My girlfriend and I are planning on spending 2 months in south america from the middle of august as part of a round world trip. Our options for south america are to fly into Rio/Buenos and fly out of santiago in Chile. I was thinkin about flying to rio and then working our way to iguazo falls then onto buenos and then work our way across to chile. Is this feasible or has anyone done a similar route or could give us a good idea of what to do and what not to do. We're headin onto fiji and newz from there but as this will be our first drop off we'd like to have a plan for the first couple of months.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Two months is enough for that route and even allows for some dawdling along the way. I'd recommend taking a week to see Buenos Aires, another week to see Rio and Saõ Paulo, and at least three days around the falls.
Also, given the season I'd recommend not going south of the line Buenos Aires - Santiago de Chile. Skip Patagonia/Tierra del Fuego, and head to the north-west of Argentina instead. From there, you can either cross into Chile and approach Santiago from the north, or go south in Argentina and cross into Chile from Mendoza.
Whatever you do, remember that Argentina is difficult to cross east to west in the north as there are very few public transport connections there. In your itinerary, it makes most sense by far to do the north-east first, then go to Buenos Aires, and then do the north-west.
As to things not to miss: the list imo includes at least the following
- San Ignacio Mini (Missiones), to see the Jesuit missions
- Parque provincial Esteros del Iberá (birds, and more birds. Takes a bit out of your time because of poor transport options, but is very low on tourism)
- the cities of Catamarca, La Rioja and Mendoza, as well as the route connecting them
Thanks for that, would we be unrealistic in thinking we might be able to do something like the inca trail or even a trip into the jungle?? We dont really know anything around the bigger cities but would like to get some time maybe on a camping trip. Again we don't know where we are going to be able to do this.
Inca trail is rather far off from where you're going. I'd recommend against it: there's little point in going halfway across the continent for just one sight, save it for another time.
On the other hand, you may want to consider an entirely different route, which includes both Inca trail and some jungle, but which would exclude Argentina and the falls altogether. That is, you could do something like:
Rio/SP - Campo Grande (visit the Pantanal; more exciting than actual jungle, and more animal sightings) - train into Bolivia - Cochabamba / La Paz - Lake Titicaca - Cuzco / Machu Picchu - Arequipa - approach Santiago from the north through Chile
Once again: I can really recommend that you (and everybody else) try not to be too ambitious. Two months is a nice period of time, but the continent is huge, transport is time-consuming and there is a LOT more to SA to explore than the highlights in your Lonely Planet book.
Final comment on camping: unless you plan to bring all that gear anyway, I wouldn't do so just to use it in SA. Camping near civilisation is downright risky.
[ Edit: Edited on 28-Jul-2009, at 05:22 by bentivogli ]
i spent 3 months in south america and managed to do rio / ba and machu picchu, amongst other things. it was a very rushed trip and i would have liked to have spent more time but it was feasible for me. unforthunately, i agree that two months is not long enough for your current itinery and also machu picchu.
i do agree with bentivogli about going north to bolivia and peru. arequipa is one of my favourite places there. the transport links are good too so you shouldn't have any issues getting to santiago on time.
My girlfirend does think that macchu picchu is something not to be missed but in teh same conversation she asked me what exactly it was so don't think it will be a necessity. My main thing is taht I don't want to feel rushed I did this when travelling europe and spent almost 3 days trying to get to croatia all for it to lash rain when i got there. Also is a budget of around £300 per person per week enough. Too much too little???? I have newz and oz to follow which i'm expecting to be more expensive.
If that should include the cost of transport, US$300 pppw imo is rather tight, but it may be doable. The rule of thumb for Argentina busses used to be AR$10 / US$3 per hour travelled (which can be anything between 25 and 75 kms), but I have no clue whether that's still the same.
Try to talk your girl friend out of wanting to go to Machu Picchu. Also, please take into account that you need time to acclimatise; given the altitude, rushing in and out of Cusco is actually rather dangerous. Count on a week in total at the very least.
£300 british pounds, which is around $480us. Never thought of the acclimatising, I'll mention it to her.