I am planning the following trip round SA beginning October 2006 - any advice, recommendations etc will be greatly appreciated.
I have 4 flights available on my ticket - thus trying to use them in strategic places and for longer distances - i prefer to go overland to experience people, culture and the environment from a first had perspective.
I am thinking of the following route - please offer any feedback you have:
Land in Santiago
- (hang around for a while and travel to Val Paraiso and Vina del Mar – (I will come back to Chile later to head to Lake District & Patagonia when weather is warmer)
PERU: (October / November)
Fly to Lima
- head to Arequipa and Coclca Canyon
- machu pichu
- Puno and Lake Titicaca (Isla del Sole, Copachobana ….)
BOLIVIA: (November / December)
Overland to La Paz
- Salar de Uyuni
- Potosi mines
- Possibly Rurrenabaque and jungle trekking
Possible option here is to:
- Travel to Puerto Suarez and cross to Corumba – see The Pantanal
- Bus to Campo Grande – another bus to Foz do Iguacu – see the falls etc. and then travel by bus to Argentine side of the falls
ARGENTINA: (December / January)
o Make my way to BA
OR instead of heading to the Pantanal I can return to La Paz and fly to BA
- travel around BA and make my way south to Bariloche where I will cross into Chile Lake District and enjoy the area for a while (Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas - Orsono volcano and maybe Chiloe…) – should be good temperatures now
- traverse back to Bariloche and make my way down to El Calafate (Moreno Glazier and then onto Torres del Paine
- Possibly head to Tiera del fuego and Ushuaia as well
- After finishing Torres Del Paine etc.. in the South I will make my way back up to Buenos Aires overland – possible flight here if available and necessary
BRAZIL: (February / March)
Fly BA – Rio
I haven’t done much research on Brazil yet so pretty vague here but the following are definite:
- want to be in Rio for Carnaval
- Manaus – as far as I can tell this is a gateway to the Amazon
o I want to head into the Amazon and do some trekking and a boat trip up one of the tributaries – don’t know where to start here – any advice / personal experience would be greatly appreciated
- The Pantanal if I haven’t already gone from Bolivia
Fly Rio – Bogota
Haven’t done any research here yet so open for suggestion
From Columbia (if I make it here) I will fly out to Central America and another journey begins!
I am planning to take about 4-6 months – time is not very restricted but I reckon I can get it done in 6 months whilst still cruising and taking it all in.
There is a possibility to include more along the way if not too rushed so if you can recommend any other great places, I may be able to add them in.
I am also interested in volunteering – preferably a conservation / environmental organization along the way – I was hoping to do this in the Amazon and hopefully for room and board, so if you know of any good organizations that offer positions I would appreciate the contacts / ideas.
Thanks again for all your help – you help and guidance is something that I really do appreciate, as I am a first time traveller, and to top that I am going solo – but hey? You’ve gotta jump in at some point!!
You have a lot of information here. I am planning a similar trip for the same time but I am planning to fly to Rio and make my south to the Pantanal, Iguazu, BA, Puerto Madryn, Ushusia, and then back up through El Calafate, lake district, Mendoza and onto to Bolivia, Peru and back down through Chile to fly to Oz from Santiago.
I cant give you much advice as it will also be my first trip to S.America. I just wanted you to know your not alone.
A couple of things I did notice though
Iguazu seems not to be missed
Rio to Manuas is a long trip and the Amazon might be better approached from Peru
Panatanal looks amazing
You have pciked the right time of year but bring warm clothes for Patagonia and Ushuaia.
I am going to bus it the whole was so will have some long days looking at the countryside pass by.
Have a great time and maybe I will see you for a beer a long the way.
Have some advice for you:
- don't fly from Santiago to Lima, go overland, I did that like this - Santiago - Antofagasta (1350 kms), Antofagasta - Arica (800 kms), Arica - border - Tacna, Tacna - Nazca, Nazca - Lima. Of course, there are other places to see along that Panamericana road, like ghosttowns in northern Chile, San Pedro de Atacamas, Islas Ballestas in Paracas, wine cellars like Ocucaje near Ica, Huacachina (sand dunes), and many more. On that direction you can include Arequipa and Colca.
- you can turn from Arequipa to Puno on lake Titicaca, then proceed to Cuzco by train,
- or you can go to Lima and use the flight Lima - Cuzco (be careful for soroche, altitude sickness, prepare yourself taking aclimatization step by step)
- so, if you have to return from Cuzco to Puno - cross into Bolivia via Copacabana, using the ferry, and remember do not miss ancient Tiwanaku. Additional things not to be missed in Bolivia are spectacular town of Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz of course.
- consider northern Peru: Trujillo, Chiclayo, Cajamarca...
- consider changing Colombia for Ecuador for safety reasons,
- if in Ecuador, visit Mitad del Mundo (ecuator line), Quito, Riobamba (volcan Chimborazo, bullfights, spa)...
- since you'll be in Foz de Iguacu, cross into the Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) and proceed to Asuncion. One country more, pleasant people, low prices, parilladas, many things to see, and better way to enter Argentina, since Asuncion is on the border,
- in Brasil you can visit town of Ouro Preto (protected by UNESCO) in Minas Gerais province. Calm, beautiful, rural, lot of good food, places to see. Approach from Rio by bus, takes about 8 hrs.
Have fun, take care, buy some printed guides, be alert for theft in public transportation and before crossing any of the borders go thru your luggage carefully. Where possible find travelling companions you can trust and lower and split the costs.
Never show that you're alone if you're alone.
Ask some of the travel advisors on this site to help you. Specially with volounteering. There are many possibilities in Madre de Dios area of Peru. Depends of your knowledge and skills.
Greetings from Croatia
You sound really inform already, just one thing. I will do Chile to Bolivia then Peru.
From Santiago to san pedro Atacama, lake colorado, Uyuni, Potosi and following to Peru.
Have a nice trip
Wow! I didn't know that this many people would want to do/have done the same thing I'm planning to do! That's great!
You mentioned you have 4 plane tickets, are they by any chance the LanChile SouthAmerica Pass? If yes, I was planning to do that, but the problem is that they have many restrictions; you cannot repeat a city, you can only depart from certain cities and they make you buy at least 3 legs, however is the cheapest pass I could find.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
BTW, I am Chilean, here are some tips I could think of for you:
-For information in Chile, the best source is www.chile.com or go to our national tourism agency site (Sernatur) http://www.sernatur.cl/.
-If I were you, while in Chile, I would definetely not miss the lake district in the south, Chiloe Island and Torres del Paine National Park, as the flora and fauna is unique. And you're right, if you can leave it for late Summer is better weather. Also, when heading to the north, San Pedro de Atacama has great Geysers! http://www.gochile.cl/html/SanPedro/SanPedro.asp
In Brasil, I wouldn't miss going to Rio and visiting Barra de Tijuca and also try to head to Buzios. I this this with my family last January and we took a day tour there that included transport, an awesome lunch and the history of the town all that for $40!. Of course, you can also do it on your own by bus, but for this price I thought it was an incredible deal and you can even stay over in ahostel to make it worth it.
In Argentina, and while in Buenos Aires, I wouldn't miss going to a Tango show (where else!) and visit Caminito, The Recoleta Cemetery and of course, don't forget to try their excellent parrilladas! (table BBQ).
I hope you have a great trip. Enjoy!