I just came across the travellerspoint forum which I find to be very cool. I haven't been to South America in all my life and I would like to travel there during my winter recess (2 weeks in December 08 around X'mas time).
However, I am wondering if this is a good time to visit Peru and Argentina or Brazil. Peru is the number one in my list because I wanna see Machu Picchu. I read that December is the starting of the rainy season. But at the same time, there will be fewer tourists. Now, if it doesn't rain that bad I think it won't bee too bad, right?
So please advise me if:
- December is a good time to visit Machu Picchu and Cuzco of Peru
- Also, is it a good time to visit Argentina or Brazil
- How heavy is the rain in those areas in December
- Is it going to be very muddy and hard to travel
I am going to have about 2 weeks. And I would like to go on a relaxing/culture-discovering vacation. I'm not going to be doing any heavy hiking.
Thank you very much in advance for all the help!
Welcome to TP!
I was in Peru in January and the weather is dependent on whether you are at sea level or in the mountains. Lima (sea level) at that time of the year was very hot and dry. Once I got up into the Andes the weather was much wetter. I did the Inca Trail in the wet season, and while it rained every day for a couple of hours, it didn't spoil the experience in any way. The trail was much quieter at that time of the year, and I found the rains and swirling mists really added to the whole experience for me. Once the sun comes out, it is very hot and all the clouds and wetness just burn off until it rains again. So, it wasn't that muddy either. If you are just travelling to Machu Piccu on the train and not doing the trail itself, the weather shouldn't affect you much, although there can be landslides on the train tracks at this time of the year.
Argentina is a huge country, so again it really depends on which part you are travelling to. Obviously, the further south from the equator you go the cooler it will be. If you are near the Andes, it can be wetter. Buenos Aires would be very pleasant weather wise this time of year.
Same goes for Brazil- if you are hitting the jungle the weather conditions are going to differ to those near the coast.
Hope that helps a bit. Have a great time on your travels.
I could be reading you post wrong but do you only have 2 weeks to travel? If thats the case then you might find youself spending lots of time on buses...
Maybe just choose Peru and do Lima - Ica (Huacachina) - Nazca - Cuzco (MP)
Samsara2 - Thank you very much for your extensive reply. I think it's not such a bad idea to avoid the crowd if the rain isn't going to be that bad. I am still a student and I only get to travel during my summer break or winter recess. So usually I end up going somewhere when it is a high season of that place. If I really get to visit Peru this winter, it'll be the first that I don't visit a place on its high season! I am debating whether to arrange the trip on my own or book a tour package with a travel agent. I am interested in visiting MP and Cuzco the most. I don't speak Spanish either... and even though I survived my trip to Spain but I think Peru will be a different story right?
El Boot - You got me right. I have totally 2 weeks for my trip to Peru and/or Argentina and/or Brazil. Actually my winter break is longer than 2 weeks but I think I can only afford a trip for only 2 weeks. I understand it'll be a rush if I try to fit another country with MP-Cuzco-Lima, but what if I fly from Lima to Buenos Aires instead of taking a bus? Will that be possible? I know it will be more expensive and I did say that I can afford only a 2-week vacation, but I don't know when I will ever have time to travel to South America again. Plus the airfare to Peru from the US isn't that cheap... so maybe it's better to pay more for another mini flight to another South American country for this visit?
My advice would be dont bother with a travel agent - it's not that much work to book and organise yourself.
If you're doing the Inca Trail, you will have to book with a tour company to do that, and a quick search on the internet will provide with the names of lots of different operators in Cusco. I did the trail with United Mice and I found them excellent.
Just a point: Dont forget to arrive in Cusco at least 3-4 days before you plan to do the trail. You need this time to acclimatize to the altitude. So, if you only have 2 weeks, that's just something to bear in mind.
I had no spanish when I arrived in Peru and I managed fine. So will you. A lot of ppl in the touristy areas speak some English anyway, so I would say you'll be okay. A phrase book is handy to have occasionally.
Anyway, have a great time on your travels. Peru is a wonderful country.
Thanks again samsara2!
I'm actually not going to do the Inca Trail. I'm going to take the train. So I guess I don't have to book with any travel agent at all like you said.
I usually prefer to arrange everything by myself because I believe that I already experience half of the trip by doing that! But I was kinda scared since I haven't been to any South American countries before that's why I asked if I should go with a travel agent.
Just one last question, it's not going to be cheaper to go with a travel agent right? (I'm planning this trip for 2 people. I'm wondering if any travel agent can offer a cheaper deal for accommodation+transportation.)
I'd seriously doubt that it's cheaper to do it with a travel agent, but it's hard to say for definite.
I think when you buy your own bus tickets, accommodation, etc. you are obviously not paying anyone to do it for you. The travel agents are going to charge you a rate for their services, so I'd say do it yourself. It's not that much extra work, and, as you say, it's all part of the experience
I was gonna go for the treck but sleeping in tents every night and walking all day everyday isnt my cup of tea
I went to a travel agent just off Pl De Armas in Cusco and got 4d/3n trip which involved
1 day (55km) of downhill mountainbiking,
2 days of hiking (which wasnt too hard and was rouded off by an evening of bathing at the thermal baths)
1 day at MP + entrance fee
In addition to that all food and accom (in hostels) was included for the whole trip and a train/bus to Ollantaytambo/Cusco all for 120 dollars...
hope this helps
PS no matter which way you do it, get up to MP early so that you can climb Wayna Picchu before 9. View is spectacular..
Thank you very much El Boot and Samsara2!
I greatly appreciate your advice.
December is a nice month; If you travel to Argentina will have to travel to the south.
I would not suggest you can place in Argentina, Uruguay is because my area ...
As far as I understood, looking for a relaxing vacation, and not encounter a lot of time ...
Then you might suggest that travel by plane in Peru and Uruguay to visit beaches in Uruguay, and indigenous cultures, you can travel to four hours from Montevideo, a rural community, many valleys, forests and very nice people ...