Move over New York – Buenos Aires is the city that really never sleeps. Argentines eat dinner at 10pm and don’t go out to drink and dance until at least midnight.
After breakfast in your Buenos Aires hotel you should head out to explore this huge city.
For a first time visitor, Buenos Aires can be overwhelming, as the city is packed with hundreds of excellent restaurants, dozens of museums, art galleries, and on-going exhibitions.
You should start by making your way to Plaza Mayo, which is where Casa Rosada and the Central Cathedral is located, and was the famous place where Eva Peron spoke to crowds before her death.
From Plaza Mayo you can head up Av. Diagonal Norte to Plaza de la Republic, which is graced by the grand Obelisk. Av. 9 de Julio, the largest avenue in the world, cuts through the heart of Buenos Aires.
By this time, you’re probably thinking about lunch. Nearly every street corner in Buenos Aires has a gourmet restaurant. If you walk up Av. Honduras towards Palermo Hollywood you will find plenty of terrific restaurants. Plaza Serrano, which is at Av. Serrano and Av. Honduras in Palermo, is a nice place to find somewhere to eat.
The trendy Palermo district is split in two by train tracks. The SoHo side is home to Buenos Aires’s young middle class. In Palermo Hollywood are Argentina’s movie and TV studios, as well as a number of smaller cafes and bars. Venturing over the train tracks is definitely recommended.
After lunch spend some time exploring the streets before you head off to the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA)? on Av. Pres. Figueroa Alcorta. The museum houses an interesting collection of modern as well as pre-Columbian art.
Nearby is the Museo Evita (Av. Lafinur 2988) which is dedicated to the life of Eva Peron, who was immortalized in the movie Evita and was played by Madonna. The film shows what Argentina achieved in the post-war period to tackle poverty, fight inequality, and improve education, as well as the horrible story about what happened to the body of Eva after her death.
A short walk up the street with take you to Plaza Italia which is next to the Buenos Aires Zoo, which is open till late, especially in the summer months. You can spend time meandering the expansive park.
If you are looking to spend the night like a typical porteño, going out late and dancing you should head to Av. Cornel Niceto Vega and Av. Humbolt. Vega Avenue is lined with chic clubs open all night long. Av. Humbolt has a number of restaurants, a cinema, and a British/style pub.
If you happen to wake early after a late night out in the city and it is a Sunday morning, you should make your way to the street market in San Telmo (Av. Defensa) where they sell a range of market goods, food, and what San Telmo is famous for, antiques.
The area of San Telmo is very artsy, with the main plaza in San Telmo having tango and dance shows put on by locals every week. The plaza is also a good place to find something to eat and a small bar to listen to some live jazz.
After exploring the streets around San Telmo, you should make your way over to the residential area of Recoleta.
Recoleta is home to the famous Recoleta Cemetery, the resting place of the Argentine high society. Some of the graves are more like monuments and it is worth having a look around.
From the cemetery you can walk to the nearby chapel and then down to the Recoleta Design Center which is more like a mall, selling the very latest in fashions from Argentina and the world.
There are some great lunch spots around here, just see what you can find. But for a quick lunch, you can pick up an Argentine empanada, a meat-filled sandwich available on nearly every street corner for only a few pesos.
You can then walk down to the Museo Nacional de Bella Artes (Av. Libertador), the museum of fine arts in Buenos Aires.
No trip to Buenos Aires would be complete without exploring the stuff that runs through the blood of every Argentine – a passion for soccer.
When the Boca Juniors play in La Bombadero stadium, the city stops and everyone’s attention centers on the game. The stadium, located in the district of La Boca, also has a museum that tells the history of the team and its famous Buenos Aires players.
You can then head down the waterfront in La Boca to see the colorful houses that line the streets. La Boca is a typical ‘working class’ area of Buenos Aires and was home to waves of early immigrants to the city, a very interesting place.
Some final places to make sure you visit if you somehow find the time is the new Puerto Madero development, the newest part of the city, which backs onto the banks of the river and the Buenos Aires ecological reserve.
Also you should visit the area around Retiro station, with the grand clock tower ‘Torre de los Ingleses’ which contrary to recent Argentine British relations, was donated by the British government to commemorate the Argentine May Independence revolution and the closeness between the two nations at the start of the 20th century.
Buenos Aires is a huge city that even residents have not fully explored. 48 hours is not enough to see it all, but you can always try!
One of Latin America For Less’s travel writers made his first trip to Cusco in June, here he shares his experiences and his initial impressions compared with other top Latin America destinations he knows.
