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Starting my SA tour in 4 weeks... need advice.

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Starting my SA tour in 4 weeks... need advice.

1. Posted by Boooster (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y

I just discovered this site and have been amazed by the information here!! I've spent 2 hours at least just reading through the forums and guides... Anyway, I am going to be traveling in South America for a period of about 6 months and was wondering if anyone could give me some pointers. As of right now I had planned to start in Lima (or Santiago... I can't decide!) and make my way down to the Carnivale in Rio, but I'm not sure that would give me enough time to see everything I would want to. I'm also afraid it might be in the wet season, so some attractions might not be doable. Also, I would like to spend a few weeks in Argentina doing some heavy duty salsa course(s) to learn as much as I can in the time I have. Can anyone give any recommendations on a good city (not too expensive, and safe) to stay and learn?

Adam

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

Re wet season: would help if you let us know when you plan to go ;)

6 months is a good period of time; if you really want to, it's sufficient to do all of the cone, but I'd say that a bit less allows for more relaxed travel.

Consider smt like this (this is an elaboration my usual recommendation, it's intended for SA first-timers); not all of the cities mentioned are worthwhile, but it gives you some rough itinary. All of it is intended to be done by ground transport, as I am strongly opposed to domestic/continental flying. Since I don't know much about northern SA, I left that area out.

Arrival Lima, CLOCKWISE (all kinds of bigger and smaller detours possible)
Lima - Huaraz - Chiclayo (little-known Inca gold treasures) - Cuenca (Ecuador) - Baños - Quito - Ecud. Coast - (Galapagos) - Iquitos (Peru, enter Amazon jungle) - Manaus (Brazil) - Belem - Natal - Recife - Salvador - Brasilia - Rio - Iguazu (Argentina) - Asuncion (Paraguay) - BsAs (Argentina) - Mendoza - (Santiago de Chile) - Córdoba - Tucuman - Salta - Uyuni (Bolivia) - Potosí - Sucre - La Paz - Titicaca - Cusco (Peru) - Machu Picchu - Lima

The counter-clockwise alternative would include patagonia and tierra del fuego, and exclude much of Brazil.

Happy planning,
Niels

3. Posted by Boooster (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y

Thanks for the reply, I'll defiantely check thos places out. My travel plans have changed though, and I'll be flying into Buenos Aires to start, and not Lima. I am wondering about pack size, and I feel that since this is my first trip I'll be taking more than I need. I plan do alot of trekking/hiking, but also enjoy the nightlife... will 60 ltrs suffice for 6 months? I've found a good bag but it seems kind of small, and I'm wondering if I should go for 75 or 80 instead. I have no problem walking long distances with a big pack/alot of weight (post army), and would rather have more room than be forced to stuff everything into a smaller bag. Any recommendations? Also, anyone know of some good places to learn salsa/argentine tango (as a single) in Buenos Aires?

Adam

[ Edit: Edited at Nov 3, 2006 1:58 AM by Boooster ]

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

Buenos Aires is lovely; I've tons of tips on tango, but check out this website for starters; it is updated fairly regularly.

Re pack size; 60ltrs would do fine for me, but if you have no problem carrying a more sizeable pack, doing so allows for more souvenirs, fancy clothing, etc.

Re hiking: LP issues a guidebook with treks in the Andes (mainly Peru, but also some in Argentina), consider taking that with you. Also, the Argentine Club Andino issues maps; they reportedly have an office in Buenos Aires somewhere.

5. Posted by ester-86 (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y

:)

Quoting bentivogli

Buenos Aires is lovely; I've tons of tips on tango, but check out this website for starters; it is updated fairly regularly.

Re pack size; 60ltrs would do fine for me, but if you have no problem carrying a more sizeable pack, doing so allows for more souvenirs, fancy clothing, etc.

Re hiking: LP issues a guidebook with treks in the Andes (mainly Peru, but also some in Argentina), consider taking that with you. Also, the Argentine Club Andino issues maps; they reportedly have an office in Buenos Aires somewhere.

Hi!!

This is my first time here, so I hope I do it corect! Just want to say, this page is amasing!!
Lot`s of good advice and help! Me and two friends of mine are going to La paz in the end of March! We don`t speak spanish, and we`ve heard that english will not work verry well!! So we are trying to learn some simple spanish now, before we go! Hoping to meet and get to know other nice back packers, that hopefully speak more spanish than us! Any coments on that?!

What we know is that we wil take part in Inkatrail to machu Pichu for one week, we want to see lake titicaca and hopefully a trip into the rainforest, with a boat down the river! Should we order a trip like that before we leave Norway? We are staying in South America for two month + one week, going back home to Norway from La paz, in the beginning of June. Pherhaps we should have bought a open return ticket, but now it is to late for that.
Planning takes time and is more difficult than I thought! We want to go to Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru.

Any advice for what we should do/see or NOT do/see?!?
What about the culture?, and what kind of clothes should we were? Should we cover shoulders and knees? ( Just know one should do that in west- Africa)

How much money should we have for our 68 days of stay in SA?

hope someone will answer me!!

6. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

You can cover a lot of South America in six months. I was there for seven and I could have even doubled what I did see in that time if Ihadnt stopped to work. Travel in most of the continent is reasonably comfortable and reliable with a few exceptions

I dont think it really matters what direction you go in. If you start in BA its easy to do a loop back there taking in what you want to see. If you are trying to time certain things like the Carneval it can get more awkward.

I had a 65litre rucksack and it was adequate. If I was more economical with my packing, I could have gone for a lesser one.
But it's nice to have some extra room for things you pick up along the way. :)

I did the Inka Trail during wet season. All this really means is that there a couple of hours od really heavy rain a day and when that clears you have nice hot sunshine again. I didnt find that the weather diminished the enjoyment of any trips I did in any way. Just make sure you have some good waterproof gear ;)

Ester, it's a good idea to book the Inka Trail in advance if you are going in the high season. In the low months, it's easier to book last minute when you arrive in Cuzco (just be aware that the trail is closed for the month of February usually). I did the trail with a company called United Mice who I couldnt recommend highly enough :) Check out their website.

It would take FOREVER to tell you where to go and what to see. You dont really have to cover shoulder and knees unless you arein mosquito areas or churches :)

You sound really excited! Most of the fun is in the preparation. get your hands on a cope of South America on a Shoestring - that will be a great help in answering lots of questions for you :)