Just before the EU Referendum in June 2016, I mentioned that a leave victory would see the cost of travelling abroad creep up and thats exactly what happened. Luckily my trip to South America happened just a couple of months beforehand. Whether the cost falls over time depends on a number of factors, but for now some of the prices I came across might be slightly more expensive now.
I spent just over a month travelling from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast and in that time I managed to see four different countries. There's a couple of big omissions; Argentina and Colombia but I managed to see Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Brazil and there is a variation of cost between the different countries.
Compared to the cost of travelling around Thailand, South America was considerably more expensive, even in Bolivia which was the cheapest of the countries I had visited, however there are certain things you can do to make sure you get the best value for money. As I mentioned in my post on travelling around Thailand, the more you get to know a place, the cheaper the cost per day becomes.
How expensive is South America? Here's my take...
Rio de Janeiro
One of the largest cities in the Southern Hemisphere, home of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, birthplace of the largest carnival on Earth and famous for its beaches, it is no wonder that Rio is the most visited city in South America.
This city has the feel of a very large metropolis, similar to the rush of Bangkok, and you could spend a month here and still not scratch the surface. Rio has a lot going for it, but there is an income gap that seems to be increasing and social tensions that the state tries to hide from the public view (the construction of large panels to cover Favela's as you drive into Rio being the most striking). However, the positives are endless and this is truly one of those cities that never sleeps.
In this article I have included a selection of my favourite photo's that I took in the city, pictures that I think can give you a feel for Rio, its culture and its attractions.
Between the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics, Rio is somewhat of a buzzword these days with the focus of the world's media on the sixth largest city in the Americas.
A booming economy in the early 2000's has catapulted Brazil onto the world stage, and where Brasilia is the brains, Sao Paulo the hard working heart, Rio is undoubtedly the soul of this great country. I stayed here for just under a week during my trip to South America and I felt like I had barely scratched the surface.
The city retains a portion of its Portuguese heritage and combines it with West African and indigenous culture to create the distinct Brazilian feel that has given the world Carnival and Samba.
The Maracana was closed on my arrival but here are my top 5 favourite things about Rio.
South East Asia or South America. These two parts of the world have seen an explosion of popularity over the past decade and for most people the decision of where to visit first is often a difficult one. In this entry, I'll try and rate each of the locations on factors that are important to the average person and come up with an overall rating.
Things to consider
Before I get things started, its important to note that my experiences over the two locations will vary. I spent more time in South East Asia, and it was also the place I decided to visit first. There are important locations missing from both locations. I didn't visit Laos in SE Asia and I didn't visit Colombia and Argentina in South America. Personally, I feel that Argentina is a significant omission due to the size of the country and the number of things to see and do. Ratings and experiences are also very subjective, my experience could be significantly different from the experience of others so I'd bare this in mind when you make your decision.
Finally, a comparison between the two locations isn't an exact science. The phrase apples and oranges comes to mind. Peru and Brazil have completely different cultures, speak completely different languages, yet for the purpose of comparison they have been lumped together under a loose 'South American' category. This entry is a subjective rough overview of my experiences and can form part of your research into each location.
Airport Rating *****
Reception of locals *****
Rio was the last stop on my travels from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, and in many respects it was a case of saving the best for last. Now in terms of adventure, it wasn't going to compete with climbing a mountain in Peru or exploring Machu Picchu, nor was it going to compete with the sight of the salt flats in Bolivia, but in terms of experience, this city not only lived up to, but exceeded my high expectations.
With Brazil the centre of the sporting world hosting both the FIFA World Cup and Summer Olympics in quick succession, you can tell as soon as you land the large re-development programmes being undertaken. I landed in a terminal that was not even fully completed, with advertisements for the Olympics everywhere. I jumped into a taxi, and after the relatively orderliness of Santiago, it was back onto manic roads as soon as we left the airport. Again the modernisation programme was in full swing, although this time less positive. As I drove along the main highway from the airport to the Copacabana, I noticed large opaque blocks along the road. It took me a few minutes to realise that behind these blocks were favela's that were basically being hidden from public view.
British Sikh, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.