It was my first trip to the town of Cusco and then Machu Picchu. I was embarking on the most well known trip in Peru and probably South America: to Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Cusco, Tambomachay, Saqsaywaman, and Qorikancha
As I left my hotel I shared the street with a flock of llamas that were being herded through the city by a local woman in traditional dress.
The city of Cusco, particularly the center has been architecturally unchanged for centuries. I immediately walked to the central Plaza de Armas. The Plaza is surrounded by grand cathedrals and churches.
I made my way to the bus station for buses to Pisac. From here you can take buses to the sites to the North of Cuzco. For 1.50 soles I hopped aboard a bus going to the Inca sites around Tambomachay.
Travelling by combi-bus in Lima is interesting enough, but in Cusco, it is like another world. After leaving the bus station, at the first stop it filled with locals making their way to Pisac after a day working in Cusco.
The bus was suddenly packed with Quechua speaking ladies in bright colorful clothes along with their days shopping attached to their backs in the traditional Cuscenian way.
Luckily the ladies also did speak Spanish, and they kindly directed me when to leave the bus to see the ruins at Tambomachay.
It is thought Tambomachay was a place for the Incan elite to escape the city and relax with some royal spa treatment. It was here that I found a guide for the day.
Initially adamant that I would do it alone with my guide book, a young Spanish speaking guide, Luis, offered to give me a personal tour around all the sites for 20 soles, a real bargain considering I didn’t know where I was going.
From Tambomachay we crossed the road to the site of Pukapukara. It was thought that this site was used as a fortress or guard post. It was here I learned how the Inca’s communicated over long distances.
The Incas used a quipu rope-knot system for correspondence, but forts were within direct line of sight so they could also use a code by reflecting light off shiny objects, sometimes gold or silver.
My guide and I then took a combi-bus down to the site of Q’enqo (pronounced as Kenco). Luis told me that ritual sacrifices and the preparation of bodies for burial may have taken place here. At the top of the site is a huge rock that was probably used for ceremonies.
The final ruin of the day was the site of Saqsaywaman. This is the site of the famous Inti Raymi festival and is one of the grandest sites. The site was razed by the Spanish to build the Cathedral and homes for the conquistadors.
Saqsaywaman was the site of one of the fiercest battles between the Incas and the Spanish.
My guide took me around the site including a trip through the pitch black tunnel through to the temple of the Moon. The craftsmanship and the design are impressive. As a bonus too, the site is 2km above Cusco so you have fantastic panoramic views over the whole city.
The following day I woke up early and went to explore the remaining museums and sites in Cuzco. The highlight was a trip to Qorikancha, a temple with walls that were once gilded in gold. The site was change into a convent by the Spanish. Now it is a museum that shows some impressive Inca stonework and fantastic works of art from the Cuzco School of Art.
I went by local bus to Ollantaytambo where I would catch the train to Aguas Calientes. I sat next to an older gentleman that fell asleep on my shoulder as we wound through the mountain roads. Changing bus at Urubamba I then found a smaller combi-bus to take to Ollantaytambo.
The classic Inca Trail Hike is the highlight of many travelers’ trips to Peru. Walking along one of the original Inca paths all the way to the gates of the spectacular citadel of Machu Picchu is an unforgetabble experience.
The classic, 4 Day Inca Trail Hike leaves from Piscacucho at Kilometer 82 on the trail line from Cusco to Machu Picchu. The whole trail is about 39 km (25 miles) in total, with about seven hours of walking a day including camping. The second day of walking is said to be the steepest and most difficult.
But trekkers on the Inca Trail Hike are well cared for. All camping equipment, such as tents, sleeping mats, and food, are carried by your trek porters. It is also possible to rent a personal porter to carry your backpack (up to a maximum of 15kg).
It is manadory that you go with an INC registered tour group, which then organizes bus transport to Piscacucho. There are a number of different agencies that all offer different levels of service and quality of equipment.
It is also mandatory that you obtain an Inca Trail permit. These permits sell out months in advance, especially for the high-season months June-August, so it is advised to book well in advance. The Inca Trail permit is necessary for both The Two Day Inca Trail Hike and The Four Day Inca Trail Hike . The numbers allowed on the Inca Trail is now limited to only 500 people per day.
Below you will find Detailed Information on the Inca Trail Hike:
On day one of this Inca Trail hike you will leave Cuzco and be taken by bus to Piscacucho KM 82.
The trail starts as you cross the Urubamba River. You will walk past the small community of Miskay and onto the ruins of Patallacta – known as the Village in the Heights. The village has many Incan terraced fields that served the Incas centuries ago. On day one you camp at Wayllabamba.
