A Different Honeymoon: Patagonia, Inca Trail & Big Apple!

Lewis and Jaslin in Machu Picchu, Peru
Lewis and Jaslin in Machu Picchu, Peru

Lewis and Jaslin just returned from their month-long honeymoon in New York City and South America and we are glad to have them sharing their round-the-world experience at Card Cow.

South America? That’s exotic! Why did you choose to visit South America for your honeymoon?

Lewis: I have always dreamed of going to Machu Picchu. At the back of the mind, South America had always seemed too far away and perceived to be dangerous (having watched Scam City’s episodes of Buenos Aires and Rio De Janeiro).

That inhibition gave way when I came across the stunning pictures of Patagonia, especially Perito Moreno Glacier.

Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier

The Card Cow team gave us the little push when they showed how my existing miles and the Life Miles deal could make the trip happen at a fraction of the cost. 

Jaslin: I used to think that my honeymoon destination would be the Maldives. But that changed when Lewis shared the deal with me and I thought it was a great opportunity for a bold adventure (and feed our wanderlust) just as we were embarking on our new life journey as husband and wife. I envisioned South America as a place that is lively, exciting and picturesque.

Where did you all visit? What was the route?

Lewis: We had three weeks in South America before departing for New York City. We started off from Singapore to Sao Paulo via Barcelona on Singapore Airlines before flying to Rio de Janeiro where we spent 3 nights. The next 10 days were spent in Argentina – mainly in the capital (Buenos Aires) and Patagonia (El Calafate and El Chalten), before we headed to Cusco, Peru, our final stop in South America for 8 days.

Route
Route

Tell us about your top experiences! What were the unforgettable moments?

Lewis: Everything about Patagonia, from the El Chalten Andes range, colossal Perito Moreno Glacier, and of course the steaks and wine! Argentina tops the list of our adventure in South America.

Trekking in Patagonia
Trekking in Patagonia
Ruta 44, Argentina
His grandfather’s road

Jaslin: The sense of achievement when we made it to Machu Picchu after the 4D3N Inca trail which we will remember for life!

Happy as a llama
Happy as a llama

Lewis: We were also fortunate that we were to be able to travel in Business class for the 25 hour long haul flight to South America and the 20 hour flight from North Amercia back home. We were overwhelmed by the attentive crew onboard, making sure we were eating and sleeping well – so much that we hoped the flights would last longer. All thanks to Card Cow for making it happen!

 

Like a boss
Like a boss

How was safety? I hope that there weren’t any horror stories!

Lewis: It wasn’t as bad as what Scam City made them out to be. We found the locals to be friendly and helpful in general. Basic precautions, like in every major city will be sufficient. In fact, I felt less guarded than I had to be in some European countries which I have been to.

Jaslin: Yeah, I was slightly frightened by the stories we heard just before our departure but it turned out safer and more enjoyable than I expected.

Were there anything that you would change if you were to do it again?

Lewis: We would have picked up Spanish before heading over to South America. I felt that I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the culture due to the language barrier.

Besides the Inca Trail, we realized that there are other trails which are equally/ or even more fulfilling at a fraction of the price for the Inca Trail (because it is the only one with restricted access). For example, Salkantay Trail, is packed with a range of activities from natural hot springs, grilled whole lambs, white water rafting, snow mountains, , fruit orchards and ruins.

I also wish that we could have visited the favelas and watched a football match in Brazil. They would definitely have added colour to our typical tourist itinerary of Copacabana Beach, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Cristo Redentor [in Rio de Janeiro].

Jas: Plan a stop at Ushuaia to visit the penguins and to stay longer in New York City because there were just too many things to see, do and eat! We would also pack some cup noodles because one could only eat so much steak and potatoes!

Ushuaia, Argentina
Ushuaia, Argentina

Could you provide us with the cost and rough breakdown?

Lewis: We each spent approximately SGD$8.7k each in total. $4.5k for 15 flights, with all the long haul ones (5 hours and above) in business class. 

For the 19 nights which we had to find proper accommodations, we spent about $1k each in total. Bed and breakfast was our preferred choice as we could enjoy the privacy of a private room and yet able to interact with our hosts. We picked those which are minutes to the metro by walking, thus saving time on commuting. Most importantly, they were within our budget. We stayed in 3* or 4* hotels for 3 nights only.

For the rest of our expenditure during the month long trip – food, transport, attractions and Inca trail hike, we spent about $3.2k. Our total spending is certainly much less than what a package tour would cost.

Jaslin: I’m not declaring my damage on shopping in US!

Any advice for readers who are thinking of traveling to South America?

Jaslin: There are two currency markets in Argentina where you can get better rates in the black market. Just be sure to change at reliable stores to avoid counterfeit notes. Argentine Pesos are not widely accepted outside of Argentina so change only what you need.

Lewis: There will be people dressed in traditional costumes with llamas along the streets of Cusco allowing you to take photos of them. Do note that they would be expecting you to tip them if you do!

Must-have photo from Cuzco, Peru
Must-have photo from Cusco, Peru

Jaslin: Practical advice aside, I will encourage people to go out and explore the world! I’m glad that I took the plunge and went to South America for our honeymoon. We came back with loads of photographs and amazing memories of our time there. If only we could go back again…

Lewis: This advice is not only for South America but it applies to other exotic destinations as well: they aren’t as difficult or expensive to get to as you think. Plan in advance and with some help (maybe from Card Cow?), you will find yourself in your dream destinations in no time!

Glad that you two had an awesome honeymoon. Thanks so much for sharing the trip with us!

Are you inspired to go on exotic trips too? You can Consult the Cow to help you get started!

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