Hey! My girlfriend and I are thinking of travelling to South America in February 2017 to see Machu Pichu, preferably do the trail (which i know doesn't come cheap lol).
We also want to see other areas of Peru along with Rio and Argentina - falls, all within 4-6 weeks. She also has family that lives in Chile meaning we will definitely have to stop in and check out Chile.
We are just wondering is it possible to check out all these sites within this time frame and how much do you think this would all cost? - we would be trying to do it cheaply by backpacking it and staying with her family while in Chile
Unfortunately the (classic) inca trail is closed each February for cleanup. Yes, for the entire month. It's also the middle of the rainy season, so tends to be far from the best time to do hiking around there. How set are you on going that time of the year? If it'd be an option to start in Chile/Argentina in March, and then get to Peru in early April, that might work out quite a bit better.
All of what you'd want to do should be possible in 6 weeks without too much hardship. 4 weeks would be too much of a stretch, though, unless you want to fly from point to point in a complete rush, then I guess technically you could make it fit.
I'm fuzzy on current costs out there, so I'll let someone else comment on that. One tip, though, for Argentina, bring loads and loads of Euros (or dollars). You can pay with them in most tourist places for a rate about 20-30% better than what you'd get for withdrawing pesos from an ATM.
Now is a good time to visit South America, where both dollars and euros are worth more than they used to, particularly in Argentina and Brazil, where there is economic and political turmoil.
Bring lots of cash for Argentina, where there is an active "parallel" currency market. Currently you'll get about 50 percent more for your dollars or euros than the official exchange rate (when you withdraw pesos from an ATM or go to a bank to change money). This newspaper in Argentina publishes the latest exchange rate for the "Blue Dollar:"
Flights within countries tend to be more affordable than flights between countries. For example, flights in Brazil on TAM and GOL are reasonable for the distance covered. Bus transportation is widely available.