For those wanting to visit Argentina and experience the rugged outdoors, the beautiful Patagonia scenery, and enjoy some great skiing, a Bariloche tour is a great way to get all that in and more.
Bariloche, in northern Patagonia, is a Mecca for those heading for a Patagonia destination. The town is most famous as a ski resort due to its proximity to the ski slopes of Cerro Catedral.
Perched on the side of a huge lake and surrounded by snow-capped mountains, Bariloche seems more like a Swiss Alpine resort.
Its residents seem European too, as many of Argentina’s citizens are immigrants, and the capital, Buenos Aires, is often nicknamed the Paris of South America.
The local pubs have the feel of an Alpine bar, serving a variety of European and local beers.
Just like in many Alpine ski resorts, there is a range of fondue restaurants around Bariloche. You can gather around a pot of bubbling cheese and cook various meats and vegetables, perfect for warming up after a long day of hitting the slopes.
Chocolate & Bariloche
What many visitors to Bariloche are unaware of is that Bariloche is the chocolate capital of Argentina and possibly South America.
Even though the cocoa bean was first discovered in Mexico, it was the Europeans and then later Americans that perfected the process to make it into the chocolate that we know today.
It was also the Swiss and Germans that engineered the technique of mixing fresh milk with the bitter cocoa bean to make the sweet milk chocolate that we know of today.
This made Swiss chocolate some of the most famous and well-known chocolates in the early chocolate market development.
Bariloche, keeping in line with the Alpine feel, developed its own chocolate industry, using fresh sheep as well as cow milk to make the sweet chocolate.
As you walk down the main shopping street of Calle Mitre you are struck by the sweet smells and colorful stores that line the sides of the street.
Feel free to enter the shops and indulge your senses. Ask for some free samples!
Many of the stores feature displays that allow you to see how they hand-craft their luxury chocolates.
Many of the stores also have special chocolate features, such as giant chocolate rabbits during Easter.
Don’t forget to take some time between your Bariloche tours to visit the Bariloche Chocolate Museum!
On one of many Paracas and Nazca tours, you can enjoy a day on the Paracas Bay and experience the awe of the mysterious Nazca Lines. But when you are planning your ultimate Paracas and Nazca Peru vacation, make sure to check out our recommended Paracas Peru hotels.
Paracas, just south of Pisco, and Nazca, south and inland from Paracas, are two unique and fascinating Peru travel destinations. Both are easily within driving distance, so you can spend a day and night in Paracas and then head to Nazca the next day before continuing on to your next Peru travel destination.
The peninsula of Paracas, which shelters Paracas Bay, is home to the Paracas National Reserve, a marine preserve that stretches 335,000 hectares (827,803 acres) and includes the Ballestas Islands. An incredible amount of seabirds, including guano birds, pelicans, penguins, condors, and flamingos, inhabit this preserve.
The town of Paracas itself is small, with only about a 1000 inhabitants. Here are two Paracas Peru hotels where you can rest your weary head after a day of sightseeing in Paracas Bay.
The five-star Paracas Peru hotel option is The Doubletree Paracas Resort, operated by Hilton Peru. This luxury Paracas resort, nestled in a quiet part of town and surrounded by gardens, opened just over a year ago.
Facing the shore, the hotel features suites with balcony views. Two-room suites include comfortable beds with down duvets, a living room with sofa and easy chairs, two flatscreen TVs, MP3 clock radio, and a mini-bar. The 8,000 square foot pool has views of the Paracas Bay.
The restaurant El Candelabro offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with buffet or a la carte menus. The Terrace restaurant is a more romantic choice, with fine candlelight dining overlooking the pool and ocean. The La Cava Bar is the place to unwind with a Pisco sour and enjoy a live music show.
The Fitness Center offers aerobics classes, dance lessons, volleyball, tennis, and water sports like kayaking and jet skiing. The Inca Spa has a sauna, Jacuzzi, and beauty parlor. The Kids Club includes a kiddie pool and daycare activities.
Order a batida de limão, a glass of cachaça mixed with fruit juice, sugar, and crushed ice, garnished with lime. Or make it a caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail and the popular firewater in the best nightclubs in Florianopolis, the island 490 km (304 mi) south of São Paulo known for its beach and party scene.
Florianopolis Tours are popular, especially during the high season (December-February), with those who want to enjoy the beach, sun, surfing, water sports like windsurfing and jet skiing, and trendy techno nightclubs that the city of Florianopolis has on tap.
