Studying Spanish and Portuguese at University I got the opportunity to live in Oporto in Portugal and then Chile during my year abroad. I spent six months teaching and volunteering in Santiago and trying to get my head around Chilean Spanish, which I was regularly told is the worst place to learn in South America!
Given the natural beauty throughout Chile, Santiago is somewhere most people want to get out of fairly quickly but with help from locals I gradually got to know the best of the city and realised that it’s got lots to offer if you know where to look.
Using Santiago as a base I visited Southern Chile and Argentina and then set off along the length of northern Chile to get to Peru and Brazil. Each country was different but I loved the huge open landscapes, the chaotic cities and the warm and welcoming people. While working for the South America Specialists I’ve got to see a different (much more comfortable!) side of travel in South America and have stayed at some amazing hotels and lodges in some unique places, the Pantanal and the Amazon two of the most memorable.
Colombia in September.
Chile and Argentina at the end of March.
A dictionary and a camera!
Caiman Lodge in Brazil’s Pantanal - it took almost a full day to get here but it was definitely worth it. Everywhere you turn there is wildlife and something new to see. The excitement the guides show is infectious and you’ll find yourself feeling ecstatic that you’ve seen a rare owl not to mention a jaguar!
Probably guinea pig and alpaca on my last trip to Peru.
Tapirs - great in the wild and also on Channel 4’s Secret Life of the Zoo.
Ignore the advice of the locals when you’re in South American cities and avoid taxis and transfers. You’ll spend half of your time sat in traffic and you’ll get a much better feel for the place if you’re on foot.
A beer - if there’s a sunset and a view there’s usually someone on hand with a cool box in South America.
Go to a market - they’re usually loud and colourful and the best place to try local food.
There’s a few but I’d like to go back to Colombia and see the places I missed last time.
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