Must see South America??

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Must see South America??

Last Post This thread is marked as being about Peru
1. Posted by Camo (Budding Member 8 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi All,
I am after some tips and advice. I am planning a month long trip to Sth America next year. There will be two of us. First stop is Santiago, Chile (friends there) and from there we will make our way north to see the Inca Trail, Cusco, Machupiccu and Lake Titicaca. This will take up the first two weeks or so. After that, the planner is blank.
What should we see? What's the best way to travel? The budget will be pretty healthy (by no means rich, but we want to do it properly so we are prepared to spend up where necessary!)
So basically, we dont want to waste too much time travelling as 4 weeks is not enough anyway...
Any ideas/suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

2. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

1. Limit yourself. Adapt your aspirations to meet with your timeframe or vice-versa; it is massively overpretentious wanting to do more than one (or maybe, júst maybe two) country in a month.
2. You'll never get from Santiago to the Cusco area in two weeks in a somewhat relaxed way (well, you could, but that would mean missing out on 90% of the sights to see in between those places). Take my advice; take your full month for that stretch, then round off your trip by doing Machu Picchu
3. Check the other threads in this forum; I have repeated this same reply countless times, in varying degrees of detail.

cheers, Niels

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 28, 2006, at 1:10 AM by bentivogli ]

3. Posted by gallegos (Full Member 72 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I think you can do it. But how long it will take will depend how you move from one place to another. South America is huge and distances are big, I suggest to take domestic flights. If after Santiago you won't stop anywhere else in Chile, I suggest to fly to Arica (Northern border with Peru), then cross the border and go to Arequipa, nice city.

From Arequipa, you can fly (30 minutes) or take a bus (6 hours) to Juliaca (close to lake Titicaca). From Puno (city by the shores of lake Titicaca) a bus to Cusco (6 hours). Plan to stay in Cusco and Machu Picchu at least 6 days if you want to hike the Inca trail (4 days).

Don't forget that to hike the Inca trail, you must book it with a tour outfitter at least a month in advance.

Have a safe trip,

4. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

There we go again... Ivan and me have this age-old disagreement on intracontinental/domestic flights.

I am radically opposed to doing it, and always trying to convince others not to do it, either. It is an entirely irresponsible form of travelling, causing unnecessary pollution on a massive scale. Travellers should stop trying to take in more than they have time for. Rather than frantically chasing around the globe from one institutionalised 'highlight' to another, completely blind to the small-scale beauty of the landscape and culture one is passing through, people should take their time to experience gradual changes in climate, take in local customs and strange habits... in Dutch this way of life is called 'onthaasting', I guess dehurrification would be a nice translation of it. It benefits everyone involved, including the environment.

Slightly incoherent, I know, but sincerely meant :)

5. Posted by Camo (Budding Member 8 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Guys (I think) for those radically differing opinions... I have heard that travelling north from Santiago to Peru is somewhat mundane? I am interested to know, bentivogli, which nice places to stop at should we take your advice? I too dont like the thought of all the damage done by domestic flights, but sometimes its the only option to maximise time in the places you want to be. Flying was therefore the planned transport, but happy not to if its worth it! Australia is the best example in the world of why we use domestic flights!! Days of straight roads and dust... So flying here is mandatory if you only have a month to see things. We will however limit ourselves to mostly Peru I think. Please let me know of those places to see in Chile, should we travel north overland ;)

6. Posted by jlc2jcm (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

my fiance just recently proposed to me at the top of machu picchu and that was just the beginning of one of the best trips of my life!

i vote for spending several days in cusco if you can - there are tons of great ruins and neighboring towns to see. the sunday market at Pisac is definitely a must see. and if you can make it definitely go to this awesome little restauant called Inka Panaka in San Blas (the old town area in Cusco... way up on the hill) - you'll have great food and one of the best hosts imaginable (walter). he became a good friend while we were there, and he does all the art showcased in his restaurant. just lovely.

anyway, we took a plane from cusco to juliaca and saved ourselves a painfully long train ride - TOTALLY worth it. we also stayed at an inn outside of town dalled Taypikala Lago. it was quiet, relatively private, and had gorgeous views of the lake. i saw my 1st ever double rainbow there. the staff was incredibly accommodating - they even took us to a local wedding celebration in the TINY neighboring town. you can't get that on any planned tour...

have a GREAT trip!