Newbie help for travelling in S America

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Newbie help for travelling in S America

Last Post This thread is marked as being about Peru
1. Posted by samtheman1 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hello all, I got recommended these forums for some advice on a holiday I have coming up. We (me and my gf) have 4-6 weeks holiday, starting on 1st August and want to go to S America, but neither of us are very well travelled and am after some hints and advice.

We have been going through the GAP catalogue, and fancy doing an Inca trail, spending some time in the Amazon and, if possible, going to see some sealions.

Would you recommend doing an organised trek (such as GAP) for this, e.g. a 2 week Inca trail followed by an Amazon extension, or would you recommend just turning up in Peru and sorting it out when we are there, bearing in mind that neither of us speak any Spanish at all!!!! Given this restraint, would it be best just to book it through an english operator in the UK before we go?

Which would be the best internation airport to fly into, given that we would like to spend a week in the said city, e.g. Rio or Buenos Aires or is there anywhere else you would recommend?

Where would be a good place to go and see sealions?

thank you.


2. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Quoting samtheman1

Where would be a good place to go and see sealions?

If you can afford it, the Galapagos Islands would be a great place to see sealions (and it's not that far from Peru). When I was snorkeling there, they would come and play with me.

3. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

There are some Peruvians on this board that can assist you better than I. Even though I never did the Inka Trail, I'm pretty sure it's more like 4 or 5 days not 2 weeks.

Lake Titicaca is very close to Machu Picchu, Cusco, etc. (like a 10 hr. train ride form Cusco). You may want to look into combining that with the Peru part of your journey. You can also do the Amazon in Peru. Then you would be able to see a lot in a relatively small area.

4. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

One other quick thought before I head off to work. The fact that you don't speak Spanish shouldn't factor into the decision whether to book ahaed of time with a UK office. Any body in the Tourist Industry in Peru, etc. will speak English.

It's really comes down to, that if you book ahead, the trip is easier (all arranged, etc.) but the same trip will cost you more. If you book once you're there, you'll have to spend some TIME doing it, but the same trip will be cheaper. The UK operators are basically like middlemen.

5. Posted by SkacoreUK (Full Member 56 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hi Samtheman

Just thought that I would mention that I am doing both the Mayan Sun, and Volcano Trail with GAP adventures in September.

It seems that if you go for the ROAM category of adventure, you have the main bits sorted for you (travel, accomadation, and bigger excursions (inca trail))and are then left to your own devices, if you want to head of on your own you can, or alternatly you can go off with a group. The leaders will help you to organise whatever you want to do. The fact that the maximum group size is only 12, compared to around 30 on other companies trips is what sold them to me.

But it ain't cheap. After my month with GAP, I am travelling by myself for 2 1/2 months through South America for the same price , I just wanted to ease myself into independent travel.

Oh, and I don't speak a word of Spanish, I will be taking a few lessons before I go tho.

I am sure that whatever you you will love it

6. Posted by engreida (Budding Member 3 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hello. Sammy

Travel point is a nice site where You can get any kind of help
travel around Peru is not any problem, Inca trail to machupicchu haver to be booked in advancewith the new park regulation, 230 kms from Lima is Pisco 3 hrs by bus there You cna see a few See Lions its name is Paracas Island ( Small Galapagos ) most of the hostal and tour company speak English, just get on the plane odn when You arrive in Lima can book your tours or hotels but Inca trail booke it in advance -snip-
Buenos Aires is nice but I prefer Rio Janeiro
Galapagos is nice place to see seeliions its 2 hrs from Lima / Guayaquil
Good Luck

[ Edit: sorry, no promos in the forum please. ]

7. Posted by luanadb (Budding Member 3 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!


Try having alook at this website:

There is quite a lot about the destinations. This way you can find out what you want to do and where you wnat to go.

I personally have to suggest Pantanal and Bahia. They are great places.

Good luck with your trip.


8. Posted by janszham (Full Member 35 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I have never travelled with a tour. I like my independency and want to do whatever and whenever I want it. You can't stay in a pleace you really like for longer or leave earlier if it is a dump because of the tour. And it is of course so much cheaper to travel without a tour.

For the Machu Picchu trail you have to book ahead now. And this trek you have to do with a tour. You are not allowed to do it without a guide. The 4 day one is the best option.

Cuzco is gringo heaven. So many tourists but the sites which surround Cuzco are amazing if you think how and why the Inkas build them. Nearby is Pisac with great ruins as well.

Am going to the Galapagos in July (unfortunately the busiest time) and it is quit expensive. If you just want to see sealions it would be far to much money. Here is a link for the galapagos islands which you might want to check out:

9. Posted by dblair (First Time Poster 1 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Some facts for you.
S.A. is a contintent. Try to have Europe in four weeks. The same problem. So my advise is : if you don't want to spend all your day in a bus or a plane, focus your trip in 1 or 2 countries. Check they are close to each other.
Recomendation. Peru. You have three regions to visit here. Start arriving to Lima and leave as soon as possible. Continue your trip to the South. Pisco is your first stop. There you will have your sealions in Paracas.(By the way, you can find them all over the Southern Cost of Peru and Coast of Chile). Two days can be OK. Next stop, Nazca and its amazing lines. How they did them?. Flight over the lines, visit some museums and important places. Three days the most. Take your bus and stop in Arequipa. This place really deserves 3 days. And an excellent opportunity to acclimate yourself to the mountains. Colonial city with beautifull landscapes and architectonic places. And an excellent place to try your Salsa steps and have your first latin party. On your fourth day, you take your tour to Colca Canyon and try a small treck. Three days, two nights. Return to Arequipa, stay there for that night and take your bus or plane next day to visit Lake TIticaca, Tiahuanacu and Copacabana. Two days. Three the most. Then you can choose to get to Cusco by bus or train. Cusco needs a week at least. If you are interested in Jungle activities, Manu and Madre de Dios are your next stop points. Come back to Cusco after 3 days there.
And now is time to go back to Lima by plane. Still with time enoug to visit Huaraz, a magnificent Mountain territory where you can practice some winter sports and enjoy beautiful landscapes. From Huaraz, you have to find your way by bus to get to Sipan (Trujillo) and meet the Lord of Sipan. Huanchaco, a beautiful tropical beach is close. You spent another week in this part of your trip.
So, if still have time, you can go back to lima and visit the Capital of the Spaniard Colony for 2 days.
NOw you are ready to go back to your country.
As you have seen I didn't tell you anything about the Inca Trail. I am against this kind of tourism afecting the enviroment, and exploiting people who earns less than $1.5 to carry your things by the trail. Its a business for big companies. Nothing you can find in other less expensive and less complicate trecks.

10. Posted by beppe (Full Member 144 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

For inca trail you have two solution cut the longer is 5 days and anyway i suggest you to have a trip of 3 days it's enough. After you can stop one day there in Aquas calientes and after take train back to cuzco.
I have been in puerto maldonado and it'a a nice experience but i eard that the best place for amazonas in reserve of manu you can go there from cuzco but is expensive and at least 5 days tour.

I suggest to go there and from there decide what you want to do but in 4 week i saw just half peru!!