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25 Signs It's Time To Get the Hell Out of South America

South America Student Work Insider Guides Hiking Budget Travel
by Rebecca Bellan Oct 8, 2015

1. You’ve done ayahuasca more than once within a span of three months.

It’s meant to heal your body and soul. If you’re doing it for the trip, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Go home.

2. You’ve totally forgotten that you came here to hike the Lost City Trek.

Because you got distracted by a more than healthy amount of hard drugs — how much cocaine is too much cocaine?

3. You’ve begun to enjoy the taste of roasted guinea pig on a stick.

If it was good enough for Jesus’s Last Supper…

4. You’ve angered a Lima native by saying you like Ecuadorean ceviche more than Peruvian ceviche.

Pero ceviche empezó en Peru. Somos los únicos que lo hacen correcto.” Yeah, but I prefer shellfish and plátanos to white fish and sweet potato.

5. Corn has become “choclo” and avocado is now “palta.”

It’s not even Spanish, it’s Quechua. Choclo con quesooooo, anyone?

6. You’ve developed an unhealthy relationship with alpacas.

You like to pet them and hold their babies, but you’ve also eaten them for dinner with a nice chincha sauce, while wearing their fur as a sweater.

7. You’re walking to the same arepa and/or empanada stand near your hostel at least three times a day.

Ok, the first time was for lunch, the second was to show a friend, and the third was because you were drunk.

8. You, or someone you know, has crapped their pants. In public.

Ay, Dios mio. We all get it. It happens.

9. You’re leaving the house fully clothed, but with your belly still out.

You saw some of the local men chillin’ with their shirts rolled up and their bellies sticking out and now you get it. It’s become your fashion statement and cooling tool.

10. You’ve ditched coffee for straight coca leaves steeped in hot water.

Sure, it’s strong, but you’ve been here too long if you can forsake the magical elixir that is coffee for cocaine’s ancestor.

11. Your diet consists of beans, mashed beans, white rice and potatoes.

Starch all day, err’ day.

12. You’re convinced you can do most activities drunk.

Partly because you can actually afford to get drunk and do interesting things like learn to surf. Examples of seemingly acceptable drunk activities include, but are not limited to, snorkeling with whale sharks in the Galapagos, sandboarding in Death Valley in San Pedro de Atacama, quad biking in the Andes, etc. You’ve become invincible, unstoppable. Nada te puede parar.

13. You’ve broken something.

Mountain biking down Bolivia’s famous Death Road, snowboarding in Patagonia, or just playing drunk soccer with a bunch of Nicaraguans, it isn’t unlikely that you’ve damaged a limb at some point.

14. You’re only drinking pisco sours and rum and cokes.

Maybe also a mojito. And some aguardiente if you’re feeling cheap. Cosmopolitan, who?

15. When you hear a Celine Dion ballad at a club, you get hyped up.

You don’t even know what the kids back home are listening to. Who is this Fetty Wap? Are people still saying “YOLO?”

16. The Amazon has added interesting things to your body.

Be it a toe fungus or a parasite that lives in your face.

17. A giant beetle lands on your table, a tarantula climbs on your pillow, a toad lives under your bed… and you don’t even care.

You continue to eat at the same table as a lizard you named Frank.

18. You’ve started rolling your eyes at anyone who trekked the Inca Trail over the Salcantay Route.

Did you go with a tour group, too? Emanuel and I trekked it all by ourselves, without a map.

19. You’re spending more money on bus snacks than bus tickets.

Twenty-two hours later and your bus cama seat is filled with wrappers from plantain chips, chicharrones, brazil nuts, an empty container or two of some sort of rice, and a few empty bottles of Inca Kola — the yellow kind, obviously.

20. You’ve talked yourself into hitchhiking the continent.

Good vibes all around on the dusty Chilean roads or the swampy Inter Oceanic Highway. Nothing suspect could possibly happen to a Westerner with a backpack and about $3,000 worth of electronics.

21. You’re beginning to suspect most main attractions, like the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, are a tourist hoax.

You’re probably right. It’s hard not to get jaded to overdone tourist traps in Peru.

22. You still can’t figure out how to pour a beer in La Paz, Cusco, Quito or San Pedro.

It’s all foam. All of it. And all your bottles of lotion exploded the second you plopped your backpack down on the floor by your bunk bed.

23. You can’t fall asleep unless you’re in a hammock.

They’re so strong and supportive, like a gently swaying cocoon.

24. You dance salsa to every genre of music.

Ever since that class with Son de Luz in Cali and those crazy nights out at El Eslabón in Medellin and El Mirador in Taganga, your default dance moves to even the most popular David Guetta song are a little 1-2-3 and a hip swing.

25. You’ve traded in your sweatshirts for Andes ponchos and your jeans for traveler’s pants. Everyday.

Hiking boots and a large, dirty headband will complete the look. No makeup and sun-lightened hair if you’re a girl, man-bun and beard if you’re a guy.

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