Machu Picchu, Peru

YQrtw: Why South America, Central America

Out of all the places I am going to on my round-the-world (RTW) trip, South America and Central America are least familiar to me.

For me, South America’s allure is its mystery and affordability. (Sort of what western tourists think about South East Asia.)

I’ve wanted to visit the continent but never did because it’s expensive to get there for no reason. Since I’m doing a RTW, I might as well visit South America along the way. Besides that, South America is most likely cheaper than Europe or the United States.

I have only 2 months in South America. That’s very little time so I won’t be visiting some countries.

For example, I won’t go to Brazil because they speak Portuguese there. (A rather strange reason but I want to practice Spanish and not get muddled up.)

I’ve put Central America into the blog title, but I’m only visiting El Salvador. My flight from Lima to Los Angeles had a stopover at San Salvador so I requested an extra 7 days there.

Argentina

 National Capital at Buenos Aires,
old timey buenos aires

Credit: OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons

I stop at Buenos Aires after a transit at Dubai airport from Istanbul (yes, the connection is terrible). I don’t plan to spend too much time in the capital because I’ve heard that things can be as expensive as the US or Europe.

I want to be able to speak Spanish so I might take a week or so of lessons here. I’ve read that Argentinian Spanish is very different from the rest of the Latin American countries but it would be quite cool to speak differently from others.

From Buenos Aires, I plan to head to Iguazu Falls to see the magnificent waterfalls. I’m thinking if I should take the chance to step into Brazil and Paraguay since they are near the falls.

Bolivia

Mountain gorge near La Paz, Bolivia

Mountain gorge near La Paz, Bolivia
Photo credit: Smithsonian Institution Archives

I didn’t know of Bolivia until I started reading up on South America. I fell in love with the name Bolivia and want to visit the place very much.

Another reason I want to visit here is because I’ve heard that living expenses here is really really cheap. If I can handle the high altitude, I might even take Spanish classes (if I haven’t done so in Argentina).

[Side note, while in search of La Paz, I found a photo of this posed skeleton.]

Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru

Credit: Epsilon31

Can you go to South America without heading to Peru? (Well, technically yes but my plane leaves from Peru so I must be there.)

Top on my list for Peru is MACHU PICCHU!!!!!! OMGWTFBBQ!!! I haven’t made any bookings for the site. I wonder if I will be able to get into the place when I am there.

El Salvador

I have a week in El Salvador to recover from my 2-months in South America. Since my flight from Lima has to make a stop in San Salvador, I requested Airtreks to let me extend a week here for an extra US$60.

I have no plans for San Salvador but I will probably stay in the country for the whole week despite it being the smallest country in Central America. (It might even feel like Singapore without the tall buildings, great public transport and airconditioned malls.)

What tips do you have for South and Central Americas?

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

2 Comments

    1. So awesome that you’ll be heading to Peru on your travels! That’s where I’m living and writing! Don’t know what month you’re traveling, but my tip would be to book your tickets in advance if you’re going June through August, as that is Machu Picchu’s busiest season and they only let a certain number of visitors in per day! Also make sure you get the boleto turistico (tourist ticket) to visit other ruins in the area while you’re here!

      1. Peru seems like a gorgeous place to live and write. It must be really exciting for you.
        I’ll start researching on Machu Picchu tickets. I’m not a hiking sort of person so I’ll stick to the trains. THanks!

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