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South America Route

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

Hi there

I am hoping to get some practical advice about travelling around South America. I hope someone will offer some assistance! :)

My partner and I plan to arrive in SA mid March 08, for three months. Our plan looks roughly like this:

Arrive in Quito - spend a day or two there and then 1 week in Galapagos.
Back to Quito and travel south down through Peru.
Then through Chile, then Argentina, and then to Brazil where we would travel northwards along the coast to Rio, finally leaving mid June.

I am doing research to figure out what we should see in each country, but is this a realistic route to take? And can we do it by bus or should we fly any of it for convenience?

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

Hi,
There is absolutely no need to take flights when you have 3 months for that route. You could easily spend more of course, but with the right planning you won't feel rushed.
As you are planning to travel mid-March to mid-June I wouldn't advice going much further south than the line Santiago - Buenos Aires, as temperatures, especially further south in Patagonia will be low. Of course, if you like skiing you might go to a few places like San Martin or Bariloche. But it is just not the right time for that part.

But that just leaves more time for the rest.
Asuming you have aprox. 13 week, of which 1,5 weeks spent in Quito/Galapagos, I would divide the rest of your time for example like this: 1,5 week in Ecuador more, 3 weeks Peru, 2 weeks Chile, 2,5 weeks Argentina and 2,5 weeks Brazil. Just as a very rough itinerary.
You didn't mention Bolivia, which is a shame, as it is beautiful and pure South America and easily combined when travelling from let's say Cuzco/Mach Picchu south to the Atacama desert in Northern Chile. You can travel to Lake Titicaca - La Paz, down to Uyuni and do a trip ending in Chile. Really, a fantastic part of South America, don't miss it!

A few other places to see that come into my mind are
Cuenca
Arequipa/Cuzco/Machu Picchu in southern Peru
Salta and surroundings in northwest of Argentina
Mendoza in west of Arg.
Buenos Aires
Iguazu Falls
Pantanal, Paraty, Ouro Preto in Brazil.
But there is just a lot more and I haven't been to northern Peru or Ecuador yet, so probably others will tell you about it.

Have fun!

3. Posted by Tena (Budding Member 22 posts) 8y

You have to go see the Salt Flats in Bolivia, they were the highlight of my trip when i went.

I did a similar route to you from Quito down to Santiago, i didnt fly at all, but it doesnt mean a lot of bus journeys.

I went Quito - Cuenca - Loja (Vilcabamba) - Mancora - Trujillo - Lima - Arequipa - Cuzco - Puno - La Paz - Uyruni - San Pedro de Atacama - Valpariso - Santiago - Mendoza - Santiago.

That took me around about 8 weeks. So you will have plenty of time travelling for 3 months.

4. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 8y

When I go back to SA my first stop will be Bolivia. Don't miss it. Superb.

Anyway, I will put my tuppence worth in for the route.

Lima - Huaccachina - Nazca - Arequipa/Colca Canyon - La Paz - Lake Titicacca - La Paz - Rurrenabaque (only flight I would get)- La Paz (again) - Sucre - Salt Flats at Uyuni - Tupiza (Bolivia borsder with Argentina)

Salta - Mednoza - over to Santiago - Pucon

Don't think I owuld go further south due to weather.

over to Argentina again

Bariloche - Bs As - maybe a wee 2 or 3 days to Uruguay (Colonia), 1 hour on boat - Bs As - Rosario - Mendoza - Iguazu

Then hop into Brazil and over to Florinapolois??

up to Paraty - Ilha Grande - Rio

Anyway, there'sa lot there and I have my favs. Any questions just ask, or read my blog on these places and more.

5. Posted by Jhu (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

Thank you all - They all sound amazing, and that is a great tip about the weather - I was thinking that we would go all the way south to Ushuaia so its good to get insider advice. We would love to a get a few days skiing in though, could be interesting! I'll do a bit of research on that.
What sort of trip is lake titicaca? And for all of these routes southwards from Ecuador we would be bussing it?

The reason I've left out Bolivia is because anyone I know who has been has been robbed there, so I was thinking, we've only three months, I don't have a burning desire to go there, so lets skip it. But then again I may be generalising about a beautiful country.

6. Posted by Jhu (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

I've just actually looked up the argentinian ski resorts and the season doesn't start until early to mid June - we hope to be sunning ourselves in Brazil at that stage so skiing is a non runner.

Its amazing how diverse this continent is though, I am getting so excited! We'll be flying in from spending three months in Oz and Thailand.

7. Posted by Tena (Budding Member 22 posts) 8y

Quoting tricky

When I go back to SA my first stop will be Bolivia. Don't miss it. Superb.

Anyway, I will put my tuppence worth in for the route.

Lima - Huaccachina - Nazca - Arequipa/Colca Canyon - La Paz - Lake Titicacca - La Paz - Rurrenabaque (only flight I would get)- La Paz (again) - Sucre - Salt Flats at Uyuni - Tupiza (Bolivia borsder with Argentina)

You miss out Cuzco on this route! Im guessing the first La Paz you mention should of been Cuzco?

8. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 8y

indeed I did miss out Cuzco, my mistake. I stayed in San Blas up on the hill. Superb town with some magical restaurants too.

Some great inca history to be taken in there and somewhere to relax/rest before/after the inca trail.

Puno/Lake Titicaca is beautiful. You don't need long there at all but going out to the reed islands is a good experience. Beautiful friendly people.