See You Later South America

Its been 6 1/2 months and we’re down to our very last day in South America. Stephanie and I had a lot of fun but I think we’re both ready to head home to visit family and friends for a little while. No, we’re not stopping. We have a ton of travel plans that I’ll be announcing in the coming weeks.

Here’s a quick summary of everything that we’ve done in South America.

Colombia

Flights to Bogota from New York City are so cheap. It only cost us $200 for a one way ticket. A friend of ours invited us to house-sit his dog in Bogota for 3 weeks starting September 30th . It was too perfect (Thanks, Jeff!). Though most of October was rainy and cold, we had a great time and made new friends including the wonderful people behind See Colombia.

We traveled through Bogota, Villa De Leiva, Santa Marta, Tayrona, Cartagena, Medellin, Popayan, Salento, and Ipiales. Easily my three favorite places were Tayrona, Popayan, and Medellin. Tayrona had beautiful beaches and forest. Medellin had well beautiful people and an awesome nightlife. Popayan was different than the rest of Colombia. All the buildings were completely white.

Surprisingly, most of our trip through Colombia was rainy and cold. Then after two months in the country, our visa was just about to run out so we had to move on.

Tayrona, Colombia - My favorite beach in South America
Tayrona, Colombia – My favorite beach in South America
Las Lajas Sanctuary in Ipiales, Colombia
Las Lajas Sanctuary in Ipiales, Colombia – My favorite church in South America.

Ecuador

We started to get tired of moving around so we took it slow through Ecuador. I wasn’t hugely impressed with Quito but we were still there for 1 1/2 weeks, mostly staying for the Quito Festival which was well worth staying for. I love cities surrounded by mountains but I never felt safe walking around. Cotopaxi and middle of the earth were our highlights of our stay in Quito.

Banos had to have been one of my favorite places in South America. It was super chill and had a ton of fun activities. I could lay in the spa then walk a few blocks and jump off a bridge. It’s an entire town surrounded by a active volcano and mountains. We biked outside the city passing up waterfalls along the way, rafted through a level 4 river, relaxed in a spa, and jumped off a bridge for only $20 (well, Stephanie did).

After Banos, we spent 3 weeks in Montañita celebrating Christmas and New Years. Over Yonderlust joined us for a crazy New Years party on the beach while burning a paper mache Barney and throwing fireworks on the streets. We started to lose too many brain cells in Montañita so we left shortly after New Years.

We wanted to stay somewhere for a few months, catch up on work, and chill out. We were suppose to travel down through Peru from Ecuador but we made a last minute decision and booked a plane ticket to Buenos Aires for the next day.

Pailon del Diablo Waterfall
Pailon del Diablo waterfall outside of Banos
Our bar guy in Montanita
Our bar guy in Montanita
Cotopaxi, Ecuador
Cotopaxi, Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador

Argentina

Every South American country I’ve visited outside of Argentina mocked me of my Argentinean accent whenever I spoke spanish. They’d shout “Che, Boludo!” (a slang used often in Argentina) and start laughing. I laughed with them as if was the first time I’ve ever heard that joke. It was going to be nice to finally go where my accent didn’t stand out as much. Although it was nice to confuse the locals when I said I was American.

It was a last minute decision so we had no idea how long we were going to stay in Buenos Aires. We found an apartment and booked it for three months. For those three months, we settled in and just lived like a local. We had our own bakery, cafe, and supermarket where everyone knew us because we went so often. It was a nice feeling.

Another reason for the rush to Buenos Aires is because half of my family is from Buenos Aires so we visited my family often.

We had many BBQ’s with fellow travel blogger friends like Landing Standing, Go Backpacking, Travel Chica, Over Yonderlust, Two Oregonians, and many non-travel bloggers.

Boca Juniors Game
Boca Juniors Game

After a ridiculous amount of meat in Buenos Aires for three months, we set out for the road again. We were heading towards Chile and going to a few cities along the way.

Rosario was our first stop and by far one of my favorite places in Argentina so far. In fact, I kind of wish we lived there for awhile. Everyone seemed to own a dog and the parks were perfectly designed for them. It’s such a pleasant city to live in. We also found the best ice-cream ever is in Rosario. Ice-cream, dogs, and parks — what more could someone possibly want?

After Rosario was Cordoba. I wasn’t terribly impressed but the empanadas were great. I met up with a good friend of mine and spent most of the our time there just wandering around. I’m told most of the good sites are outside of the city but we were limited on time. Maybe next time.

Next was Mendoza. Since this was our last stop in Argentina before Chile, we ate a crazy amount of steak and drank enough red wine to wake up with a hang almost every single day we were there. One of our wine tours started at 9AM so we drank wine that entire day. For our last night in Argentina, I overate steak and drank a ton of red wine. I got sick but it was well worth it.

Mendoza Wine
Mendoza Wine

Uruguay

It was a one week trip from Buenos Aires to renew our visa and get the chance to see a new country. We started in Colonia and went to Montevideo and Punta del Este by bus. From Puna del Este, we rented a car with a few friends and went up the coast hitting places like Jose Ignacio, La Paloma, Cabo Polonio, Aguas Dulces, and Punta del Diablo.

I’m not sure why but Uruguay is often missed on the backpacker trail. It’s definitely one of the most expensive countries to travel in South America but it has so much to see and do.

Cabo Polonio had one of the best beaches I’ve seen in South America.

The best steak we had in South America was definitely in Uruguay and specifically in Montevideo and Punta del Este.

Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
Punta del Este
Punta del Este
Cabo Polonio
Cabo Polonio

Chile

The road from Mendoza to Santiago had really beautiful views. We went through the Andes and could see snow covered mountains all around us. Border crossing was a bit of a hassle with a 2 hour delay but we eventually made it to Santiago.

I don’t really have much to report on Chile or Santiago since we spent only 11 nights in Santiago and for most of that time either I was sick or Stephanie was. We were mostly indoors working from our apartment and getting ready to get home. I think by the last few days we were just tired of seeing anything but we felt that we had to at least do a few things so we did our best to sight-see Santiago and its surrounding area.

We did manage to go to Valparaiso which was the highlight of our trip in Chile. Unfortunately, we went on a Monday which meant all museums were closed.

Santiago
Santiago
Beautiful view of Santiago
Beautiful view of Santiago 

What’s Next

I have a ton of videos, pictures, and article ideas that still need to be published. You’ll see articles on South America by me for awhile.

As for our travel plans, we’re headed back to USA for a few months but have lots of travel plans coming up.

Michael Tieso

Michael Tieso travels around the world writing, photographing, and filming his adventures. He is the Editor-in-chief of Art of Adventuring.
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