• 17 June 2020

man sightseeing Bolivia winning a tour Winning a trip overseas is something many people can only dream of. This dream became a reality for Sanny Rodriguez, 26, when he won a trip to South America with Expat Explore.

Sanny, a Social Media Marketing Manager based in Dubai and originally from the Philippines, won his choice of a spot on the first batch of Expat Explore’s new South American tours!

Sanny chose to embark on the Bolivia and Peru Escape, travelling from La Paz to Lima in January 2020. Sanny fell in love with Bolivia and Peru; here are his 8 reasons for adding South America to your bucket list and feedback on what winning a trip really feels like!

All photos courtesy of Sanny Rodriguez.

sightseeing Cuzco Peru winning a tour
Cuzco, a stop on the Bolivia and Peru Escape tour, is a captivating city nestled in the Peruvian Andes.

 

1. South America is a dream destination!

“I can still remember when I got the email from Expat Explore notifying me that I won a free tour to South America which left me completely shocked, I even shouted ‘NO WAY’ while smiling from ear to ear! I couldn’t believe it happened! 

I have been dreaming of experiencing South America for a long time and I could definitely tell I was the happiest human on earth at that time!”

Admiring Machu Picchu winning a tour
A visit to the incredible Machu Picchu was the main reason Sanny chose to embark on this tour!

2. Machu Picchu is incredible to see in person

“I was given a list of options to choose and without any hesitation, I opted for Bolivia and Peru. Yes, Machu Picchu it is!

I am very happy with my choice and the tour was very smooth considering it was their first launch! The group and I felt safe all the time with the presence of our exceptional tour leaders and local guides.”

Moon Valley Bolivia winning a tour
Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) in Bolivia is an out of this world destination in South America!

3. South America is filled with natural beauty

“South America is a special continent! You get to see a lot of surprises whichever part you’re in! I am having a hard time to describe it in one sentence as it’s obsolete to say it’s beautiful, pretty or gorgeous. I’d just say travelling across South America was an exceptional journey that a human should experience at least once in their life! You can watch a lot of documentaries on screen but as soon as you get there, the hype is on a different level. From the desert to the coast to the Andes mountains and green valleys, you’ll spoil your eyes with the stunning beauty, so surreal that you’d think it is a high definition wallpaper.”

Copacabana Bolivia sunset winning a tour
Copacabana, a town on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia was one of Sanny’s top stops on tour!

4. There are a number of must-see highlights across Bolivia and Peru

“La Paz and Copacabana were definitely the highlights in Bolivia where I experienced Bolivian culture and witnessed how local Bolivians live.

However, I’d say the main highlight of this tour was the Machu Picchu in Peru! This ancient Inca citadel is breathtaking. I am in awe whenever I look at the photos I took. The structure on how it was built is unbelievable and there’s no question as to why this spot is on the top of the bucket list of many travellers!”

Sightseeing Lima winning a tour
Lima is the colourful capital city of Peru and is home to a number of great things to see and do!

5. The Nazca Lines optional was an unforgettable (and funny!) experience

“I might be a very awful person to share this but I think the rest of my group would agree a funny moment was when we did the Nazca Line optional in Peru. In order to see the view, the pilot kept tilting the plane and since almost all of us aboard had motion sickness, we were looking around at each other, doing sign language to say how crazy we all felt! We boarded the plane super excited and full of energy and disembarked rather drained! 

Even with the motion sickness, the experience was truly worth it and I’ll do it again in a heartbeat!”

Alpaca South America winning a tour
Sanny enjoyed a full-on experience during his South America tour – seeing Alpacas in their natural habitat included!

6. It was easy to stick to a budget during the trip

“I did, I have to use different currencies so it really requires budgeting. Card payment is not widely used in Bolivia so cash was necessary but almost everything was very affordable so it was great. Most of the shops in Peru accept card payment so it was easy and convenient, and the food and souvenirs weren’t that expensive either. My spending was actually below the budget I set so I was very happy I was able to save some for my next holiday.”

Meeting locals Peru winning a tour
Sanny had the chance to meet with many locals. Left, Sanny pictured with Quechua in Peru. Right, Sanny pictured with a local Uru on the Uros Floating Islands in Peru.

7. It felt safe and secure exploring on a group tour

“Just like any other country in the world, safety and security could be a concern so I was very delighted that I travelled in a group with a company that I trust. It’s also amazing to share the experience with people who are also there for the first time, you discover together what the country has to offer, share laughter and great memories!”

Sightseeing Ballestas Islands and La Paz winning a tour
Bolivia and Peru boast countless beautiful destinations. Left, Ballestas Islands, Peru. Right, the streets of La Paz, Bolivia.

8. There is so much more to see – another visit is definitely on the cards!

“Definitely, yes! I’d love to explore Brazil, see the flora and fauna of Galapagos Island in Ecuador, meet the special rock face figures of Easter Island in Chile and relax in the resort city Ushuaia in Argentina!”


Is a trip to South America next on your travel bucket list? You can follow in Sanny’s footsteps; take a look at our tours and start planning your 2021 trip today! Subscribe to our email newsletter and keep an eye on our social media channels for more info on exciting competitions in the future.

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