Su Family Trip to the Americas & Village travel blog


TOP LISTS OF BEST THINGS IN SOUTH AMERICA

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Below are all listed in order after consensus from the all five of us:

BEST FOOD

1. Cerviche (raw fish marinated with lemon juice) in Ollyantaytambo, Peru

2. Fruit shakes in Sucre, Bolivia and Ollyantaytambo, Peru markets

3. Coconut and berry juice popcicles throughout Ecuador

4. Seafood rice dish at Huancacho beach side and Bahia Azul Restaurant in Lima, Peru

5. Zapote fruit (a mix between papaya, mango, and melon) in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador

6. Ice creams in South America, the best flavors are lucama, marucua (passion fruit), churamoya, rum rasin, tricolor, and many other flavors

7. Hamburger with eggs in Salta, Argentina

8. Chicken BBQ stick in Quito, Ecuador

9. Large steaks, ribs, and sausage with wine at the ranch in Salta, Argentina

10. Sipping Acai smoothie (tropical palm berry) at Manaus, Brazil

11. Camp food cooked by Abel, the guide, during the Santa Cruz Trek at Huaraz, Peru

12. Mondogo (beef stomach)in Cartagena, Colombia

Honorable Mentions:

Cactus fruit (green and red) in Sucre, Bolivia and Huaraz, Peru

Granadilla (a sweeter version of passion fruit) in Ecuador

Wine ice cream at Cafayate, Argentina

Cheese ice cream at Arequipa, Peru

Roasted guinea pig at Arequipa, Peru

Eating piranha we caught in the Amazon jungle at Manaus, Brazil

Tasting the sugarcane-like corn stalk on the Santa Cruz Trek at Huaraz, Peru

Hot dog with crispy onion in Ciudad Bolivia, Venezuela

Churamoya yogurt in Sucre, Bolivia

Fish head soup in Ica, Peru

Tender and inexpensive roast chicken at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

All-you-can-eat beef steakhouse at Sao Paulo, Brazil

Dulce de Leche (carmel cream) with banana at Iguacu Falls, Argentina

Inca Cola in Peru

Breakfast soups in Sucre, Bolivia

Chinese food in Lima, Peru

Lemonade and apple pie in Lima, Peru

Inexpensive ice creams in Salta, Argentina

Giant popcorn at lake Titicaca in Copacabana, Bolivia

Steak in Salta, Argentina

Sushi cone in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Fried fish in Lake Titicaca, Copacabana, Bolivia

Baked empanada filled with fish, chicken, or cheese at Salta, Argentina

Lean but tender llama meat on a BBQ stick at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