Florianopolis, or just Floripa, is a tropical island surrounded by 42 beaches, but it is also a major metropolis. The capital of Santa Catarina state, the island is connected to the mainland by two major suspension bridges, Ponte Hercilio Luz (currently closed for repairs), and Colombo Machado Salles.
The downtown northern part of the Island, nicknamed Brazil’s Silicon Valley is lined with skyscrapers. After work, businesspeople rush to the beaches, especially Jurerê Internacional beach, joined by surfers and other locals to enjoy a relaxing caipirinha and catch a live music show in one of the many nightclubs.
During the off-season (March-November), the Lagoa da Conceição, the lagoon in the center of the island, is the most popular night hotspot due to the warmer climate inland.
Only a short walk from the bus station that connects you will the island in the Lagoa area, there is a main club strip that is lined with bar and clubs open till the early hours playing Brazilian samba as well as modern hits. Its trendy nightclubs are also popular year-round.
Check in surf shops and ask the locals about theme music nights, special events, and house parties. There’s always something happening in Florianopolis.
Best Florianopolis nightclubs on Jurerê Internacional
El Divino Beach: covered patios with lounge chairs and couches with an extensive menu at this upscale beach club, the sister of the sophisticated El Divino Lounge
Posh: located in Music Park, a huge concert arena, Posh is the place where celebrity DJs comes to spin
Pacha: megaclub also located in Music Park
Cafe de la Musique: Japanese, Italian, and contemporary cuisine is on the menu at this hip dining club
Best Florianopolis nightclubs on Lagoa da Conceição
Confraria das Artes: trendy villa with a view over the Lagoon. Live music and dancing.
Circuit: extremely popular electronic music club
Latitude 27: popular with the younger crowd, a large club with live music and good drinks.
Vecchio Giorgio: a bar with live music and good food, including a oven-baked pizzas
Taiko: beachfront grill, restaurant, and club
Best Florianopolis nightclubs downtown
El Divino Lounge: it doesn´t get more sophisticated than chandeliers, purple laser lighting, retro-mod couches, and top-spinning DJs. This renovated shipyard has a lounge, restaurant, and sushi bar.
Café Cancun: three bars, a restaurant with covered patio, and dancing
Marcahuasi, only three hours drive from Lima, is the perfect weekend getaway destination for walkers, bikers and trekkers. Full of sunshine and adventure, the historic site is welcome relief for Limeños seeking to escape the bustle of the city and the cloud cover and mist.
A weekend camping and hiking trip to Marcahausi is an adventurous alternative to one of several other exciting Lima Tours.
Marcahuasi is volcanic plateau, made famous by walkers, bikers and trekkers because of the interesting rock shapes at the summit as well as the spectacular views over the surrounding valleys.
The pre-Inca town at the base of Marcahausi, San Pedro de Casta, still uses the water irrigation system that was created centuries ago.
The White City of Arequipa sits 2325 meters high in the Andes, with the Colca Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world, in its backyard. The whole area is a beautiful and varied landscape that you don´t want to miss a second exploring.
The Arequipa and Colca Canyon tour takes you on a tour of Arequipa, as well as to the Canyon where it is possible to see the biggest flying birds in the world, the Andean Condor.
While on your Peru Vacation, Peru For Less has a list of top recommended Arequipa Peru Hotels that have been used by our happy clients over and over.
Peru For Less’s favorite 3, 4, and 5 star Arequipa Peru hotels:
The Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection is your best bet for a fantastic Arequipa Peru hotel choice. The hotel chain maintains the highest standards of service and quality.
The Casa Andina Arequipa hotel is located in the historic center, only three blocks from the main plaza. The colonial building, built of dazzling white volcanic sillar, was La Casa de la Moneda, the mint house, since 1794. Now it is declared a historic monument, and recently restored, its beautiful lighting, vaulted ceilings, and original frescoes have turned this historic mansion an absolutely splendid hotel. Two colonial courtyards are surrounded by a mint museum, a bar, and a gourmet restaurant that serves novoandina cuisine.
The Hotel Libertador is another excellent Arequipa Peru hotel. The Libertador chain also offers excellent service and quality. The five-star colonial hotel enjoys views of Arequipa’s largest park, and beyond that, the El Misti volcano. Along the brightly colored grounds, llamas occasionally graze.
The suites include small dining rooms, plump post beds, and 24 hour guest service. Amenities include a full business center, a gift shop stocked with alpaca and vicuña fibers, a newly remodeled gym and sauna, a gorgeous pool and Jacuzzi, as well as Los Montoneros Bar and Los Robles Restaurant, which serves buffet breakfast and meals throughout the day.