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Planning a trip to South America for the first time

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Planning a trip to South America for the first time

1. Posted by evejames (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y

We are travelling round South America for 12 weeks, starting September this year.

We are starting in Peru and then heading overland through Bolivia to Brazil, before flying to Argentina and then to Chile.

Any advice from people who have been to any of these places about the best things to do and see would be most helpful - or if you are planning the same sort of trip then what websites have you found, and what seems to be the best forms of transport to get around?

We look forward to hearing from you

Eve & James

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 9y

Why the flights? Unnecessary, and unnecessarily polluting. Bus it.

3. Posted by mariaines (Budding Member 39 posts) 9y

hey, i'm from chile so i can give you some advices
it's a great time to visit south america, because you can go as south as you want and the weather won't be too cold.
as i don't know exactly what do you want, i'll give you some hints:

1. chile is a VERY LONG country, you have every kind of landscapes and every region is very different from each other.
2. If you like desert, you can visit our border with bolivia. There's an special place called san pedro de atacama, which seems to be very popular among foreign tourists. I don't know too much about that area since i hate desert, but you can checkout for more info
3. Forget about going to the beach in Chile; any brazilian beach is warmer than the warmest beach in Chile.
4. If you're comming from argentina, a good option (if you don't want to fly) is to cross from mendoza (argentina) to santiago by bus. You'll cross the Andes and let me tell you, it's a unique experience. You can also fly from Baires to Santiago, it takes only 2 hours and the ticket planes are really cheap if you buy them online.

About plane companies, our LAN is very good, and they fly to a lot of cities here in Chile and south america. There are other companies like aerolineas del sur ( or sky that fly only in chile.

5. Are you going to spend NY's eve in south america? If it's so, i don't think you're going to find a better place than valparaiso. It's a city located in the coast, 1:30 hour from santiago by bus, where the most spectacular fireworks in south america took place that day. The city by itself is very charming, it's lots to see, nice places to eat, it's cheap, full of tourist by very very typical. And the week before NY there're lots of artistic activities, like concerts, classic music, poetry, etc. You'll find one of Pablo Neruda's houses there (very beautiful), it's quite an adventure to get there ;)

6. If you like wine, you can visit some of the numerous vineyards in the road from santiago to valparaiso or (better) south santiago. There are special wine tours but they're way too expensive in my opinion.

7. About santiago: big city, great subway (crowded but the best way to get to the touristic places), not too many places too see except the classics: san cristobal and santa lucia hills (don't go by night). I love the art museum surroundings, you've got great and different shops (furniture, accesories, design) and some good places to eat. Some of the shopping centers are nice, but i figure argentina is better (cheaper) for that.

8. I hope you have time to explore the south. From 700 Km south santiago you'll find great places to stay, little towns, little cities. My fav city is Valdivia (900 Km south santiago) because of the landscapes, the food (cheap, tasty, unique), the beer.. there's so much to do there but i wouldn't miss a tour by boat with typical southern meals . You can get there by bus or a combination plane-bus.

9. In that area you can visit many lakes, take a volcano excursion, practise extreme sports, have a relaxing day in one of the many thermal facilities, and visit one of our national parks.

10. If you have time to go really south, don't miss Torres del Paine National Park. I've planned to go there some day, because i don't think you can die before seeing that paradise with your own eyes.

If you want more info, just send me a PM ;)

4. Posted by evejames (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y

From what I have read on this website so far Bentivogoli, you spend far too much time on here giving sometimes rather negative opinions on everyones travels, although some of you points are valid, we all have our own individual reasons for making the trip we are making in the manner that we choose.

5. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 9y

Quoting evejames

we all have our own individual reasons for making the trip we are making in the manner that we choose.

Sadly, the reasons for flying hardly ever are valid ones... it's high time travellers start to realise how much of a burden their personal enjoyment imposes on other people's daily environment...

6. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 9y

Quoting bentivogli

Why the flights? Unnecessary, and unnecessarily polluting. Bus it.

And busses in South America don't pump out clouds of pollution?