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Where is worth visiting in South America?

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Where is worth visiting in South America?

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1. Posted by Nadishome (Budding Member 10 posts) 10y

Hey all

Sorry if has been posted before.

I am planning on going on a trip around south america in a year or two but wana plan now so can budget. The whole lifestyle and culture fascinates me aswell as the beutiful scenery and history.

Have no idea where i want to go apart from the amazon, inka mountains, and generally get a taster for the other countries while i am there!

I know i sound really vague but still in early stages and want to get ideas from those who have been.


2. Posted by bryangrey (Budding Member 38 posts) 10y

Easy, I have been to these towns and highly recommend a visit. The sights, the food, the incredible kindness and hospitality of South Americans will blow you away.

Salvador and Manaus, Brazil
Cusco and Lima, Peru a must
La Paz, Bolivia

Have fun!

3. Posted by Belize Me (Full Member 137 posts) 10y

I would add The Atacama Desert in Chile to your list...don't miss the altiplano and geysers at daybreak. Breathtaking (literally) as you are over 4300 metres up and it is about minus 10 degrees at dawn. It does warm up after sunrise though and you'll have to remove all the extra clothing.

You can bathe in the hotsprings while you are there...I have never seen so many people in such small swim suits, shivering so much, showing so much bravado.

Enjoy your planning!
Belize Me

4. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

Decide for how long you're going first, and adjust your planning to the timeframe you have, it will allow for relaxed travel overland, instead of rushing from one corner of the continent to the next by plane.

Suppose you take six weeks up to 2 months, it's feasible to do something like:

Belém (Brazil) - Manaus - Iquitos (Peru) - Lima - Cuzco - La Paz (Bolivia) - Uyuni - San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) - Salta (Argentina) - Buenos Aires

If you have more time, you could go further south, either through Chile or Argentina, but that would take you at least two or three more weeks if you want to do it without rushing.

Also plan when to go; in case of the above itinerary, I'd recommend leaving in August, so that you arrive in northern Argentina and the Atacama desert before summer really kicks in.

have fun planning,
Niels (Amsterdam)

5. Posted by Nadishome (Budding Member 10 posts) 10y

Cheers for all ideas guys really helpful! Keep em comin!

I'm hoping to spend bout 6-8months out there! Wana spend as much time and see soo much! And experience the best and most hidden places that show the true cultural areas of the countries.

6. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

6-8 months?! Lucky you...

In that case, there's no need to rush; do it all, and do it slowly! When travelling all the way down to Ushuaia / Torres del Paine, make sure to not be there before late december, because it's just too cold... what about going around clockwise:

  • Latin November: Rio - Iguazú - Buenos Aires
  • Adventurous December: Bariloche lake area - Calafate - Torres del Paine - Tierra del Fuego. Carefully check your transport in this area, as connections are far from ideal. Don't fly, however! :-)
  • Choking hot January: up north through Chile (by boat from Puerto Natales, stunning!) - all the way to Atacama desert (Chile's expensive, so you don't want to be there for more than a month)
  • Andean February: northern Argentina (Salta, Cafayate, Quilmes) - Paraguay (pantanal!) - Sucre (Bolivia)
  • Incan March: Salar de Uyuni- La Paz - Cuzco - Inca trail / Machu Picchu
  • Amazonian April: Lima - Iquitos --> Brazil
  • Relaxing May: Brazil (Manaus, Brasilia and all the rest of Rhondonia). Flying out from Belém would still be feasible.

Maybe a bit much of southern SA, but I've never been to Venezuela/Colombia, so I wouldn't know what to expect there... well, you'll figure it out.

Have fun!

[ Edit: Edited at Jun 14, 2006 6:17 AM by bentivogli ]

7. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 10y

I just came home from 8 months of South America backpacking. This is what we did:

Flew in to Venezuela, spent roughly a month, mostly by the sea but did also a 4-day hike through the rainforest to Canaima and Angel Falls.

