No, I'm not going to enlighten you to a hidden treasure, or give you a quote out of a guide book, telling you about somewhere you don't need to even leave your armchair to know about. I want to know the best country, area, town, sight, bar or hostel that made your trip.
Your no.1 highlight from South America, the place that defined your trip and why.....
What's the no.1 must see thing for South America?
Ok, obviously this is not that hard to answer, but for some reason no one has yet.
Of course this could be because it is very difficult to name just one must see thing in South America. Some find culture the best, others nature. Although I liked Machu Picchu as a mix (culture in a great natural setting) it is definately not my favorite.
I would pick the Bolivian Altiplano in general. It is big, but the southwest circuit west of Tupiza and Uyuni is just awesome. I am more of nature person, so that is why I pick this area. It is empty, high, cold and with all different colours you can imagine, not only meaning the lakes but also the sky, the mountains, the soil and the people in the small villages.
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 15, 2007, at 12:03 PM by Utrecht ]
Penguins! I went to the penguin colony at Seno Otway close to Pto. Natales, Chile. I was fascinated watching the little dudes wander around.
The first 45 minutes was spent watching them waddle around the beach and up along well worn paths into the grass lands. About that time I spotted a family unit, two parents and two kids. Watching them interact with each other and the other penguins was amazing. The parents are very protective of the young ones, often raising their heads and making a loud "wun-wun-wun" cry. While doing this, their small wings flap wildly at their sides, and their chests heave with the effort of such a small bird making such a big noise. And most amazing was seeing the penguin nests, which are burrows underground. Exact how a bird with short, stubby flippers digs a 3 foot deep hole in the ground is beyond me, but somehow they manage it.
I would have to agree wholeheartedly with Utrecht. The Bolivian altiplano made my trip! The Salar de Uyuni is just spectacular and the altiplano landscapes are like being on another planet. You really feel like you're engaging in extreme exploration or something, heading off road in a rattley old jeep for a few days into totally untouched wilderness.
Bolivia in general just did it for me from the mines in Potosi to the witches market in La Paz. It's really really different and I felt quintessentially South American.
Chasing giant anteaters on horseback through the open plains of the pantanal did it for me probably! Or maybe fishing for Piranha on a tributary of the Rio Amazonas up in the rainforest of Brazil, didn't catch anything but I don't know if I really wanted to
Cruising up the Nanay River from Iquitos Peru, through Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve, bird watching and fishing for peacock bass was the # 1 experience for me.
maracana to watch the football - even if you don´t like football truly amazing!!!
im only 3 weeks into a 5 month trip but i must say the peurito mureno glacier treck was absolutely mind blowing