How to connect with the local people in South-America
By Fay Remmers
Going on vacation in South America is getting more and more popular. A ticket is easily booked, Andes Overland will arrange everything for you and you will have a nice guide where you can count on during the whole trip. Besides, the locals are getting used to the tourists as well, so they will not be surprised anymore to see you walking down the street. Most of the people want to go to South America to discover a new culture and new people. But if everything is arranged for you, how do you connect with the local people?
Follow your interest
Every traveler is excited to learn everything they can about a destination. Connecting to a group of people who shares your interests can take things to a whole new level. When you’re traveling, your interests can be a great reason to meet people. Talking about what you like, listening to the stories of others and asking locals for tips can change your entire trip. For example, you can go to an art gallery, a museum of interest, a movie, a bar with local music a soccer game or you can attend a dance performance.
The small things
It is all about the small things. Therefore, it is a good idea to learn some Spanish words. Although it might sound a bit like a cliché, but a ‘hola’, ‘adios’, ‘gracias or ‘por favor’ can really make a difference. A simple smile could be enough sometimes as well. It is a fact that people who smile can connect more easily with others. Besides, remember that a smile is contagious!
When you visit for example a village; keep in mind that you are not the only one who has been there and that there are a lot of people who want to take pictures of their lifestyle. Keep an appropriate distance and do not forget to ask if it is okay to take a picture. (Puedo tomar una foto?)
Have you ever thought to bring pictures from your family or friends to show to people in another country? It is really a good way to make a connection, because it is a type of sharing. If you are willing to share you will explore that the people react more friendly if you ask them for a picture.
Dig into the country
Connecting is not always about having a conversation. It is about trying to understand each other, giving respect and showing interest in cultural differences. It is a good idea to read a good book or watch a documentary about the particular country. Besides, it’s nice to learn something about their history and culture. In this way you get to know the country better and you will understand where the people come from.
Try something new
Every traveler is familiar with it: the well-known travel guide book. It is very helpful, we agree, but try to go to less touristic places when you have spare time. Do not always follow the group, the tips from the guide or the famous travel books. Try something new! Go for example to a nearby village. There are always buses available who will take you there and the hotel reception is willing to help you and willing to give you great tips.
Do not forget to try the local cuisine! Food is a very important aspect of culture and South America has an amazing and delicious kitchen. Often, you will have lunch and dinner in touristic restaurants, but it is recommendable to go to a local restaurant when you have spare time. The average stomach of a South American is stronger than the stomach of the tourists, so it is important to watch out a little. If you are in a crowded restaurant and the dish is cooked, fried or steamed there should not be any problem!
Join our trip and keep these tips in mind to enjoy an even better experience.
We hope to see you soon!