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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 04-21-2018, 09:19 PM
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Admittedly, I had relatively limited time there (1.5 days). If I had a do over, while it is world famous, and I guess in a sense, a relatively impressive sculpture, I probably wouldn't do Christ the Redeemer. Granted, I'm biased because it was COMPLETELY shrouded in fog, so no view, nada. I did see views of higher mountains from below, but perhaps not as obviously as I would've liked. I think a major part of the appeal of the city really is the natural appeal, and so I would like to take that in more significantly next time.

To give you an idea, in really 4 streetscapes, these were what I got as an impression of Rio. Now, I know there are places, Santa Teresa, Leblon, heck even the favela near Leblon (Vidigal, I wanna say?), that have positive, bustling walkable aesthetic that would bust this narrative. And, I also know, there were probably other gems I missed, because as Rio was historically capital of the Portugese Empire, I'd guess there's at least some presence of this in the city:

But, in about 3/4 streetscapes, this was the impression Rio left me with:
1. https://www.google.com/maps/@-22.887...7i13312!8i6656


Going from the airport, over to the terminal, this was much of the view I saw: Now, take it FWIW, but I had never been in a major LatAm city before, and I guess I didn't know what to expect? I know views like this going into others among this group aren't uncommon. Since then though, I've gotten to Buenos Aires, Santiago and Mexico City, and never really saw much as shabby looking as this initial ride to the port at least in central parts. I must also say too, I have NEVER seen people drive like in Rio. That I don't think changes. Even drivers in Mexico City seem civil by comparison : ) I think much of this was preparing for World Cup/Olympics, and so it gave an unfairly poor impression of things. From looking at street view, it looks like the road from the airport to the center has been improved of late, and the port area, where a lot of things were covered up because they were being worked on (including museum renovations, as I was there in 2013), and so the waterfront area (Praca Maua), esp. with the Art Museum/Museum of Tomorrow open now, probably looks about 1,000 times better than it did when I was there.

Then, we went up through central/downtown (seeing where Carnival happens, and the Maracana), I do understand now that downtown, though much of things have not been preserved as well as other LatAm cities, is present, and I would like to check that part out, along with some nicer newer portions. But this view generally gives an idea of my impression of central areas: https://www.google.com/maps/@-22.908...7i13312!8i6656

Not terrible by any stretch, but it seems like a good number of buildings around there are brutalist in nature. Essentially: I wouldn't feel particularly strolling around there, but it's not especially "inviting me in" either, even compared to some Sun Belt American downtowns.

We also drove through Ipanema, and walked around Copacabana for an hour or so. If I'm being honest, grabbing a coconut along the boardwalk-ish stretch there near the Palace Hotel (I think?) and strolling was perhaps the highlight of our time in town. https://www.google.com/maps/@-22.966...7i13312!8i6656

That said, while the neighborhoods there, felt nicer, and safer, perhaps it was because we needed to come back in the evening or go to a different stretch, but nothing about the neighborhood atmosphere was super walkable (in terms of business density/blocks), impressive street atmosphere/bustle, or architectural character: This would be relatively indicative of what we saw: https://www.google.com/maps/@-22.978...7i13312!8i6656

Not bad at all, I suppose. I don't know what I was expecting, and maybe there's something about that style that needs to be appreciated, that I wasn't picking up on? But I guess from having been on a 10 hour flight to get down there, I was somehow expecting... more.

That said, I am sure that most of you do know Rio better than me, and I realize that two days is hardly fair to make a full determination. It's not necessarily at the top of my travel list, but, if whenever I'm in the Southern Portion of S.A. next, I really hope to give it another shake, maybe spend 3-4 days trying to hit some different areas in and around town, now that I have already been to most of the "tourist traps".
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Old 04-21-2018, 09:39 PM
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Here are some of the more historically/architecturally impressive places I remember from Santiago. I don't know if it actually does top Rio straight up, but in the full day we had in the city, we saw a number of places that were unlike what we saw in Rio (perhaps we just had too small a sample size of both though.



https://www.google.com/maps/@-33.439...7i13312!8i6656 I know it's probably just where I saw, but while this one wasn't that many lanes, it just felt... I don't know, neat. Orderly. More so than other road systems I had seen in LatAm.






