Getting the best out of South America in 10 weeks

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Getting the best out of South America in 10 weeks

1. Posted by daisym27 (Budding Member 3 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I'm going with 2 friends to South America for 10 weeks next February, and wanted some help with our itinerary.
We're flying into Rio de Janiero on the 11th of February for the carnival, and my flight home is from La Paz on the 22nd of April.
We're keen to go overland from Rio to Argentina, taking in the Iguassu falls etc. Then, things get a bit more fuzzy. How much is there to do in northern Chile? Basically we need to decide whether to focus mainly on Argentina and Chile before getting to Bolivia, or whether to get to Bolivia a bit earlier on and then head up to Peru. How easy is it to get flights back from Lima to La Paz?
I suppose my idea is this:
3 weeks in Brazil/Argentina
2 weeks in Argentina/Paraguay
1 week in Bolivia
3 weeks in Peru
Fly back to Bolivia
Is this at all feasible? Would I need to get internal flights with this itinerary, or would overland be ok?
Any advice would be much appreciated!

2. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

It really depends what you want to do within these countries.

Why have you allocated more time to Peru than Bolivia for example?

Bolivia has quite a lot to offer from the 4 day trips to the Salt Flats from Tupiza, to the mines in Potosi, outdoor persuits in Sucre, a fabulously interesting capital city in La Paz with lots to do and see to the jungle option at Rurrenabaque and then Copacabana and Lake Titicacca.. For me 3 weeks minimum is needed in Bolivia.

In Peru I am guessing Cusco/Inca Trail is your main plan followed by Colca Canyon and perhaps the Nazca Lines? Of course youcan jungle trip from here too.

Bolivia is of course the cheaper option of the two. I budgeted £1,000 a month a year and a half ago and I spent about 20% less but I lived like an absolute king. $2 to the £1 then though.

Flight from Lima to La Paz is very very easy but if you don't have a particular reason to go to Lima I wouldn't even bother. Your time would be better spent elsewhere in Bolivia.

In Argentina Iguazu will be awesome. Cordoba and Mendoza are brilliant too and I would advise Bariloche if you feel you have the time to go that far south. The smaller villages around each of these places are very scenic and worth the trips. Transport links between these cities are all great too with buses pretty much every day and bookable a day in advance with relative ease.

My advice would be if you don't actually have a reason to go somewhere then don't. Stick to those places you specifically want to go and allow a little time in your itinerary for going to places you do find out about when you are there.


3. Posted by JH85 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!


I hope you are doing fine.

Regarding your inquiry about what things to do while you are in Argentina, I would really suggest you to go to Mendoza wine country and enjoy a full day tour around Mendoza’s hottest wine regions.

I was there two months ago and I was absolutely amazed not only for their splendid Malbecs but also for the magnificence of the Andes mountain range (in Mendoza you will find the highest mountain in South America: Aconcagua’s mont).

For my trip to Mendoza, I got really useful information from the following sites:


We stay in touch!


4. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Medoza rocks. Loved hostel Lao voted one of the best in all of SA.

Spent about a week to 10 days drinking wine in and around Mendoza. I massively suggest looking into the area around Lares de Chacras. It's a bodega around 30 mins from Mendoza. I got a taxi there with 2 others and it wasn't much.

The accomodation was a massive splurge for us but the food and drink there (very cheap for quality) was out of this world. They arranged trips to local vinyards for us and often the transfers were free. Some try the bicycle approach but I prefered the car lol.

Also, if you fancy an awesome adventure sport whilst in Mendoza try Hydro Speed.

5. Posted by daisym27 (Budding Member 3 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Thanks everyone - that's really helpful.
I've now investigated things a bit more and agree with the first poster that we don't need that long in Peru. I think we'll just go from La Paz to Cuzco (via Lake Tititaca), and spend a bit of time round there (going to Macchu Pichu etc), and then return to Bolivia.
Does anyone have any tips about Chile? We're thinking of going over there but not sure if it's worth it. Also, what are the best places to stop off at in northern Argentina?
Thanks everyone!

6. Posted by daisym27 (Budding Member 3 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

One other thing: has anyone been to the Lakes region of Argentina and or Chile? It's a bit out of our way but I've heard it's really lovely and wondered if people would recommend it.

7. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I have been to the lake district in both Argentina and Chile. I probably can't split them to be honest. If there was deciding factor it would be cost and ease to get to.

Pucon (10 hours south from Santiago) in Chile is stunning with Villarica (volcano) making up the backdrop. You can climb it fairly easily and there are lots of other adventure activities to be had in the area. The food and drink is superb and the ice cream is imho the best in SA by a country mile - not that that is a reason in itself to go lol. Accomodation was easy to come by here too.

On the Argentinian side you have Bariloche and surrounding area. The 7 lakes tour (by bus) is ok. Depending on the time of year you go there may be a lot of high school kids here who have just graduated. The national parks are truely stunning. The food is awesome if you like things like fresh trout, fondu, chocolate (best in SA, again by some distance). The accomodation is again pretty plentiful and the town is inexpensive for the quality of produce you are getting. A few micro breweries churning out nice beer.

Check my blog as no doubt a story about each place and some pics.

Bariloche I was there Jan 08 and Pucon a month later or so.

Coin flip for me and as I said, if it is about cash then Argentina is cheaper but its not a "cheap" part of Argentina if you get my drift.

If you like skiing etc then Bariloche will be perfect in June (ish) most probably. Still snow capped mountains in the height of summer.

Sod it, go to Bariloche, it's stunning.

8. Posted by nic2209 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hiya! I am doing the same kind of route with a friend, leaving on 9 Feb to go to Rio for 10 weeks. we haven't planned much yet.....thinking coast of Brazil down to Ihla Grande for a few nights then Igasu Falls then up through Boivia to Peru! Can't wait very exciting!

9. Posted by M. Inés (Budding Member 3 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,
About the norhthern part of Argentina, there's a route I loved (I know many people have done sth similar) which starts in Argentina and ends in Peru, (or the other way around): you go to Jujuy, the northern province of Argentina. From the capital (San Salvador de Jujuy) to Purmamarca, Tilcara, Humahuaca, La Quiaca, stopping at every little town you want. If you have the time, Iruya (in Salta) is said to be magic, but it's not easy to get there so it's important to have time. I think there are busses from Purmamarca. Check this out:
You can cross to Bolivia on foot (the first town there is Villazón) and get a bus to Tupiza. I wasn't interested in the Salt part or the mining in Potosi, but I liked the cities anyway (Tupiza and Potosi). I liked La Paz, but Copacabana was just lovely. We spent a day there and a whole other day to go to Isla del Sol. I have friends who spent the night at the island and loved it, too. From Copacabana you cross to Peru; I visited Puno but heard that Arequipa was much better. Then to Cuzco and I suggest you spend a week there; Machu Picchu is a marvel, but all the other ruins around and the city itself are so, so lovely!
If you want more information, just write!
Merry Christmas!!
María Inés