Traveling to South America wasn’t very high on my bucket list and may not be for you, but having just returned from a 13 day adventure there, I offer you the following thoughts to perhaps change your mind. And if you don’t have a bucket list, perhaps it’s time to create one. There is a big, beautiful world out there to explore and if you don’t create an intention to see it, you won’t. Even if it somehow doesn’t seem feasible for you, don’t underestimate the power of an intention.
Our first stop was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and it was fabulous. The famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches were beautiful and filled with gorgeous people, all of whom seemed to choose to wear the Brazilian version of a bikini. Great place to go if you want to get an almost full body tan. The train to the top of Corcovada Mountain to see the Christ statute and the view from the top are exciting experiences, as is the cable cars to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. The people are friendly, the food is great, the music is exciting and Rio is a great place to spend at least three days.
From Rio we flew to the border between Brazil and Argentina to visit Iguassu Falls. While it was really hot, almost 100 degrees, and humid, over 80%, this is a place not to be missed. The falls are now considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World and I can truly understand that. Personally, it was almost overwhelming and beyond words to describe. There are as many as 200 falls that extend across a large area. As you explore the area, first from the Brazilian side and then from the Argentinean side, the view becomes more and more spectacular. At one point, you literally walk out onto a platform and are surrounded by falls; you even get wet from the spray. Before this trip I didn’t even know this place existed but had I known, I would have gone there a lot sooner. Move it to the top of your list.
Next stop was Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s a lovely city, the weather is wonderful in December and like all the cities we went to, there are many parks and opportunities to kick back and relax. One interesting thing we saw in Buenos Aires was the many dog walkers with their collection of 10 – 20 dogs, all walking together and getting along amazingly well. We took a 3+ hour guided bicycle tour of the city and I would surely recommend that. But the highlight of the visit was surely the tango show we saw which had 10 couples who put on a true extravaganza of dance.
Our final destination was Santiago, Chile. Home to 17 million people, Santiago is a truly modern city including a 72 story skyscraper which is almost complete and will be the tallest in Latin America. Because of the frequent earthquakes, there is very little in the city that is old. Like many European and Latin American cities, there is a central square surrounded by wonderful buildings. Here, the highlight of our trip was watching the changing of the guard at the presidential palace. With a large band, horses, and over 150 soldiers, the process took about 40 minutes and was fun to watch. And the band even played songs like Yankee Doodle Dandy, Moon Over Miami and American Patrol.