Just Love Central & South America

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Just Love Central & South America

Postby glenn » Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:03 pm

Hello Everybody. Although I am Australian and still live in Newcastle in Australia I spend all of my holidays travelling through South and Central America. I had previously travelled with friends through the UK and Europe but wanted to do my own thing. That started my first journeys to South-East Asia with Intrepid and Central & South America with GAP(same company anyway). That was about 14 years ago and I am still travelling with them this year to Mexico again because I love the place and joining an Explore trip in Belize. I have travelled with a few other tour companies similar to GAP but always keep coming back to them. This years Colonial Mexico trip will be my 8th trip with GAP and 9 times out of 10 they have very good tour leaders with the occasional dropkick. Their itineraries are some of the best in the business and mix tourist hotspots with off the beaten treasures.
Sometimes I think that I am living in the wrong country because I have alot of friends from Canada.
I hope I haven't bored you all.

Cheers
travel 7
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Postby Dawna » Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:43 am

I have just booked a 5 month tour with G.A.P that tours all over South America. Just curious if you have any information at all you want to share. Don't worry about the length of your posting. The more information the better.

Signed, ANOTHER new Canadian friend to add to the list.:)
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Postby PaulTeolis » Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:14 pm

dawna where are you starting in south america and for that sake ending?
I have been all over the continent with GAP. Its a fabulous
area to travel in.
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Postby Dawna » Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:44 am

I am starting in Caracus Venezuela and ending there. The tour takes the entire perimeter. The tour is called (JCF) great south american journey by GAP. I just wouldn't mind knowing things like, what to pack, safety concerns, should I have full out hiking shoes that cover your ankles, things like that. Thanks for your help. Sounds like your the perfect one to talk to.
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Postby PaulTeolis » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:56 pm

ok dawna,
I would say pack light, as you can get whatever you need along the way and when in argentina, I am sure you'll want to buy something made of leather.

Sturdy walking/hiking shoes and sandles should do fine.

If you are in Rio on a sunday there is a hippy market at the end of copacabana beach where it meets Ipanema beach, worth going to for great local art and such.

Iguacu Falls, incredible place. bring a dryproof bag for your camera. Plenty of opportunities to get wet.

Colonia, Uruguay, go to a bar called El drugstore and have a drink and great meal. You cant miss the place, there should still be an old car from the 30's outfront. It's a sleepy place, great for walking before you ferry across to Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires- one of my favourite cities. Visit LaBoca. It's gotten very touristy, but I found the early morning was good before all the tourist buses arrive. If you like theatre, tour the theater Colon. It was still under renovation when I was there in November but well worth it. You can do an english tour, and great seats are very reasonable. I am sure you can find out who is there online.

I would reccommend seeing the Ricoelle Cemetary which is full of monsuleums and really incredible. A great part of the city as well, lots of place nearby for food and drinks.

i havent done patagonia in argentina, sorry, that's another trip sometime.

San Pedro de Atacama/Uyuni - an incredibly amazing place! The desert nights are cold so bring a wool hat or something for the early mornings and late night. Layering is important as the days warm up. If you do a tour of the geysers its a very early morning start as you head out for sunrise.Bring gloves. There is also a place to take a hotspring bath, so if you want, a towel and swimsuit.

I found an inner sheet or silk sleeping bag would have been handy as the hostels are very simple, but the beds are warm, lots of wool blankets!

Drink lots of coca tea for the altitude. I had bad headaches that was about it. chewing Coca leaves is worth the experience...they work great.

I havent been to Ecuador in 14 years and it was a totally different place then as opposed to today, so I dont think I will be in a position to comment. I loved it though. If you go to Otavalo market budget for wool sweaters, they are cheap, or were anyway.

Safety is nothing more than common sense. Leave everything in your hotels as they are all safe. Just be aware of your surroundings when in the cities. ATM's are available in most cities. Travellers' cheques are pain to exchange in Buenos Aires. I cound using citbank ATM's there was the best.

let me know what else you need to know, hopefully more folks can pipe in.
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Postby Lotusflower » Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:13 am

Dawna

The trip sounds amazing! I have not done a Roam style trip yet - I'd love to hear about it when you return.

We talked about $ in another post....are there any more secrets to how you are able to afford this trip considering how long it is? Even with the changes I have made to my life to be able to afford to travel I would not be able to afford something like this.

Have fun!
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Postby Louise26 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:42 pm

Hi! I'm doing the Altiplano and Amazon in July along with the Galapagos cruise. I'm spending a few days in Quito at the beginning of the tours and a few days in Lima too. Are there any recommendations on what I should do? I hear mixed things about Lima. What is it really like??? I'm also going solo and am a bit nervous.
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Postby Dawna » Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:10 am

Paulteolis,

Thank you so much for all the information and taking the time to write your post. I am printing out your post so that I can refer to some of the places that you recommended when I get there. I don't know if I will get a chance to discover Patagonia as well, as it seems that the trip doesn't take us there. (Maybe next time) I will definately drop another message if I discover I need any specific information.

Thanks again
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Postby Dawna » Mon Apr 09, 2007 8:13 am

LotusFlower,

I have to admit that I have had a little bit of help from my family. About a week ago, I moved to my parents home. I will be living for 6 months with them, virtually rent free, in order to help save some extra cash. My parents will also be storing all my stuff while I am away so that I don't have any bills while I'm gone. It takes a little bit of adjusting as I have lived completely alone for over 5 years and I have gone from a 10 minute commute to work to a 1 hour commute to work each way. Its all worth it in the end!!
I also have some tips while your away as to saving some cash. I received a letter regarding a new credit card ( I usually throw these away) It was for a special interest rate of 3.9% for the first 6 months. What I am going to do is sign up for the card, I will activate it right before I am about to use it and then put any money I need to borrow for the trip on it. The total amount of the trip is due 2 months before the trip. I will be gone for 6 months and my payment is due 2 months before. What this means is that I will pay the interest at 3.9% for 6 months then I will transfer money from my line of credit (interest rates are generally alot lower with a line of credit than credit cards) and carry the ballance on my line of credit for the next 2 months. It sounds like a lot of money juggling, but its a lot better than paying 18% interest for the entire 8 months. It will save me hundreds of dollars.
I will also not have any expenses while I am away as I am cancelling my phone, car insurance and selling my car ( I can purchase I cheap one when I get back).
This trip is definately the most important thing for me right now. I was all set to quit my job if I had to- I was very lucky and my job(s) granted me a leave of absence.(Yes, I have a full time job and a part time job so I work 6-7 days a week) It's worth it. The feelings and excitement that you get from travelling are - as they say on the MC commercials- PRICELESS!!

I hope this gives you some ideas, I haven't travelled in a year and a half so that I could take this trip as well. Let me know if you need any more info.

Dawna
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Credit card heads-up for travellers

Postby MickeyMacks » Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:19 am

Dawna,

Don't forget to notify the credit card company about where and when you'll be travelling so they can note it for your account's security features.

Some companies will put a hold on a card's use when they find it's being used in a different country than the holder's billing address or in various places/ways within a short time frame that suggests it may have been stolen.

My boyfriend found this out the hard way but luckily he had another credit card with him to fall back on.
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