My Just You Story: Sharon

A friend of mine suggested trying out Just You and so in 2014, I booked an Eastern European tour to test the waters. I absolutely loved it and I've been travelling far and wide with them ever since. Solo travel gives me complete freedom. I only have myself to look after and decide what I want to do.

Sometimes you end up booking the same tour as someone you’ve travelled with before, and inevitably, over time, you end up with this lovely little family of solo travellers all intent on seeing more of the world.

I’ve just returned from Chile, Argentina and Brazil which was incredible. I already knew two people who had been on it before, and they gave me all sorts of advice to make the most of it. 

Reaching new heights

The itinerary was timed really well and we had enough time in all the places we visited.

On our first day, our Holiday Director, Sue, suggested that we visit Gran Torre Santiago, South America’s tallest tower, and it was only a 20-minute walk from the hotel. It’s 64 stories high and I can safely say the views were worth it!

The following day as part of the Santiago city tour we took the cable car up to San Cristobal Hill to look out at the foothills of the Andes – that was incredible. Crossing the Andes was another wow moment. The  weather was fabulous and it’s hard to describe just how magnificent it was, we enjoyed a couple of stops to get a good look at the vistas.

Our Mendoza city tour was excellent and so interesting. The city is essentially an oasis in the desert, and the excellent irrigation system means that there’s all this lush green flora, it makes you question how they do it, the mind boggles!

Tango and the Falls

In Buenos Aires, the Argentine Tango night was amazing – the buzz and the energy was wonderful, you could bottle it. Combining this with the day out at an estancia gave us a great balance between the cities and the countryside.

Sue also took a few of us to a tango class in the evening which was so much fun, but goodness me, it was hard. You’re made to feel really welcome, and we were in the beginners section of course, so we had a giggle trying to learn all the moves and turns.

This tour covers so much ground but if there was one thing I’d revisit, it would be Iguaçu Falls. We started with the Argentinian side on the first morning, then a few of us did the boat trip in the afternoon. We got absolutely drenched, but it was great fun. We were lucky with our flight timings to be able to visit again the following morning from the Brazilian side.

It’s quite an early start and means you have to check out early, but it was absolutely worth it as you got a completely different perspective of the Falls.

Foodies will love South America! The steaks are iconic, and rightly so, but even the fruit and salads were delicious. We visited in their late summer which meant there was lots of produce in season, so lots of avocados and fresh fruit for breakfast to set us up for the day. 

We did a vineyard tour at the Concha y Toro vineyard near Santiago and sampled the grapes and the wine. My favourite was the Carménère.

Mendoza is the perfect spot for Malbec wine, a lot of Chile’s wine is produced here, so connoisseurs will be in their element. 
Dining is really good value, at one harbourside restaurant in Buenos Aires, three of us shared two bottles of Malbec, (chosen from an A4 sized list of just Malbec alone), six small bottles of water, an appetiser, starter and main course each, followed by complimentary fizz. The bill came to just over £28 each. What's not to like?

The food at the estancia was brilliant too. They came around with every meat going, as well as plenty of wine. Safe to say, my grocery shopping when I got home included more fish and vegetables!

Party time

I've always had South America on the to do list, and I thought if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it when the Rio Carnival is on - there's no point in going all that way and not doing it.

The winners parade takes place overnight, and it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences, but to make sure you cover all that Rio has to offer, it makes it a long day.

We were up at 6.30am to see Christ the Redeemer before the crowds. We all tried to have a sleep in the afternoon before we went down to the street party in the main area to enjoy the festivities and grab something to eat before we all dressed up.

There are lots of crowds as you can imagine, the parade itself is fabulous, but by 3am we were all partied out. I'm so glad I did it, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Plus it meant we had more time to discover Rio by booking the parade add on which was wonderful.

The group and guides

There were 20 in the group, including the Holiday Director and everyone mixed well. 

Sue was so friendly and personable, and having done this tour several times before she was extremely knowledgeable - she was definitely part of the group. I'd love to do another tour with her. 

The local guides were excellent too with their depth of knowledge and giving us plenty of time to reflect on the stories they were sharing.

Surprises that keep on coming

The biggest thing that has surprised me with Just You is not the tours themselves, but the friendships made from them. I never went on these tours expecting to build up such good friendships. 

The Spirit of India trip in March 2020 was really quite unique because of the pandemic breaking. For all we were aware of the developing news, we didn’t fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation. We came home a week before the first lockdown and so our WhatsApp group became a bit of a lifeline to us. Someone then suggested having Zoom chats. This continues to this day, and every Saturday we get together at 5pm for a catch up. 

We all have different little meet ups and one of the ladies in the group is doing the Chile, Argentina and Brazil tour in October, so I'm going to get together with her and give her some information and tips. 

Top tips for going solo in South America

Do your research on currency. You can't take money into Argentina because it's a closed currency but you can change your Chilean Pesos into Argentinian Pesos. It’s also a good idea to take pound sterling and US dollars.

Fortunately the Holiday Director and Local Guides took us to places where we could change money. Cards are widely accepted, but there were a selection of places where cash was preferred, so it’s worth researching. Also when you’re dining as a group and splitting the bill, I find it’s much easier to use cash.

As you’re travelling through three different countries, there are different plug sockets in use so I’d invest in some worldwide multi-adaptor plugs to cover all bases.

If it’s your first Just You tour, just do it! I'm reasonably confident, but I know not everybody is. It doesn't matter because everybody looks out for each other. 

I chose Chile, Argentina and Brazil because it covers cities and countryside and everything in between – you really feel like you’re seeing a little bit more of each country, and it lived up to my expectations. 

Let us take you there

  1. Christ the Redeemer statue above Rio de Janeiro

    Chile, Argentina & Brazil

    Chile's rippling vines, the cascading Iguaçú Falls spilling into Argentina and Brazil, the imposing statue of Christ in Rio and Buenos Aires' tango beats are just some of the iconic sights and sounds that make a tour of these three countries so desirable.

    • Return flights
    • 11 nights in 4 & 5-star hotels
    • 13 meals: 11 breakfasts, 2 dinners including a welcome drink

    14 days from
    was £5,199
  2. Carnival!

    Chile, Argentina & Brazil Rio Carnival Winners' Parade

    Discover the incredible highlights of Chile, Argentina and Brazil before experiencing the magnificent Rio Carnival Winners' Parade from your seat in the Sambodromo.

    • Return flights
    • 12 nights in a 4 & 5-star hotels
    • 14 meals: 12 breakfasts, 2 dinners including welcome drink

    15 days from