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Where to celebrate my mothers 60th Birthday in South America

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Where to celebrate my mothers 60th Birthday in South America

1. Posted by noincue (Budding Member 32 posts) 2y

Hi All

My Mum is turning 60 in February and to celebrate, her and i will be spending Jan/Feb next year traveling around South America.

Originally we were going to try and trek the Inca Trail for her birthday but our dates don't line up well enough.

Any suggestions - can be off the beaten path, major tourist attraction, whatever - I just need to organise something special and i'm out of ideas.

Thanks

Ana :)

2. Posted by Borisborough (Respected Member 457 posts) 2y

Hello Ana - the fact that you were considering the Inca Trail suggests your mother a fairly fit fifty-nine year old. If Machu Picchu doesn't push the right buttons then a trek down and up the Colca Canyon at Cabanaconde in Peru might work - not too strenuous nor too time consuming and exploring the rest of the area west of Chivay is worthwhile too.

A three day 4x4 drive across the salt flats of southern Bolivia from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile to Uyuni in Bolivia is a brilliant way to see the natural landscape and not quite as rigorous as a trek although the altitude is hard work. Not far from Uyuni is Potosi where it's possible to go down the mine of Cerro Rico - quite an experience. A few days in the jungle tracking howler monkeys and spotting snakes, tarantulas and building a raft to float down the river is possible in Madidi National Park starting at Rurrenebaque, north of La Paz, also in Bolivia. And if you extend that to the pampas as well, you get the chance to see sloths and caimen and swim with the pink river dolphins.

A flight over the Nazca Lines a few hours south of Lima is a good diversion. And if the money's not too tight, a week or so in the Galapagos Islands is a great way to see some of the more remote wildlife of South America - giant tortoises, Darwin's finches, sealions, marine iguanas, sea turtles and hammerhead sharks. :)

3. Posted by noincue (Budding Member 32 posts) 2y

Thanks Borisborough,

I think the 4x4 across salt flats would definitely be her style! Would you recommend a particular tour company or arrange myself with a local guide?

Thanks

4. Posted by Borisborough (Respected Member 457 posts) 2y

We used Cordillera who have offices in both Uyuni and San Pedro de Atacama. There are reviews on Trip Advisor http://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Attraction_Review-g317033-d4498539-Reviews-Cordillera_Traveller_Private_Day_Tour-Uyuni_Potosi_Department.html (not sure I'm allowed to post that here).

Cordillera are not exactly cheap at CLP82500 each (USD150) but we had a great driver and, although the first hostel wasn't too flash, the second one was excellent and the food was good all along the trip. We started from San Pedro in a minivan with twelve travellers and then at the border between Chile and Bolivia, changed to two 4x4s with six of us plus the driver in each.

I'm sure there are other companies doing the same trip but I think they all have some reliability problems - the roads across the salt flats are pretty unforgiving.

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 2y

Quoting Borisborough

We used Cordillera who have offices in both Uyuni and San Pedro de Atacama. There are reviews on Trip Advisor http://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Attraction_Review-g317033-d4498539-Reviews-Cordillera_Traveller_Private_Day_Tour-Uyuni_Potosi_Department.html (not sure I'm allowed to post that here).

You are. It's abundantly clear that you're not posting on the forum to promote this company, nor in any way affiliated with them, which makes it helpful advice from a real traveller; something we're entirely in favour of. We err on the side of suspicion with new posters (sadly almost always justified), but once you've been here for a while, posting links is totally fine.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Jun-2014, at 01:55 by Sander ]

6. Posted by noincue (Budding Member 32 posts) 2y

Thanks for the advise Borisborough! I'll be sure to look in to them.:)

7. Posted by i c e (Respected Member 326 posts) 2y

Mendoza is really a unique place to be. Summer would be in swing at that time and there is lot's of fine wine and dining and a very quaint, easy going town with the Andes in the backdrop. Lot's of wineries to take tours at.

The Nazca lines are incredible boring. In the middle of a desert with nothing around and some ditches dug in the dirt of some random shapes is really not what it's hyped up to be, IMHO. If you google the pictures online, you get all the enjoyment in the comfort of your own home.

Rio is really beautiful (the ocean, cable car, Cristo Redentor, etc). But January time would be rather crowded from NYD's.

Lima has some nice spots on the ocean, but not somewhere I would take my 60 year old "mum" (lol). If she is adventurous Ecuador has some beautiful volcano mountains.. search cotopaxi.

8. Posted by Borisborough (Respected Member 457 posts) 2y

Quoting i c e

The Nazca lines are incredible boring. In the middle of a desert with nothing around and some ditches dug in the dirt of some random shapes is really not what it's hyped up to be, IMHO. If you google the pictures online, you get all the enjoyment in the comfort of your own home.

This is definitely a matter of opinion! They are certainly in the middle of the desert but I wouldn't say they are random shapes nor incredibly boring. And I found it infinitely more enjoyable seeing them myself from a light aircraft rather than googling the pictures in the comfort of my own home. Admittedly the flight isn't cheap (USD100 per person) but it was something I'd wanted to do for a long time and I was far from disappointed - it was one of the many highlights of our trip to South America and I'd recommend it to anyone.

9. Posted by i c e (Respected Member 326 posts) 2y

Quoting Borisborough

Quoting i c e

The Nazca lines are incredible boring. In the middle of a desert with nothing around and some ditches dug in the dirt of some random shapes is really not what it's hyped up to be, IMHO. If you google the pictures online, you get all the enjoyment in the comfort of your own home.

This is definitely a matter of opinion! They are certainly in the middle of the desert but I wouldn't say they are random shapes nor incredibly boring. And I found it infinitely more enjoyable seeing them myself from a light aircraft rather than googling the pictures in the comfort of my own home. Admittedly the flight isn't cheap (USD100 per person) but it was something I'd wanted to do for a long time and I was far from disappointed - it was one of the many highlights of our trip to South America and I'd recommend it to anyone.

I guess it's too each his own, right? Nice to hear you enjoyed them. I came through there on my travels, I was so surprised to see what it wasn't (LOL). I had heard so much about it.. from I don't know where, but being there I was like.. really? Lol. But I guess I have to admit I only saw the ones you drive by and pay a dollar to climb the thingy and see. Glad you enjoyed them. I'm sure to some there are quite spectacular. I did wonder if they ever did any maintenance on them though.. a little raking to preserve the industry... ?