1 – WHERE DID YOU GO?
South America, in particular a couple of days in Buenos Aires and Santiago and a small group tour through Peru.
2- WHO WITH AND HOW LONG FOR?
I travelled independently in Buenos Aires and Santiago and then joined an Intrepid Travel group tour in Peru with my friend. The trip was approximately three weeks all up.
3- WHO DID YOU FLY WITH AND HOW WERE THEY?
I flew with Air New Zealand from Melbourne via Auckland to Buenos Aires. On the way over I flew in economy class which was quite comfortable, however on the way home I chose to fly business class as a little treat and it was brilliant! With comfortable flat beds, excellent meals and the trade-mark Kiwi hospitality, Air New Zealand is an excellent option for North and South America! The flight from Auckland is actually over the top of Patagonia too so make sure you get a window seat for some great views!
From Buenos Aires to Lima and then Santiago to Buenos Aires I flew Aerolineas Argentinas. They were fine to fly with, although the meals on board were quite basic, the seats were not as comfortable and communication in English was a bit of an issue on my first flight (although I admit I really should have worked on my Spanish before I left home!).
The internal flights from Lima – Puerto Maldonado – Cusco were with Avianca and again these were all fine and comfortable. I did find it funny though that when in transit from Lima – Cusco – Puerto Maldonado and some passengers disembarked, we just stayed on the aircraft meaning some passengers were climbing over the top of others to leave the aircraft! I thought that was an novel approach!
4- WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT?
Definitely Cusco. I loved that little city, it was just absolutely gorgeous and buzzing with activity. Every day there seemed to be a festival on! One day it was the festival of tourism, another the festival of young people, and then on Sunday they had a Catholic procession through the main square. There are plenty of shops to wander through and so many little restaurants and cafes too.
I also loved Machu Picchu of course; it was fantastic to finally wander through the site and see it all first hand. The day was quite misty and rainy which meant that quite a lot of the site was covered in cloud however I think this only added to the atmosphere.
Buenos Aires and Santiago too were great cities to explore and I would love to go back and have more time in both these at some stage.
Even as a solo female traveller, I always felt very safe throughout my trip. The people I met along the way were all just lovely and genuinely wanted to help, be it with directions or trying to translate my “Spanglish”.
5 – WHAT WAS THE LOWLIGHT?
Probably the Amazon. It was amazing to stop and realise I was actually in the Amazon, however the combination of humidity, heat and the constant threat of an apocalyptic tarantula invasion (I am terrified of spiders so this may or may not have been a figment of my overactive imagination!) meant a very restless two nights. Even as a lowlight though, waking up to the sounds of the jungle with all the birds and monkeys calling out was actually pretty spectacular, I have to admit, and was still worth the visit.
6 – BEST THING YOU ATE?
In Peru you must try the local dishes of Guinea Pig and Alpaca (which taste like Pork and Lamb)! But the best thing I ate would have to be all the soups in Peru, they are so fresh and tasty and they have quite a few variations. And for a snack, try the Inca Corn – delicious!
7 – WHERE WOULD YOU GO BACK TO?
I would go back to almost all of the destinations I visited, except perhaps the Amazon and La Paz. There is now so much more in South America I would love to see too in addition to spending more time in Buenos Aires, Santiago and Cusco. Another South American holiday is definitely in my future!!
8 – TRAVELLING TIP POST HOLIDAY?
Travel essentials for any South American holiday –
Yellow Fever Certificate
Business class tickets (because you’re worth it!!)