i've got 3 weeks in south america... landing in lima then on to cusco to do the 4 day hike of the inca trail. From there we've still to decide where to go...
can anyone suggest the best itinerary ??
we're thinking south chile to see the glaciers etc and then on to buenos aires... we haven't done much research yet but would like to get peoples opinions on where to go... best places for scenery
also, a suggestion on a cheap but good tour company for the inca trail would be greatly appreciated
That means you have about 2 weeks left after Lima/Cuzco/Machu Picchu. Are you leaving from Buenos Aires?
Southern chile is beautiful, but distances are vast in south america. Maybe you can try a 2 week overland trip from Cuzco to Salta in northwest argentina and take a domestic flight to BA from Salta.
Possible route could be first Puno at Lake Titicaca (floating islands, taquille island), on to copacobana, La Paz and then to uyuni for a multi day trip across the salt flats and the coloured lakes and altiplano. From there head south to Tupiza for some wild west countryside before heading towards Salta.
Transport and tours are pretty straightforward and numerous, so you can spend your time well.
Have fun. Michael
Depending on what type of traveller you are, I think that MP-Salta in two weeks is pretty ambitious already, but it could be done. As to Michael's suggestion about Chile; he's right, but you shouldn't do that if you have only two weeks. Consider the environmental impact of your stay, and try to adapt your itinerary to your timeframe (if you cannot afford to do it vice versa ). What I mean is: no flying.
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 5, 2007, at 1:25 AM by bentivogli ]
Personally, if I only had 3 weeks I would stick with Peru and maybe the North of Bolivia.
Cusco (including MP) will definetly take at least a week. Don't forget that Cusco is over 3000 meters and you will need at least 2 or 3 days to aclimize before you hit the trail. So there is a week right there. Then with two weeks left, there is tons to see in Peru.
Arequipa is a fantastic town and has some great short trips, such as Colca Canyon. A few days at Lake Titicaca is a must. Along the coast there is Huacachina (one of my highlights for sure) and Nazca. That should take you at least a week to hit those 3 places, which only leaves you with a week at max. Don't forget that you'll want a couple days in Lima to check out the sights there.
So if you think you have time to spare after that, then you could expand your stay in Lake Titicaca to get to the Bolivian side on Isla Del Sol which is not to be missed, head to LaPaz for a couple days, and do the Death Road to Corico.
It's a shame that so many people think that Peru = Machu Picchu. It's one of the highlights for sure, but there is so so much more to see. You will definelty have no problem filling 3 weeks if you stick to Peru.
hey, thanks for all your suggestions.
our problem is that we want to see as much as we can but at the same time we don't want to rush through it all and not have time to chill out. shame we can't stay longer...
yup, i know about cusco and having to spend a couple of days before the hike... and no doubt a day or 2 after it to recover !! so i reckon we might be in cusco for just over a week.
i assume that flights in south america are quite easy to get ? and cheap ? if we wanted to go from cusco to santiago and do an overland trip from there to see the sights in south chile ?? and from there up to b.aires ? i imagine we would be leaving from there... or santiago, depending on how pushed we are for time.
a possibility is just peru and chile with my friend (that's why i'm limited to 3 weeks) and then going to b.aires myself for a week... any thoughts on females travelling alone there ? ... just the usual common sense and all that ?
What I found when I got to Peru and Bolivia was that it's nearly impossible to rush anywhere Life just moves at its own slow pace there, and you need to allow a couple of days breathing space here adn there for mishaps like buses not showing up or delays during wet season....etc.
My own feeling is that it's nicer to see one or two places well and really enjoy them than running around trying to cram a lot in.
You'll want to spend at least a week in Cuzco, it's a really cool spot (if a bit touristy).
If you have three weeks, I would say dont hang around Lima overly long, head to Cuzco, (have your Inca Trail booked so that you dont end up having to wait a few days to get in with a group). You'll just need a day or so to recover once you get back to Cuzco.
Again, book your bus on to Puno/Copacobana (where Lake TIticaca is). Spend a night here and do a boat trip on the lake. From there, head on to La Paz for night or two.
At that stage you are going to be up to about the 2 week mark. I'd really urge you to go down to Uyuni to see the salar (salt flats). They are an amazing sight and were one of my highlights in SA. After that, maybe cross the border into Argentina and take a bus to Buenos Aires.
Its a hard one to answer I suppose because only you know where you really want to see.
Getting down to the South of Chile will be a push though
Ooh sorry, meant to say that it's perfectly fine to head to Buenos Aires by yourself! You'll hve an amazing time there.
Ive done a lot of solo travelling in South America. if you want any specific help, PM me. I'd be glad to help. I know how boggling it can be at the beginning.
My advice would be don't try to do too much.
In my two months in SA, the first month was a blur of travelling from one place to the next having a quick look and then moving on.
In the second month we chilled a bit and took things a bit easier. Ok so we didn't see somethings but I enjoyed what we did do all the more.
SA is so vast and there's so much to see. you could go for a year and not see everything. It'll be there next time too.
I would definitely recommend the Bolivian side of Titicaca, La Paz and the dangerous road. All great experiences.
Enjoy your trip.