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Displaying Reviews: 26 - 30 Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6
Reviewed: Parati
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Submitted to category: Ports of Call/South America/Brazil

(Review ID: 279)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Magic, September 2, 2010
Reviewer: Todd Todd
Pros: Perfectly preserved colonial town with beaches
Cons: Inconvenient to get to by land
Overall   5.00/5  (5)

Parati, prounounced Parachi, is a magical city between Rio and Santos.

The city is right at the edge of the green jungle. The city was designated by UNESCO as a patrimony city. Most of the city is just like it was back in colonial times.

One of the delights of Parati is taking a boat, small or big, out for a day of swimming and beach stops. You go from island to island, beach to beach, stopping for lunch. The bigger boats have a set itinerary, but the smaller ones allow you to choose the place and time.

The town itself has a delightful small municipal museum. There are plenty of shops, stores, restaurants and a few churches.

One of the delights is sampling the local made hooch, made from sugar cane (not molasses) in a "caparinha."
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Reviewed: Santiago
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Submitted to category: Ports of Call/South America/Chile

(Review ID: 282)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Pleasant town, nice surroundings, September 2, 2010
Reviewer: Todd Todd
Pros: The wine country that starts at the edge of town
Cons: It's kinda bland
Overall   3.00/5  (3)

Santiago is a very pleasant town, safe, clean and well supplied with transportation, parks and shopping.

Highlights would be the central market with its restaurants, the gondola ride over the mountains and the governmental square so familiar from long ago news reports.

It's an easy day trip from Valparaiso. The art museum is in a beautiful building but don't expect lots of European masters. The wine tours are nice. Some of the wineries are beautiful.
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Reviewed: Lima
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Submitted to category: Ports of Call/South America/Peru

(Review ID: 246)
0 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Much better than it's reputation, August 27, 2010
Reviewer: Todd Todd
Pros: Absolutely the best food in all of South America
Cons: Not attractive at all
Overall   3.00/5  (3)

Lima gets a bad reputation because for many people it is a short stay on the way to Machu Picchu. There's plenty to do in Lima for one day and two gives you a better idea of the city and the people.

Most people will either arrive at the airport, or in Callao at the piers. The cruise port is satisfactory, but you need to go into the old colonial city center to begin to enjoy Lima.

The old city center is a traditional square surrounded by the Cathedral, the government palace and other official buildings. The cathedral is standard issue Spanish colonial. The government palace does have tours, but is just a bunch of government offices with a bit of decoration.

Just off to the side of the square and down a street is one of Lima's jewels, Casa Aliaga, a family house that has been there and in the family since the time of Pizzaro. Lima Tours can arrange private tours, a must.

Near downtown is the convent of San Francisco. Again, Spanish colonial, but many of the rooms and courtyards are beautiful. The catacombs are an unexpected sight. Next door to San Francisco is a church that is falling down. Stick your head in for a sureal experience. Pigeons on the heads of saints, shafts of random light highlight the destruction.

The central market is nearby, but don't go without a local and leave all your "tour" gear somewhere else.

My favorite site, not to be missed, is the Larco Herrera Museum. Located in a residential area (it was once a house) this museum is a Lima highlight. First go through the museum, it's in two parts. Wonderful pre-Colombian pottery will amaze you. Then, make sure you visit the "stacks." Hundreds of pots. You can get lost in the creativity. In the "stacks" there isn't any fancy lighting, or display, but just the volume and quality is overwhelming. There's also a very nice restaurant on the grounds with outside tables. And, of course where there are tourists there is H. Stern.

There's also the National Museum, but there are some small "private" museums in Lima that really give you a feel for Peruvian culture. Contact Lima Tours for arrangements. Out in Barranco, which is probably the one quarter that has a bit of touristic feel, is the Osma Museum in, again, an old home. It's in two parts, one the home, the other the "museum". Colonial artifacts abound, and the house and garden are charming.

While in Barranco enjoy the galleries. There are painting, sculpture, and folk art. Peruvian folk art is exceptionally vivid and humorous. Barranco is just above the ocean, the ocean breezes can be cool. Along the cliffs above the ocean are some nice restaurants. One, way out on a point, would be a great place to have a pisco sour, Peru's national drink.

But, the real reason to visit Lima are the restaurants. The quality and variety is amazing. Near every site there are restaurants with creative, delicious, and inventive dishes. Seafood predominates with fish and shellfish from the ocean and from the Amazon. Any decent "foodie" website will list a dozen "must go" restaurants. Try to avoid fancy hotel restaurants. The best restaurants are every bit as safe as a fine hotel. If you're already missing a good Chinese meal there are some good, but not great, Chinese restaurants in Lima and you can get Chinese style noodles everywhere.

For shopping, the shopping center, Larcomar, hanging off the ocean cliff in Miraflores is a good start. Also, still in Miraflores, there is Petit Thouars Street. At one end of Petit Thouars is one of those huge cooperative market places with a similar place just across the street.

Most places start to look repetative, but on La Paz Street there are a few antique shops with truly unique items. And, yes, they will bargain, and you should be prepared to bargain as well.

If you liked the Galapagos you might want to take a naturalist trip out to the islands off of Lima. The marine life can be interesting. It's better than waiting all day at the airport for a midnight flight anyway.

One last thing, the beaches in Lima are to be avoided. Look at them from a distance if you must, but do not plan on any time sunbathing. First the water is not safe, it's rocky and the water is very cold. However, if you just gotta check it out, the touristic restaurant at the end of the pier ( you can't miss it from Miraflores) is fun and the food is good touristic standard.

Then, take a deep breath, enjoy the cool marine air, especially if your next stop is Cuzco.
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Reviewed: Callao
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Submitted to category: Ports of Call/South America/Peru

(Review ID: 245)
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Please see Lima, Callao is just the port city of Lima, August 27, 2010
Reviewer: Todd Todd
Pros: Close to the airport
Cons: The city is not for tourists, rough, dirty, depressing
Overall   4.00/5  (4)

Please see the review for Lima. Most cruise passengers once they are off the ship only spend a matter of minutes in Callao
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Reviewed: Punta del Este
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Submitted to category: Ports of Call/South America/Uruguay

(Review ID: 283)
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A undiscovered (by Americans) classy beach resort, September 2, 2010
Reviewer: Todd Todd
Pros: Amazing architecture!
Cons: The town is spread out
Overall   4.00/5  (4)

This town is favored by the rich in South America in the summer, December and January.

The sights are the town itself centered on the small harbor, the white hotel that cascades on the hill near Punta Balena, the beaches on both sides of town, one side the Atlantic and the other the calmer Rio Plata side. and the amazing number of gargantuan vacation homes.

Rent a car and just drive around. The area north of town has some beautiful beaches and there are great restaurants everywhere. In town the area around the lighthouse and the yacht club is pleasant for walking. Punta Balena with the famous hotel is a little bit out of town.

Driving back toward the airport you can find beaches of golden sand that are pretty much deserted. The water is clean and clear. There are some huge hotels and casinos. Downtown on the Atlantic side are the "Hands in the Sands."

Totally unexpected are the Uruguayian wines and cheese.
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