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View Poll Results: Best South American city for visitors/that you most want to visit?
Bogota 5 19.23%
Buenos Aires 10 38.46%
Lima 3 11.54%
Rio de Janeiro 11 42.31%
Santiago 3 11.54%
Sao Paulo 7 26.92%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-14-2018, 03:37 AM
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To PF, thank you for posting the links and additional info about Bogota! To answer your question about Mexico City, the main tourist centers and popular local areas even have a white washed look to them, where you feel more you are in like a European or American city than LatAm from what I found.. honestly. So much modern and unique design on the high rises along the Paseo than what would be found in probably any American city as a pct., though. Those videos are interesting of that Chapinero area.. looks like kind of a cool area, perhaps a little more chilled out than Candelaria but yet more authentic than somewhere like Zona T, looks like a fascinating place to hang out. The article was very interesting-the part about having phones out I will be aware of, but at same time, I think my biggest thing is I will try to stay where there are at least a few people around on the street, I generally feel quite safe almost anywhere when that is the case. Maybe even finding some local groups/meet ups with which to pursue some of our sightseeing around city center or natural areas. For example, is there perhaps a Bogota Hiking Group (you don't have to check, I will look into that before I plan to go.)? Besides the general familiarity of being around with people who know where to go, etc., it would generally be cool just to meet people and develop a better feel for local life while there. It intrigues me more than the other cities in Colombia (A) as a cultural magnet as you mention (B) because I love mountains, and (C) just generally as a hub city, that while it certainly has some interesting areas, it also isn't necessarily trying to cater ALL of them to American Tourists. What I'm seeing (at various class levels) is directly what the city has to offer. Something you didn't touch on (and I DID see a Juan Valdez Café and a Starbucks along his walk, which is not a bad thing, but,) how is the LOCAL coffee culture in Bogota? I feel like it has the potential to have the best coffee culture of any city in the world, given the fact that A) it is located in an elite coffee producing nation, and B) that it has a cityscape in certain areas, along with a culture and an economy which can some degree support one. A few places offer one of those factors, but not too many offer both. I saw there was a day trip to a smaller coffee plantation from town though from what I gather, most of the larger ones are concentrated at a certain elevation, within a few hours of Medellin.
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Warszawa View Post
1. The warmth of the people. Biggest plus it has over either. Peruvians are really friendly and open to travelers. They will recommend you spots to visit, invite you to parties, teach you how to dance, etc. If you speak decent Spanish you can make lifelong friends here

2. The food. Just amazing. Along with NYC, Lima has the most impressive cuisine of any city I've seen. And when it comes to seafood, even NYC can't compare

3. Affordability, Lima is really really cheap

4. Nightlife. Peruvians know how to party, and there are some really cool bars in Barranco. Many bars have a
more relaxed hippie vibe, which is a nice change
Good to hear this! See, I knew the mountains and natural scenery not too far off, coastline, neighborhoods, and even pyramid site within the city, would be to my liking, however, I wouldn't have otherwise known these aspects of the city also, so thank you! Earlier on, I would have said that Cusco would be head and shoulders above any other city in South America that I haven't yet visited, but with that said, if I don't do justice to Bogota and Lima, two cities that are well closer to me than anywhere in Europe (I feel they are almost in my backyard, being in FL!), I know that my list will almost certainly feel incomplete, in fact it's possible I will like one or both of those better!

A note to you on weather, is it really all that bad, or just like Bogota, a rude awakening to someone expecting warm and tropical weather? I mean, I look at the climate data on Wikipedia, and it shows not a single month exceeding an avg. high of 79 (26 C I think) and not a single month with an average low going below 59 (16 C). That seems phenomenal, but perhaps rain or grayness or whatever else hinders it some.
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:53 AM
Location: London, UK
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No prob cavsfan. I'm more of a simpleton when it comes to coffee, I'm happy with a traditional tinto (black coffee) with panela (unrefined sugar) straight from the sugar cane. All of this flat white, mocha, poka, loca stuff I'm just not into although I know of some local hipster cafes that have sprung up around Bogota and most major cities in Colombia.