BEST FOOD PLACES

1. Sucre food market in Bolivia with great fruit shakes, yoghurt, soup, and food

2. Food market at Ica, Peru where we had the fish head soup

3. Banos food market in Ecuador which is the most beautiful food market we have seen

4. Bahia Azul Seafood Restaurant at Lima, Peru where we had seafood rice dish

5. Huanchaco´s beach side restaurant in Peru

6. Restaurant El Milenio in Cartagena, Colombia where we had mondogo

7. Restaurant Mariko at Puerto Lopez, Ecuador where we had the fish we caught

8. Food market in Ollantaytambo, Peru where we had our fist cerviche

9. BBQ stick restaurant at Quito, Ecuador

10. Quito food market in Peru with lots of selections and clean

BREATHTAKING

1. Viewing the salt field of Uyuni from the Catus Island in Bolivia

2. Going behind the waterfalls at Canaima Laguna, Venezuela

3. The Devil's Throat of the Iguacu Falls at Argentina and Brazil

4. Surrounded by wild flowers of all color while hiking on the rim of the Quilotoa Crater Lake, Ecuador

5. Sunrise at El Tatio Geysers in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

6. View of the green valleys during the Santa Cruz trek in Huaraz, Peru

7. View on the summit of Huayna Potosi Mountain (6088m) at La Paz, Bolivia

8. View of misty sunrise on ruins at Machu Picchu, Peru

9. Sunset over Lake Titicaca at Copacabana, Bolivia

10. Sunset in the Valley of the Moon at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Honorable Mentions:

Viewing volcanic eruptions under full moon at night in Banos, Ecuador

View of Mt. Taulliraju (5830m) during the Santa Cruz trek in Huaraz, Peru

Angles Fall surrounded by table mountains at Canaima, Venezuela

Foggy view of Rio de Janeiro from Christ Redeemer Status in Brazil

Tall sand dunes at Huacachina, Peru

Coral reef at Cartagena, Colombia

Sunset boat ride at Santa Marta, Colombia

View of steep canyons, rushing waters, and snow mountains through the window roof on the train to Machu Picchu, Peru

View of Laguna at Ipanema with Christ Redeemer status as the background in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

View of the high volcano (5960m) with Laguna Verde in front near the Salt Field of Uyuni, Bolivia

Colorful red, white, and blue color Laguna Colorado in Bolivia

View of the city of Arequipa with Volcano Misti looming in the background in Peru

Seamless giant granite stone walls at Sasaywaman Temple in Cuzco, Peru

View of the seaside cliffs and beaches at Miraflores in Lima, Peru

View of the many sea bird and sea lion colonies on the Islas Ballestas in Pisca, Peru

Rocky shores at Tyrona National Park in Santa Marta, Colombia

Endless horizon view of Amazon River at Manaus, Brazil

Endless view of hills and valleys covered by brick houses with snow mountains looming on top at La Paz, Bolivia

View of Old Town together with the Gothic Church and statue of the Virgin of Quito in Quito, Ecuador

Going under the waterfall of Bridal Veil at Banos, Ecuador

Crystal clear water of Lake Titicaca at Copacabana, Bolivia

Driving across the Andes Mountain from Argentina to Chile

View of Lake Titicaca with snow mountains as the background from Island of the Sun at Copacabana, Bolivia

ADVENTUROUS

1. Trying to recover lost paddle while sailing for the first time in Lake Titicaca, Copacabana, Bolivia

2. Hiking on dense forest trails up steep slopes in the largest urban park in the world at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (encountered poisonous snake and spider and getting lost)

3. Catching and holding caimen crocodile at night in the Amazon River at Manaus, Brazil

4. Jonathan climbing the summit of Huayna Potosi Mt. (6088m) at La Paz, Bolivia

5. Water rafting on Palata River for 1.5 hours in Banos, Ecuador

6. Luring giant ants to coming out of their ant hole under the tree by rubbing a machete against the trunk at Manaus, Brazil

7. Whole family on a four day trekking expedition of Santa Cruz at Huaraz, Peru

8. Jon hiked 3 hours up and down the mountain next to Laguna Colorado but hitchhiked back on a motorcycle because it was too dark to cross the river

9. Canoeing up shallow rivers for 7 hours towards the Angel Fall at Canaima, Venezuela

10. Climbing up and sliding down rock faces at the Devil's Throat in Quebrada de Cafayate, Argentina

11. Going down 3 levels underground in the mines and walking in total darkness at Potosi, Bolivia

12. Sitting on the rooftop of the bus being hit by tree branches while viewing volcano eruptions in Banos, Ecuador

Honorable Mentions:

Crossing the border from Colombia to Venezula (missed having passports stamped)

No food or snack for 20 hours on night bus from Santa Marta, Colombia to Valencia, Venezuela

Biking into a dark tunnel at Banos, Ecuador

Riding 5-passenger propeller plane over the jungles and table mountains of Canaima, Venezuela

Hiking up the steep and precarious steps of Mayna Picchu overlooking the Machu Picchu ruin with children in Peru

Rock climbing 25m on top of the river at Huaraz, Peru

Whole family climbing up to the high camp (5130m) of Huayna Potosi Mt. at La Paz, Bolivia

Swimming under the Angel Fall at Canaima, Venezuela

Biking along the Pataza River downhill from Banos to Puyo in Ecuador

Getting lost in the middle of thick fog at the Quilotoa Crater Lake in Ecaudor

Biking against the wind and on sandy roads towards Laguna Cejar at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Climbing up steep hill through the backdoor to the top of the Pisca Ruin near Cuzco, Peru

