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 Columns by Experts
Traveling Down the Amazon: A Pictorial Journey from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean by Volker Poelzl
Down the Amazon
A stranded steamship on the banks of the Amazon River in Peru.
The Amazon is a vast ecosystem, stretching from the eastern slopes of the Andean mountains in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the world's largest river system with the world's largest rain forest and greatest bio diversity. But these superlatives cannot aptly describe the immense ecological and cultural diversity of the region. When I set out from the Peruvian city of Cuzco to travel by train along the Urubamba River, and then continue down river by boat towards the Amazon, I had no idea about how vast and incomprehensible this region would turn out to be. My journey was at once magical and tedious, dangerous and mesmerizing. On my way to the Amazon I passed through dangerous rapids and narrow gorges, stayed at hospitable indigenous communities and was welcomed by settlers to spend the night in their palm-thatched huts. I passed towering cliffs with clay licks where dozens of colorful macaws gathered to lick vital nutrients, watched monkeys climb through the dense foliage along the banks, and observed river dolphins playing alongside the boats upon which I was traveling... Read more...
A Survival Guide to South American Mega-Cities by Volker Poelzl
South American Mega-Cities
South America is not only home to the world's largest rain forest and one of the tallest mountain ranges, but also to mega-cities that are among the world's largest metropolitan areas. While most visitors come to South America to see Inca ruins, the Amazon rain forest and some of the continent's many natural wonders, few visitors can avoid a stopover in one of South America's largest cities. From my own experience it can be quite a challenge to get your bearings in these large urban areas and spend a few enjoyable days, especially when you are planning to hike in the Andes or explore the rain forest and are not well-prepared for a city visit. Still, I have found that with a little bit of planning and research, you can have an enjoyable time in South America's mega-cities, even if they are not the main destination of your trip... Read more...
Women and Solo Travel in South America by Amy Stix Miller
Solo Woman Travel in South America
My last afternoon at home before departing on a much anticipated, year-long solo journey through South America, I had a meltdown over duct tape, or rather, the lack thereof. A staple in my backpack for quick repairs of ripped rain pants or threadbare boots, I had forgotten this item in one final, blurry blaze of frantic preparation. But it wasn't the missing tape that caused my waterworks. I knew what lurked behind the tears... Read more...
Air Travel in South America by Volker Poelzl
On a continent as vast as South America, air travel is a necessity in order to get around in a timely fashion. The Amazon basin with its myriad rivers and flood plains and the Andes are formidable obstacles to ground travel, and flying is safer, faster and more reliable than travel by bus or boat. Flying in South America is also a great way to get an idea of the geography of a country and its vastness. Try to get a window seat and bring your camera for some great shots of the rain forest and mountain ranges. Small planes on short flights have a lower flight elevation than large jets, and you will be able to enjoy the changing scenery during your flight. It is an unforgettable experience to fly over the Amazon rain forest or the Argentinean Pampas and then watch the landscape rise to form the magnificent Andes, with their snow-capped volcanoes and extensive high plains... Read more...
Overland Travel in South America by Volker Poelzl
Volker Poelzl
I have always been fascinated by the idea of crossing South America by road. Long before my first visit to this vast continent, I enjoyed following the Pan-American highway with my finger on the map, until I reached its end at the southern tip of Chile. I followed with equal interest the course of the Transamazonian highway, as it dissected the Brazilian Amazon from east to west. However, during my first yearlong stay in South America I discovered that road travel on this vast continent is not as easy as the maps suggest. This article is for those travelers in South America who plan to see the continent mainly by overland travel, and will build upon my own experiences to help you plan an enjoyable and safe trip... Read more...
Travel to Study the Jaguar in the Pantanal, Brazil by Marsha Johnston
Pantanal in Brazil
Hardly had Luis Carlos stopped rubbing the damp denim cloth along the wooden spindle inside the hollowed-out palm stump, when our collective hearts leapt.

From down river, distant yet unmistakable, came a live version of the drawn-out grunt-growl he had just skillfully coaxed from the jaguar caller... Read more...

