South America

Travel to South America for me is like a childhood dream come true. I learned the lost city of Machu Picchu and mysterious Nazca Lines from element school textbooks. When the flight was flying above the Andes mountains, all the passengers on the plane were impressed with beauty and magnificent scenery. 

1. Best Time to Visit

Dry season occurs between April and October when is the best time to visit Machu Picchu. The summer months between December and February is the raining season in South America, which is the best time to visit Sky Mirror - Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia. September and October are the best months to visit Brazil by avoiding major holiday periods and enjoying cheap price. 

2. Travel Budget and Food

Generally speaking, a daily budget of $30 to $40 would be justifiable amount in South America. Food is inexpensive and restaurants can be found everywhere. Local restaurant foods are about half price of Canada and USA. You will have an opportunism to experience the famous Peruvian cuisine during your trip. Peru has large varieties of corn and potatoes which are very taste. Maca roots and quinoa are unique to South America. 


3. Flights 

You will have to plan your trip ahead of time to secure the flight with a reasonable price. You may also redeem airline miles to avoid high cost of flight fares. There are not many airlines have direct flights to South American. Transfer through USA (e.g., Miami, New York City, etc.) or Mexico (e.g., Mexico City, etc.) usually have seat sales, which can help with your budget. 

4. Hotels

Hotels are very affordable in South America. I recommended tourists to read reviews on TripAdvisor before booking. Airbnb is another popular option for tourists to experience local cultures. Book Airbnb from the link below will save you $62 CAD (or $43 USD instantly for your first stay anywhere around the world

5. Credit Card Vs. Foreign Currencies

Credit Cards are not well accepted in South America, except some restaurants, hotels and airport duty free shops. Make sure you complete foreign currencies at your home country before your trip to South America to avoid potential counterfeit money issues. I did observe other tourists had experienced that issue during my trip. 


  My Trip to Peru (2015)

Day 1: Lima

Day 2: Lima - Cuzco - Sacred Valley

Day 3: Sacred Valley - Ollantaytambo 

Day 4: Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu


Day 5: Machu Picchu to Cuzco


Day 6 - 7: Cuzco


Day 8: Cuzco - Lima

Trip Highlights 

Andes in the air wow all the passengers on the plane. Andes is very amazing. 


Beautiful Scenery on the way to Sacred Valley


Ollantaytambo Fortress built by the Inca in 1400s is as impressive as Machu Picchu. Take a taxi from Urubamba Bus Terminal to Ollantaytambo Ruins for approximately 30 mins. The taxi fare to the fortress is 20 pesos. The taxi fare on the way back is 25 pesos.

The view on the top of Ollantaytambo Fortress.


Temples on the top of hill after climbing up over 200s steps.


Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most popular attraction in Peru. In 2007, it was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Best spot for taking a photo of the whole site is from the guardhouse on top of the hill at Machu Picchu. 

Panorama Views of Machu Picchu

A close look for the house of the guardian and terrace of Machu Picchu


Temples and main plaza of Machu Picchu


A close look for the buildings at Machu Picchu.


Temple of the Three Windows in Machu Picchu


Cusco is the former capital city of the Incas. Military ceremony at the main square of Cusco (Plaza de Armas) where has been the heart of Cusco from the time of Inca Empire.

Cusco Cathedral Basilica


The famous “Guinea Pig Last Supper” painting by Marcos Zapata in 1753 at Cusco Cathedral Basilica


Typical streets of Cusco. You can see stones on the ground and the base of the houses.


The church of Santo Domingo was built on the ruins of the famous Inca site Coricancha (Templo del sol)


Tambomachay ruins near cusco (the bath of the Inca). It consists of a series of aqueducts, canals and waterfalls that run through the terraced rocks.


Sacsayhuaman is the most significant ruin in Cusco. It is thought to have both military and religious significance. The rock is giant and the whole structure was well built. 


  A view of Plaza de Armas from the top of the hill in Cusco

Tips for Travelling in Peru

Must Do

1. Flights: book as early as possible for both international and domestic flights

2. Food: must try Inca Coca, Alpaca Steaks, corns and potatoes

3. Machu Picchu Stamp: available to stamp your passport at the site entrance

4. Best Spot for Photo: best spot for Machu Picchu photo is at the house of the guardian

5. Shopping: Cuzco has the lowest price for souvenirs. 

6. Currency: spend all remaining Peruvian pesos before you leave the country

7. Negotiation: bargain with taxi driver for the taxi fare before your ride

8. Safety: Cash put in hidden belt on your waist

9. Language: Most local people don’t speak English. Learn basic Spanish words.

10. Oxygen: Most Cuzco hotels have oxygen tanks for customers

11. Combo Tickets: Buy combo tickets for ruins at Ollantaytambo and Cusco. 


1. Currency: currency exchange at airports or local currency exchange shops. 

2. Photo: take a photo with alpaca will need to pay 1-2 peso

3. Taxi: avoid taking taxi from unauthorized vehicles

4. Souvenirs: Machu Picchu train station market is expensive

5. Oxygen Bottle: oxygen bottle is not needed for Machu Picchu site

6. Washroom: no washroom or food shops inside the Machu Picchu ruins.

7. Tap Water: Tap bottle is not portable. Please purchase bottled water. 

8. Altitute Sickness: Avoid alcohol, greasy foods and intense exercises.


Useful Maps For Macchu Picchu and Cusco






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