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9 tips for first-timers in South America

Heading to South America? Here's nine things every first-timer needs to know

9 tips for first-timers in South America
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. Image: Getty

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01 Rodents rule
Guinea pig on a skewer? Despite being the cheap poster-protein for weird Peruvian eats, it tastes pretty good.

02 Speak easy
Apart from the small matter of Portuguese in Brazil, you only really need to learn one language to be understood in this vast continent. And you’ll find that even the smallest amount of conversational Spanish goes a long way.

03 Bus it
Long journey ahead in Argentina? The buses here are seriously pimped out with near 180-degree reclining seats and films in English.

04 Plant powers
Chew coca leaves WITH a catalyst to make it more potent.

05 Turn up the tunes
You’ll come back with a slew of new Latin music on your iPod, from drum and bass to tango tunes.

06 A veggie in Argentina?
Yes, it’s the beef capital of the world but you’ll survive. There’s plenty of veggie eats, but brace yourself for anxious looks and concerned comments. Overheard: “But your body needs meat. You could die without it.”

07 Bite me
Even when embalmed in the highest-DEET-content bug spray, you’ll still be bitten to smithereens by insects.

08 The beaten path is good
There’s a reason why so many travellers visit the same places — because they’re epic.

09 Heading to Bolivia?
there’s no shame in attempting a salty old photoshoot…


Published in the South America guide, distributed with the October 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)