Santiago - Peru - Ecuador and Columbia

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Santiago - Peru - Ecuador and Columbia

1. Posted by dsguasc (Budding Member 27 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

My boyfriend and I are planning our trip from Santiago, peru, Ecuador and Columbia - has anyone done this? Does anyone have any ideas on ways not taken by many travellers to get from place to place? places to see? things to do?

2. Posted by Sparlita (Budding Member 41 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I haven't done Santiago, but I've done Peru to Ecuador to Colombia. Essentially, through Peru and much of Ecuador there is the so-called "Gringo Trail" and it is pretty hard to avoid. It bothered me a lot because I often found myself running into the same people over and over, this took a lot away from the authenticity of the trip, but realistically, this is Peru and it is very well traveled. My route was: Lima, Pisco, Paracas, Ica (Huacachina), Nazca, Arequipa, Lago Titicaca, Cusco, Lima. This is standard. If you wanted to change things up you could include Huancayo in your circuit. From there I went north through Trujillo and Piura to Ecuador (a very simple border crossing to Loja Ecuador. I found Ecuador has less of a distinct "trail".

Now, although Colombia is less visited, it does have something of a Gringo Trail. I found myself often running into the same travelers. Some people fly from city to city, but (in 2006) I didn't find this necessary at all. I felt quite safe traveling by coach. Expect buses to be more expensive in Colombia - I was told this is because they are better insured and better quality due to possibility of hijacking. I traveled: Papayan, Cali, Salento, Chinchina, Manizales, Medellin, Santa Marta, Cartagena, Tolu, Mompos, Bucamaranga, San Gil, Villa de Leiva, Bogota, Neiva, San Sebastian, and back to Ecuador.

Favourite parts of Peru: Paracas park, Sand boarding in Huacachina, Arequipa and Colca Canyon, visiting locals on Titicaca, Machu Picchu and hike (there is an alternative trail if you'd like to do something a little less traveled). Northern Peru is pretty cool too, and much less touristy than the south.

Ecuador has lots of mountains to climb, "virgin" forests to explore, lots of outdoorsy things like biking, rapeling/canyoning, etc. Otavalo market is a must-see.

Everything in Colombia is great. The people are so welcoming and pleased to have tourists that aren't afraid of what they hear on the news. Near Santa Marta there is the Lost City hike you can do (although I've heard it is a constantly damp 5 days).

That's a lot. Hope it helps.

3. Posted by dsguasc (Budding Member 27 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks very much for all of your advise!! It certainly sounds like there is plenty too see and now I wish i had longer than 3 months to be there!!! Thanks again