I will be heading to South America in March next year for 3-4 months as part of my rtw trip.
My initial plan is to fly into Sau Paulo or Rio in March. Then overland it to Iguazzu falls, onto Buenos A, then up through Boliva and Chille to Peru for the Inca trail. I'm deliberately keeping it vague as I don't want to plan too much... looking forward to discovering it as I go.. just want to make sure I get the general direction and my flights sorted.
My question's are:
1/ Does this route direction make sense weather wise? i.e. March - June.
2/ I'm travelling alone and want to travel in an environment in which I will meet other backpackers and also where the nightlife is decent. Would this route allow this?
3/ Equador seems a popular destination for flying in / out of the region. Do you think I should add this to the end of my route. Or is Peru easy enough to exit from?
4/ Is there anything else that I should consider? e.g other destinations in Brazil, Argentina, Chile. I'm anxious not to spend too long on coaches so any further afield places would be better done by plane given my tme scale.
Thanks in advance for any help on this.
2. This is beaten tourist track; you'll wish for a little less company, if anything
3. From what I've heard, Lima is easy enough to exit from. As far as I know it's also a cheaper airport, since Quito is pretty high up. But, it only makes sense of course if your next destination is Australia or Asia; when going to Europe, it is much better to take a bus to the Atlantic side and fly out from there, both for the environment and your wallet. Generally, one should always try not to fly more than is absolutely necessary
4. Some would say that SP-Lima in 3/4 months is too little for too much time; I wouldn't agree. Yet, there are plenty of stops you could make in between, think Cordoba, Mendoza, Salta and surroundings in Argentina, and Uyuni, Oruro, Sucre, Potosi, Cochabamba in Bolivia. Best run a search in this forum, as countless itineraries have been posted before. At any rate, one shouldn't take domestic or intracontinental flights, given the burden this places on the environment; there is plenty to see on and around the itinerary you have in mind, so there's really no need for that. Other things, like a trip down south to Perito Moreno Glacier, or Torres del Paine national park in Chile, however recommendable, simply require another trip, or a lot more time.
1. This is the hardest one to answer. Generally, the weather in the Andes ceases to be agreeable after mid april; it gets chilly (cold at night), cloudy at times, and I even once had snow in Cusco in may... the latter is not typical, though. So, the first part of your trip will probably be in good weather, the Peruvian part is more likely to be coldish and grey. But don't let that discourage you; even in pouring rain, Machu Picchu and the surrounding valleys are beautiful beyond description.
[ Edit: Edited on Apr 16, 2007, at 2:51 AM by bentivogli ]
1. We were in Bolivia in June. It was absolutely freezing. haha well, maybe not that bad, but I was totally not prepared. and ice cold showers don't seem to help. Just bring warm clothing, or buy it once you get there. Bolivia is cheap outside the really touristy places, so you can hook yourself up with a nice alpaca hat and mitts. We did the Inka Trail at the end of June. It was gorgeous. It was nice and cool which is good when you're hiking all day. It only rained once.
2. All of those places will have great nightlife and im sure you will meet other travellers within minutes. you'll probably even run into people multiple times. all the major cities have tons of nightlife.
3. Ecuador is a great country. however, Lima is a major gateway into south america, more so than Quito. Flights will be generally cheaper from Lima.
4. I think your plan looks really good. It will give you enough time to go at a steady place and not get bored, but still enjoy the places you really like.
Thanks for the advice guys... very helpful. Sounds like I'm on the right tracks.
One question. It seems like I'm not pushed for time with up to 4 months on this route. If I wanted to extend it slightly (over the same time period), what would you recommend?
I can see that Southern Chile and Argentina aren't ideal at that time of year so I guess I'd be looking at heading up to Equador or seeing a bit more of Brasil.
I basically only need to get my in and out flights booked, so I'm just curious as to weather I should stiick to IN:Sao Paulo/Rio OUT: Peru, or extend this slightly.
As I wrote before, airports of entry and exit should depend on prior and next continent to visit; make it logical.
Seasonwise, I agree that extensions to Ecuador/Brazil make more sense than going south. I don't know Brazil very well, but Ecuador is very beautiful; you won't regret visiting.