I'm going to try and be specific as possible, but I would like some general advice!
At the end of the year (Dec-Jan) I'm hoping to be able to take roughly 5 weeks off work. Now I'm completely realistic and realise I can't see anywhere near the whole of South America, and I wouldn't want to try. I'm not someone who likes to rush, and just tick off destinations. I like places with great natural scenery, as well as places with a sense of culture. Ideally I'd like to spend a lot longer in South America in the future, but for now I see this trip as a bit of a taster, so I don't feel obliged to try and cover as much ground as possible.
What area would you recommend I spend 5 weeks in? At the moment I'm leaning towards Chile/Argentina because I like the look of places like Quebrada de Humahuaca and San Pedro de Atacama, as well as Patagonia. What would you recommend I could fit in in 5 weeks, without being rushed?
Thank-you for your comments, and apologies if this isn't specific enough!
hi i would def recommend southern argentina. there are a couple of fantastic national parks and if you into trekking its got it all. also a trip to the perito moreno glacier would be a must do. Not been to chile but a lot of my friends say Torres del Paine national park is among the best in the world for natural beauty and scenary...however it can be expensive to stay in. Dec - Jan is also the high season espcially in argentina and patagonia is a prime destination for people from the cities so most main parks/tourist spots will be very busy.
outside argentina...peru and bolivia have also got great national parks and places of interest.
5 weeks would be perfect for Argentina.This country really does have it all.
Amazingly friendly people,cheap,the best wine,steak,glaciers,lakes,salt flats,mountains,waterfalls,furthest south city in the world,whales,sea lions,penguins.
Plus like someone said you could have time for Torres Del Paine.
I would do Buenos Aires-Iguazu Falls-Rosario(maybe)-Buenos Aires-Puerto Madryn-El Calafate-Puerto Natales-Ushuaia-El Calafate-El Chalten-Esquel-Bariloche-Mendoza-Cordoba-Salta-Buenos Aires
Thats a pretty good loop in my eyes
I'm just back from Colombia and that's what I'd recommend having also been to Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia. Don't get me wrong, all of these places are amazing but every tourist I've ever met that's been to Colombia has said it was their favourite so that's why I went.
The joy of Colombia is just how much it's got - mountains, desert, jungle, carribbean coastline, great plains. And all with super-friendly people. And it's really really safe before you ask.
Thank-you very much for all your comments. Now I just need to decide what I really want to see!! Once I do that, I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions.