My friend and I are planning on visiting S. America in Summer 2011 but know little about what are the best things to see and do.
Current plan is arriving in Santiago, travel overland to Buenos Aires, up towards Bolivia (not sure where yet - is flying better than overland??) and then onwards to Peru to do Machu Picchu and then fly out of Lima to L.A.
Are we really missing out by not visiting Brazil??
Is this itinary doable in the 3 months we have??
Any advice or help welcome, we are first time travellers!!
It's one tight schedule, but I'd say it's just about doable. Itinerary is fine, btw; you won't miss much about southern Brazil, which is the only part you would be able to include if you really wanted to. You may want to consider skipping southern Argentina as well: assuming you mean boreal summer (which is austral winter), Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego will be all cold and miserable, while the north-west is springy and agreeable. This gives you time to make a detour to Iguazù in the far north, which is very worthwhile.
Re domestic/continental flights: don't. You'll miss out on too many wonderous things, because Bolivia and the north-west of Argentina are truly beautiful. Not to mention the pollution and waste of money.
Missing any country, is missing out.
no, missing a country means you can come back one day.
3 months is a good amount of time to give you a great impression of the places mentioned.
Santiago over the Andes to Mendoza/Bariloche
Mendoza to Bs As
A little time over in Colonia (Uruguay) - a 1 hour boat ride.
Bs As - Rosario
Rosario - Cordoba and surrounding area (stunning)
up towards Salta and then the border crossing to Tupiza (Bolivia)
Perhaps a 4 day 4WD trip to the Salt Flats (which won't be with us for much longer if you beleive what you read about the Bolivian government).
On to La Paz
over past Lake Titicacca to Cuzco.
Inca Trail etc.
on to Lima via Arequipa and/or Huacachina.
Defo possible to do all that over 3 months and the countries are fairly cheap one's too.
Thanks for the route! That helps us a lot, we don't ideally want to miss out countries but with the time we have it's just not feasible to visit them all.
I'm glad it's doable, thats a relief. Any other suggestions are welcome!!
Hehe I understand, it was just a general statement. The salt flats in San Pedro De Atacama are also worth checking out. The entire city of San Pedro is worth checking out as far as I'm concerned.