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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Peru Plans in Peril

So it turns out the day after I book my trip, there is a huge mudslide that takes out the railroad leading up to Machu Picchu.

Over 2,000 tourists were stranded in the ruins and at least five people were killed.

It took multiple days for helicopters to reach tourists and helped the old and young first. This meant that many middle age tourists had to sleep on the ground since many hotels jacked up their prices. So uncool.

What this means for me? Hopefully, my rail tickets and expensive hotel don't go to waste. I have until 15 days before I leave to get a refund on the hotel so it's just a waiting game now.

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Last Stop Rio

The final leg of my South America trip is to Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

Not known for tourist safety, I'm a little nervous about going. I've done some research and determined that when staying in Rio avoid staying at the hotels on Copacabana Beach because that's the main area that tourists get mugged. So I narrowed my search down to Ipanema and Leblon beaches.

My friend stayed at the Sheraton just south of Leblon and loved it but Expedia says you need to take a shuttle to get to the beaches. My one requirement is to be able to walk right to the beach and plop down and not worry about getting knifed.

This limited me to about five hotels all of which had TripAdvisor ratings around 50-70% and Expedia price tags around $170-220. Not a lot of great options and essentially a blind test because not a single one stood out. I ended up going with the Mar Ipanema Hotel which is about a couple blocks from Ipanema beach, is said to be safe, and had the highest TripAdvisor rating of the five.

It feels good to be have all my flights and hotels booked. Now, I can start researching the activities in each place like wine tours, horseback rides, etc.