|Subject: Re: Traveling to South America|
I've been to Rio twice. Suggestions - Rio, Copacabana is pleasant. Go on a weekend when they close the beachfront road to cars and open it to walkers and skaters. Try to stay at a hotel between the lake and the beach, about 2 blocks from the beach. Lake is a nice place for jogging, about 2 miles around and very pretty for a large city. Wear a plastic watch and don't show any jewelry. Sit in a bar, drink the local beer, and watch a soccer game. The people are friendly and accepting. There are spontaneous parades and dances in the street after a winning soccer game. Join in and dance through the streets to the neighborhood square. Go to a feijoada restaurant and eat a lot.
Paraty is a small very old Portuguese town about 4 hours south of Rio. Worth an overnight trip.
I've been to Lima once. My opinion - Peru is still a scary place and I'm not easily scared. Lima has some great old buildings and art. Most tourist stay in the Miraflores area in the suburbs. Downtown area is O.K. during the day, but best not to go there at night. If you go to Machu Picchu, fly. Don't travel in the countryside by car or bus. Don't hike in the mountains. Of course, don't wear expensive jewelry. Take a money belt. Don't keep important documents in your purse. Take spare glasses if you wear them. It is common for people to snatch glasses off the faces of tourists. A group tried to rob me in downtown one night, but I ran away and they didn't follow for more than a few yards. A friend went to Peru a month after me and had her glasses stolen.
Lineas Aeros Paraguayas used to have a Fly Anywhere in South America for a month for $300 fare. It was great and the airline was run much better than I expected. Old planes and the seats were close together, but they arrived and left on time and the personnel were courteous. And downtown Asuncion was a prosperous, lively, safe and fun sort of a small town capital city.
Good luck and let us know how the trip goes. Jim in Houston