Hiking on the Salango Island for bird watching at Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

Hiking along the narrow cliff-hang Inca Bridge trail at Machu Picchu, Peru

Going through the catacombs under the San Francisco Church and seeing the 25,000 sets of human skeletons buried there in Lima, Peru

Riding the quad bike up the mountain at Banos, Ecuador

The whole family riding on the back of a pick up truck 3 times while going between villages in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

ADRENALINE RUSHES

1. Bungee jumping down a bridge at Banos, Ecuador

2. Galloping out of control on the horse towards Seven Falls at Sucre, Bolivia

3. Riding dune buggy up and down the sand dunes at Huacachina, Ica, Peru

4. Sand surfing down tall sand dunes at Huacachina, Ica, Peru

5. Canyoning down waterfalls at Huaraz, Peru

6. Nathan falling down from rock climbing into the water at Seven Falls in Sucre, Bolivia

7. Jon climbing up the Seven Falls with loose rocks and almost fell down the cliff at Sucre, Bolivia

8. Jon almost lost all four grips while ice climbing the glacier of Huayna Potosi Mt. at La Paz, Bolivia

9. Climbing up the towers of the Basilica del Voto Nacional Cathedral at Quito, Ecuador

10. Galloping of the first time on horses at the ranch in Salta, Argentina

Honorable Mentions:

Exploding a dynamite at the silver mines of Potosi, Bolivia

Water rafting at Banos, Ecuador

Hiking on rocky trails at the edge of the crater rim with cliff on both side at Quilotoa, Ecuador

Fast boat ride on the ocean on the way to Islas del Rosario at Cartagena, Colombia

Surfing at the beach in Huanchaco, Peru

FUN THINGS

1. Catching fish with bare and feeding fish to the lizards at Iguacu Falls, Argentina

2. Sailing in Lake Titicaca, Copacabana, Bolivia where we lost the oar and had to sail around and around to get it

3. Fishing at the pier at Huanchaco, Peru

4. Playing UNO cards inside the tent with a hanging flashlight while trekking in Huaraz, Peru

5. Catching crabs and putting them in a stone prison on the beach of Puerto Rico, Ecuador

6. Going back and forth between hot spring and cold pools at Banos, Ecuador

7. Dipping in the natural hotspring at 4300m at the El Tatio Geyers in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

8. Catching piranas at Amazon jungle in Manaus, Brazil

9. Children playground with zip line at Banos, Ecuador

10. Picture taking with funny perspectives at Salt Field of Uyuni, Bolivia

Honorable Mentions:

Swimming (or floating) in the salty Laguna Cejar at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Surrounded by hundreds of flying yellow butterflies on the beach at Iguacu Falls, Argentina

Warming our freezing fingers over sprouting geysers at El Tatio Geyers in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Having a stray dog guiding us for 6 hours around the crater rim hike at Quilotoa, Ecuador

Holding the sloth at Amazon jungle in Manaus, Brazil

Having sauna in a natural heated cave at Huaraz, Peru

Snorkeling at Cartagena, Colombia

Sports fishing at Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

Horseriding on the beach at Puerto Rico, Ecuador

Hiking among tide pools at Salango Island in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

Kayaking by the shore of Salango Island at Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

Jumping back and forth the Argentina and Brazil border at Iguacu Falls

Feeding banana to monkeys at Amazon jungle in Manaus, Brazil

Playing patty cake on canoe at Amazon jungle in Manaus, Brazil

Wearing hard salt encrusted shorts and socks after swimming in the salty Laguna Cejar in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Running on floating reeds at floating islands in Puno, Peru

Horseriding at the ranch in Salta, Argentina

Worshipping with believers in a home fellowship at Banos, Ecuador

Playing trivia at the Hostel Secret Garden in Quito, Ecuador

Visiting the animal market of Otalavo, Ecuador

Sleeping on hammocks with a parrot and a puppy in Canaima Laguna, Venezuela

Picking berries off trees to feed turtles at Forest of Science in Manaus, Brazil

Watching large palm sprout being shaked into leafs on the jungle walk in Manuaus, Brazil

Having snacks and meals inside a large tepee tent during the Santa Cruz Trek in Huaraz, Peru

Surfing onto shore on a cigar shaped boat made of reed in Huanchaco, Peru

Seeing a large bus being carried across Lake Titicaca on a small ferry boat near Copacabana, Bolivia

Watching indigenous women in traditional bell shape dress playing soccer at Copacabana, Peru

Jumping for a picture on the equator line near Quito, Ecuador

Jon made a coin the ancient way by hammering a slug of copper onto a metal mold at the Minting Museam in Potosi, Bolivia

For the first time, children cleaning and cooking fish they caught at the pier in Huancacho, Peru

Watching Olympic torch relay in Bueno Aires, Argentina on TV while eating in Cayafate, Argentina

MOST EDUCATIONAL

1. Star gazing at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

2. Amazon jungle walk at Manaus, Brazil (learned about different medicinal plants & trees and insects)

3. Machu Picchu guided tour by Kosmo at Cuzco, Peru

4. Visit of the Equator Museam at the equator line near Quito, Ecuador (standing egg, water swirling, shrink head, penis fish)

5. Understanding the physical and spiritual conditions of miners at Potosi, Bolivia

6. Money Minting Museam at Potosi, Bolivia

7. Viewing of the Ice Maiden Juanita in Arequepa, Peru

8. Tour of the sun temple at Cuzco, Peru

9. Tour of the winery that produces Pisco whisky at Ica, Peru

10. Tour of the Church of San Franciso in Lima, Peru (paintings and skulls)

Honorable Mentions:

Visiting the communities and school in Amazon jungle at Manuaus, Brazil

Learning why crocodile falls asleep when you rub its belly at Ariau Towers in Manaus, Brazil

Tour of the floating islands at Puno, Peru

Tour of the Huaca Pucllana Ruin in the city of Lima, Peru

Learning to surf at the beach of Huanchaco, Peru

Seeing draining water swirl in different directions on the equator at Solar Museam near Quito, Ecuador

FAVORITE NIGHT BUS

1. First class 3-seat-in-one-row night bus from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2. Movil Tour night bus from Huaraz to Trujillo, Peru

3. Linea night bus from Trujillo to Piura, Peru

4. Night bus from Iguacu Falls to Salta, Argentina with few stops and lots of good movies

FAVORITE PLACE WE STAYED

1. Secret Garden in Quito, Ecuador

2. Hostel Espana in Lima, Peru

3. Hostel Albergue Paudimar in Iguacu, Brazil

4. Hostel Azuluna in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

5. Tiuna Tour accommodation in hammocks in Canaima Laguna, Venezuela

6. Hostel with lake view of Lake Titicaca at Copacabana, Bolivia

7. Ariau Towers in Amazon jungle at Manaus, Brazil

MOST EXPENSIVE THINGS

1. Amazon Jungle Tour in Manaus, Brazil (USD 1500/3 days)

2. Hotel in Manuas, Brazil (USD 125/night)

3. Day bus from Salta, Argentina to San Pedro, Chile (USD 60/seat, 10 hours)

4. Night bus from Medellin to Cartagena, Colombia (USD 57/seat, 12 hours)

5. Airpot tax leaving Ecuador (USD 204 for 5 persons)

6. Hostel at Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (USD 76.5/night for a room w/o bathroom and only a ceiling fan)

7. Tyrona National Park, Colombia, entrance fee of USD 14/person even babies which came out to be USD 70 for the whole family for just one day

