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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 04-12-2018, 05:14 PM
 
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Choose Two!

So, those involved (and my perception of their strong features) include:

Bogota (Colombia)
-Weekly Events (Ciclovia/Markets/Etc.)
-Hipsterness/Edginess
-Mountains (Most significant near the city)
-Access (3-4 hr. flight for me, <$400 RT Flight)
Overall: Haven't been yet, but the one that I'd be most likely to take a 4-5 day weekend to.

Buenos Aires (Argentina)
-Historic Architecture/Neighborhoods
-Street Life (Tango/Buskers/Etc.)
-High Culture/Artsiness
-Walkability (Boulevards/Parks/Etc. are Charming)
Overall: Favorite South American city I've been to thus far, though I don't when I'll return because it's a long/expensive trip, and I place Mexico City (way cheaper and only a 3 hr. trip), even higher yet.

Lima (Peru)
-Food (Not a small factor)
-Safety (From what I have heard, at least)
-Layered History (Centuries of European as well as Pre Columbian, right within the city)
-Climate (From looking at numbers, at least)
Overall: I think if/when I do visit here, it will become my favorite. It's no longer a flight than the US West Coast, and seems to have a little of everything. That said, Cusco and Iquitos may be higher yet on my list, even though they aren't "major" per se.

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
-Beaches/Coastline (Immediate setting in general is near tops in world)
-Nightlife (Didn't experience, but I have heard it is outstandingly vibrant in places)
-Sports (Mainly futbol, but would enjoy experiencing an event at Olympic Stadium or Maracanã)
-Distinctiveness (Perhaps doing more things that would be out of my comfort zone if I ever return here)
Overall: I honestly wasn't a fan, at all when I visited. Viewlines were awesome, but, getting into the nature here didn't seem as user friendly as in some cities, and outside of that, it didn't seem like there was all that much to see attraction or local event-wise outside of that.. Also felt very walker unfriendly compared to most cities I've been, even in Copacabana and CBD, buildings and streetscapes generally didn't seem to lend themselves to pedestrians very well, at all. I would be willing to give it a second chance though, I'm sure people love it for a reason.

Santiago (Chile)
-Surrounding Scenery/Activities (Possibly unmatched in the world for a city's natural offerings within 100 or so km. Having Valparaiso so close would seem to be a blessing as a combination, too.)
-Architecture (Modern): This might be a reach compared to other places on this list, but I did see some super cool modern buildings around town, and while it's not the biggest skyline, compared to S.P., I think it may be prettier than any other. It's a newer city than most on this list.
-Economy: I believe wealthiest per capita in LatAm. Also quite safe, though the central touristic parts felt more rough around the edges than in a number of LatAm cities I've visited.
-Roads: Another random one I'm uncertain about, but they seemed to be in the best condition of any LatAm Metro I've visited.
Overall: The city itself is reasonably cool enough, though perhaps not as impressive or happening as other cities of a similar or smaller size. It may be more walkable and have more architectural/historical heritage than say Rio, but loses by a good bit in that regard compared to Buenos Aires. It is truly the city's astounding natural surroundings that make it a world class region for visitors though. Because of that mainly, it's the one of these three I've visited that I would be most apt to return to.

Sao Paulo (Brazil)
-Skyline (Stunning and Endless Looking.. Probably a city that isn't easy to figure out, but has a lot to offer all around if you do)
-Importance (Wealthiest in all of Latin America and 6th in the World in that regard if measuring by PPP. A giant.)
-Diversity (Has the global diaspora of Italians, Japanese, and Arabs outside of their respective regions, I believe.)
-Shopping (This was the one I thought of, because I was gonna say something like transport or airport. By sheer size, SP will probably win a few other categories like this, too.)
Overall: I don't think this is a city that would be a main stopping point of a trip, but considering it's sheer influence and importance, it is one high on my list to hit at some point for a few days, en route to a place like Foz do Iguacu.

So what are your thoughts? I voted for Buenos Aires because that was my favorite I visited, and Lima because it seems to have a number of things going for it.. but with that said, each place has it's strengths and pitfalls.
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Old 04-12-2018, 05:23 PM
 
Location: London, UK
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To be fair I have a soft spot for Bogota but most travellers prefer other cities in Colombia, it's just not what most people expect plus the weather is miserable, I'm from London so I'm used to cloud & rain but most people want to escape that when going to South America.

Of all I really want to visit Sao Paulo. I think it's diversity is unparalleled in South America. Just seems really vibrant.

Buenos Aires too for architecture and nightlife.
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pueblofuerte View Post
To be fair I have a soft spot for Bogota but most travellers prefer other cities in Colombia, it's just not what most people expect plus the weather is miserable, I'm from London so I'm used to cloud & rain but most people want to escape that when going to South America.

Of all I really want to visit Sao Paulo. I think it's diversity is unparalleled in South America. Just seems really vibrant.

Buenos Aires too for architecture and nightlife.
How is it different from what people expect? Elevation/Size/Cold aside? I like the cold, so that’s perfect for me too, actually. What do you like the most about it? And is safety generally more of a concern than it would be coming from other places? I want to visit at some point with how close it is to me. But I’m not sure how much I would need to be aware-especially minimally speaking the language and with fair skin.

