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1. Posted by patch264 (Budding Member 3 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!


I am travelling to South America in the next couple of weeks. I do not speak any Spanish so as you can imagine this is a bit daunting. My plan is to land alone in Colombia at the start of November and end up in Rio for the carnival in February. I have a number of questions so if anybody could help me out that would be great :)

  • would it be worthwhile to do a home-stay to learn Spanish for a couple of weeks on arrival in Colombia?
  • what are on peoples "must-do" lists from their experiences of Colombia? I would like to have a plan made for the first few days just so I can settle into SA!
  • accomodation in Rio seems very expensive already, does anybody have any advice as to where to stay during the carnival?
  • I am looking to book an Inca trail for when I reach Peru however I am finding it very difficult to decide how long to spend in places and therefore estimate how long it will take to make it down through Colombia and Ecuador. If someone has traveled this route before it would be great if they could outline what route they traveled and how long it took.
  • what is the best method of handling money? I would be wary of carrying all my cash on a debit card.

Any help would be much appreciated,


2. Posted by acconte (Budding Member 8 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Hi there

Rio is unsafe and hard to visit if you do not speak english (and it happens in almost all Latin America).
you can start booking a hotel or hostal in the south beach (Leblol, Ipanema, Copacabana (more dangerous at night)), these neighbours are better than other places and more safe.
These places have a lot of restaurantes, malls, supermarket, library,, etc and you can do it walking!!

have a nice trip!

3. Posted by nataliegrace91 (Budding Member 2 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Hi, im in the same boat as you but I'm wanting to go traveling in January 2014 so i have set a target date of when i want to leave and set out what countries i want visit and i would be going alone.

I'm wanting to be in Rio De Janeiro for the 2014 World Cup and then travel up through Mexico to mainland America so iv already planned what i am doing before then, i don't really know where to start as many people have said its unsafe to go to Rio, but with it being such and amazing country i don't want to miss out especially with the World Cup being held there.

I've never traveled before so this would be my first time and i am doing it alone so if you or anyone has any travel tips or know of amazing must see sights id be grateful.



4. Posted by Cyberia (Travel Guru 1839 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Michel Thomas does a Spanish course which makes picking up the language very easy.

I only have a bit of holiday Spanish but had no trouble in South America, as I had no trouble in Japan, Russia, Sumatra, Xi'an, etc. You can get by with little or no local language skills by pointing, holding up fingers and just using some common sense.

I had no trouble in Rio (I did stay in at night), though nearby Sao Paulo can be trouble. In the Carnival, petty theft will be your biggest problem. Some of the accommodation will have been booked up months back as it is a very busy time and prices go right up. There are no cheap places then. Just less expensive. Try the Accommodation link at the top of the page, ASAP.

How long to spend in each place? Decide as you go with a loose itinerary. Cusco has a number of travel agents for booking the Inca Trail (usually 4-5 days) and other trips.

You can Google prepaid credit cards as a way of taking money with you. I would give a link but some here see that as advertising for them. Duh.

Colombia has a number of good museums:

Talking of which, don't miss out Lima when in Peru:

Mexico is currently potentially dangerous, with an ongoing war there between drug cartels which has left many dead.

5. Posted by acconte (Budding Member 8 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

in RIO do not miss:

1 - sugar loaf
2 - walk on Ipanema seashore
3 - know MaracanĂ£
4 - Christ
5 - LAPA - is a neighbour where samba rithym is played alive and you can drink caipirinhas
6 - Lapa Archs
7 - Rodrigo de Freitas Lake - see the sunset there and rent a bike to ride (dangerous at night)
8 - visit some Samba school rehearse (you can google it) - some famous names: Salgueiro, Mangueira, Portela and Beija flor.

as i live in Brasil pls contatct me if needed.

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