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2 months in south america - any suggested itinaries?

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean 2 months in south america - any suggested itinaries?

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1. Posted by kenmc (Full Member 80 posts) 9y

Myself and the boss are looking to spend 2 months in South America in December and January. We'll be arriving there from Sydney most likely.
Not really sure where to go, although we *think* we would like to go to Peru for Machu Piccu of course, some steaks and wine in Argentina, probably Buenos Aires, the salt flats in Chile and thats really about all we know at the moment, so we've no idea how to join the dots :)

Cost isn't really such a huge issue, as we're only away for 2.5 months, so we're looking at around Eur4000 each including flights via Sydney (a week in Australia at a wedding and possibly a couple days in Tokyo on the way there)

We had Bolivia in there as a route possibility, we thought it might be a bit like Laos - cheap to be there, lovely people, rewarding travelling. However given the slow travelling conditions there we are wondering if we will spend a lot of time travelling through it, and given the duration of our trip, if it is going to be time well spent. And truth be told we've heard of some horror stories of bus journeys lasting days, washed out roads and sleeping drivers, which don't really inspire loads of confidence.

Any suggestions you have for travelling in South America would be well appreciated. We're not new to travelling, we spent all of 2006 in SEAsia & China (7 months) and Oz,Nz & Fiji (4.5 months).

2. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 9y

I think the reason you haven't had many replies K is because you haven't asked any specific questions, you say you're not sure how to join the dots but truth be told thats probably the best way to travel, have a few big places in mind and mosey on between them in whatever way you want...

you also ask for 'suggestions for travelling in South America' do you refer to your original question about places to go or just 'suggestions' in general?

If its suggestions in general why not do a forum search for specific points like getting from a to b, what to pack etc.

2 months isn't a vast amount of time to be in S.A , if I was doing it I'd fly to B.A, travel across through Argentina though Mendoza (wine and beef territory :) ) up through Chile and into Peru for MP and then back down through Bolivia. The Salar De Uyuni (salt plains) is located in the west Departmento of Potosí and of south of Oruro in southwest Bolivia. If you have time I'd certainly recommend getting up into north eastern tip of Argentina for the Iguacu falls...

anyway, happy planning and I hope you find the info you need!

mim :)

3. Posted by kenmc (Full Member 80 posts) 9y

Hi mim, thanks for the answer.
regarding the 'suggestions for travelling in south america' I was referring to the first question.

My main reason for the question is to hopefully find out what else is worthwhile to see in SA - given that we don't have very long we need to have quite a good idea where we're going to be going, so finding out while on the road is not going to be such an option I think. Of course plans will change, but for 2 months or so I think I will need to have a good idea in advance or we will end up faffing around too much, and only discover too late that we missed out on something we could easily have seen/done.

Basically I'm hoping to pick up the 'oh you really should go here/don't bother going there' sort of advice that we'd pick up on the road anyway, but in advance :) Also an indication of the sort of travel times and possibilities between places would also be very useful, as the guidebooks only tend to give the 'official' line, not the reality.

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 9y

Quoting mim

I think the reason you haven't had many replies K is because you haven't asked any specific questions
mim :)

Uhm, did I miss something here. The original post is 1 day old, your answer 20 hours. Was there any sort of complaint somewhere else on the forum?

5. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 9y

My boyfriend and I travelled through Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Bolivia at the end of last year from September to mid-December.

Our itinerary may of some use for you. We flew into Rio, overlanded it to Sao Paulo and caught a flight to Buenos Aires, we then overlanded it to Iguazu Falls and back, then flew to Lima. These flights were included on our RTW fare (we just paid £150 extra for the Bs As to Lima flight). We then overlanded it to Cusco, did the Inca Trail, overland to Copacabana, Bolivia, overland to La Paz and then overland to Uyuni. We then made it to Tupiza by train, then into Argentina to do Salta, Mendoza and finally Santiago for our flight out. We easily did this in the time we had without thinking we had rushed things.

As to the must see things in SA. Bs As is a must, as is Iguazu, Lima we weren't that impressed with, Cusco was fab and the Inca Trail was a great experience (tiring but well worth it). Bolivia was a mixed bg, we loved Copacabana, La Paz and Tupiza but we had diahorrea for the entire Bolivian stay and needed anti-biotics (as did many other travellers) but we would not have missed out on Bolivia for anything. The Salar de Uyuni tours were great, around $60 for 4 days and the scenery was unbelievable. Salta and Mendoza were great cities, especially Mendoza for the winery tours, it was very cosmopolitan and a university city. Argentina is so cheap and if you like steak and wine you will be in heaven.

In answer to your question about overland travel, the buses in Argentina are top notch, very fast to travel, but Bolivia travelling is slower but the distances aren't too bad. Copacabana to La Paz was 5 hours, La Paz to Uyuni was 11 hours (overnight not too uncomfy bus) and Uyuni to Tupiza was 4 hours by train (overnight again). From the Bolivian border Salta is 10 hours or so away, then Mendoza is 18 hours (overnight). Then Santiago is 8 hours from Mendoza or Bs As is 22 hours away.

Hope this helps

6. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 9y

Quoting Utrecht

Quoting mim

I think the reason you haven't had many replies K is because you haven't asked any specific questions
mim :)

Uhm, did I miss something here. The original post is 1 day old, your answer 20 hours. Was there any sort of complaint somewhere else on the forum?

you know what, I think it's cos I'd seen the post a couple of times in one day and wondered why it hadn;t been answered, read it and thought I'd try and clarify what K was asking, I'll pay more attention to posting times in future

7. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 9y

LOL, ok, I thought maybe I missed something. But you are right, it's better to ask specific questions.
By the way @ loubylou, great trip! But I have to make this remark: from the Bolivian border to Salta is just about 4 or 5 hours maximum, well, at least when I took the bus. I thought this was a big difference. ;)

8. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 9y

yeh, it was meant to take 4-5 hours but we (and everyone else we spoke to!) managed to get on a bus which wasn't quite direct LOL, just our that combined with the frequent Argentine army checkpoints where we all had to get off the bus with luggage unloaded, so that dogs could sniff the bus and the soldiers question each of the passengers, it took a lot longer. We think the Argentines just happened to be having a 'crackdown' on Bolivian illegal immigration and coca leaf 'smuggling' when we decided to travel.

Yes it was a great trip, one day we'll make it back to the moment we are enjoying Asia too much!

9. Posted by miguel_es (Full Member 114 posts) 9y

It´s easy to book the trip to Salinas de Uyuni? Do you have the adress of the company?

10. Posted by ahliexodus (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y

I would highly recommend a tour through the Mayan world as part of your excursion! The MW consists of about 5/6 countries: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, but I recommend the first three (safer). There's nothing like taking an off the beaten path trip through these amazing parts of the world. My wife and I (recently married) took a biking and canoing trip through the guatamalan and Mexican Jungles, and I tell you, it was an experience of a lifetime.

There are a bunch of tour operators that set everything up for you. Just google "Adventure Travel in Mexico" or same keywords but with "guatemala" or "Belize" and you should get some good results!

Best wishes on your 2 months !