If you want coffee go to the source, you need to go to the coffee region! Where they roast it and prepare it in many ways right there on the spot in thousands of traditional farms with the picturesque wooden wraparound varandas. Colombia is a very decentralised country, Bogota concentrates 23% of the national economy in contrast to Santiago that concentrates 44% of Chile's national GDP and Lima that concentrates 52%. This means that unlike Chile or Peru there are plenty of cheap, direct flight routes between intermediate cities instead of having to do layovers in Lima or Santiago.

For the same price as your round-trip you can use a wasted return flight back and do a loop instead. FL has a direct route to the city of Armenia in the heart of coffee country for <$140 bucks (Spirit), you can then fly to Bogota for $30 bucks (Viva) and fly back to FL for <$200 bucks (Viva); total: $370. Hey you can even add Medellin or Cartagena and fly direct back to FL from there to complete the $400 rtn.

The coffee country cities Manizales, Pereira and Armenia are still a good 5-6 hours south from Medellin but they are great cities to visit. The coffee towns around Armenia are absolutely beautiful and the state of Quindio of which Armenia is capital is so tranquil and safe. Towns like Salento and the stunning Cocora Valley, Filandia, Buenavista and Pijao, the only slow foods awarded town in South America. The coffee from Buenavista also won the best coffee producer last year! The last video I posted of the youtuber Marshall Powell from Seattle said Armenia was his favourite city in Colombia. So much to see and do in the region you can drive up to the snow line of the Ruiz Volcano from Manizales and see some lunar-like landscapes and go to the Santa Rosa thermal baths from Pereira with beautiful waterfalls surrounding you. To give you an idea of scale Pereira is the biggest & Colombia's 8th largest city, Manizales is 11th and Armenia is the smallest ranked 18th nationally. They are each a 40 minute drive from each other and good service of buses even to the small coffee towns.


Salento (Quindio)

Armenia (Quindio)

Manizales (Caldas)

Manizales is considered the "most Spanish" city (culturally) in Colombia and is a university town. It's cloudier and drizzles even more than Bogota so be prepared.

Last edited by Pueblofuerte; 04-14-2018 at 06:16 AM..
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Old 04-14-2018, 07:58 AM
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I'm not so much concerned about that (latte, flat white, etc.), as I am the beans used, etc. The best coffee, far and away I have had so far in my life, was straight black coffee roasted from a clay pot at Café El Jarocho, in the Coyoacan district of Mexico City (beans were from mountainous Veracruz region). Probably 2nd best was similar blend with touch of I believe local cinnamon, from our hotel. It's all about freshness for me. I figured spots like that with a cool décor/atmosphere might be more ubiquitous around Bogota than Mexico City, but I totally agree, there's nothing like hitting the smaller towns around there that you mention. Plus the other cities. Thank you for providing such a wealth of knowledge about the diverse mix of cities and landscapes around the country, I think that decentralization bodes well for the economic health of the entire country compared to others going forward. Looks like when I go I'll at very least have to combine with one of the other cities.. or just do a month trip with a couple weeks each in Colombia and Peru... or best of all, convince my wife for us to move down and seek temporary work somewhere for a year or two lol.
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:30 AM
Location: London, UK
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Lol you don't want to move, the dollar is king and you can live wonderful experiences at the current exchange rates.

I think a 5 day long weekend is just about enough to cram in a bit of Bogota and coffee country. Tight but doable and for <$400 rtn what are you waiting for? I'm jealous, I wish I was in FL right now. Lol.
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:59 AM
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The only reason I'd be hesitant to hit two spots within 5 days is then I don't know if with two travel days (albeit short ones), that we'd then have enough time to relax into/truly get a feel for the place, then again I get a know that the coffee towns are manageably sized. It is certainly next on our list! We just did our Spring Break trip to Mexico City, and to start the summer, we are doing a couple weeks to the Far East (checking out Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beijing). Before too long I suppose the plan is to get a house, start a family, etc., and so my thing was I wanted to take a few major trips before we were too settled or had too many bills LOL. FL has pretty good weather right now, but I'll be wishing for London's climate in about a month or so! : )
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:55 PM
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I wanna visit all of them. I'm going to Bogotá next month and will hopefully visit the other 5 within a year or so. Bogotá has the best museums in the country and from what I've read, great food and nightlife so I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

