My partner and I are going to SA end of Jan 2016 at present we fly into Santiago hire a car next day and plan on driving to the chile lakes district for a week, return to Santiago and fly to rio for the carnival, we have eight weeks left and would like advice on planning an itinerary for this time, debating on whether to visit the glaciers of Patagonia or giving it a miss due to our limited time. At present our plans are to visit the highlights in Bolivia,Peru,Ecuador and northern Argentina. Any information or assistance for helping plan our upcoming holiday would be greatly appreciated.
Ten weeks is good enough to do mostly what you want to do. Allow some flexibility as things sometimes don't go according to plan. For example, labor strikes can affect travel in countries such as Bolivia. Note that air travel in South America can be expensive, particularly BETWEEN countries. But fares are reasonable for internal flights in Brazil, where there is competition between TAM, GOL and Azul. Elsewhere, check out Sky as an alternative to LAN, which usually is more expensive. Happily, there is cheaper bus transportation to most places. Some of the bus lines in Brazil are excellent. But consider flying when covering great distances. Figure out your priorities in what you want to see and experience. Then plot an itinerary using the Travelerspoint mapping system. Check airline and bus routes online. Check weather. For example, you don't want to hike the Inca Trail during the wet season. Accommodations shouldn't be a problem, except during Carnival (Feb. 5-10), where advance reservations are advisable. Travel around Easter (March 27) also can be busy. Hope this helps.
Much of it can be booked as you go, except for the Carnival which needs booking months before. Flights are cheaper if booked early. Buses can take a long, long time.
You can probably book trips to see what you want to see. Most things to see for tourists are in Peru.
Get yourself a few good guide books. Lonely Planet is good.
There really is so much so see in South America, I don't envy you having to try to limit yourselves. We spent a year there in 2011-12 and still haven't seen it all!
Obviously it depends what you want to see and do, but a couple of our real highlights were the Bolivian Antiplano, the Uyuni saltflats, and the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia. If you are into mountains and glaciers, then I would certainly recommend Patagonia, but you may have done this kind of thing on other trips.
If you are interested, we kept a blog of our travels - it isn't a fancy one, mostly intended for us and friends and family - which you might find useful to look at some of the places. You are welcome to check it out:
[ Edit: Edited on 12-Nov-2015, at 16:49 by Tabithag ]
Ecuador have many beautiful places, is a country with 4 regions very near such as: Highlands, Coast, Amazon Rainforest and Galapagos there are a lot of activities to do, culture, adventure, nature. www.beautyecuador.com have many ideas for you trip.
Good luck in your trip.