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It is hard to define what makes a place a good place to stay. Some of the most enjoyable places we have stayed in have been really cheap, such as El Retiro Lodge in Guatemala. Others have been very expensive, such as Luna Lodge in the Osa peninsula in Costa Rica. For us, its a combination of character, nice owners. comfort, location and price. All these combined form a nebulous “bang-for-the-buck” factor, which is an indication of how much we enjoy the place.

     • North America           • Central America           • South America     


Hotels in South America

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La Posada Colonial, Garcia Moreno 1160 y Mejia, Quito [Ecuador].

What a steal! This hotel is next to $200 to $500 a night hotels, a half block away from the Plaza Grande in Old City, Quito. Loated in an old house, its double rooms range from $28 to $45 a night. The hotel is in an old restored mansion with furnishings to boot. The rooms do have their problems, the bathroom in the cheapest room is more like a closet, and the beds are not the best. But you can enjoy wine and salami on the balcony of your hotel room, watching the sunset in Old City Quito. What can beat that?


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Posada Ingapirca, Ingapirca [Ecuador].

Ingapirca is the only major Inca site in Ecuador with an intact Sun temple. At the end of the road near the ruins, lies Posada Ingapirca, a beautiful old house set amongst mostly farm country. The lunches and dinners are served in elegant surroundings, the ruins are just a fifteen minute walk away.


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Casa Arequipa, Arequipa, [Peru].

Courtesy and service are the name of the game in this lovely house in Arequipa. Not only is it beautifully decorated with antiques and local handicraft, the service is one of the best I have ever received. The manager sent someone to wait for us at the street corner when we called and said we couldn’t find the place, helped us find a garage for the car, came with us to show us the road to Colca Canyon and even accomodated us in one of the rooms that was still being renovated for a day when he was fully booked.


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Vaca Tranquilla, San Carlos, [Argentina].

Lovely farmhouse in San Carlos near Cafayate, the famous wine town close to Salta in Argentina. You can visit the wine country from this peaceful place, go horseriding if the fancy takes you, they even brew their own Belgian beer. (The owner is Belgian).


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Buigui, Chacabuco, [Chile].

A truck stop close to Chacabuco in Northern Chile. A really basic but very cool place, rooms are in a trailer, but you can visit the ruins of the nitrate ghost town of Chacabuco nearby. The owner’s daughter in law is the administrator for the site. The on-site restaurant is quite good and the family very welcoming.


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Araras Lodge, Pantanal, [Brazil].

The Araras Lodge – to experience the Pantanal in comfort. Caiman and capybara stroll casually through the gardens, sumptuous meals are served amongst red capped and yellow billed cardinals and experienced guides take you on long walks in the Pantanal.


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Casa da Carmen e Fernando, Rio de Janeiro, [Brazil].

In the Santa Teresa district of Rio de Janiero, is an old cookie factory that Carmen and Fernando have rebuilt into a charming B&B. With open, modern design, it has fabulous views of the Guanabara Bay. The hospitality of Carmen and Fernando makes it a very special place to stay.


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Hotel Brighton, Valparaiso, [Chile].

In the beautiful city of Valparaiso, a lovely hotel on Cerro Concepción, Hotel Brighton has a panoramic view of the city. The hotel is an old building in the Victorian style, the staff is nice and the terrace restaurant is a great place to have a pisco sour. Wonderful restaurants are within walking distance.


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Hotel Unicornio Azul, Av. Pedro Montt 228, Castro, Chiloé [Chile].

The pink colred “Unicornio Azul” must be an inside joke as they also own the yellow colored “Galeon Azul” in Ancud. A quirky hotel, the top floor rooms are the best, looking out over the tranquil bay of Castro. Ibises nest in the trees high up above close to the hotel and make a racket all night long. There is nothing like a glass of Chilean Carmenere enjoyed at sunset in your balcony.


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Casona del 32, Caupolicán 28, Frutillar, [Chile].

If you can be in Frutillar during the music festival, Casona del 32 is one of the best places to stay. They are only open three months of the year, December to March. An old German house, it is furnished simply but in keeping with the atmosphere. The front room faces the lake and it is wonderful to see Volcán Osorno rising out of Lago Llanquihue. Fresh fruit in the evenings, beds turned down at night and a solicitous housekeeper and hospitable owners are added bonuses.