Punta Arenas, Chile

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia/Perú

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The shore/pier of Copacabana, the main entry to Lake Titicaca from Bolivia.

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The welcoming Inca ruins on the Sun Island.

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Around the port city itself, the biggest attraction is climbing up a summit.

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On the Sun Island, one can spend around 2 days there, but if you go for a day tour, you’d only really have time to go up to observe the lake.

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The boats go to the Sun Island twice a day, and they take 1.5 hours each way. Nevertheless, it’s not really that far, the boats just go incredibly slowly.

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The only site you can get to (apart from the welcoming ruins) if you have only an hour on the Sun Island.

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But way before getting to the port, you already see the lake and actually have to cross a narrow channel. Everyone’s supposed to get off the bus to get a boat (with an extra charge), but I fell asleep and no-one woke me up.

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When the boats go back from the Sun Island to the port city, they stop by this palace for 15 minutes.

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The main church in the port city.

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The water was amazingly clear.

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I foolishly thought it was something that should be done on a day trip, when really it could have been 3-4 days. The Sun Island could be 2 days, then you go to the Moon Island for another day.

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And near the port city, there are several other sites as well, so that itself can be a day.

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The boats’ charges do not include the entrance to the Sun Island.

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Iguazu Fall, Argentina/Brazil/Paraguay

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Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, the biggest border town of the three.

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Puerto Iguazu in Argentina, the smallest one of the three.

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A border crossing between Brazil and Argentina on the Iguazu River.

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The Iguazu River between Brazil and Paraguay.

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Border crossing between Paraguay and Brazil.

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At the point of the “triborder”, each of the three countries has enacted one of these. This the Argentine one.

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The three flags from the Argentine side. There’s no direct border crossing between Argentina and Paraguay, perhaps partly due to the fact that this used to be Paraguayan territory.

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The Iguazu Falls are one of the largest falls in the world, and they are separated into hundreds of waterfalls.

The falls are located on the border between Brazil and Argentina – Brazil has most of the river, but the Argentines have the majority of the falls. Paraguay is not too far away from the falls.

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The river immediately after the major falls is more like a rapid. And this is literally an international border.

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The main falls from afar. The island in the middle is called San Martin yet somehow I couldn’t find the way to get there.

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I chose to stay in Argentina. It’s a small and quiet town that is more expensive than the other two, but safe and peaceful. Pictured here had something to do with the Virgin of London or something.

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On both sides, one has to go into the national park. The Argentinian park is much, much bigger and you can spend the entire day there.

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There are even two trains for you to get to places!

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To get to Paraguay, one needs to take a bus from the Brazilian park to the bus terminal, then change to another bus to the border. There, one can walk the friendship bridge to get to Paraguay. It’s all quite relaxed. It’s also possible to get a bus straight from the Argentine bus terminal to the border.

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In both parks, there are many bridges over and near the waterfalls.

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A popular activity is to pay extra for two-hour boat tour on the river. You’d take a truck from the entrance to the riverbank, then the boat would take you close to the falls.

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And eventually go under two different falls! Everyone would get completely wet as under the falls, the water isn’t just falling down, but it’s basically like a washing machine with water going towards every direction.

You’d get a bag to store all your stuff but you should really either wear only a swimming suit, or wear nothing but your rain poncho, as it’s impossible for you to keep your clothes underneath dry!

Whilst it’s 1200 Argentine pesos (and will certainly go up further when this is finally posted), I certainly recommend everyone to go for it. I’d say going under the big waterfall three times was the definite highlight of my trip there.

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The main attraction – the Devil’s throat – accessible only from Argentina. This picture doesn’t do it justice. You have to be there to see it in person.

The bridges’ space is limited and some areas are reserved for official photographs, so it’s better to go early and take the two trains up there directly before visiting anything else.

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The sign between Brazil and Paraguay.

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Seeing all three nations.

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As you can see, the falls generate a lot of water vapour.

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The border check between all three countries are very relaxed, and one can quite easily smuggle oneself into any of the three. They have freedom of movement for their citizens to begin with.

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They bite! The warnings were everywhere.

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One of the few historical buildings in the Argentine city.

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The bridge between Brazil and Paraguay.

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Paraguay wasn’t terribly interesting, but it’s not expensive to get there. Most people go there to shop, so there isn’t much for the average tourist to see.

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From the Brazilian side, the falls are mostly observed from afar.

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The Brazilian park costs basically the same but it’s considerably smaller – with all the transportation and walking time taken into account, you would not need more than 2-3 hours to see everything. That being said, you should still go.

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The Argentine side, as pictured above, also has tonnes of bridges over the river itself.

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The riverbank.

