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Experienced and first-time travelers alike rely on Fodor's Gold Guides for rich, reliable coverage the world over. Smart travel tips and important contact info make planning your trip a breeze, and detailed coverage of sights, accommodations, and restaurants give you the info you need to make your experience enriching and hassle-free. If you only have room for one guide, this is the one for you.
Great neighborhood walks in cities and towns, with visits to museums and churches
Natural wonders, from Iguazú Falls to the Galápagos
Smart sources for gems, woven and leather goods, and handknit alpaca and llama woolens
Where to stay and eat, no matter what your budget
Posh resorts, working gaucho estancias, remote jungle lodges, and small-town hosterías
Superb dining -- from Continental cuisine and the world's best beef to Brazilian feijoadaand Peruvian cebiche
Fresh, thorough, practical -- off and on the beaten path
Costs, hours, descriptions, and tips by the thousands
All reviews based on visits by Fodor's savvy correspondents
40 pages of maps, 30 vacation itineraries, and more
Important contacts and smart travel tips
Pleasures & Pastimes, the don't-miss activities
New & Noteworthy
Spanish and Portuguese vocabularies
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This excerpt, from the Pleasures and Pastimes section, gives you a taste of what South America has to offer and the sights and scenes that make it a great place to visit.
The mysteries of ancient ruins such as the silent, windswept stones and temples at Tiahuanaco, near La Paz in Bolivia, and majestic remains of Inca civilizations never fail to tantalize amateur and professional archaeologists alike. Peru alone has a wealth of pre-Columbian sites that would take weeks, if not months or years, to fully explore. Almost everything in the country is worth seeing, but the especially exceptional sights include Machu Picchu, Tipóm's agricultural terracing, the fortresses of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, and the Coricancha.
Dining: The Flavors of South America
Culinary partisans may argue over whether exotic Afro-Brazilian concoctions, delicious Peruvian and Chilean seafood dishes, or sinfully succulent Argentine and Uruguayan meats should claim the title of South American's most delicious regional foods, but for most visitors the entire continent is a diner's delight.
Argentina -- To sample the best of Argentina's famed meats, try a mixed grill of blood sausage, short ribs, and internal organs at an asado or have a tender, 3-inch-thick steak grilled over charcoal at a parrilla.
Brazil -- Feijoada is the national dish, a mélange of stewed pork served over white rice, with collard greens, orange slices, and fried manioc on the side. In Minas Gerais, try frango ao molho pardo, broiled chicken served in a sauce of its own blood; for dessert, have the romantically named Romeu e Julieta, a slice of fresh Minas cheese spread with guava jelly.
Chile -- Mariscal (raw shellfish soup) and machas (razor clams) à la parmesana show Chile's famous seafood to good advantage, but cazuela (a hearty vegetable soup with a piece of meat or poultry) and humitas (ground corn seasoned and steamed in its own husk) are equally tasty.
Colombia -- In Bogotá, sample ajiaco, a stew made from three types of potato, chicken, corn, fresh cream, and avocado. In Medellín or Cali, you may want to snack on a chuzo (shish kebab), or empanada (deep-fried beef pastry).
Ecuador -- The food in Ecuador varies considerably according to region. In the highlands, the specialties include llapingachos (mashed cheese and potato pancakes), humitas, (sweet corn tamales), locro de queso (a creamy corn and potato soup), and seco de chivo (goat stew).
Paraguay -- Smoked suribí, a fish resembling a catfish, and grilled dorado, a salmonlike fish, are among the tastiest of Paraguay's freshwater catches.
Peru -- Peru's most famous dish is cebiche, raw fish (usually sea bass or flounder) served in a marinade of lime juice, chili, and garlic. Grilled paiche and other Amazon River fish, served with chonta, a spaghetti-shape vegetable from the treetops, is another taste sensation. The national drink is the pisco sour, made of lemon, egg white, sugar, crushed ice, and a liquor similar to tequila.
Venezuela -- If you visit around Christmas, try hallaca, a holiday specialty made of chicken, corn, olives, and pork wrapped in banana leaves. Some popular staples include arepas, thick corn patties that resemble large, wet English muffins filled with any combination of eggs, meats, and cheeses; and cachapas, thick, sweet corn pancakes filled with cheese.
Whatever the weather, it is fun to be in many countries during Carnival, the week before Ash Wednesday, which usually falls in February. In strongly Catholic South America, dozens of saints days are marked by processions and other festivities. In the Andean countries, the time between harvest and the next planting sees many of the best folkloric festivals, usually village events.
Pleasures abound for music lovers, whether they prefer a saucy samba in São Paulo, a lively cumbia in Bogotá, the melancholy sound of Andean panpipes in Quito and La Paz, or the passionate tango of Buenos Aires.
Lovers of the outdoors will find some of Mother Nature's most splendid works in the continent's diverse topography and myriad climates. Volcanoes, some still active, run the length of the Andes; at their feet lie everything from the desolate, windswept desert and dunes of Peru's Paracas National Reserve to the turquoise lakes and burbling hot springs of Chile's Lake District. The 30,000-year-old Perito Moreno Glacier broods in Argentina's Glacier National Park, while towering spires of ice slide off the San Rafael Glacier, south of Puerto Montt in Chile. A mighty roar fills the air as the raging waters of Iguazú Falls plunge over basalt cliffs where Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil come together.
Few vacation spots provide better subjects for photographers (or other artists, for that matter), whether they specialize in landscapes, cityscapes, wildlife, or people. It is hard to imagine colors more brilliant, light more intense, or textures more complex than those that meet the eye at every glance.
Savvy shoppers can spend all day at chic boutiques brimming with good buys in Brazilian gemstones, Argentine leather, or Uruguayan furs. At the same time, handicraft lovers will marvel at the Paraguayan lace, Peruvian textiles, or fine Panama hats (from Ecuador, no less) sold in bustling mercados, the New World's answer to the chaotic bazaar.
Sports and Beaches
The thrills of white-water rafting in the jungles of Peru, bone fishing off the coast of Venezuela, and downhill skiing in the Argentine and Chilean Andes lure sports enthusiasts grown tired of Aspen and Vail, while the pristine mountain fastness of the Chilean lake district beckons to hikers and mountain climbers.
Nowhere in the world is there such a diversity of species and environments as in South America. Come nose to nose with sea lions and giant tortoises in the Galápagos Islands. Spot the pterodactyl-like hoatzin on Venezuela's vast savannas. In Argentina, see whales and elephant seals frolic at Península Valdés and attend the annual gathering of the Magellanic penguin clan on the beaches at Punta Tombo.
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Book Description Fodor's, 1997. Paperback. Condition: New. 3rd. Seller Inventory # DADAX0679035370
Book Description Fodor's, 1997. Paperback. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0679035370