My wife and I are planning to travel to South America mid April to about mid- June maybe a bit longer. Places we want to visit are as follows however we may not be able to do them all:
Argentina and/or Brazil: Iguazú Falls and either Rio or Buenos Aires. Bolivia: Sucre, Potosí, La Paz, Salar de Uyuni
Peru: Cuzco and surroundings, Machu Pichu, Puno, Lake Titicaca (also in Bolivia), Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Callejon de Huaylas and Huarez
Ecuador: Quito, Otavalo (probably a side trip from Quito), Banos, Cuenca, view Cotopaxi.
I would appreciate any advice and especially on what order these could be visited in and means of transport between them. I wouldn’t want to spend more than about 8 hours in a bus (or say 10-12 in a train) so I think we will have to get some flights. Also has anybody got experience or knowledge of using air passes within South America? I think the trip to Iguazu might have to be a flight from and back to Buenos Aires and from there we would need another flight to maybe somewhere in Bolivia.
I'm doing sort of the same route on tuesday. In Bolivia and Peru and Ecuador you will be able to get the bus from place to place as the distances between most of the places you are going are not that great. Iguazu is 19 hours from BA on bus so you may want to fly there though. Ecuador is not that large and most of the country can be covered in bus in 1 day but as you are travelling a few areas in ecuador then as I said the bus trips should not be that large.
Have fun, if you need any more info then please ask, i'm doing roughly 1 month= 1 country, starting argentina boliv, peru ecuador....
I don't know about Argentina and Brazil because I am going there this summer, but I did travel in Bolivia-Peru and Ecuador.
My suggestion: Go to Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian side, then, head to Arequipa. There you book your tour to Colca Canyon and then take a bus to Puno from where you will be able to take a bus to Cuzco (I think it is 6 or 7 hours---by the way it's a really nice road). You will be able to book your trip to Machu Picchu (I recomment SAS travel for the inca trail, they are awesome). And I would fly to Lima (69 USD). From Lima, you can choose to go up north and make many stops in between (there are many nice places to see and seriously, buses are really inexpensive and comfortable ( they even serve meals)). I personnaly stopped to Mancora, a little surf town on the west coast and I found it was worth it. I then took a bus to Guayaquil, but I think you will find without problem a ride to Cuenca. I then went to Riobamba and Banos. Also, I visited a Laguna called Quilatoa. It has seriously been the niciest thing in Ecuador! I took a bus to Quito and from Quito, you can take a bus to Otavalo. The bus rides are really short and yours in the ANDES so it is magnificient. seriously, I have been very surprisehow easy it is to travel around in SOuth America.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for replies. I will check out the suggestions.