Over the past few weeks, we’ve been interviewing bloggers and travelers who spend their days roaming some of the most gorgeous and wonderful countries in the world.
In this interview we’ll be talking to Emily Luxton, who has a plethora of experience travelling around Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia.
During your time in South America, what was the best food you found there? How does the average diet compare to ours in the UK?
Food is very different in South America. Most meals involve soup followed by grilled meat with rice, potatoes, plantains, and beans. Lot’s of carbs, basically!
There are lots of great things to try, though, so you can find plenty of variety. One of the best things I discovered was ceviche, in Peru. It’s raw fish marinated in lemon, so that the acid from the citrus “cooks” the meat. Super fresh and delicious. Plus the steak in Argentina is every bit as good as people say – that was another highlight for me!
When you visited beaches in Rio, which is the one that you would advise to someone looking for a quieter time?
If you’re looking for a quieter beach, I suggest catching the bus down to Paraty. It’s about five hours down the coast, much quieter and also much more idyllic. Trindade Beach is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! Actually in Rio itself, Praia da Barra da Tijuca tends to be a lot quieter because it’s not as famous as beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana.
We see that you ventured on the Death Road (El Calle del Muerte) in Bolivia, which is pretty interesting. Would you consider travelling on it again? Where there any moments that were particularly “hairy?”
To be honest, I probably wouldn’t do Death Road again. I found it really frightening. The road is incredibly narrow and people bike down it very fast. I was terrified when I did it and burst into tears at one point when my bike wobbled on some loose rocks!
Given that people do still die on that road every year, and that I met several people with serious injuries afterwards (one girl I met broke her collarbone), I can’t say I’d be inclined to cycle Death Road again. I am very proud of myself for doing it, though.
Out of the five things you recommend to do in Lima, which one would you do again if you could choose?
I’d love to do another pisco tour in Lima. That was a lot of fun – and I love pisco sours!
What was the biggest cultural surprise you had while visiting South America?
Staying in a favela in Rio was definitely one of the biggest eye-openers. Those areas of the city are so poor, with people living in one-room houses they’ve made from corrugated iron, and everyone bundled on top of one another trying to seek out a living. It really makes you aware of how big the gap between poverty and privilege really is.
If you had to live in either Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, or Argentina, for a year, which one would you choose and why?
Probably Argentina, because the food and wine there are so good. Also because Buenos Aires is probably one of the most live-able cities I found in South America, and it’s a place with a lot going on.
My second choice would be Peru. I adored Cusco and would love to spend some time living there. The food is pretty good, things are relatively affordable, and there are so many amazing things to discover in that country.
What was your favourite bit of history that you got to enjoy while you were touring South America?
Aside from Machu Picchu, which is the obvious answer, I loved discovering all the other ruins in Peru. My favourite was Chan Chan in Trujillo, on the coast. It’s an entire city carved in the sand – and it looks like something straight out of an Indiana Jones movie!
If you had to give one piece of advice to someone based on your own experiences travelling around the continent, what would it be?
My main advice is just to take an open mind and say yes to everything you can. There’s so much to discover and so many new things to try, so be open to everything.