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I bought this book, as I am currently in South America and have been for about 2 months now. I hope to travel to as many of the South American countries as possible, but this all depends on money and time of course!
This book covers destinations such as Venezeula, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay. In each section of each country the book explains about a number of things such as: accommodation, food, activities, transport.
I find the structure of this book very easy to read and I have found this book essential to carry with me at all times... well most anyway (as it is a heavy book)! I find this book very easy to understand and in the sections such as accommodation and places to eat, it gives you the places in budget form as well. So for example if you want to eat cheaply, you know exactly the places to look out for. There are even some details and information about the history of the countries and cities.
What I love mostly about this book is that it gives you tips on how to travel around South America. But what it not good about this book.. in no fault of itself is the date. Some of the information is a little dated but that is because it is a book!
Within this book is also some useful phone numbers for organisations such as the embassy´s, consulates, police stations, tourist information centres, hospitals, clinics, transport companies and other rather essentials.
Overall, apart from the date of this book I would totally recommend it. I seem to be working with it fine, even though it is nearly 6 years old! The writers in this book express a good understanding of the cities and towns contained in the South America countries. One thing I would say is that alot of the recommendations are touristy spots and not everyone tourist just wants to visit a tourist spot, but would rather mingle with some locals at times. Of course having said this.. usually tourist spots are cleaner and at higher standards so this could be a reason for this also.
A good book for a traveller to/in South America.
I used the first edition published in January 2004
I almost know this book by memory and it will my loyal travel buddy on my upcoming trip to South America. Unfortunately I'm not going to have the time nor the money to visit all of the countries described in the book but Bolivia, Argentina and Peru are high on my list.
I usually prefer the Rough Guide to the Lonely Planet - it's nothing I could point the finger on just a personal preference. Oh, I prefer the name. Come on, as soon as they publish a new Lonely Planet the place is not lonely anymore.
This time however I'm also using the Lonely Planet books. The RG South America is great to get an overview but it's not detailed enough to base your whole trip on it.
The Rough Guide is divided into the following chapters. The division is made by country/geographical area and is easy to understand/use - see page 3 for a map where to find which chapter.
-Colour section - this is my favourite as it contains '36 things not to miss'. It's great to see photos of places you want to visit and can offer you alternatives you never thought about before. Named as some of the highlights are 'Boat trip down the Amazon'; Ceviche (national dish of Peru) and seeing the 'Copacabana'
- The Basics - general history and geographic information, the approximate cost per day and helpful addresses/phone numbers (police/embassies etc)
- Argentina 65 - 195
- Bolivia 197 - 294
- Brazil 295 - 464
- Chile 465 - 584
- Colombia 585 - 643
- Ecuador 645 - 755
- The Guianas 757 - 809
- Paraguay 811 - 842
- Peru 843 - 963
- Uruguay 965 - 1006
and last but nor least
- Venezuela 1007 - 1076
- Languages - an introduction in Spanish and Portuguese with pronunciation help, useful words and phrase and a menu reader. The last one is always of great use - I would have been totally lost on so many trips without a basic menu reader.
- Unlike the single country RG this book does not contain an A - Z Chapter - these information is given in the appropriate country chapter.
They all share the same with practical and historical information at the beginning as well as the highlights of the region. This is followed by Accommodation, City and surroundings and how to get there and how to get away.
Here is an example of an entry for a GH in Lima:
El Balcon Dorado Jr Ucayali 199; 01/427-6028; email@example.com. Really well located, close to Plaza Mayor, this colonial-style hotel is a very reasonable option. All rooms with private bath. Price includes breakfast. 4
Easy to understand with address, phone number and description of location and facilities. The only downside is the "4" at the end. "4" stand for the accommodation price scale - incredibly stupid if you ask me. It would be so much easier just to write 4$ next to it, no instead I have to look through the whole book to find the scale.
I really enjoy looking at photos of places I want to travel to, they just put some meat on the bone. The Rough Guide has lots of high quality colour photos in the first section. I don't know why but I usually prefer the Rough Guide photos to the ones in the Lonely Planet.
My favorite is on page xx - the Capybare the photo of the Tango dancers on page xix.
There are many black and white snapshots throughout the book - but of course they are not as tempting as the coloured ones.
The only thing worth mentioning is that instead of writing the prices next to every GH/Restaurant they give you the accommodation price code which means looking back and forth through the whole book, especially because there's a different scale for each country. I'd prefer the prices!
The chapters about Paraguay and Uruguay were a bit short for my liking.
The paper used to print the book is really thin. That obviously helps to slim down the book which is good but if they get wet it's a big mess.
As I already said above I value this book a lot and wouldn't want to miss it on my upcoming trip. The price is with 19.99 Pound normal for a travel book and you shouldn't have a problem to get it cheaper on Amazon.
But this book is only an overview, they pack over 11 countries in 1000 pages so it's understandable that it's not so detailed.
The Guide helped me very much to gain a first impression of the area I want to travel in but I still got separated Guide books for the countries I definitely want to visit.
An overall rating of 7 out of 10