Portuguese Study in Brazil: More Than Sun and Samba by Volker Poelzl
Study Portuguese in Brazil
Portuguese is certainly not among the most popular foreign languages in Europe and North America, but there are many reasons why it might be a good idea to consider studying the language. Portuguese is only spoken in Portugal, Brazil, and several former Portuguese colonies in Africa and East Asia. For many language students Portuguese ranks behind Spanish, French, Mandarin or Japanese in importance. However, over the past decade Brazil has risen as a new economic powerhouse in the Western hemisphere and has grown in importance for North America, not only in terms of trade, natural resources, and bio fuels, but also in regard to cooperation on environmental issues such as the protection of the Amazon rain forest and partnerships between universities and research facilities... Read more...
Living in Buenos Aires: Enjoy a Better Life by Shanie Matthews
Living in Buenos Aires
Which city is "Paris of the Southern Hemisphere," the birth place of sultry, sensual Tango and Latin America's Polo capital? The center of non-stop action, beautiful people, and European architecture is none other than Buenos Aires. A city that seduces in so many ways, Buenos Aires is now a hotspot for those looking to live abroad... Read more...
The Faces of Tango: The Buenos Aires Tango Festival by Veronica Hackethal
Tango Festival in Buenos Aires
February in Buenos Aires is sultry and humid, perfect tango weather. But I arrive in no shape for dancing. I am wearing a winter coat after more than thirty hours traveling. A blizzard in New York had delayed my flight from JFK, re-routing it north through Toronto, then through Miami for a six hour layover, and finally to Buenos Aires. To add insult to injury, I am nursing broken ribs and lingering whiplash from a recent accident. What possessed me to torture myself so? Tango. The Eighth Annual Buenos Aires Tango Festival is due to commence in three days, and I have come to see the city strut its stuff. I want to know how one dance could stir so much imagination around the world... Read more...
Living in Mendoza, Argentina: The Best of Both Worlds by Shanie Matthews
Living in Buenos Aires
Imagine living at the base of towering mountains, amongst vineyards, in a place that puts community first. Mendoza, Argentina—both the city and the province—offers many advantages for those choosing to live abroad. The natural environment is spectacular and it offers a rainbow of leisure activities. The economic conditions provide an opportunity for adventurous entrepreneurs and those that have good business sense. And the infrastructure is well established, providing excellent health care, European architecture, and metropolitan adventure... Read more...
Living Outside the Box in Bariloche, Argentina by Shanie Matthews
Living in Buenos Aires
The mystique and beauty of Patagonia is calling you. It is time to venture to the far reaches of South America. But what area is the easiest to live in, find a job, and enjoy life in the great expanse that is Patagonia?

Bariloche, the bustling, enchanting city of 150,000, offers opportunity, work possibilities, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences within its landscape of national parks... Read more...

WWOOFing in Argentina by Lorraine Jenkin
WOOFing with a Difference
It was time to get away. I wanted an exciting adventure overseas, but one where which did not involve staying in tourist accommodations with other tourists. WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) was appealing since I had heard of it several years before as an organization that helps links people to organic farms around the world. Simply contact the host on the farm that is appealing and then work an agreed upon amount of hours per day in exchange for simple bed and board... Read more...
Everybody Wins Studying Spanish in Cusco, Peru with FairPlay by Tamia Lum Dowlatabadi
Cusco, Peru
I am sitting with Erika, my practice teacher, in a plaza surrounded by historic buildings in the center of Cusco, Peru. We are talking about high school. She is correcting my verb endings. In the morning I had two hours of grammar lessons with Camucha, my grammar teacher. The strong emphasis on practicing Spanish as well as learning the grammar was what initially attracted me to FairPlay. As a former language teacher, I'm a fussy student, reprimanding teachers who waste my time with drills rather than conversation. Whenever I take a language class I worry about having to train my teachers. With FairPlay, I was pleasantly surprised. The classes were entirely in Spanish, focusing on communication and compelling lots of practice speaking through total language immersion... Read more...
Teaching English in Peru: The Ultimate Guide by Sharon de Hinojosa
Teaching, Peru
Peru? Where IS that? That's how most people reacted when I told them that I was going to teach in Peru. I had only planned on staying for a year, but as fate would have it, I got married, and four years later, I'm still here. I have taught in the private school system and at two universities during this period. Over the years, in addition to first hand experience, I've done research about teaching in Peru. This guide is the result. It's comprehensive and should help you in transitioning to Peru... Read more...
A Year Living and Working in Peru by Celine Hansen
Living in Peru
Moving to a different continent with a job promise and a desire to practice Spanish.