I agree with your assessment of São Paulo, too.
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:54 PM
 
Location: NYntarctica
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I've been to three of those. Despite the architecture and the development level of the latter two, Lima is a lot more memorable than Buenos Aires or Santiago imo, and should be on any visitor's list. One of the most underrated cities in the world
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warszawa View Post
I've been to three of those. Despite the architecture and the development level of the latter two, Lima is a lot more memorable than Buenos Aires or Santiago imo, and should be on any visitor's list. One of the most underrated cities in the world
How are the beaches in Lima? That is one thing it has over Santiago and Buenos Aires.
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Old 04-12-2018, 11:20 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, Commonwealth of Virginia
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I've been to 4 of these. I would rank them:
1) Buenos Aires
2) Lima
3) Bogota
4) Santiago (if you include Valparaiso, it shoots up to #2)

I found Lima and Bogota similar, except Lima has great weather and Bogota is rainy, cloudy, boring and depressing. I find Bogota's intellectual/hip vibe to be more interesting, but Lima's old town is far more beautiful.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warszawa View Post
I've been to three of those. Despite the architecture and the development level of the latter two, Lima is a lot more memorable than Buenos Aires or Santiago imo, and should be on any visitor's list. One of the most underrated cities in the world
What aspects of Lima would you describe as most memorable or impressive?
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:25 AM
 
Location: London, UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavsfan137 View Post
How is it different from what people expect? Elevation/Size/Cold aside? I like the cold, so that’s perfect for me too, actually. What do you like the most about it?
Coincidentally there's actually a nice article in the NY Times regarding this subject hot of the press posted a couple of days ago. I'll see if I can find it.

What I like about bogota?...

1. Gig culture. Coming from the UK I obviously love music and not just the music but music history and gig culture. The Bogota music scene is booming like swinging 60's London. There are internationally recognised & award winning jazz bands, the dub scene is hot! Bogota is a rock town so plenty of small rock bars with craft beers, folk music from all over Colombia is showcased in both pure and modern electronic forms, African soukous & afrobeat are experiencing revivals and a really exciting new underground movement called Selva Techno is taking hold. You also have your staple latin crossover scene as well. If you're into your music you can never be bored in Bogota.

2. Theatre. There is a lot of great independent theatre pieces around the city especially in Teatro Colón, Teatro Gaitan and Julio Santodomingo. Bogota is host to arguably the biggest theatre festival in the world. If you don't know much Spanish go for the more music focused pieces.

3. Boyacá. Just north of Bogota is the picturesque state of Boyacá. It's full of mountains, colonial towns, páramo forests and even a white sandy beach on a turquoise Andean lake (Lake Tota). It can be colder than Bogota so take your ruana. Easy enough & cheap to get to from the Portal Norte transmilenio station.

4. Hiking. Many places have beautiful backdrops but in Bogota you can literally start hiking the Andean forests from your doorstep, especially if you book airb&b in or near Rosales neighbourhood which is near the main nightlife/restaurant areas anyway. Chingaza national park, Sumapaz & La Chorera waterfall are all musts for me.

5. Llanos. Usually overlooked but the scenery alone from Bogota to Villavicencio in the Llanos is worth the trip. You'really literally dropping 2.5 km from Andes to near sea level on the plains. You're traversing over steep valleys, in one tunnel and out the next like you're driving through a tropical Switzerland. Villavicencio itself is nothing to write home about but further on to Puerto Lopez is the true Llano. Being able to be in what resembles the Serengetti in Tanzania one minute from what looked like the Scottish highlands in Chingaza/Sumapaz within 2-3 hours of each other is pretty mind blowing.

6. Food. Bogota is no Lima but there are several must visit restaurants. Remember Colombia has Caribbean, Amazon, Pacific, Andes and Savanah (Llanos) so the produce is there but Bogota is still in a Bogota mind set and is only just beginning to accept stuff from the other regions. I highly recommend mini-mal in Chapinero Alto. It's a mid+ range restaurant that has afro-Colombian Pacific coastal food at its base but fuses it with modern culimary techniques. So good! Sometimes they have some Amazonia stuff as well depending on availability.

As for safety, 6.5 million foreign arrivals in 2017 compared to 400 thousand in 2002 and a top 20 most visited destination from the US should tell you all you need to know. Plenty of fair skin people especially in North Bogota so no real problem there (unless you'really really tall you won't stand out much). If you've done Rio you can do Bogota in your stride and that includes Boyacá, Llanos is less used to tourists but should be fine now also.
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:57 AM
 
Location: London, UK
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Llanos (Savannah)

Here's a little bit of Selva Techno..




Boyacá


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Old 04-13-2018, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,688 posts, read 34,684,028 times
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I've been to 5 of them.

Beunos Aires - I just remember really long boulevards, that were very wide, and not so easy to cross. It had a bit of a grand scale feel, in places anyway. Avenida Florida was another area I remember, which was a very long avenida, more narrow and pedestrian-focused, with a ton of shops everywhere. I liked it.

Lima - I mostly remember sitting in a plaza listening to some musicians. One of the musicians came up and asked me if I wanted to have a beer, I said sure, he said give him a couple dollars, and he'll run and buy us two beers....I gave him a couple dollars, and he disappeared. I also remember seeing Peruvians with a wide range of attributes that I didn't expect. From Japanese-Peruvian girls to blond surfer types that looked like they could have been from Australia or California, as opposed to Peru. They also had one of the better nightlife of the Spanish-speaking world. Granted, I never made it to Colombia. Brazil blew everywhere out of the water for nightlife, but Lima was the best for me, among the spanish-speaking South America world - again, I saw all of the major cities in South America, except for Colombia.

Rio de Janeiro - I loved Brazil. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, beautiful beaches, beautiful people. Also a lot of crime and other issues, but I was glad to be able to spend two months there.

Santiago - I found it dull and boring. It has a much provincial feeling that I suspected. Nice plazas throughout the city though.

Sao Paulo - like New York City, but South American style. Loved living in Sao Paulo.
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