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Trip feedback? South American dream ...

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1. Posted by George1512 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 41w

We are a family of 16,, 11 and almost 9 at time of travel) leaving Perth, a Western Australia to make s special trip to South America. We have friends in Peru and will be taking our Machu Piccu part of journey with them, leaving younger children in Cuzco with their relatives and children.

Really would love to hear some tips on how best to get to SA from Australia, New Zealand route? Emirates via Dubai and then to Buenos Aires or other.
Also love to hear any experiences of must do things, we'd love to hear about an Estancia in Argentina, would like to visit Mendoza, lake titicaca etc.
as well as something on Amazon.

Look forward to some ideas

[ Edit: Edited on 13-Feb-2016, at 22:43 by George1512 ]

2. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 528 posts) 41w

Santiago is the standard gateway from Australia and New Zealand to South America. But since you live in Perth (I visited last May), you have the option of going the western route using the Middle East airlines such as Etihad and Emirates. If you go that way, you'll find it cheaper to use Sao Paolo as the gateway instead of Buenos Aires. Sao Paolo is South America's largest city; and there are numerous flights. You can get anywhere from Sao Paolo. From there, for example, you could fly to Iguacu Falls (domestic flights in Brazil are reasonable with either TAM or GOL), then cross the border into Argentina (there's a shared border near the falls with Paraguay).

But if Peru is your first destination, it might make more sense to use Santiago as a gateway. After visiting Peru, you could return to Santiago, travel overland by bus to Mendoza (viewing the Andes), then either fly or take a bus to Buenos Aires; and fly back to Santiago to return home. There are lots of options.

Please note, however, that flying between countries in South America can be quite expensive; one-way fares in particular. Some airlines may be are cheaper than others. For example, Santiago-based Sky Airline, which has several fare classes (check online) often is less expensive than LAN. But play around with search engines such as Kayak, Skyscanner and Google/flights. For example, nine days ago, using Kayak, I bought a multi-city ticket on LAN for $256US. Priced separately, the one-way fare from Calama to Santiago was $82 on Sky; and $598 on LAN; and the one-way fare from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, Argentina, was $175 (LAN had the lowest fare on that route). So I bought the multi-city ticket with LAN via Expedia. Buenos Aires has two airports, EZE and AEP (I'm using AEP); and Sao Paolo also has two, GRU and CGH.

Finally, check with your government's Smarttraller.gov Web site before setting an itinerary and booking flights. Argentina and Chile assess a "reciprocity fee" for Australians that could cost your family hundreds of dollars; and Brazil requires a visa. Peru is enlightened, requiring neither.

I return to South America Feb. 29, when I fly to Santiago to begin a 45-day trip to Bolivia and Patagonia. Hope this helps.

3. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 528 posts) 41w

One more thing. I don't know when you're planning to go, but if you have an idea of when, keep a watch on fares. They can change. If you find one to your liking, be ready to pounce. I was lucky enough to have bought a nonstop roundtrip fare on Delta Air Lines from Atlanta to Santiago for $828US on Jan. 18. The fare has risen steadily since then. It now costs $1,704 for the flights.

Flying to SCL and returning to Atlanta nonstop from EZE now costs $1.789. The open-jaw fare was about $500 less in January. When booking flights to South America, it pays to do so in advance; not at the last minute. That's not necessarily the case in Asia where there are lots of flights and lots more competition.

If you're going to Lake Titicaca there is an excellent tourist bus from Cusco to Puno. It makes stops along the way, allowing time to visit local markets and a museum. It's perfect for the kids. If you're more adventurous, you also can take a bus from Puno to La Paz, Bolivia. From La Paz, you can get to Chile over the Andes, passing through national parks with snow-capped volcanoes, flamingos and nandu; and winding up in Arica, Chile. I've been on both routes. Or, you can venture south from La Paz to the Salar de Uyuni and into Argentina via Salta. Use YouTube as a tool to check out the scenery. The routes are well-traveled.

The Wall Street Journal recently had an article about a family with children traveling in the Salar de Uyuni: http://www.wsj.com/articles/an-exhilarating-if-risky-family-adventure-in-bolivia-1452186888. A UK friend of mine visited there earlier this month; and I'll be there March 5.

Note that Cusco, Puno (Titicaca), La Paz and the Salar de Uyuni are at high elevations. One way to alleviate altitude problems is to ascend gradually. One possibility might be to fly to Arequipa from Lima, visit the area, then take a bus to Cusco, gradually acclimating to the altitude. One useful strategy is to scale the heights during the day to sightsee, then sleep at a lower altitude at night. Generally, it's better to eat lightly in the evening at higher elevations. Your doctor can make recommendations, too.

