Travel in Central/South America (and SA) 2022/early 2023

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Travel in Central/South America (and SA) 2022/early 2023

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1. Posted by lauraloug (Budding Member 11 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I am looking to travel to India/Nepal and Central/South America at the end of December/January time from London, UK and would love some advice on my timelines and routes.

My rough thoughts are India and Nepal - 6-8 weeks: would like to go to Goa, Kerala, Mumbai, and the Golden Triangle. (I have friends who are going to be in Goa for new Year and are working up the West Coast, via Kerala/Nashik/Mumbai back to Delhi, deciding whether to join them or go later in January will Goa be enjoyable for NY? Also unsure whether to go to Sri Lanka or do this on another trip and get the most out of India.

Central America: Mexico - Panama ( San Balas Islands) - 2 months

South America: Columbia, Peru, Ecuador - Galapagos islands, Amazon Bolivia, Chile, Argentina (Patagonia), Brazil.
Also Paraguay, Uraguay if I can fit this in. - 8 months

Thinking about whether I would like to be in India for the Holi fest (early march) or maybe hit one of the carnivals in South America (end of Feb). I have read that I need to book in the Inca Trail are there any other trips I would need to book in advance as I would like to be pretty flexible with my trip, so open tickets where I can (and purchase flights that are free cancellation for entry into the country by land/air)

Any help would be great!

[ Edit: Edited on 6 Oct 2022, 17:11 GMT by lauraloug ]

2. Posted by lauraloug (Budding Member 11 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Would really appreciate some feedback on this please.

3. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1629 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Are you planning a total 12 months overseas, traveling first to India, then to Mexico and Panama, then South America? If so, all that jumping around will cost a bundle and you will be exhausted. You'll also need to consider weather and climate. Nepal will be cold in late December and January. I like traveling there October-November. Suggest you concentrate on India, perhaps from Mumbai moving south. Sri Lanka is a short flight from South India. Yes, you need to book the Inca trail in advance and there now are capacity limits to Machu Picchu. Know that flying between countries in South America, like flying between countries in Africa, can be costly.

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 6046 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

For South America, the time of year matters a lot for various countries, so do your research into every country where you want to go to be able to string them together into a sensible order.

Peru has the wet season from November through March, and peak season for the inca trail is June-August, so ideally you'd like to aim for shoulder season in May or September. (And indeed book that way in advance. Pre-covid you'd already be on the late side by booking now for the April-August season, though in the current reality it looks like there's still full availability, and you'll probably have a few months yet. (Search for "inca trail availability"; there are many websites with widgets showing real time availability.))

Meanwhile in Patagonia tourist season with decent hiking is November through March, with November and December being very windy (iirc offhand; didn't check). I've done most of my hiking in Patagonia in late March / early April, with gorgeous autumn colors - but I also lucked out there not to run into (more than a smattering of) early snow. (If you're into hiking, spend at least a week in El Chaltén. Two would not be too much. Absolute hiking paradise, with lots of 6-10 hour loops possible that'll bring you back to El Chaltén at the end of the day, and since you can drink water straight from the streams, your pack will be delightfully lightweight.)

I'm assuming your flights will be on a RTW ticket, since you're visiting both Asia and South America on the same trip, rather than going home in between? Just in case you haven't seen the option yet, consider maybe a week or two in New Zealand, and then hopping over to Chile via French Polynesia and Easter Island (an option on the OneWorld RTW ticket, which would otherwise be completely out of reach).

5. Posted by Psamathe (Budding Member 392 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

There are some amazing places in Bolivia that are not the Amazon. You can visit rainforest in loads of countries.

Inca trail is just one of many hikes in Peru and probably not the most amazing (beyond the destination which is certainly not to be missed but there are loads of other "not to be missed" sites in Peru).