Rio and Buenos Aires would probably be the best two cities for visitors (they are the two most visited cities in South America for a reason). The natural beauty and unique culture of Rio puts it on top for me, although Buenos Aires' architecture and culture is impressive as well. Lima seems like a smaller version of Mexico City, my favorite city in the world (friendly people, great food, historical significance, decent weather, etc) so I'm sure I'd enjoy it. São Paulo lacks the attractions that the other three have but makes up for it by being as close to NYC as the continent gets. Santiago doesn't really have any must-see attractions, but it's safe and clean and should be able to satisfy someone for a few days.

My personal ranking:

1. Rio de Janeiro
2. São Paulo/Buenos Aires
4. Lima/Bogotá
6. Santiago
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:07 PM
Location: London, UK
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Originally Posted by cavsfan137 View Post
The only reason I'd be hesitant to hit two spots within 5 days is then I don't know if with two travel days (albeit short ones), that we'd then have enough time to relax into/truly get a feel for the place, then again I get a know that the coffee towns are manageably sized.
Yes, but <$400 rtn though? And good air b&b's are like $45 bucks a night for both of you. For flights & accom I doubt you'll go much over the $500 mark.

Ok, excuse me but I'm going to do a quick itinerary for you, lol and fantasise that I'm going myself.

Thu: Spirit flight 10:45am FL - Armenia 1:20pm = $147.39 + $30 checked bag 40lb
: AirB&B with wifi 2 nights near the main avenue, 14th Av. (AKA 'La Cotorce' or 'Avenida Bolivar') = $84 https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/21491092?s=51 (street view where I've chosen apartment: https://goo.gl/maps/xb8RAJFUmXU2).
: Uber Airport-Apartment COP$16.000 pesos (US$6 dollars) https://www.uber.com/en-GB/fare-estimate/
: Walk all of 14th Av. (La Catorce) from the Quimbaya Gold Museum to Plaza Bolivar no issues 3½ mile walk https://goo.gl/maps/JJ9gMhB9gqk (½mile is completely pedestrianised) or take Tinto buses COP$1.800 (0.65¢), your stop would be 'Hospital de Zona', You're served by most routes here: .TINTO.Lo tomamos con orgullo..
: Get your Claro Sim card for data/whatsapp/GPS, there's an official Claro store on pedestrianised part of 14th Ave here: https://goo.gl/maps/oUUqBhhJF3y or closer to the apartment (like 3 blocks) in the Portal del Quindio mall https://goo.gl/maps/tmF8PwwDSuC2 or you can check in the supermarkets.
: Dinner/coffee at Cafe Casa Quimbaya (on your doorstep) https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restau...epartment.html but plenty of other options also. Or you could try Container City for various options on 6th Av. (Avenida Centenario). https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restau...epartment.html

Fri: Bus to Main bus terminal 0.65¢ x 2 OR you could rent a car from US$33/day https://www.localizahertz.com/others...Criptografado=
The roads in the coffee region are in great condition and mainly dual carriageways, you can see for yourself on Google street view. https://goo.gl/maps/6Vtv3kYDBmK2
* : Bus from main terminal to village of Buenavista there are 2 companies Coomoquin and Nuevo Rapido Quindio. Both charge the same price each way COP$5.400 (US$2) link for times, (there's an english translator option): Información al Viajero .:. Terminal de Transportes de Armenia S.A.
: Visit the 2017 award winning coffee village of Buenavista. Specifically it was the producer Eduardo Villota of Café San Alberto that won the award San Alberto You can see Tripadvisor reviews here: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attrac...epartment.html
: Take a Jeep willyx from the central plaza upto the look out point an walk to the three crosses - beautiful!
: Carry on from Buenavista to the town of Pijao, only slow foods town in South America; a 26 minute drive. One of the many iconic Jeep Willys of the region can take you, ask around in the plaza - or maybe an uber? About 25k pesos or US$9 dollars.
I found an informative blog about Pijao and Buenavista - maybe you wish to opt for a half day tour instead as these guys did. http://travelonthedollar.com/colombi...ao-buenavista/
Prices seem to have gone up though but you could always contact them via whatsapp (whatsapp is bigger than email in Colombia, even a response on facebook is more common than email response) see if there is any wiggle room on price. https://www.experienciacafetera.com/...up-coffee-tour
: Back to apartment in Armenia (night out on the town?) Better idea to rest for Salento + Cocora Valley trek tomorrow.

