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Advice Please: BA-Mendoza-Santiago-Lima-Cuzco 1.5Mth

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Advice Please: BA-Mendoza-Santiago-Lima-Cuzco 1.5Mth

1. Posted by nahcamme (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

Me and my friend (two 21 yr-old females) are traveling to South America in a couple weeks and it'd be great if you guys can give us some advice on our trip...
we have a lot of questions as we have never been to south America before and this will be our first backpacking trip.

may 16th Buenos aires, stay for three weeks
bus to mendoza, stay for a day or two
bus to santiago, stay for 1 week
then fly to lima, peru, stay for a day or two
bus to cuzco, train to machu picchu, altogether 4 days or so
bus back to lima
fly back on july 1st

- is our schedule good?
- is it possible to find accommodation as we go? we figure places we're staying are big tourist spots so we probably can just find a youth hostel of some sort without a reservation, is that true?
- do we have to buy bus tickets and flights in advance?
- will it be really cold in cuzco in late june? we're from Michigan so we should be able to take the cold better than most others =)
- are SIM cards easily purchased in those places? is it easy to make international phone calls?
- Are long bus trips safe? are crimes common?
- Anything regarding safety we should know?

Sorry for the long post and thanks a ton for any replies in advance!
any information or anything you think we should know would be greatly appreciated! :)

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 8y

The countries and places you mentioned are easily visited in general and don't require a lot of planning before you go, unless you want to hike the Inca trail, which you said you wouldn't.

- your schedule looks fine and not rushed, but it looks like a weird schedule to me unless you would like to get to know BA in dept. A week in Buenos Aires should do it as well. I would do every part of your trip by bus (and maybe train sometimes), as buses are good, you don't need reservations and traveltimes are still ok.
- Santiago I found rather dull, a few days is more than enough. I would spend some more time in between, like Cordoba, Mendoza or La Rioja and surroundings.
- Personally I would skip the Santiago area and head north to Salta in Argentina and cross into Chile from there towards San Pedro de Atacama. Than up to Arica, Arequipa and to Cuzco. 6 weeks is a good amount of time for that route.
- International phone calls and internetcafés are easy to find, don't know about the SIM card thing, never take a cellphone when I am travelling.
- some flights are best booked beforehand, but like I mentioned above, flights within South America are not really necessary with 6 weeks to spare between BA and Lima.
- June is one of the colder months...but that means not really cold. 18 degrees Celcius during the day, still above zero at night on average. It is the driest month and you won't experience much rain I guess.
- bus trips are safe, even when travelling at night, but just take normal precautions on busy bus stations, markets etc. Really, no need to worry.
- one thing: don't take offered taxis, find one yourself, this applies mainly to peru and bolivia.

Cheers and have fun!

3. Posted by nahcamme (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

thank you so much!
i'll definitely consider your suggestion with my friend.. i'll post more questions after doing some research
thanks again !