Travel South America: The Real Deal with Brittany VanderBeek


I’m excited to share my feature, Travel South America: The Real Deal with Brittany VanderBeek, on Pink Pangea, an international community for women who love to travel.

Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Below is a sneak peek of the Q&A with Pink Pangea:

One of my favorite recent trips was to South America, where I studied in Chile (Santiago and Valparaiso) for my undergraduate senior spring break and then traveled to Brazil and Argentina.

How long did you go for? How did you spend your time?

I traveled to South America for three weeks. For the first week, I went to Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile for a corporate strategy class with Global Tracks and the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. I had a wonderful experience learning about business in Chile, through touring the William Cole Vineyard, IBM de Chile, the American Chamber of Commerce, and Start Up Chile. I also enjoyed learning more about the Chilean culture by exploring Cerro San Cristobal, Cerro Santa Lucia, Plaza de Armas, Bellavista, the Casablanca Valley Puro Caballo Ranch, Los Dominicos Artisan Market, Pablo Neruda’s home, Vina del Mar, and attending a Rapa Nui dance performance.

Climbing to the top of Cerro San Cristobal to overlook Santiago, Chile

For the following two weeks, I went on a Trafalgar tour of Brazil and Argentina, including Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls, and Buenos Aires. While in Rio de Janeiro, I explored Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer statue), Sugarloaf Mountain, Copacabana beach, Tijuca National Park, and attended a samba show. While in Iguassu Falls, I explored Iguassu National Park and Devil’s Throat Falls and relaxed in the hot springs at Mabu Thermas & Resort. In Buenos Aires, I explored Casa Rosada, Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires, Recoleta (cemetery where Eva Peron is buried), Teatro Colon, La Boca, tango in San Telmo, Palermo, and Tigre.

Hiking through Iguassu Falls National Park

Hiking through Iguassu Falls National Park

All throughout the trip, I enjoyed practicing my Spanish (even the Brazilians could sometimes understand me since Portuguese and Spanish are very similar) with the locals and learning about South American lifestyles.

What were your most memorable experiences?

  • Dancing Rapa Nui style on stage with the Rapa Nui performers in Santiago, Chile.
  • Touring Pablo Neruda’s home in Valparaiso, Chile, which brought to life my years of studying Spanish language and literature. Valparaiso had some of the most beautiful homes and sites of the Pacific Ocean that I’ve ever seen.
  • Visiting Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires on the day they announced that Bishop Francis would become the new Pope; the entire city was celebrating this historic moment!
  • Enjoying a traditional Argentinian dinner at a family’s home in Palermo Soho. I had the opportunity to bake bread with the family and learn about life and cooking in Argentina!
  • Drinking out of a coconut while shopping for Brazilian bikinis on the Copacabana beach. I felt like a local!
  • Overlooking all of Rio de Janeiro while on top of Sugarloaf Mountain. After seeing the spectacular views, I understood why so many significant world events are taking place there (the World Cup, the Olympics, etc.).
Dancing Rapa Nui style

Dancing Rapa Nui style

Any favorite restaurants/hotels/hostels/sites you’d like to recommend?


  • Cerro San Cristobal, for the fantastic views of Santiago
  • Wine tasting in the Casablanca Valley was a great way to understand an important industry in Chile
  • Pablo Neruda’s home, for beautiful views of Valparaiso and great insights about Chilean literature.
  • La Stampa de La Negra and Puro Caballo Ranch in Casablanca Valley


  • La Boca, for the vibrant colored homes and great artisan markets
    La Recoleta, where it was very touching to see the positive influence Eva Peron had on the country and how much respect the citizens still have for her
    El Viejo Almacen tango performance, where tango originated.
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina


  • Sugarloaf Mountain
  • Copacabana beach
  • Mabu Thermos & Resort, which had fantastic hot springs and food.

Read the entire feature here: Travel South America: The Real Deal with Brittany VanderBeek. If you have any questions about my trip or about traveling to South America, feel free to reach out to me!


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