On a trip from SA to USA. Would prefer to go overland as much as possible, and visit out-of-the-way places to get a real taste for the country. Usually this is too broad of a question, so have narrowed down the South America part of the trip. We would be eternally greatful for some advice on where to go/what to do in BOLIVIA, PERU, ECUADOR, and COLOMBIA for 2 MONTHS. Not adverse to long/challenging travel between destinations, and would love to get outdoors to see wildlife or volunteer somewhere. If there are any good surf beaches around, suggestions for those would also be appreciated. So a good mix of fun, culture, outdoors, activities is what we're after.
Jake and Holly
Wanting so much advice on 4 very different and separate countries is not exactly narrowing down your question, LOL... That is still a huge amount of real estate.
Fortunately with the exception of Colombia that part of South America is covered in great detail by all the major guide books. Peru, Bolivia and Equator have all been firmly on the Gringo Trail for decades now so they're super easy to research.
I'll add one aspect for you start thinking about... you mentioned you wanted to go overland as much as possible... That's easy everywhere except getting from Colombia to Panama - the Darien Gap is still impossible travelling strictly by land, but it is possible to bounce up/down the east coast with a combination of hiking and boats.
This route was waaaaaaay off the beaten path as recently as several years ago. Now you run into a few intrepid travellers doing it, but it's still a fairly small club. The hassle is totally worth it though.
Have fun with your research.
Hello Holly y Jake;
My boyfriend and I are about to start a trip from Argentina to México. Here s a little part of out itinerary
Bolivia: Copacabana city, Lake Titicaca and "la isla del sol" (Sun Island)
Cusco city (there is a tout that you can take from Cusco to aguas calientes, includes biking, rafting, hiking. We havent done it yet, but if you r looking for a little "adventure" you should give it a try.
Aguas Calientes (nearest town to Machu Picchu)
Lima (capital city)
Máncora (surf beach)
Guayaquil (biggest city, nice tours, Malecón 2000, cerro santa ana, etc.) http://www.tripadvisor.com.ar/Attractions-g303845-Activities-Guayaquil_Guayas_Province.html
Montañita: surf beach
Quito: capital city
Hope I was helpfull (I m sorry if my english is not sot good, its been a while since I last used it).
When r u going guys? Where r gonna be over there round 15 of april to 15 of may 2013 aprximatly.
Guillermina and Darian
from Mar del Plata, Argentna
Hi guys, thanks heaps for the responses.
Thanks Terry, have researched the crossing between Colombia and although it looks challenging, I think it's exactly what we're after. As far as guidebooks go, we have a lonely planet and it is very helpful. Do you recommend any other books? You're right that it isn't really narrowing down the question. How about this:
We aren't too concerned about seeing everything in each of those countries, as last time we travelled we felt we were passing everything by. So if there are any favourite places or experiences that you had in those countries, we would definitely consider spending more time discovering them and ignoring other areas. It is a shame we only have 5 months for such a big journey, but after our year in the states, we can always revisit.
Guillermina and Darian, it would be great to meet up somewhere as we will be doing a similar journey. We fly into Santiago in early April and after making our way over to Rio, we will start heading upward. So in early May we will be making our way to Bolivia etc. But this is very flexible and so far all that is set in stone is Santiago to Mendoza by bus.
If you add me on FB, I will get in touch with you once we have a better idea of our plans.
Thanks again everyone
Buenaventura then continuing to Isla Gorgona and La Guajira are a couple of cool places that many people miss, and of course as mentioned earlier going up the east coast from Colombia to Panama around the Darien Gap without flying is neat too.
2 months for all four countries is pretty quick. You won't have too much time to just sit and relax in towns you like. I spent 2 months just in Bolivia and Peru and barely covered the major sites that we wanted to see, and didn't get to touch North of Lima. But here were my absolute favorite spots in these two countries.
Salar de Uyuni and the SouthWest Circuit. This area is unbelievable and not to be missed. It was one of my all-time travel highlights of the world.
Death Road biking: It's kind of the classic backpacker thing to do, but who cares, it's awesome.
La Paz- surprisingly cool city to hang out in.
Isla del Sol - My favorite spot in Titicaca. Get a cheap hotel and stay a few days so you can hang out in the evening when the day trippers have gone and it's quiet. And take a few day hikes around the island. It's a wonderfully relaxing place.
Peru: Arequipa - Really nice city with a much more authentic feel than touristy Cusco.
Colca Canyon - Great place to do a couple days of hiking. You really have to get to the bottom of it to appreciate it.
Macchu Pichu and just about any hike in the area - you don't have to do the classic Inca Trail.
Huachachina - Something you just have to see and it was my biggest surprise of my trip.
None of these places are "off the beaten trail", but they're worth the stop anyway.
Great, thanks Degolasse.
Yea, really wish I had more time, but figure that I can always come back and explore my favourite places in more detail later. If it turns out that we aboslutely fall in love with somewhere, we will just spend ages there and miss other places. If we have to, we can even fly to the states on the date we are due. It has been great to hear everyone's advice though because it gives me somewhere to start with research, and from there the resources on the internet seem to be endless.
I have another question for Terry. I was looking into the overland/boat trip between Colombia and Panama. I can't wait to do it and think that I have it fairly knitted out. However, was just wondeirng if you knew any way to get from Puerto Obaldia to another part of Panama that is accessible by road, without catching a flight to Panama City? It seems there is the odd chance you could catch a boat but it looks to be more expensive. However, the boats do go through San Blas and I was wondering if this makes it worth it? Are the islands not to be missed?
It can be tricky getting out of Puerto Obaldia heading north, it's much easier the other way around.
Coming south from Panama to Puerto Obaldia I hopped on a little cargo boat in Colon that was delivering supplies in the San Blas Islands in exchange for coconuts being exported to Colombia. Heading north from Puerto Obaldia it was a complete fluke that I stumbled on a sail boat heading to the San Blas Islands then on to Panama. I was almost resigned to flying until the boat showed up.
And yes, the San Blas Islands are fabulous.
Wow, sounds like you've had some amazing experiences. I guess we just keep our fingers and toes crossed for that boat, otherwise flying it is haha.
Thanks heaps, you've been so helpful!
Below is the best i have seen during a 5 months journey in south america.
I am also planning other itineraries(i'll pubblish it on this website) and looking for people to join me for 3 to 6 months travels.
Toro Toro National Parks for caverns and dinosaurs footprints
Uyuni Salary , good but not the best
Tupiza - border to argentina - a sort of western landscape
Cuzco and Macchu Pichu
Rurenabaque - a small village as an access to the Amazon Jungle
Banos for all
Largo Agrio to see wild animals in a Jungle Tour on boat
Medellin as a city
Cartagena City and Port to have a boat ride to Playa Blanca and Acquarium
Tayrona National Park - paradise
Watersports are common in northeast beaches of Peru and Ecuador, but the best place for sure is the Northwest part of Brasil, a state named Ceara', fishing villages as Cumbuco, Prea, Jericoara ...