First time in SA

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean First time in SA

1. Posted by robmac5662 (Budding Member 8 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi guys! just thought I'd put down a question, as you all seem to be really knowledgable and helpful. Me and a buddy are cutting away to South America in mid june until mid september, and we were just wondering if anyone could put forward a bit of advice on the subject?

The itinerary we've come up with (provisionally) so far is thus:
Buenos Aries - Santiago - up through chile and Peru to Lima - across to Brazil and Rio de Janiero - up to Venezuela to have a bit of a look in at the Carribean, Trinidad etc for a bit.

Obviously, this plan is very much a skeleton at the moment, feel free to pick it apart or tell us where we have gone wrong, wont get offended! Any suggestions would be incredibly helpful, especially on the following topics:
Obviously some of the distances are pretty big, is it worth taking inland flights at any point? Say from Brazil to Caracas?
Are there any lesser known points of interest en route, or any we might have missed out and can encompass by a different route?
What is the best way to see Machu Picchu (we dont mind the fitness part of hiking at all, both soldiers!)

Thanks very much, sorry to go on, and also anybody who might be in SA at the same sort of time we'd love to know your opinions and where you might be at the time!

2. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Isn't it winter around June/July when you would be travelling from Bs As to Santiago?
If so passing over the Andes might pose a few problems.

From the various research I have done it looks far more interesting to travel up through Argentina to Bolivia rather than up through Chile.

I am going at a completely different time of the year but I like -

Bs As - Mendoza - Cordoba - Tucuman - Salta (now North Argentina) - San Pedro de Attacama (north Chile) - Uyuni (Bolivia) - Potosi - Sucre - La Paz

From there I like -

La Paz - Lake Titicaca - Puno - Cuzco/Machu Picchu - Colca Canyon - Arequipa - Puerto Inca - Nazca - Pisco - Lima (all looks a bit zig zag on a map but I think it is logical)

Re flying: lots won't due to environmental issues. Lots will due to time constraints. Personally I will not because I want to see as much as possible. Additionally some bus journeys can be done overnight in which case you will want a 'cama' which is a bed type seat. You get meals and drinks on bus journeys in SA so they aren't quite the same as here.

4 months seems a good amount of time. Number 1 tip I seem to read is don't try to fit too much in. Enjoy what you see and take time to take it all in.


ps. someone will no doubt tear apart my route :(

3. Posted by lukegar (Full Member 23 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


inland flights can be very expensive, even in SA so watch out for those, bus trips might be better, plus you can save on accomodation as well by getting the overnight buses mentioned before.

bolivia is a very interesting country so the suggestion before would be very worthwhile, the salt lakes there are fantastic, plus you have la paz which is pretty interesting due to the witches markets! camel feotuses everywhere!!
it is very easy to get buses inbetween these places and usually you dont have to walk very far! which is good! and cheaper than flights!

machu picchu is fantastic so that is a must see, even if very touristy! you can book tours in cuzco, the town where they set off from, there are plenty of tour operators there, alternatively you can pre-book just to set you mind at rest. SAS is a pretty good company, the one i went with, food was amazing!!

All I can think of at the moment! Any questions, dont hesitate to ask!


4. Posted by cat.n. (Budding Member 32 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello, If you have a STA travel in your town i would recommend popping in and chatting to them. They have so many different routes that all look fantastic, they only problem is as the previous comment said these company can try and cram a lot in in a short space of time. I'm going round SA in aug for 4 months starting in Venezuela, brazil, argentina, chille, boliva, peru and finishing off in ecuador. Quite pricey but the trip includes excursions such as 4 day inca trail, salt flats, 5 day river boat down the amazon, jungel lodge for 3 day and lots more, the trip also includes internal travel and internal accommodation. I was slightly worried that i'm going to miss out on a massive part of the experience by doing it the lazy way, but they do try and keep it as "back packerish" as possible, and when your not on an excursion with them, or going from place to place you get left to do what ever you please. It will be an amazing trip and i can't wait, if you want to have a look at the route go on and type in trip code jve, it also may be helpful to think of other possible routes.
Sorry if i've gone on a bit, Cat
p.s let me know if you find one you like.:)

5. Posted by xcape (Budding Member 15 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


Cat your trip seems amazing. Bet you can't wait. Did you get any feedback on Gapadventures? What swayed to go with a tour as opposed to doing it independently?

6. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

What I have been doing is going to places like GAP and trailfinfders and getting their brochures. From them I can see many things and logical routes to take. I plan to use that info but do it all independently. I priced many things such as Patagonia and you can do them for a fraction of the price that these companies charge.

Granted you will perhaps have your work cut out and come across problems but if you have the time and inclination then I would go with that as it all adds to the experience.

I have no doubt these packages are fantastic and offer good value but I just don't fancy spending weeks/months with the same faces.

7. Posted by cat.n. (Budding Member 32 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

hi xcape, didn't really have any feedback to go on. we just wanted to have a look at the routes they had to get a rough idea of what we wanted to do, and to get some advice. we were just lucky enough to find the exact one we wanted. only 117 days to go WAAHOOO