Now... all this isn't necessarily to say that Santiago beats Rio in this regard... just that more of this seemed present to the immediate tourist's eye in Santiago, than in Rio. The other thing was that tourism in Rio seemed to be centered around taking visitors to a viewpoint (Christ or Sugarloaf) or lounging on beach. There wasn't a Hop on Hop off option describing any attractions.. in fact, it was news when one opened in 2016, surprising for such a well visited city: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/20...le-decker-bus/

Santiago on the other hand had one very obviously advertised and marked around town, taking visitors around to a number of attractions including the Pablo Neruda Museum and various other cathedrals/museums/neighborhoods/markets of significance. I'm sure there is that type of stuff in Rio, and now that I'm not traveling with my parents (I am WAY more open to and in fact prefer independent exploring), I would definitely seek to check it out. But the impression that Rio gave off from the way it marketed itself when I was there, was: Beaches and Funiculars! What else does one need? Santa Teresa, which looks like it would possibly be my favorite part of town, wasn't even mentioned as an afterthought by anyone we spoke with, local or otherwise.
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Old 04-21-2018, 10:20 PM
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Yes, from what I've seen and researched Santiago seems to be very interesting. I believe I'll appreciate it a lot.
I liked Rio very much, as I said before, it 's my favorite up to now.
I did not like Santa Teresa so much, the neighborhood is a bit decadent, but I liked many places of the city in general. I believe that the excessive number of street vendors in many parts of Rio turns it down a little , but still it is very interesting.
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Old 04-22-2018, 04:14 AM
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Out of curiosity, what parts of Rio would you like/recommend? The appeal of Santa Teresa to me is aesthetic in nature. I like the narrow cobbled streets and older architecture, and it just seems to look and feel more like a neighborhood, plus I like hilly and forested areas in cities and it seems to have both those qualities, giving it a more distinctive streetscape. That said, I would appreciate hearing regarding places you enjoyed most while there.

As per excessive street vendors, what was it that you found unappealing about them? I don’t like if they are excessive in harassing passer by to buy thing, but generally I like street vendors. Maybe it was just the time I went or where I went in town, but I didn’t find many streets that were excessively packed or anything.. I love a city atmosphere where a street is so crowded you can’t even make your way around on foot... Buenos Aires seemed to have WAY more foot traffic to me
Than Rio... but I’m
Not sure.
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:57 PM
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I liked Flamengo (except for Catete St. that is absolutely packed by streets vendors), Urca, Ipanema and Leblon. I also liked Downtown and Copacabana but like I said the excessive presence of them turned it a little down. These vendors in Brazil are not "touristic".
Santa Teresa had a decadent looking, the impression I got from Buenos Aires, that you said you like. So maybe you will like it too. Urca is the kind of place that you would love.
You should also visit Petrópolis and/or Paraty.
I've seen pictures from some B&B in Santa Teresa with astonishing views, I believe they're the perfect choice for you.
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Old 04-22-2018, 02:17 PM
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This video clip was made by a friend's friend that lived in Rio. I thought it amazing how he caught the festive spirit of the city!

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Old 04-22-2018, 11:45 PM
Location: London, UK
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I saw the whole video. A little bit too cliché for my liking. It might just be my perception but I get the sense that Rio and some of wider Brazil is experiencing a bit of an identity crisis at the moment. The exotic glamour of old Rio seems to be dissipating into a watered down version of itself.
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:48 AM
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Hate to break to you, but Montevideo is clearly a more visited city than Santiago...
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:07 AM
Location: London, UK
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Originally Posted by Daywalk View Post
Hate to break to you, but Montevideo is clearly a more visited city than Santiago...
That Mastercard data is misleading. They count all domestic landings, including layovers from foreign nationals so if a country only has one main city with one main hub i.e. Lima, then the figures are not representative of real arrivals.

Montevideo is also just a ferry ride across the water from Buenos Aires. If that were the case then Tijuana would be more touristy than San Francisco, which is obviously not the case.
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:56 PM
Location: London, UK
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FITB Bogota = Largest Theatre Festival in the World (arguably). 30+ countries represented, hundreds of theatre productions, 3,500+ actors.

3 Mundos by Juan Diego Castillo Ramírez, on Flickr

by Carlos Augusto Botero Losada, on Flickr

malaya holanda by m v, on Flickr
Tributo a Led Zeppelin by Vive.in Bogotá, on Flickr

Bogota teatro wiki by Pueblo Fuerte, on Flickr
Lluvia de Violines by Carlos Torres, on Flickr

Desfile Inaugural FITB MAR17/18 by Elbis Estid Bonilla Bonilla, on Flickr
Desfile FITB 2016 by Gabriel Guerrero, on Flickr

IMG_1412 by Stéphane Viallon, on Flickr
Fantasmas by La Gata Cirko, on Flickr

_1030905 -dev by des hill (london), on Flickr

Traje las luces by Olmo Torres, on Flickr

Teatro Bogota 3_368 by Pueblo Fuerte, on Flickr

iberoamericano teatro 2010 reciclarte62 by Reciclarte Colombia, on Flickr

Teatro Jorge Eliecer Gaitan by Pueblo Fuerte, on Flickr

FITB2016 by Andres Felipe Ochoa, on Flickr

Milonga Swing by Claudia Pino, on Flickr

Aphrodita y el Juicio de Paris - La fura del Baus by Gabriel Guerrero, on Flickr

Untitled by Fabián Aguilar Restrepo, on Flickr

Ballet de Zürich by Juan Diego Castillo Ramírez, on Flickr
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