Sat: *Avianca Flight 8:35pm Armenia - Bogota 9:30pm COP$124.580 ($US45) 1 hand luggage 22lb + 1 checked bag 50lb allowed at no extra cost. Make sure you book on the Colombia Avianca site in pesos as international site is twice the price. Avianca policy of at least 1 hour at check-in desk before flight required on domestic routes. https://www.avianca.com/co/en/
Plenty of time before flight but you may want to store your luggage in the bus terminal before heading to Salento. They have a facebook page and number https://www.facebook.com/GuardaEquip...1152118316648/
: Bus from Apartment to main terminal (0.65¢ x 2), then bus to town of Salento offered by 2 diferent companies than before, Cootracir and Express Alcalá - there's a bus every 15 minutes. Both charge COP$4.500 each way (US$1.65). Timetable link again: Información al Viajero .:. Terminal de Transportes de Armenia S.A.
: Explore town, wonderful arts&crafts street of calle real & climb the steps upto the lookout point at the end of the street.
: Take a shared jeep willyx to the Cocora Valley (I like to hang off the side wind in my face lol - or sit ontop if they let me) Info on prices and times here: https://www.goatsontheroad.com/hikin...or-travellers/ and here The Plantation House Salento - Transport to Cocora Try and get the 9am/10:30am Jeep at the latest so that you can return on the 2pm one.
: Do a 4-5 hour trek around the Cocora valley, no guide needed again I reference the same lonely planet blog https://www.goatsontheroad.com/hikin...or-travellers/
: Have lunch in town, maybe at 'Etnia Arte y Sabor' https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restau...epartment.html
: Catch the bus back to Armenia before 5pm so that you can be in Armenia by 6pm, you'll easily be in the airport by 7pm - which is more than fine. In fact my times are earing on the side of caution you could potentially get the 4pm jeep back to Salento and skip lunch for more treking/nature time.
: Uber from Armenia bus terminal to El Eden Airport COP$28.000 (US$10) - It's always more to go to the airport than leave the airport, don't know why.
: 8:35pm flight to Bogota.
AirB&B wifi 2 nights right on the parque 93 where you wanted, perfect for a cheeky night out on a Sat night before bed = US$96 https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/22064...-21&s=3uiLhdsW Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/zPgv4RrRmH92
What music do you like? Maybe I can find a great gig for you, my speciality
: Taxi to Airb&b - Bogota airport has a great vetting/ticketing system that tells you how much your taxi will cost beforehand. Approx. COP$35.000 (US$12) to Parque 93.

