My husband and I are currently planning our itinerary in South America as part of a RTW trip we're embarking on at the end of October 2007, and it's currently looking as follows:
- Fly in to Lima (maybe 2 weeks homestay here to grasp some spanish and acclimatise for Inca Trail - is this necessary?)
- Bus to Cusco
- Do some kind of Inca Trail tour (any suggestions?)
- Bus to La Paz
- Bus to Rurrenabaque
- Do a Pampas tour for 4/5 days
- Bus back to La Paz
- Bus to Uyuni
- Do a Salt Plains tour (any recommendations?)
- Overland? to Santiago
- Spend a few days in Santiago
- Either bus it or fly to Puerto Montt
- Maybe get the Navimag to Puerto Natales (is this expensive? worth it?)
- Trek around Torres Del Paine (is it ok to do this ourselves without a tour ? - we're not seasoned trekkers)
- Somehow make our way up to Buenos Aires (maybe fly? any suggestions?)
- We'll base ourselves in Buenos Aires for a few months and hopefully make a trip from there to Rio for Carnival, stopping at Iguaza Falls along the way
- Finally, we'll bus it back from Buenos Aires to Santiago
- Fly from Santiago to Easter Island
- Easter Island to Tahiti to Australia and onwards...
Now for some questions:
- Are there any glaring problems with what we've planned so far?
- Seeing as we're not planning on getting to TDP by flying in to Punta Arenas, is it worth us visiting Punta Arenas after Torres Del Paine?
- Ditto for Tierra Del Fuego.
- Do we need to book buses in advance? If so, how?
- Do we need to buy entrance tickets in advance for TDP? Again, how?
- Any suggestions on good places to spend Xmas/New Year along the way? Was thinking that Cusco might be cool, but we'll probably have left there by then, so any other stops along the way that would be good/lively?
Sorry, I know that's a lot of questions, but any help or feedback would by much appreciated and hopefully we'll be able to return the favour one day!
Lots of questions but I will have a try on some general remarks and a couple of questions:
- Acclimatising in Lima is not really necesarry, better to do this in Cuzco, as there is more to see over there and it's at an elevation of 3350 meters which really needs some days of acclimatising.
- I would advise to have stop at Lake Titicaca, either at Puno or Copacobana, both to enjoy the lake and brake your trip between Cuzco and La Paz.
- La Paz to Rurrenabaque as far as I know is a beautiful but somehow a bit of long bustrip, maybe think of flying either there or back?
- I would advise to do at least a 3 day tour in the Southwest of Bolivia, including the saltflats. A good way of doing it is starting in Uyuni and ending up in either San Pedro in Chile or in Tupiza, southern Bolivia. I joined Tupiza Tours and they are good and experienced, price is around 120 dollar for 4 days.
- If you are thinking of going south to Santiago, you can either take the Chilean route and visit the San Pedro de Atacama area or go down south from Tupiza into Argentina and make your way south. The last one is more diverse for along the entire route, as between San Pedro and Santiago, sites are pretty sparse.
- There is actually an article about the Navimag Ferry on the Travel Guide of Travellerspoint...\
- No need to book anything in advance. South America enjoys a good public transportation system with frequent departures of buses and planes and sometimes trains.
- Punta Arenas itself is really nothing much compared to other cities, but it does have a great feeling to be that far south, same for Ushuaia/Tierra del Fuego. I like it and maybe I am biased, but I would advice you to go there. As you have months in BA, you will have plenty of time.
- Tickets for TDP don't need to be bought in advance, can't help you about the trekking part sorry.
Enjoy and cheers!
Michael gave you very good tips,here one more.
If you go to Puerto Montt,make the lake crossing to Bariloche/ Argentina.
as far as I know you can do TDP alone.
enjoy Chile lindo
Thanks for your feedback!
Do you have any recommendations/anything to look out for when booking our Inca Trail. I read that someone tried booking the trail for May and found that it was fully booked until August. This is making me a bit nervous, should I pre-book the trail for November?
We will definitely see Lake Titicaca and see the Bolivian salt flats. How long would you think it would take us to get to Patagonia from Lima, based on our itinerary? We were thinkng it could take us about 2 months, what do you think, are we way off the mark?
This would really help us to decide where we spend Xmas and New Year, any ideas?
Thanks sooo much for your help,
I didn't do the Inca Trail myself, but when I was there in september I heard that most days in september en october were already taken. I don't think you should have a problem for November but sometimes it's better to arrange a few things through the internet before you leave, so that you are sure about doing the trail.
I think you will spend about 5-6 weeks in Peru and Bolivia and a few weeks in the northern parts of argentina and/or chile, so I guess 2 months or about 10 weeks will do. Still don't know if your 2 months in BA are fixed, otherwise I won't bother too much about a week more or less.
Xmas and Newyears.....really, can't help you with that one, the only time I spend it outside my home country was in Cuba. If you like crowds, try to stay in cities like Salta or Santiago on your route, but if I were you, I would try to be somewhere either high on the altiplano or on a chilean beach
You should try and book the Inca Trail for November around now. My boyfriend and I did the trail around mid-November, there were places left, but I remember we booked our places in August. Andean Life were a pretty decent company (we didn't use them, but they were camped with us and seemed very good).
Definitely stop in Copacabana at Lake Titicaca for a couple of days, it was amazing! Also we found getting a Salar de Uyuni trip on the morning we arrived to be really easy. We arrived at 6am by bus, got to the main square and we could talk to all the agents about their trips and chose which we liked best, we paid $60 for 4 days each. Can't recommend a company, they were all pretty much the same. They will also transfer you to another bus to take you to Chile, you will have to negotiate that with the company.
Thanks again for the feedback! We will definitely book our Inca trail before we leave home and make a stop at Copacobana at Lake Titicaca.
For Xmas and New Year, someone mentioned Valparaiso. I read in our guide book that they have a fireworks display at New Year. Has anyone been to Valparaiso?
I am getting soooo excited about our trip!