By the time we got to Colombia, I was at my South American wits end. I don’t think I gave it the chance it deserved. We heard a few horror stories but for the most part we felt very safe while we were there and didn’t have any issues. We will most certainly be back in the future to give it a proper, untainted visit.
Ecuador seemed to be an incredibly popular destination for Americans and it was easy to see why – they are on the US dollar, most people speak English, it’s fairly easy to get around, and it’s a fairly short flight from the East Coast. But it seems that unfortunately the crime rate against tourists is increasing (after we were robbed we heard loads of other similar stories) so keep your wits about you! It’s definitely not on my list of favorite countries that I’ve visited but the Galapagos Islands are epic and most certainly worth the trip!
Peru is a very nice mix of city life, beaches, mountains, and culture. The people are lovely, the food is TO DIE FOR (I was on an all-ceviche-all-the-time diet for far too long when we were on the coast), it’s super safe, and they have llamas AND Machu Picchu! What more could you want from a country??? Book your Inca Trail hike early and acclimate! Oh, and skip Lake Titicaca…
I can’t help but feel a little sad for Bolivia… they seem to be the landlocked underdogs of South America. Because of that the country seems to be far cheaper than others we visited and food isn’t as fresh and it’s just more difficult for them to get the things they need. That said, the people are absolutely lovely and seem to more concerned with working and caring for their families than hustling unsuspecting tourists. It’s gritty and rough-around-the-edges and awesome and stunning and shocking and in my opinion the absolute BEST country in South America!
Chile is BIG. Obviously. But what that means for the average tourist is really looooong, cold, expensive, uncomfortable bus rides. Or long, amazing boat rides. But either way, in hindsight we agreed that for the money we spent on bus tickets, we could have easily taken a short cheap for around the same price and saved us some of our sanity. IF you opt for the bus, don’t drink any liquids because bathroom breaks are few and far between and bring a blanket! Patagonia is amazing, the W trek is still to this day my all-time-favorite trek, and the fjords are out-of-this-world. Also, we regret not going to Easter Island – it’s expensive to get there but you are so close!
With all due respect Argentina, I hate you.