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[ 2015 ] Need suggestions for first South American Vacation

webdizzy

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I’m contemplating making my very first trip to a South America destination in February, March or early April and I’m looking for suggestions. I'm most interested in Peru, Brazil and Argentina. I’m aware that replies could be quite varied, but to perhaps narrow it down a bit, here are some of my “ideal” criteria. . .

Warm(er), mild weather (60’s or higher) – I’ll be escaping the drab of a northeast Ohio winter.

Enough to see/do in a week around the resort area and within a 1-2 hour drive radius (or available day tours to places worth visiting that might be a little further away). Looking for somewhere to “get the most bang for my buck” in terms of time and since the timeshare resort would be my only base to venture from.

Although I love beautiful beaches for short visits, I’m not one to lay around on a beach all day or go to night clubs in the evening. I’m more adventurous and like to explore places I’ve never been to – I’m very interested in historical, cultural and scenic diversity. Places like Machu Picchu, the Amazon and other unique places are what I gravitate towards. Someplace where English is widely spoken (or at least understood) is a big plus!

Thanks in advance for any tips and suggestions. I'm also considering a European/Mediterranean destination so will start a similar thread in the forum for Europe.
 

lizap

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Have you considered Chile? It is the most developed of the South American countries and absolutely gorgeous. We visited the center part of the country and the south part and took a cruise to Cape Horn. Finding a place in South America where English is widely spoken is going to be very difficult..


I’m contemplating making my very first trip to a South America destination in February, March or early April and I’m looking for suggestions. I'm most interested in Peru, Brazil and Argentina. I’m aware that replies could be quite varied, but to perhaps narrow it down a bit, here are some of my “ideal” criteria. . .

Warm(er), mild weather (60’s or higher) – I’ll be escaping the drab of a northeast Ohio winter.

Enough to see/do in a week around the resort area and within a 1-2 hour drive radius (or available day tours to places worth visiting that might be a little further away). Looking for somewhere to “get the most bang for my buck” in terms of time and since the timeshare resort would be my only base to venture from.

Although I love beautiful beaches for short visits, I’m not one to lay around on a beach all day or go to night clubs in the evening. I’m more adventurous and like to explore places I’ve never been to – I’m very interested in historical, cultural and scenic diversity. Places like Machu Picchu, the Amazon and other unique places are what I gravitate towards. Someplace where English is widely spoken (or at least understood) is a big plus!

Thanks in advance for any tips and suggestions. I'm also considering a European/Mediterranean destination so will start a similar thread in the forum for Europe.
 
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Laurie

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I have my eye on San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina for a future trip, where there are several timeshares. Our winter is their summer, which would work out perfectly for its beautiful mountain scenery - near the Chilean border, in Patagonia.

Can't give any first-hand advice though, and there was a volcano which has erupted since I first started paying attention to it...
 

RIMike

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Love Argentina

We've been to Buenos Aires a couple of times and stayed in a Timeshare in the Capital once. We have also been to Ibera Wetlands and stayed in a 17th century Jesuit Ranch and also went to Iquazu Falls, one of the great world heritage sights...simply beautiful. We are birders so both Ibera and Iquazu were amazing. At the entrance to the National Park in Iquazu we saw 25 Toucans fighting each other for the best limbs...

If going to Iquazu make sure you go to the Brazilian side of the falls too, but you have to have a visa to enter Brazil.
 

PClapham

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What are the names of the timeshares that you used in South am erica?

Thanks. ANITA
 

vikingsholm

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We had a great 4-5 week trip to Argentina last year in Dec 2014 and Jan 2015 that included three weeks in Patagonia, a week in Buenos Aires, and a few days in El Calafate. That was their summertime.

All 3 timeshares in Patagonia worked out great -- incredible lake views, and two of them right on the lakeshore. We traded for one through II and two of them through RCI. December is easier to get than January, when their post holiday summer season starts. All three had a restaurant, which were good enough to use a few times each. People were very friendly and helpful to us, and accommodated our weak Spanish well, as they don't speak as much English as Europeans generally.

Stayed at Hosteria del Lago near Bariloche one week. Right on the lakeshore, top floor balcony. Could walk to 3 brewpubs and a few good restaurants, though along a main road there, not in a town setting with a grid of streets. Took the bus up and down the main road to Bariloche and in the other direction to Llao Llao, fairly inexpensive to ride.

Used a rental car to go up to Villa la Angostura on the north side of the lake, and stayed a week each at Bahia Manzano and Bahia Montana. These are only a few miles apart, Manzano right on the lake, and Montana up the hill a bit, but with lake views and nice balconies. I think they may have the same owner. Both weeks were great, and the units nice sized, not that luxurious, but plenty comfortable. Drove around on a lot of side trips to see the countryside.

Rental cars and flights are quite expensive in Argentina, as they have rates to hit foreigners harder than locals. We only rented a car for the two weeks in Villa La Angostura, otherwise took buses or walked. Other things were cheaper due to the strong dollar. You also need to buy a country reciprocity pass before going, or they won't let you in. Be sure to research that.

This was a fantastic trip. The lake country around Bariloche is magnificent and fun, with lots of hiking and boating, and good meals often overlooking the lake through the restaurants' picture windows. The shuttle tour we took on the Bariloche end of the lake was a lot of fun and informative, reasonably priced, and had the option for a tour guide who narrated in both Spanish and English.

We stayed in hotels in downtown Buenos Aires and El Calafate (which are both excellent destinations too). Some of the best restaurants we hit were actually in a few blocks walking distance of our hotel in El Calafate, where the main attraction is a bus tour down to the Glacier National park (very impressive ice fields!).
 
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