Second we went to San Telmo. I didn’t get to go to San Telmo my first time here and was so disappointed. I love it. It’s an extremely cute little area.

We got coffee at this cute and famous place within the Old Market in San Telmo.

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I also found a nice doll store (mom).

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After that we went to La Boca. This time we walked through different parts of the area. Also, thanks to the weather being so much nicer artists were out with their work everywhere and people dressed in tango clothes walked about. I loved Boca the first time but love it even more now.

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Thanks to the weather and it being personal we could also actually stop and see the flower and the obelisk too.

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After that we went back to the hotel and got ready for a dinner tango show! We had no idea what we were in for… It turned out to be incredibly fancy.

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It also turned out we were the only people under 35 there without a parent. It was fine though thanks to the wine-included, we were having more than enough fun with the wait staff.

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Afterwards we went out in Palermo Soho where everyone told us to go. It was only Wednesday… But we still found a fun club to hang out at for a little. Definitely an amazing second trip out in Buenos Aires! We have one more night here on our stop through and I’m only more excited than the last. I love this city.

El Henry Morgan and Plaza Lago

In Guayaquil when we were staying with Brittany’s family we were also staying with her grandfather. He’s an engineer and does work on ship engines. He built one that the city uses for tourism. It was adorable how proud he is of his ship and took us for a ride on it. 20140725-155359-57239708.jpg

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The boat just went up and down the harbor. At one point there was some kind of strange pirate show we didn’t understand.

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About two months ago he had to do some work and repair the engine. Everyone knew him and he was able to take us down below.

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There was a fake wheel for all the tourists. But since we’re so special he also got us to be allowed to use the real one and drive the actual boat.

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We also went and checked out the historic area that day where the ship was.

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Not really sure what like any of this actually is.

Guayaquil has been so nice. It’s been more chill hanging out with her family since we’d got there. Another night we went to an Italian style place called Plaza Lago. It was very sweet and upscale.

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Guayaquil was fun and I couldn’t be more thankful for her wonderful family for having us and showing us around.

Las Peñas

I spent a total of around 4 days in Guayaquil with Brittany’s family between the trips. I’m going to do two separate posts on that and this one is dedicated to Las Peñas. On the hill in Guayaquil the people took over the hillside for colorful favela like homes. The city took it back and created a 444 step walk. We did it the one day. 20140723-190820-68900364.jpg

At the top there was a massive lighthouse, great view, and a pirate restaurant.

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On one of my first nights in Guayaquil we went to Las Peñsas for drinks. I was waiting for Brittany’s flight for a day or two. Long story short we messed up dates and I was alone in Ecuador with her fam… Everything turned out okay. She has a young aunt who took me out. Only the first 80 steps were open and they held all the bars. We went to this bar around the corner from it that was PACKED.

It was the most hipster bar I’ve ever been to. Yes those are cats on the walls.

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Whale spotting!

Super behind on the blogs, I’ll do my best to catch up. SO we had the morning in Montañita and just hung out in the hotel and beach on Sunday.

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Britt’s grandfather picked us up and we stopped to go whale watching on the way home. I call this whale spotting because we actually spotted one!!!! Last time I went it was a huge bust. We went to Ayangue, a port that’s famous for it’s whale spotting. Apparently it’s the time of year all the whales come in to have their babies in the area. Her grandfather had old friends there so we just got this tiny boat with 3 locals, two of which were kids, and went out.

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We found two average sized whales and followed them around for awhile. They didn’t do anything super, super cool so I didn’t get any great pictures, but I did get a blow, a fin, and a tail. This is what I got:

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I started to feel a little woozy after the trip though. We stopped to get lunch in Salinas about another half hour along the trek back. It was a cute town but I didn’t get any pictures because luckily I spent the entire time in the bathroom.

I have really perfected the ultimate diet this month: food poisoning. Quick way to drop a pound or two in no time and seriously no effort required.

Monteñita!

After we got back from Quito on Friday we were supposed to go to Monteñita, but we ended up having a delay and waiting until Saturday morning to head out. Monteñita is a surf beach city, about a 2 hour drive from Guayaquil. 20140721-172524-62724861.jpg

It wasn’t a great day and the sun was barely out, but we walked along the beach a bit to get the feel.

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There’s a church about a mile away. It’s called something in Spanish about Mary crying blood from a statue there……. Anyway it was pretty and had an awesome view.

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Brittany’s family left and we were on our own. We got a room at Tiki Limbo, a hostel literally in the middle of everything. We walked back down to the beach and witnessed 4 drownings, 2 deaths. The waves at Montañita are not meant for swimming, especially in certain parts. They’re only meant for surfing and incredibly strong swimmers. We were along the boardwalk and saw a mass group of people huddled around something. The second time it happened we walked down to see what was going on… we didn’t fully figure out until we got to see one of the bodies ourselves. That image will never leave me, rest in peace to those who passed. It was the first time I’ve ever seen a dead body not at a funeral.

After emotionally recovering from the day we ran into a few Argentinians we’d met earlier on the beach. They were really fun and spoke great English.

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At one point we stopped at a club called “Alcatraz”.

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It was HILARIOUS. There was barbed wire, a watch tower. The works.

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I also got a shot in the day light because I found it so brilliant.

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It was actually really cool because multiple times during the night I talked to people who only spoke Spanish or Portuguese (big vacations spot for Brazilians and Argentinians). I could communicate, have real conversations, even make jokes. Granted I’m still speaking pretty elementary… It’s really neat.

Also when we got back that night and tried to charge our phones… We were in for a little surprise.

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I realize this is a stoner beach but seriously… How high did the builders get? (Pun intended)