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Our Latin America Highlights

What was the favourite place? Well, this is pretty much the first thing anyone asks us when we meet them, so here are some thoughts.
The Journey, The People
We travelled mostly by bus, from Mexico all the way through Central America, then flew into Colombia and bussed it south all the way down the western Andean route to Chile, east through Argentina, then headed north finally finishing in Rio de Janeiro.  An amazing journey, considering we made up the route as we went along. We really, really enjoyed our contact with the local people, who were universally kind, helpful and very tolerant of our language deficiencies.  We met travellers from many countries who were, like us, keen to talk about routes and experiences, and we gained many useful tips as to where to go and what to see.  We kept extensive notes of the journey.  Our trip was 11 months, we travelled on 55 buses, for a total of 416 hours.  We have lots more statistics and information for anyone who is interested 🙂

Thanks to everyone we met and the enjoyment and help we received.  To anyone who fancies travelling to this incredible part of the world we have just one piece of advice – go soon, do it, you won’t regret taking time out in such a culturally rich and diverse part of the world.
The Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
Oh heavens, it’s so good it’s hard to describe.  The wildlife is utterly fantastic, above and below the water.  If you can, go.
It’s a very lazy life for most of the inhabitants.
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The giant tortoises get everywhere, albeit very very slowly.
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A blue footed booby – huge noisy birds, with er bright blue feet.
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A beach on the main island of Santa Cruz, just as we like it – without a single person in view.
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Lake Titicaca (Peru and Bolivia)

Absolutely mesmerisingly beautiful.  We’d always wanted to see it, and we were not disappointed.
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Some people live in reed huts on floating islands on Lake Titicaca itself.
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The Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia)

It’s the combination of the salt flats, the mountains and the clear air.  Marvellous, though stupidly cold at night.
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Machu Picchu (Peru)

It is a wonder of the world, after all.  Yup, believe the guidebooks – if you get up early you can see the sunrise and miss the crowds.
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Colca Canyon (Peru)

A surprise entry for us, as we didn’t know it existed until we arrived 🙂  We were lucky enough to spot the mighty Andean Condor (well, lots of them actually due to recent conservation efforts).
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We just loved the mountains and the views down the world’s second-deepest canyon.
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The Andes and the Andeans

Yes, the whole lot.  From the top to the bottom, the snow, and the incredible roads and hairpin bends.  Better chuck in the Altiplano for good measure. Amazing, friendly, people in colourful dress and we’re still in llama/alpaca country.
Chacaltaya Mountain, near La Paz (Bolivia), 5,421 metres high and still smiling!
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One of the many amazing Andean road trips – this is between Chile and Argentina.
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A local in Ecuador.
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Kids parading through town in Cuzco, Peru.
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Locals outside the market in Cuenca, Ecuador.
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The national animal of Peru – the vicuna.
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And a cute young alpaca (we think – or is it a llama?)
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Colonial Architecture (More or less everywhere)

Busy central plazas surrounded by churches and arched walkways give towns from Mexico to Argentina a place for people to gather, converse, sell things and generally do their business.

The Government Palace, downtown La Paz, Bolivia.
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Antigua, Guatemala
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Popayan, southern Colombia.
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The Congress Building, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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Arequipa Monastery (Peru)

A convent city within a city, complete with fantastic colours: a photographer’s dream.
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Ancient Civilizations (Everywhere)

We started with the temples of Mexico and by the end of the trip we were steeped in the ancient civilizations which occupied the continent before the Europeans, ahem, arrived.  We loved their beautiful buildings and objects, especially their pottery and ceramics.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
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The main temple complex at Copan Ruinas, Honduras.
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Pre-Columbian artefacts in the Museo Casa de Alabado in Quito, Ecuador.
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A temple complex near Trujillo, Peru.
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Iguazu Falls (both sides, Brazil and Argentina)
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Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
The marvellous city, as the locals call it.  Here we are looking over the famous Ipanema Beach.
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Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain, great views.
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So that’s it – just a snapshot of our Latin American experiences.  There was so many more special moments we could have included: bustling street markets, exhibitions, music, busy cities, street art, wildlife, Spanish lessons, Christmas and fireworks in Guatemala, local food and drink.  We have some amazing memories and we hope you enjoyed following our adventures.  If all goes well, we expect to start another edition of our travel blog in a year or so.
Thanks for your interest.
Diane and Paul
Doing It Now

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