We are going travelling for 2 months from the beginning of feb 2010 around South America. We are thinking we are going to fly to Santiago and travel up through Chile, Bolivia and Peru flying home form Lima. We don't intend on doing a structured route - just seeing how we go once we are there. We do want to book the Inca Trail so advice on whether to book that once we are in SA or do it before we go would be helpfull.
We were also wondering on how much money 'roughly' people have spent doing similar trips.
Any help or ideas would be great, Thanks
Danni and Sarah
There is not much to see in Chile. Peru has much of what is worth seeing in South America. I would not go to Colombia or Venezuela but after Ecuador travel to Brazil. Flights are normally cheaper for SA if booked before you arrive. As to booking the Inca Trail you would need to know when you will be there so possibly from an internet cafe on the way there? Cusco has lots of travel agents for local and onward travel.
As much money as possible. A credit card doesn't hurt, even if you do not plan to use it. Beware of petty theft throughout SA (and in rare cases, like in Colombia and Venezuela, armed robbery could happen, though unlikely), so divide your money up so if they get one lot, you still have another lot.
Not much to see in Chile?
What about the South of Chile,Torres de Paine,the Lake aerea whre you can cross over by boat to Bariloche/Argentina.there are beautyful places,also at the north of Chile,from where you could go up to Peru and Bolivia.
Brazil is the most expensiv Country of South America.
There is a lot to see in Chile, but different types of sights are very far apart, and Chile is generally quite expensive to travel. For the sake of budget, I'd recommend crossing into Argentina from Santiago, and then travel north. Seen that you have only 2 months, I don't think it feasible to travel south: so I'd skip Patagonia and southern Chile, and concentrate on north-western Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. Plenty to see there.
As the Inca trail is becoming more and more of a tourist trap these days, booking it as far in advance as possible is recommended. Don't wait until you are there: that way, you're probably too late. Also, take into account that you need to arrive some days prior to starting, to acclimatise to the altitude.
As for budget, that is difficult to answer. In 2004 I spent 4 months in the area, spending less than €2500 including intercontinental flights. Last year, I spent the same amount in a month. I guess it depends on the level of comfort you want, your means of transport, your activities, eating habits, etc.
Book the Inca Trail well in advance.... we booked ours in Feb/Mar for a July date so you need to give notice.... might be easier to start in Peru so you can pick your start date based on arrival....
I was 3 months in SA, 3wks Brazil, 4wks Bolivia, 6wks between Peru, Chile and Argentina, and we spent about EUR3,500... not including international flights and inca trail expense as we had prepaid that before departure... staying in cheap but decent hostels, all dorms, bus travel everywhere.... I'm sure it can be done cheaper, and we didnt party every nite either...