Just back from… the Andes with JamieJamie Swan - Product & Marketing
What country/countries did you visit?
I went to Uruguay for a few days and then joined our Pato Andino group tour in Argentina which went across to northern Chile before heading overland into Bolivia. The group continued into Peru whilst I flew back to Buenos Aires, where I spent a few more days.
How did you get there?
Flew via Madrid to Montevideo in Uruguay and back from Buenos Aires on British Airways.
Whereabouts did you go?
I started by flying into Uruguay for a few days before heading to Buenos Aires to meet the group. After a few days there I flew up to Salta in the north west of the country, then crossed the Andes to San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile. From there I travelled overland to Bolivia through the Uyuni salt flats. Next was La Paz for a few more days and finally back to Buenos Aires.
Had you been before?
Yes I’d been to most of the places before. Buenos Aires and San Pedro I’ve been to a few times but they're always great to visit again. It was my first time in Uruguay though, and it was great to finally see the country.
If so, any notable differences?
La Paz surprised me the most. I was last there in 2010 so it’s been a while, but the new cable car system providing public transport around the city has really transformed it. No more bussing through the crowded, twisting streets!
Which was your favourite...
Place: Buenos Aires – I’ve been several times and I will always gladly go back, it’s an amazing city and every time I’m there I discover so many new things. Saying that, being in the desert in Northern Chile and the Uyuni salt flats were as amazing as always.
Hotel: I visited Atix and The Met in La Paz, both relatively new boutique hotels which surprised me. They're in the southern part of the city, a district I’d never visited before and like a different world to the old town: very modern, with lots of striking artwork and stunning design.
Excursion: I was lucky enough to try several food and wine tours which as expected were brilliant. Touring the wineries of Carmelo in Uruguay and a food tour of lesser visited spots in Buenos Aires.
What was your most memorable moment?
Sunset on the Uyuni salt flats with a glass of (surprisingly good) Bolivian wine with no one else in view.
Were there any surprises along the way?
How much La Paz has changed since I was last there and how quiet and peaceful Uruguay was, it's a lovely place to relax for a few days.
It was also my first time on a group tour and it was great to see how they work on the ground, as well as meeting my fellow travellers who really helped make the experience great.
What tips do you have for travellers wanting to visit the same destinations?
The Andean region is best in our summer (winter in South America) - this is the opposite for almost everywhere else on the continent. This means it might be chilly but it will be dry, I had clear blue skies for the entire trip. Joining a group tour takes the hassle out of planning, so it’s a great way to experience some pretty diverse and complex places.
Is there anything indispensable to pack or prepare for?
Being at altitude for the majority of the trip warm clothes are essential, it is quite warm during the day thanks to the sun but as soon as it sets you feel the temperature drop so layers are vital.
Any local snacks, dishes or drinks that should be sampled?
Steak, empanadas and wine in Uruguay and Argentina, Pisco Sours in Chile and llama in Bolivia.
Any restaurant or bar recommendations?
Fogón in Buenos Aires was brilliant, it gives guests and introduction to Argentinian food, all cooked in front of you.
Sum up your trip in a sentence?
Great from start to finish, I got to experience plenty of new places and visit some of my favourite destinations in South America.
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