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Mexico City

We flew in the afternoon from Lima to Mexico City, but the flight takes six hours, so we didn’t arrive until almost midnight, we got to our hotel in the centre around 1am and just went to sleep ready to explore the city for the next few days.

Our first day, we got up and I was excited to try the street tacos and show Stac some of the Mexican food, Mexico city is a fantastic city, full of food, music and activity. It didn’t take more than five minutes of walking before we found our first amazingly tasty and spicy street food tacos, they were epic.

Later on, we ate a full set menu lunch with Chicken Mole, soups, drinks etc for just a few pounds each, the Mexican food might not be the healthiest, but its some of the tastiest food in the world. Washed down with an ice-cold beer for £1, it’s perfect.

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Lima

We left Santiago about 3am to go to the Airport, and flew at 6am to Lima, the capital city of Peru. We had always planned to go to Peru on this trip, but we had considered going to Cusco and Machu Pichu, unfortunately we had missed the chance to book the trek, and probably didn’t have the right gear with us to do it anyway, so we just had to settle for a few days in Lima, as a stop between South America and Mexico.

We landed in Lima around 8am, and went straight to the city centre to our hostel. We knew nothing about Lima really as a city, but I knew it was one of the biggest cities in South America, I was a little confused when on the drive to the city, we hardly saw another car.

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Chile

It was almost time to leave Argentina and pass over to the other side of the Andes in to Chile, we booked a bus for the afternoon and had a walk in the morning to a small waterfall and scenic area that our guest house had recommended and shown us on a map. The lady at the guest house had assured us it was about twenty minutes walk away, and that buses ran that way so we could get a bus either way.

We set off walking, a bus never passed us, and we eventually arrived over one-hour and about 6 kilometres later, then quickly realised that it was an hour walk back, our bus left in two hours and we hadn’t eaten yet today. We had a very quick look around the lake-front, then set off and walked the full hour back, of course, five minutes before we arrived back in town, the bus passed us for the first time.

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Mendoza & Patagonia – Bariloche & Villa La Angostura

Mendoza

Our first overnight bus in South America actually went much quicker and easier than expected, it was due to leave Rosario around 8pm, but it didn’t arrive until an hour later. Within five minutes, it was fully loaded and we were setting off towards Mendoza for the twelve-hour journey.

We got on, immediately they started a game of bingo and the winner got themselves a bottle of cheap Argentinian wine, after this, a Spanish film came on, that was actually an American film, dubbed in Spanish and then with Spanish subtitles also.

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Buenos Aires & Rosario

Buenos Aires

We arrived back in Buenos Aires and went back to Elena’s place, we were going to stay for another five nights, there hadn’t been a place on this trip so far, that we’d stayed at for 10 days total, so it shows just how much we liked it here.

We’d already seen most of the tourist sights to be seen during the day, but we still spent every day walking 8-10 miles each day just exploring this huge city. The metropolitan area of BA has a population of around 15 million, it’s big. Even the central districts can take half an hour to get between by bus.

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Uruguay – Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo

We got the ferry from Buenos Aires over to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay, the boat only takes around one hour and the crossing was smooth, much better than the New Zealand ferry experience.

Colonia del Sacramento is famous in South America for being a beautiful historic city, and it most certainly is, something that isn’t that common in Argentina and Chile, is any building older than the 20th century, some of the streets here look like they haven’t been touched since the Spanish arrived and built them in the 16th century.

We loved just walking around the old streets and admiring the stunning houses and cobbled streets, the centre is quite touristy, inflated prices for food and accommodation, but it was still a very nice place to be. We found an amazing bar with great wine and platters of cheeses and meats, in stark contrast to the majority of Uruguayan food, this was delicious.

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Buenos Aires

We flew from Auckland, for twelve hours, direct to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and experienced the strange sensation of arriving in Buenos Aires before we actually set off. Because we had passed the international date line, we flew at 8pm on the 8th of September and landed in Argentina at 5pm on the same day, now that is efficient travelling.

We had fortunately managed to land ourselves the business lounge in Auckland airport for free with Air NZ, so we had a few relaxed drinks before the long flight, but we were so excited for South America, we barely slept at all overnight.

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New Zealand – North Island

Wellington

The ferry ride to Wellington was, in a word; horrific.

“Better than Milford Sound” they said. “Incredible scenery” they said. “One of the best boat journeys on earth” they said. What they didn’t mention is, that’s only on a good weather day, and unfortunately we had a bad weather day, very bad.

It had rained relentlessly all night, and wasn’t showing any signs of stopping on the morning of the boat, we drove to Picton, boarded the HUGE ferry ship with the car, alongside a few hundred others and set off in to the bay. We’d heard all the superlatives about the Marlborough Sound and how beautiful they were, we just couldn’t see more than about 50 metres away because of the rain and fog.

As soon as we left the Marlborough Sound, and got in to the ocean, we were thrown around like rag dolls for the next two hours. You know it’s not going to be a good morning, when one hour in to your three and a half hour boat ride they’re already coming round with cups of ice and more sick bags.

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