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Feb-2016, at 08:56 by berner256 ]

4. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 528 posts) 41w

There are some Amazon cruises that are suitable for children; but they are expensive. The cruises usually begin in Iquitos, which requires flying there, since there are no roads to the Peruvian city. I've been on one of the river cruises. There are hiking trips to the Amazon basin that originate in Cusco. Some go into Manu National Park (I've been to the Reserved Zone). But there are likely to be age restrictions for those; and it might not be suitable for your two youngest children. It can be rigorous. You might check in Cusco for trips to Manu's Cultural Zone. Remember, when traveling in the jungle, you should protect yourself against mosquito bites. Talk to your doctor about malaria pills, as well as vaccination against yellow fever if you decide to visit the Amazon, or any jungle for that matter. It's not only malaria. There's dengue fever, chikungunya and now the zika virus, all transmitted by mosquitos. Check this Web site before you go: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

5. Posted by Peter (Admin 5807 posts) 41w

I did a bit of searching on Adioso for you. The flights they return for Perth to South America show flights to Lima from $2419. Ouch.

I think a better option would be to get a cheap internal flight to Sydney and then fly out of there as that brings up options from $1573 at the moment. And return flights to Sydney from Perth are from $287.

Hope it helps.

6. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 528 posts) 41w

The big question is when the family wants to travel. There are fares from Perth to Lima for around $1,500 roundtrip, more or less. Without knowing approximate dates, all we can do is guesstimate.

7. Posted by Peter (Admin 5807 posts) 41w

Just to clarify - My search was AUD , so that Syd option works out to about US$1329

I see there are dates provided in the attached trip plan (late December). It's best to be as flexible as you can with dates before booking the flight.

8. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 528 posts) 41w

Suggest the family use any of the search engines to track fares going out to December. As of now, for example, roundtrip flights from PER to LIM can be had for under $1,300 for travel during the fall; and under $1,100 from SYD. So, while it's too early to book, monitoring the fares will give the family a better idea of when to buy; and at what price. Flexibility with the dates is important. They currently plan to begin travel during a peak holiday period. Traveling shortly after New Year's could result in a better fare. But there's school to consider, especially if classes resume Feb. 1 in Western Australia.

[ Edit: Edited on 15-Feb-2016, at 18:52 by berner256 ]

9. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 528 posts) 41w

A few more thoughts. The reason I recommend using search engines such as Kayak and Skyscanner is that you can check fares across MOST carriers. Using the search engines also allows you to check for price discrepancies on code sharing arrangements between airlines. Note, too, that an airline can have reservations systems serving up different fares. Last year I bought a ticket from Perth to Singapore to Beijing on Singapore Airline's global Web site, using Australia as the location; and paying in AUD. That same fare purchased with the U.S. as the location, paying in USD, would have cost several hundred USD more. I spoke with a Singapore Airlines reservations agent in the U.S. He recommended that I purchase the ticket using the Australian link on the airline's global site.

Americans generally pay higher air fares than others. For example, purchasing a roundtrip ticket from Atlanta to Madrid will cost roughly 20 percent more than a roundtrip ticket from Madrid to Atlanta -- on the same dates and on the same airline!

Sometimes, fares purchased within a country will be cheaper than fares purchased outside the country, That's particularly so for countries such as Vietnam. Cheaper fares also might apply to citizens or permanent residents of a country.

Sometimes it's good to use travel agents to help purchase tickets. My travel agent in Cape Town, South Africa, saved me about $200US in buying a roundtrip ticket from Johannesburg to Antananarivo on South African Airways.

The Web makes it easier to make travel arrangements than in years past. But you still have to take the time to do the research if you want to save. Flying to Dili, Timor-Leste? Garuda flies from Denpasar at a much higher fare than Air Timor. SilkAir flies from Singapore, also at a much higher fare than Air Timor. Air Timor uses Garuda and SilkAir for its flights.

10. Posted by MátéP (First Time Poster 1 posts) 40w

Hi all!

We will travel to America -West Coast in 2017 january. We will land in LA and make a 13-14 days trip. (include LA, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Grand Kanyon)

I would be very grateful if you could help me with any advice for punctual schedule, accommodation or any useful tips. It will be the first time in USA...

Many thanks in advance!
Máté

South American dream ...

9 stops on this trip

  1. Buenos Aires, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina
    28 Dec-09 Jan
  2. Unnamed location
    07 Jan-10 Jan
  3. Córdoba, Cordoba, Argentina
    11 Jan-13 Jan
  4. Lo Barnechea, Región Metropolitana, Chile
    01 Jan-03 Jan
  5. Lima, Peru
    03 Jan
  6. Caravelí Province, Peru
    08 Jan
  7. Machu Picchu, Urubamba Province, Cusco, Peru
    11 Jan-16 Jan
  8. Arequipa, Peru
    16 Jan-19 Jan
  9. Arequipa, Peru
    19 Jan-22 Jan