Flew to Ecuador (because everyone back home said that we simply couldn't go to Colombia because it's so dangerous... Now I've met loads of people who did backpacking in Colombia and said it's their favourite country in SA). Roughly a month (which almost was too much concering how much time we had). Surfing in Montañita, hiking in Cajas, horseback riding in Vilcabamba, got robbed in Latacunga, shopping in Otavalo. And loads of time to get a new passport.

Roughly a month in Peru where we went back and forth between coast and mountains. Surfing in Huanchaco, hiking and iceclimbing in Huaraz, sandboarding in Huacachina and winetesting in Ica, Nazca-lines and sandboarding in Nazca, rafting and Inca trail in Cusco. We never went to Arecipa and Colca Canyon, unfortunately.

Northern Chile, Atacama Desert.

Northern Argentina: Salta, Cafayate, Tafi del Valle, Tucumán, Mendoza. Loads of good wine and food, and beautiful and relaxing surroundings. Awesome river rafting in Mendoza, too!

Chile again: Santiago and going south. Hiked Parque Nacional Laguna del Lajas and Parque Nacional Puyehue (highly recommended).

Back to Argentina and Bariloche, spent Christmas and did loads of hiking in Parque Nacional Nauel Huapi. Gorgeous! New Years and more hiking in El Bolsón, then going south to Calafate. Hiking and glacier spotting in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.

Chile: Puerto Natales, hiking Torres del Paine (try and do the whole circuit if you have the time!), penguins in Punta Arenas. Then down to Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia (back in Argentina).

Argenina: up north along the coast. Sea lion watching on Peninsula Valdes (close to Puerto Madryn), then straight up to Buenos Aires.

10 days in Buenos Aires - very interesting and beautiful city.

In total, we spent 2.5 months in Chile/Argenina.

2 weeks in Uruguay: far too little time, it's a beautiful country, wonderful people and fantastic beaches! It might just be my favourite country in SA. Don't go to Punta del Este (to touristic), go straight up to Punta del Diablo. Carmelo and Colonia are worth a visit too.

30 hours on a bus up to Rio de Janeiro and the Carnival! Deadly expencive but my god it was worth it!!!

Down to the Iguazú falls (on the Argenina/Brazil/Paraguay border). 2 days with the other tourists.

2 weeks in Paraguay: so different from the rest of SA!!! No tourists whatsoever, everything is dirt cheap, easier to get in touch with the locals, extremely hot, extremely wild, extremely slow and just... beautiful. It's hard to describe.

Almost a month in Boliva. Didn't know as much as we wanted to since we got stuck in the middle of nowhere with busses on muddy roads. But we did see Santa Cruz, Sucre, Potosí, Salar de Uyuni, La Paz and Lago Titicaca.

By train and busses back to Brazil and Ihla Grande where we spent a week on the beach, before our last 4 days in Rio, before flying home to Sweden...

Oh, this is such a long post! Sorry about that. But I recommend everything!!! I also recommend you to not plan too much. Just go there, and see what happens. That's what we did. And it turned out really well. If you have any more specific questions, feel free to send me a message!


8. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

Quoting snatterand

Oh, this is such a long post! Sorry about that. But I recommend everything!!! I also recommend you to not plan too much. Just go there, and see what happens. That's what we did. And it turned out really well. If you have any more specific questions, feel free to send me a message!


Sounds like an interesting itinerary, though... I'll save this one for reference, if I ever am to have that much time for travelling again... thanks Susie!

9. Posted by Nadishome (Budding Member 10 posts) 10y

Wow sounds like you had an amazing time! So cant wait to go! Looks great! Will message yer when get more ideas of what to do! so much to consider!


10. Posted by Nadishome (Budding Member 10 posts) 10y

Does anyone know where i can get a decent map off the net jus to print off to start plottin points on? Cheers

Gettin well excited and still 2 years togo!