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First Draft - 9 week SA Itinerary - any help appreciated!!

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean First Draft - 9 week SA Itinerary - any help appreciated!!

1. Posted by sinead2010 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 6y

Hi all...

A friend and I (22, Dublin) are going to be visiting South America on the last leg of a world trip. We will be there from March 25th to May 22nd 2011... 9 weeks in total, flying into Santiago and out of Rio.

We are in the process of trying to decide where we want to go.

Any advise back would be greatly appreciated, regarding weather, anything we're missing out, best route to take etc.

So, we fly into Santiago, then plan to head up to Valparaiso (I've read that Mendoza is worth visiting, but not sure if it's too much hassle to border cross, or worth the backtracking it will entail to get back on the route to head north of Chile??)

Then North passing Parque Nacional Nevado de Tres Cruces, San Pedro de Atacama and getting a slow train from Calama.

Into Bolivia and on to Salar de Uyuni, Potosi, Sucre and Santa Cruz.

From Santa Cruz, we are thinking the best idea is to get a flight to Buenos Aires. Are we missing anything in Chile and Bolivia? Is it worth going that bit further to see La Paz? Would it even be feasible to try and head West to see Machu Pichu?? Not sure if time would allow that?

Then, we plan on flying to Buenos Aires. From here we want to basically make our way to Rio... taking in Izaguru Falls. Is it best to go through Uraguay? Or up and around and then back onto the coast?? I haven't seen many routes of this online.

That's basically our first draft... Any help appreciated... Any thoughts on how long to spend on each leg ... Is there anything crucial we are missing out on!?

Many thanks in advance...

Kind regards,


2. Posted by KoalaGirl (Travel Guru 307 posts) 6y

From here we want to basically make our way to Rio... taking in Izaguru Falls. Is it best to go through Uraguay? Or up and around and then back onto the coast?? I haven't seen many routes of this online.

I've been along the BA - Rio via Iguassu route twice now and took a different route each time...

The first time via Uraguay, the second time overland from Iguassu via Paraguay (with the aim of saving money). It's only a little bit of advice, but if you can.... avoid going through Paraguay. I'd say the hassles I experienced in getting a visa, the difficulties in finding any kind of bus (not to mention the really bad mechanical state) plus a distinct lack of infrastructure to get outside the cities and see any of the acxtual jungle in Paraguay made i really not worth the little bit of money I saved.

The tri-country border crossing from Argentina into Uragay in comparison is quick, simple and much better serviced.

[ Edit: Edited on 04-Jul-2010, at 05:27 by KoalaGirl ]

3. Posted by Simon1983 (Budding Member 50 posts) 6y


I am going to be doing a similar trip in September.

Regarding getting a visa for Paraguay I don't think you will have a problem (assuming you are Irish?). EU citizens can get 90 days visa free. That said, I don't think we will be going to Paraguay either.

I think our plan is from BA travel north and roughly follow the Rio Parana through Rosairo, Sante Fe / Parana, Posadas and up to Iguazu. I don't know if this is the best route to take and would be open to suggestions.


4. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 6y

Sinead. Mendoza is a nice little town, but ultimately missable. The trip from Santiago to there, though, is tear inducing in it's beauty. In my top five for beautiful sights that I've seen. After Mendoza, there is virtually nothing to look at. I once took the interminably long trip and took a pic an hour out the window. The images look like they all could have been taken in the same minute. Valparaiso which is directly west of Santiago has about an afternoon's worth of interesting things to look at. There is one picturesque hill to look at....and that IS a beautiful hill. There are a couple of monuments to the south of the main town. The town itself is a grungy place that's all about industry.
So you aren't disappointed, there is no way to actually touch the ocean in Valparaiso. Like other places of industry, all of the coast line is used for transport. You have to go up to ViƱas Del Mar to do that. That is a nice little town that is connected by their light rail line. It's like a getaway city for upscale Chileans, though, and is pricey. Chile is actually pretty pricey overall.

Stop in La Serena, if you are heading north. DO NOT stop in Copiapo. A singularly depressing town. But I did get a nice pic of a door knocker there.....and an interesting crosswalk sign.

5. Posted by KoalaGirl (Travel Guru 307 posts) 6y

Not sure what the situation is for EU Passport holders in relation to visas for Paraguay. I'm an Australian passport holder and although the visa was free, I applied at the Embassy in Iguassu in person and on top of the variable and limited opening hours and apparently only one staff member who processed visas when he felt like it, I had to pay a US$10 "processing fee".....