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Once again, the Devil’s Throat. It’s not particularly tall, but the volume was impressive.

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Argentines playing football despite crashing out of the World Cup.

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There are several hotels in the national parks themselves – this is the one in Brazil.

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The most impressive sight from the Brazilian side.

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That’s the close as you can get from the Brazilian side to the main falls.

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Correction: You can get as close as this, but the water vapour will be way too much for you to really see anything.

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At the end of the Brazilian park (which is more like a short hiking trail – you take a bus to the starting point) is this bridge. This is the highlight of the park as you get to get close to a waterfall (you’d get wet), and if you look enough from there, you maybe able to see the Devil’s Throat.

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My recommendation is that one should go to the Brazilian side first – it’s actually closer to get to even when you are staying in Argentina. It would sort of stimulate your appetite for it, then the next day you go to the Argentine park to see the “real thing”.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Buenos Aires is the capital of the big South American nation of Argentina (which doesn’t own The Falklands), with also a nickname “Paris of the South”.

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It’s an exceptionally beautiful city with strong European, rather than simply colonial, flavours.

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Although of course to me, its biggest attractions were all Eva “Evita” Peron-related.

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I legit enjoyed my time though, in spite of some guy selling socks hitting my head in front of their Senate. Not to mention they have issued an arrest warrant for Justin Bieber.

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Where Madonna made her speech.

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Karma!

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The Holy Father’s home country.

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Evita’s final resting place.

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Montevideo, Uruguay

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Montevideo is the somewhat small capital of the country Uruguay where there’s hardly anyone.

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I walked all the way to the big river. Very windy.

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They are called “Switzerland of the South”, and I did go after learning about its good placements on several rankings. But it was just really boring and most of their food seemed to be chips and big pieces of meat. I simply couldn’t see myself living there.

Santiago de Chile

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Santiago, officially Santiago de Chile, is the capital of the mountainous country of Chile. It’s likely the most developed Latin American city with additionally a good view of the Andes.

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Whilst there are modern buildings in the city, its pretty buildings are the colonial structures.

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As you can see, the modern buildings are all rather uneventful, ugly, and boring. They didn’t even seem to have different colours.

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The wonderful Andes as seen from an airplane.

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The castle in one side of downtown. I was really impressed as two dogs were walking alongside me for like half an hour to get here, just to defecate. Very disciplined.

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A university.

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Where President Allende took his own life.

Cajon de Maipo, Chile

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One obviously may not visit Chile without seeing some of its snowy mountains.

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Me with the Chilean flag. The guide only had this and the Brazilian flag.

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One good thing about Santiago is how accessible snowy mountains are from it, and in fact it’s not even that cold going up there.

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It’s an impressive scene.

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Valparaíso, Chile

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Valparaíso is a colonial city off the rough Pacific coast in Chile. After experiencing the pretty developed Santiago, this was a let down.

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I went mostly because Wikipedia said it’s the first city that faced globalization or something, which I guess meant there were massive trading going on.

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There’s a small hill going up, and it’s generally walkable.

Cusco and beyond, Perú

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Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and is now a base for tourists flocking to Machu Picchu.

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It’s got great food – this a bakery. But the alpaca and especially the fish were amazing.

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On top of that, there are numerous closer ruins such as this.

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Just a church.

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Or this.

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The town itself was likewise decent, even though someone did steal money from me. Their city flag is the rainbow flag.

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I was fine with the altitude, but of course had to try the local coca tea. Cocaine can be made from the leaves and thus it’s illegal in many countries.

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This was the town down the hill from Machu Picchu (now with the same name), used to be called Aguascalientes. I quite enjoyed my time there, even though things were costlier.

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Salty.

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It was almost independence day, so there were like 100 Peruvian flags in anticipation of the first Oxford-educated head of state or government to take power in the country.

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The temperature’s different down there.

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Inca irrigation system.

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Classic Inca big rocks.

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The town down from a temple on the hill.

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Machu Picchu, Perú

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Machu Picchu was the palace complex near the Incan capital Cusco, and is the main tourist draw for Perú.

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One must buy tickets online waaaay ahead of time as there’s a strict limit on how many people are allowed every day.

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Whilst it’s not big, it’s an insanely photogenic site.

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And you can always find a spot to take a photo when the people are looking small.

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You can also wander around and walk to other nearby sites…

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Such as this bridge.

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Or, have an audience with His Holiness The Dalai Llama. #freetibet #freetaiwan #freehongkong #macaucandowhattheywant

It’s fun chasing them around, but by far the best chance to get a photo with them is to let them steal your food. One of the llamas actually fell into a hole at one point and the big llama looked very worried.