Most backpackers we ran into told us they couldn’t wait to get out of Lima. True, it is sprawling and perpetually covered in a grey haze. But it also has a park full of cats, a pretty efficient transportation system, colorful street art, chaotic markets and one of the best Chinatowns in South America.
“Es caro, pero vale la pena. How do you say ‘vale la pena’ in English? Is ‘It’s worth the pain’?”
“It’s more natural to say ‘It’s worth it.'”
“It’s worth it the pain.”
As a tourist town isolated in the middle of the driest desert on earth, San Pedro de Atacama is a bit expensive, but certainly “worth it the pain.” Attractions include the expansive and stunning Valle de la Luna (not to be confused by the valle of the same name near La Paz), sandboarding, and the ghostly and chilling Geyser El Tatio. At 2,400 meters, it’s also a good place to spend a few days acclimatizing before you cross into Bolivia.
We ran from ATM to ATM, each one with a line longer than the last, until finally we gave in and decided to wait like everyone else. Soon enough though, we realized why the lines were so long. The machines were about to be closed for siesta. Not just the bank, but the ATMs themselves were to be closed between 2 and 4. This is traditional Argentina. This is Córdoba.
So much has been written about Rio de Janeiro that I don’t know where to begin. It even serves as the backdrop for the latest Fast and Furious movie I haven’t seen. I can see why one would choose the city as a film set; it’s dramatic, layered, colorful, glamorous and grimy. The director only has to point the camera towards Pão de Açúcar, a brightly painted favela or the beaches of Copacabana and stick any mediocre actors in the foreground.