LEAST EXPENSIVE THINGS

1. Riding on top of bus to view volcano eruption at night in Banos, Ecuador (USD 6 for the whole family, 2.5 hrs)

2. Climbing the Gothic Cathedral in Quito, Ecuador (USD 2 for Jon + 3 children)

3. A glass of combination fruit shake with 4 free refills at Ollantaytambo, Peru (USD 1)

4. Free playground with zip line at Banos, Ecuador (Free)

5. Night bus from Uyuni to Potosi, Boivia (USD 4/seat, 7 hours)

6. 5-in-1 island tour package in Puerto Lopez for USD100 (6 hours private boat that includes game fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and bird watching)

7. 3 days/2 nights 6088m summiting trip for the whole family for USD 220 at La Paz, Bolivia(including food, accomodation, equipments, ice climbing, guides)

MOST DISAPPOINTING

1. Canceling paragliding due to rain at Medellin, Colombia

2. After waiting for 3 hours, still not able to see the bull fight in Lima, Peru

3. Obstructed by clouds when trying to view volcano eruptions at Banos, Ecuador

4. When reaching highest points at two mountain passes during the Santa Cruz treak in Huaraz, Peru, clouds or snow storm obscured panaromic view of snow mountains

5. Not able to see Quilotoa Crater Lake most of the time while hiking at Quilotoa, Ecuador

6. Cloudy day for the trip to Islas Ballastas, Pisco, Peru

EXPERIENCING GOD

1. Finding Nathan's glasses under mud off the shore of Santa Marta, Colombia, 15 minutes after the glasses fell off from the boat even though the sun had set

2. After being rejected once, we were able to wait at the special line for pregnant women to go through custom allowing to make it 5 minutes before the plane's door closes in Quito, Ecuador

3. Meeting a retired missionary while dipping in hot springs in Banos, subsequently visiting the orphanage he built and the spiritual climate of Ecuador

4. While taking a sunrise walk high above the trees on wooden catwalks in the Amazon jungle, Jon felt confirmation to continue with dedicating his life to God’s service (Rm 14:7)

5. Annie met and encouraged Tanja, a Bolivian, twice at Lake Titicaca, which was an answer prayer to wanting to find a Bolivian who has a heart to pray for Bolivia

6. Felt the protection from the Lord when we were reminded that our passports did not get stamped when crossing from Colombia to Venezuela and subsequently having the help of many to go back and get our passports stamped

7. When Jon couldn't cross the stream in the dark back to the camp at 4300m next to Laguna Colorado, Bolivia, a motorcycle biker came out of no where and gave Jon a ride back

8. While walking behind waterfalls at Canaima Lagoon waterfall, Venezuela, we felt the awesome power of God and couldn't help but to praise him behind the falls

9. Sharing spiritual matters with Abel, our guide for the Santa Cruz treak at Huaraz, Peru, who is also a protestant, and translating the song "On Who's Side Are We Walking On" into Spanish

10. Annie and Alberto, a suvenior salesman, together co-wrote a Spanish song to bless Colombia at Playa Blanca, Cartagena, Colombia

11. We stumbled across a praise and worship evangelical service while looking for internet service in Latacunga, Ecuador and subsequently encouraged a Chinese restaurant worker to go

12. Meeting various strangers along our journey whom Annie prayed for.

"-EST" PLACES WE’VE BEEN TO IN SOUTH AMERICA

1. World's largest salt flat at 12,000 sq km and sits at 3653m - Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

2. World's highest city at 4060m - Potosi, Bolivia

3. World's highest navigable lake at 3820m which is 230km long and 97km wide - Lake Titicaca, straddling Bolivia and Peru

4. World's tallest waterfall at 979m about 16 times the height of Niagara Falls - Angel Falls, Venezuela

5. World's widest waterfall (non-continuous) at 2.7km wide with 275 falls ranging between 60-80m - Iguacu Falls straddling Argentina and Brazil

6. World's largest urban park in the world at 32km - Tijuca Forest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (one of the reason why Rio is so beautiful)

7. World's driest place with some places not receiving any recordable rainfall since recording began - Atacama Desert, Chile

8. World's largest river (and perhaps the longest) at 1/5 of all fresh river water in the world - Amazon River, Brazil

9. World's highest geyser field at 4350m - San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

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