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Tips for 1-2 Month trip to South America in June / July

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Hello! I'm taking the summer off before I begin grad school in the fall, and have been wanting to take somewhere between 1-2 months to travel in South America. Now I know that June and July constitute the winter for much of the continent, but one place I've zeroed in on that from what I can tell is relatively warm during these months is Colombia. As a soon to be in debt grad student, I obviously Need this trip to be on a budget - I'm thinking somewhere around $3,000 USD including airfare from NYC. But, I'm a little over the partying-hostel lifestyle. Ideally I'm looking for some vibrant city exploration in the most non-touristy ways possible to really get a feel for the people, food, music, etc. (I'm in the field of urban policy so cities are very interesting to me, and Bogota seems particularly appealing), but also want to have some beach/non-city time to breathe and relax.

I'm in the very early stages of planning, so I'm looking for any advice whatsoever! Best way to spend my time / best places to go given my timeframe, budget, and goals (not just Colombia); sample itineraries; budget saving tips; visa issues, etc. etc.

Thanks so much.

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