Ian

6. Posted by Sander (Moderator 6046 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Psamathe

Inca trail is just one of many hikes in Peru and probably not the most amazing

What I found amazingly good about the classic inca trail is how it builds up from simple inca ruins to ever more incredibly impressive sites - and then when you think "well, this must be about as good as it can get" - it finally hits you with Machu Picchu, having a scale an order of magnitude or two above the places you were just yesterday super awed by.
I do want to at some point in my life hike the Salkantay trek as well, but I'm really glad I did the inca trail first.

That said, @lauraloug, if you're at all into hiking, then you do owe it to yourself so check out the Cordillera Blanca with amazing hikes to Laguna 69 e.a. as well. Just make certain to maintain your carefully gained altitude acclimatization, because wow, those mountains are high, and altitude sickness really sucks.

[ Edit: Edited on 9 Oct 2022, 14:58 GMT by Sander ]

7. Posted by Psamathe (Budding Member 392 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Sander

...
That said, @lauraloug, if you're at all into hiking, then you do owe it to yourself so check out the Cordillera Blanca with amazing hikes to Laguna 69 e.a. as well. Just make certain to maintain your carefully gained altitude acclimatization, because wow, those mountains are high, and altitude sickness really sucks.

I would agree about the hikes from Huaraz. Quite a few. Laguna 69 is good, even well acclimatised to altitude is does really bring home the impact of altitude - what should be an easy walk at sea level becomes a struggle at the altitude.

I did one a day hike out of Huancayo in a regional park where they require to to take a local guide so a couple of Peruvian youngsters and myself took a guide and 1st time I've seen people suffer altitude sickness and ... really bad. Two of them suffered badly, staggering around like they were very drunk, vomiting everywhere, with the pixies. Guide was getting a bit worried telling them "we haven't got a helicopter to rescue you, you are walking down, focus ...".

Ian

8. Posted by 55vineyard (Full Member 188 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

You need to research how to cross the Darien Gap from Panama to Colombia, most do it by boat and from what I read on the old Lonely Planet, some times of year are rougher than others and all captains are not created equal.

9. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2651 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I question the San Blas Islands. The San Blas Islands are only accessible by small boats and they are very primitive and each island is small.

Anyplace in Central America and southern Mexico near sea level has a green season and a tourist season. The tourist season is November to March - that's when most people visit. The green season has more rain and it is from April to October. The green season is also more or less the hurricane season which is June to the end of November. Hurricanes can do considerable damage to infrastructure and can cross over from the Atlanic to the Pacific. In mountainous areas, mudslides are a problem.

Peru at the coast is extremely dry. There is no worry about rain in Lima because it basically never rains.

Visits to the Galapagos are very strictly controlled. Since it is basically on the equator, there is little variation in the temperature but November to March is warmer. To go there now, you have to have been vaccinated and have a negative RT-PCR test. You also have to have medical travel insurance, a travel card and of course you have to pay the entrance fee. If you do a land visit, you have to island hop. Or you can board a ship which will take you around the island. Either way can be expensive.

10. Posted by lauraloug (Budding Member 11 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thank you all.

So my rough plan now is

End of Dec/Jan- Feb (for Holi festival) - India - South, fly to Goa or Kerela (have some travelling friends in Goa for NY would this be hard work going down to Kerlela and then traveling up to Mumbai after?)Mumbai, Rajasthan, Golden Triangle

March - Nepal - Katmandu, pokhura, chitwan: Everest or annapurna trek.
Delhi - London

Indian visa appointment arranged.

Fly back to London for a few weeks.

April - May/June - Central America (Mexico City to San Blas)

June/July - February - South America

Columbia - June/July
Ecuador - Galapagos Islands - Aug
Peru - Inca Trail - Aug/Sept
Bolivia
Chile/Argentina - Patagonia (Sept/Oct)
Argentina (Easter Island optional)
Uruguay
Brazil - Carnival, amazon tribes - Feb 2024

Any thoughts on the seasons I will be out there? maybe Antarctica if I have the $$$

[ Edit: Edited on 21 Oct 2022, 13:36 GMT by lauraloug ]