I've booked my around the world flight ticket recently and have around 7 weeks in South America, we fly into Santigo and out of Rio and as have yet have nothing planned in between. I appreciate that we don't have very much time in comparison to the size of the country but would really appreciate any advice. Especially whether its worth doing an organized tour (GAP adventures or Intrepid travel) or doing it by ourselves.
At the moment Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Brasil are looking very attractive, but its so hard to decide with so much to see.
Any advice would be great
7 weeks is decent but still not a whole lot, so don't go running around like mad. There's a load of threads here started by people in comparable situations, maybe they can inspire you.
Given that you only have 7 weeks, I would suggest that you keep the number of countries down to a minimum. I would suggest just doing Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Anything more than that, and you'll be spending all your time travelling and not seeing that much.
From Santiago, Chile, I would head north to see the beaches, desert and salt flats, and then head across Argentina sticking vague to the north of the country, check out Iguazu Falls, cross into Brazil and head up to Rio to fly out.
If that doesn't work for you, then pick out two or three things to see while down in South America, and then plan an itinerary that takes you between Santiago, your things to see and Rio.