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Advice on my travel-route in S-A

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Advice on my travel-route in S-A

1. Posted by makaay247 (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

Hi,

I'm planning a trip in South America in the end of August. I'm planning to travel around S-A for about 2 or 3 months.
I've never been in S-A before, and my temporarily travel route is as following:

Peru:
LIMA - TRUJILLO - LIMA - CUSCO - MACHU PICCHU - CUSCO - NANU NATIONAL PARK - CUSCO - AREQUIPA - COLCA CANYON - PUNO - LAKE TITICACA (total of 16 days)

Bolivia:
COPACABANA - LA PAZ - MOON VALLEY - SANTA CRUZ - SALAR DE UYUNI (total of 6 days)

Chile:
SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA - VALPARAISO - VINA DEL MAR - SANTIAGO - PUNTA ARENAS - TORRES DEL PAINE (total of 10 days)

Argentina:
EL CALAFATE - COMODORO RIVADAVIA - SAN JUAN - MENDOZA - BUENOS AIRES - IGUAZU FALLS - PAMPAS GAUCHOS - CHUBUT PROVIENCE (total of 14 days)

Brasil:
RIO - IHLA GRANDE - ITACARE - MORRO DE SAO PAULO - RIO (total of 13 days)

This is the rough version of the route, but I should also mention that I'm only traveling by bus and/or train. Starting in Lima, and ending in Rio. The countries, and the route, is in an approximately order. The last country, Brasil, isn't complete yet, but the number of days is correct.

My questions are:

1. Is there anything I seem to have forgotten on my route? I'm interested in Cities, culture, language, beach-life, some party and sports.

2.Is there anybody out there who's travelled a similar route before, and have some tip's?

3. Is the number of days in each contry somewhat reasonable? ..also considering all travelling is done by bus/train.

4. Is there anything, in general, worth mentioning about taking a 2-3 months travel in South-America?

5. My travelbudget (except air-tickets) is in average $70 each day, including hostel/hotel, meals, train-/bus-tickets and hiking trips. Is this an 'ok' budget?

Thanks in advance for all answers;)

2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 8y

I think you have too much planned for too little time. This sounds to me like a 4 month trip. I can only give you advice on the Peru and Bolivia bit because that's all Ive been to. I did a trip similar to the places you mentioned and took 2 months to do it. Here's what I did:
Lima - Huachachina - Cusco and MP - Lake Titicaca - La Paz - Sucre - Salar - San Pedro - Arequipa - Nazca - Lima. There were a few more minor stops for a day along the way, but these where all the major ones. And yes, at a pretty good pace, that took 2 months.

Lets break your trip down a bit and see if you can do it. My biggest concern is your 6 days in Bolivia:
If you spend a day in Copacabana than it's a waste. You have to get to Isla Del Sol which is the star attraction of the area. That'll take you a full day at minimum. Then you got to get to La Paz. I can't remember how long it took to get there, but if you go in the morning, you'll only have an afternoon to check out La Paz. Might be enough, I don't know. It wasn't for me. I was happy there for a few days. It would also be a shame to miss out on the Most Dangerous Road. Even if the thrill of the road doesn't attract you, it is a beautiful area worth seeing, as is Coroico at the end. So maybe add a day for that if you can. Then you want to go to Moon Valley. I don't know anything about it, but I'll assume that you can do it in a day from La Paz? Then Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz takes about 18 hours to get to from La Paz. So that's a day and a night. Then a day in Santa Cruz at minimum, and then off to Uyuni. I don't know the quickest route to Uyuni, but i would say it will take 2 days via sucre or Oruro or even back to La Paz, I don't know. But from what I understand there definitely aren't any direct buses. Then you want to do the Salar tour to San Pedro. That's a 3 day trip (and a fantastic one). So add this all up:
Day 1: Puno to Copacabana
Day 2: Isla Del Sol
Day 3: to La Paz
Day 4: Moon Valley
Day 5: La Paz to Santa Cruz
Day 6: Arrive in Santa Cruz
Day 7: Santa Cruz
Day 8 &9: Traveling to Uyuni
Day 10-12: Salar trip and arrive in San Pedro
So this is the absolute minimum if all you want to do it take a look at each place, say you've been there, and move along. It's a 12 day trip, not a 6 day trip. I would recommend adding at least one day to La Paz so you can get to Coroico, two if you want to be able to spend a night and relax (highly recommended). I also suspect that since you are going to spend about 3 days traveling to see Santa Cruz that you may also wish to add a day or two to actually see it. So really, this should be a 15-17 day minimum trip.

Your Peru section seem just as tight. For a really really quick trip, it might look like this:
Day 1-2: Lima (night bus to Trujillo)
Day 3-4: Trujillo (don't know how long you need) night bus again back to Lima
Day 5: Bus to Cusco
Day 6-9: Arrive in Cusco. Spend a few days adjusting to altitude and visiting Sacred Valley
Day 10: MP
Day 11-14: Manu National Park trip
Day 12: Travel to Arequipa
Day 13: Arequipa
Day 14-15: Colca Canyon
Day 16: Travel to Puno
Day 17-18: Islands

So this is a minimum of 18 days. I don't know know how long you should spend in Trujillo, but maybe you want more than just the day you arrive and the next day. I think MP is also worth more than just a day trip. Do yourself a favor and spend the night in Aguas Calientes so that you can actually enjoy it. I think Colca Canyon is also worth 3 days rather than two. You spend so much time on a bus that it's worth it to have at least one day in the middle that's not half a transit day. So this bit is probably a 21 day or more trip rather than 16. I would also add a day or two in Huacachina which was one of my highlights of my whole trip.

Of course I can't comment on how long you need for the other countries, but I suspect that they have all been similarly misjudged. What I would say you do is if you have 2 months, than pick 3 of the 5 countries you listed. If you have 3 months, pick 4. But don't try to see all 5 in that short of a time.

As for money, you have plenty for Peru, and loads for Bolivia. I believe and my girlfriend and I budgeted about $50-60/day for the two of us together. We didn't even come close to ever spending that in Bolivia. However, we were always happy with local restaurants and cheap hotels.

3. Posted by makaay247 (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

Thank you very much Degolasse!

As I mentioned, this is the temporary route, and that's why your respond is highly valuable for me:)
I can see now that I'm misjudging. After all, i don't want to spend 70% of my journey in the bus-seat;)

I should probably focus on Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and the south-east coast fo Brazil for no less than 3 months.
Maybe I remove Trujillo as it's a detour from the other places e.g. Same as well with Santa Cruz..

Do you have any other tip's for the area of Bolivia and Peru? Great Trekking Tours? Smart ways to get around..?

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