Sun: Rise & Shine (probably not shine in Bogota) for Ciclovia!
: Leave the apartment by 10am and walk 5 minutes along 11th Ave. to get your bike from MUVO, LatAm's 1st e-bike sharing sytem. Download the app: https://muvo.bike/?lang=en, Here's the 5 minute walk to your nearest MUVO garage ('City Parking'):https://goo.gl/maps/WZ7uC2hjdUm COP$3.000/30 mins. (US$1), this is the spot to collect your bike on street view: https://goo.gl/maps/fLKzsj9ge2z
: Cycle along 7th Ave to Sunday's Flea market in Usaquen Plaza. Usaquen was a colonial town to the north of Bogota that was swallowed up in the 50's as the city grew northwards. It's 2 miles, so 45 mins walking, maybe 15 mins cycling? Here's the route from the MUVO garage: https://goo.gl/maps/u3cJ5Bc1H7M2
: Usaquen is full of great restaurants and street food on Sundays so enjoy a hearty brunch!
: Get back on your bike and head to the gold museum along the ciclovia. It's over 7 miles so you're probably not going to want to do it by bike. In any case the furthest south MUVA garage is on 72nd street 3½ miles along 7th Ave. (La Septima) a good half hour+ by bike, Here's the route: https://goo.gl/maps/jbQHGn4vEeo
: Exact MUVO garage ('City Parking') spot on street view https://goo.gl/maps/jbQHGn4vEeo
: Probably best as the ciclovia closes at 2pm anyway. The gold museum closes at 4pm so try to arrive by 3pm, the museum is closed monday. Prob. best to take uber/taxi (useful aps Tappsi/Easy Taxi) Approx. COP$10.000 (US$3.70).
: Gold Museum - FREE ENTRANCE on Sundays!
: Walk around La Candelaria; Chorro de Quevedo, Callejon del Embudo, Iglesia del Carmen, Plaza Bolivar, Casa de Narino all that good stuff.
: Cable car (last 4:30pm) or Funicular (last 6:30pm) to/from Monserate COP$6.000 (US$2)
: Dinner at Andres DC near the apartment, a bit of a cliche but a sort of must in Bogota https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restau...es-Bogota.html Uber from Monserrate COP$15.000 (US$5.50)

Mon Spirit flight 1:55pm Bogota - FLL 6:49pm = $167.88 + $30 checked bag 40lb
Check-out of the apartment is at 1pm so you have some time to enjoy Bogota in the morning.
: Get up early (7am) and do the Quebrada la Vieja trek from Rosales neighbourhood the entrance/exit opens 5am, closes at 10am...you can choose between these 2 treks - wonderful energy, wonderful air, last video is the shorter trek. Google view: https://goo.gl/maps/gCYUVEXMmiM2 Route: https://goo.gl/maps/WsZogo3xSUU2

: Trek down, uber to apartment, uber to airport, leave apartment by 11:15am latest to get to airport on time. COP$8.000, then COP$40.000 = COP$48.000 (US$18).
: 1.55pm flight to FL.

So that's US$480.27 dollars per person including all flights + accommodation + 40lb checked bag; 2 cities (2 Andean sub-cultures), 2 coffee towns, 1 village, 4 iconic Bogota neighbourhoods, 2 treks, 5 days.
Thank me later.

Last edited by Pueblofuerte; 04-15-2018 at 07:43 PM..
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:14 PM
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This looks EPIC. I do appreciate that! At whatever point I do get to Bogota (perhaps in the fall?!) that will be my plan : ) thanks again! As per Music, I really like any, I am not particularly picky. I’m sure any venue we find would be distinctive from what can be seen in the states.

Last edited by cavsfan137; 04-15-2018 at 08:06 PM..
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by usuariodeldia View Post
My ranking would be :

1) Buenos Aires, beautiful city and culture, good public transport, but the people aren't that friendly.
2) Bogota, very friendly people, beautiful landscape and great nightlife and malls, but the weather and PT suck
3) Rio de Janeiro, stunning city, great beaches and people are fun but can be expensive and dangerous
4) Lima, beautiful town centre and great cuisine, but can be dodgy as, and the city is not memorable itself
5) Sao Paulo, the biggest city in South America, multicultural, but it is just a big city (PLUS a bit dangerous too), I rather go to NYC, Tokyo, etc
6) Santiago de Chile, VERY BORING CITY, but it is the safest city and most developed city in the region, perhaps that's why.

I choose Buenos Aires and Bogota, also these are other nice cities too:
Cartajena and Medellin in Columbia
Montañita in Ecuador
Valparaiso in Chile
Mendoza in Argentina
Cuzco in Peru

Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are really close and cheap by airplain. If you have at least 10 days I recomend you visit all them. Three days in Bs As, two days in Sampa and five days in Rio.
From Bs As to Sampa 2:30 hour (USD 100). From Sampa to Rio 0:40 minutes (USD 30).
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