Hey all,me and my gf are planning on flying to Perth for 12 onths in May 2010. We really want to go to South America for 3 -4 weeks en route. We're just wondering what areas people would recommend to see in that short space of time. Any opinions would be hugely appreciated
You could do the route that is in the thread a few below this one (fly into Rio, make your way overland to Santiago de Chile and get a flight from there to Perth). Total travelling time would be about 3/4 days perhaps. You could go Rio -> Sao Paulo (if big cities take your fancy), then to Iguacu (highly recommended), Buenos Aires (also recommended), then you can catch a direct bus to Santiago or you could just make your way across the country stopping in some places as you go. I made a split decision to hop off the bus at Mendoza and stay there for a few days and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Alternatively you could fly into Bolivia and see the Salt Flats, Lake Titicaca or whatever, head west to Cuzco and see Machu Picchu, then down to Arequipa, then south to Santiago. You could stop at some places along the way to break up the bus journey from Arica (the border town with Peru) to Santiago (it's about 30 odd hours).
Hope that helps
3-4 weeks isn't a massive amount of time so I would concentrate your efforts on one country. Argentina possibly. Two at a push.
Fly into Rio. A few days there for Cristo, Sugar Loaf, Maracana, the beaches.
Down the coast to some of the beautiful smaller towns, maybe Ilha Grande.
Down to Iguazu, a day or 2 on either side of the falls/border.
On to Cordoba (Argentina's 2nd city). Lots of small towns around there of notable interest with outdor persuits to suit everyone.
Then onto Mendoza for the vino.
If I could go back to one place in Argentina it would be Bariloche. Stunning and some good trekking, hostels, food, drink, weather. If that time of year skiing would be an option.
Then over Andes to Santiago which is probably the best option for an onwards flight to Oz.
If you want any real input on this site you really have to give people more info though. How old are you, what do you like, what is your budget, do you speak the language etc etc etc.
Cheers for the help so far guys. Sorry I didnt put more info for you all. I am 28 and my gf is 26. We really want to see as many of the main sites as poss. We also both love the beaches and I am heavily in to scuba. We will be on our way to Oz for a year so this trip is like an extended stopover but want to make the most of it. Have also been thinking of the Galapogos islands. Does anyone know much about these islands eg expensive, accessible.
Thanks again for the help so far, really appreciate it
the Galapagos Islands are not cheap.
flyghts from Guayaquil or Quito are around $ 300-350
Entrance fee for Galapagos to pay in cash at the Galapagos airport till now $ 100
there are possibilitis to dive witout staying on a liveabord boat (they are very expensiv) but I have no Idea about the prices.