Oh, how unprepared we were when my 27-year-old, self-employed Web developer boyfriend and I, a 24 year old engineering geologist, decided to move from the U.K. to Peru! When asked "why?" we mumbled that we wanted to practice our Spanish, learned long ago and seldom used, that Spain didn't attract us, and that we wanted to see Machu Picchu. We were still child-free, we were young, adventurous, looking for some fresh air and I was looking for a new company to work for... Read more...

Slow Tourism in Ecuador: Travel That Raises Awareness by Andres Hammerman
Slow Tourism in Ecuador
My wife and I were slow travelers over 15 years ago before we moved to Ecuador and built the Black Sheep Inn. We began exploring South America in Venezuela, arriving with an open airline ticket and no itinerary. Our goal was to travel for six months to a year or until the money ran out. Using the South American Handbook (the bible of travel back then) as a guide, we chose destinations. If we liked where we ended up, we stayed. By studying detailed maps, we deliberately chose villages that were not included in the guidebook. We enjoyed going one step further to insure that we were truly off-the-beaten-path... Read more...
Endpage: The Carioca Kangaroo
Becoming a Brazilian by Accident by Aaron Smith
Living in Rio de Janeiro

I never planned to live in Rio de Janeiro. Originally it was just the last stop of a round-the-world jaunt before returning home to Australia. Travel-weary and down to my last couple hundred dollars, I had no idea I was about to create a new life, meet my future wife and embark on a new career. Rio de Janeiro, meaning the river of January, is an intoxicatingly beautiful city that the locals or Cariocas refer to as the A Cidade Maravilhosa - "The Marvellous City"

Nestled between dome-like mountains, shouldering platinum white beaches and blanketed with the Floresta da Tijuca, the world's largest forest inside an urban area, this city of nearly twelve million people has a way of seducing you. Once the capital of Brazil, and for a brief period the center of the Portuguese Empire, Rio's colonial heritage is reminiscent of a great European city. The many historical churches, such as the Candelaria Church, the Municipal Theatre, and the National Library of Cinelandia square are some of the Belle Epoque landmarks of Rio. All of this under the watchful gaze of O Cristo Redentor the statue of Jesus Christ, the iconic symbol of Brazil that is now listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Rio is a place where samba, soccer, beach and barbeque are worshipped like a religion... Read more... 

Ask the Expert Q&A
How Easy is it to Immigrate in South America?
by Living Abroad Contributing Editor Volker Poelzl
Volker Poelzl
South America has gained international notoriety in the past as an easy place of exile for fugitives from justice and anyone else eager to leave their home country and past behind. But the reality of legally moving to and living in South America today is quite different today. Unlike countries in Central America and the Caribbean, most South American countries do not actively lure foreign residents with attractive tax breaks and easy immigration laws. But there are still several legal ways for foreign citizens to obtain permanent residency in South America, although it is no longer as easy as in the past... Read more...
Budget Travel in South America
Resourceful Travel Columnist Tim Leffel
Tim Leffel
South America has a lot to offer budget travelers, but it takes some planning and prioritizing to keep from breaking the bank. Just as Mexico's costs are far lower than in the neighboring U.S. and Hungary's are far lower than those in Austria, regional differences in South America can be dramatic. Urban Brazil, Chile, the Galapagos, and celebrity-filled beach areas of Uruguay can be surprisingly expensive. On the other hand, stretches of Peru, Bolivia, and mainland Ecuador are some of the least expensive places on the planet for backpackers... Read more...
Health Tips for Solo Women Travelers
Women's Travel Columnist Beth Whitman
Beth Whitman
All travelers must deal with health issues at some point or another while on the road. However, there are a number of conditions and problems specific to women. While you may never experience many of these in your daily life, the stress, pace of travel and exposure to new and exotic foods and diseases, may increase your exposure to, and potential for developing, any one or more of these health issues... Read more...

We are proud to launch TAzine as a monthly Webzine which continues the 31-year tradition started by Transitions Abroad magazine. TAzine features many of the same columnists who wrote for the magazine, a growing group of new columnists, while featuring many freelance writers who wish to share their experiences and expertise within the context of our trailblazing coverage of work, study, travel, and living abroad.

Founded in 1977 by Dr. Clayton Allen Hubbs, Transitions Abroad magazine was the only print publication dedicated to work, study, living, volunteering, and immersion travel abroad. Its purpose—in print and now as a Webzine—is the dissemination of practical information leading to a greater understanding of other cultures through direct participation in the daily life of the host community.

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