5/6 week South America trip - advice needed!
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jul 10, 2012 7:01 PM Last Post By: vistet
Jul 10, 2012 2:16 AM
5/6 week South America trip - advice needed!Hi all,
I have been browsing this forum for a while now and have been really impressed with the wealth of knowledge offered, so thought I would see if there is anyone out there with any pearls of wisdom to help me plan a 5-6 week trip in South America. I am a 24 year old female from New Zealand and am likely to be traveling with another girl and two guys, all 24 - 25 years old. We have all traveled extensively through Europe and the USA both alone and together. We aren't looking at heading away for a year or so, but wanted to get a decent idea of a do-able itinerary in mind before we all start applying for leave from work and so we can start to budget for the trip!
We are thinking we will confine our trip to Peru, Brazil and Argentina. What follows is a very rough outline of what we want to see/do. Any advice on order/timing/distances or what perhaps could be scrapped will be gladly received.
1. There are flights direct from Auckland to Santiago, Chile, then you can fly from there to Lima. Is there any point in having a day or so in Santiago?
2. Lima, Peru. A day or two here, then onto Cuzco to do the Inca Trail. We are looking to book an 8ish day guided tour for this. Any recommendations on tour companies would be brilliant.
3. Then onto Arequipo. We are thinking about heading to Colca canyon, and definitely want to go to Lake Titicaca for a couple of days. Is the Colca Canyon worth it, and what is a realistic time frame to do it in?
4. Travel to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. What would be the best mode of transportation for this (ideally we would go from Arequipo, but could go back to Lima if needs must)? We will be based in Rio for around 4 days - recuperating from our trekking in Peru, seeing the sights (Christ the Redeemer etc) and a bit of nightlife, Ipanema, Copacabana etc.
5. Then to the Brazil side of the Iguacu Falls. Is it correct that you need a visa for this even if you dont need a visa to enter Brazil? Are you able to travel round to the Argentinian side of the Falls from here?
6. Argentina. We would like to do the Argentinian side of the Iguazu Falls and then head down to Buenos Aires. Would like to get to Mendoza for some wine tasting. We would then fly from Buenos Aires to Auckland, NZ.
Hopefully someone out there can shed some light on whether this is doable or needs a complete re-think! We just have a couple of other general questions:
We initially flagged doing the Amazon as we didn't think there would be time - is this the right move? If not, where would be the best place to do that?
For anyone who has done the Inca Trail - how far in advance should you be in Cuzco in order to acclimatise to the altitude etc? We are all pretty fit, but I know that that often doesn't have any bearing on who gets bad altitude sickness!
Would anyone really urge us to try and fit in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?
Excluding flights and the cost of an Inca Trail tour, is anyone able to give a complete guess as to how much money (US dollar estimate is fine) we would want each to do all this - staying at moderately pleasant backpackers and so on.
Obviously there are gaping holes in our/my research and the more I do I realise how much more there is to do! Ideally I would spend 6 months rather than only 6 weeks. Thankfully we aren't racing away anytime soon so we can really take the time to sit down and plan this out properly. This is a mammoth post, thanks for reading. Any and all comments are hugely appreciated!
Jul 10, 2012 4:06 AM
Jul 10, 2012 6:02 AM
This was our itinerary when we visited south America. You will have to scroll down a little bit to get to South America.
6 weeks doesn't give you enough time in all the places you suggested.
Edited by: emd_two on Mar 4, 2013 8:42 PM
Jul 10, 2012 6:23 AM
Jul 10, 2012 8:43 AM
41. There are flights direct from Auckland to Santiago, Chile, then you can fly from there to Lima. Is there any point in having a day or so in Santiago?
1. I would fly direct to Lima if you wanted to visit Peru.
2. Thats fine, a flight would be best and are generally pretty cheap if booked ahead of time. There are plenty of good companies. Google them.
3.Colca Canyon is about 100000 times better than Lake Titicaca. The lake seemed like a massive Disneyland and a trap for tourists.
4. Best bet is to Fly to Lima. And then from Lima to Rio.If this is the case, then your best bet is to go Cusco - Puno - Arequipa - Lima.
5. You are going to Brazil (Rio), so if you need a visa then you will be required to get one. As A kiwi, you won't need one. But if your travelling party is from Australia or the US, then yes, they will need one. You can visit both sides of the falls from either Foz do Iguazu (Brazil side) or Puerto Iguazu (Argentina).
6. Buenos Aires is worth at least 4-5 days.
My biggest issue, with what you are doing is that your really trying to 'fit it all in'. Its do able, but consider that you'll spend at least 4 days in Cusco acclimitizing to the altitude, and then another 4 on the trek, then 2 days in Titicaca, and 2 days in Arequipa and 3 days during the Canyon (thats 15 days right there. And that isnt including travel days.
In my opinion, Rio and Buenos Aires deserve more time than 4 days.
In my opinion, with that time frame, its best to do one country or two. That said, you can do what your trying to do. You will just have to be incredibly well planned, and booked plenty of Flights to accomodate your travels.
Also, Aerolineas Argentinas fly from Buenos Aires to Sydney via Auckland. So you could purchase an open jaw ticket: Into Santiago, Out of Buenos Aires (saving you the flight to get back to Santiago). And trust me, fights in South America can be expensive.
Jul 10, 2012 10:42 AM
5"...how far in advance should you be in Cuzco in order to acclimatise to the altitude etc?"
The most common reason for altitude sickness would be going directly to Cuzco. One or two nights in Arequipa first is an easy way to prevent this. After Cuzco you are going down to the Inca Trail : starts around 2800 , and never goes significantly higher than Cuzco in sleeping elevation.
Jul 10, 2012 6:08 PM
6After Cuzco you are going down to the Inca Trail : starts around 2800
But you also climb up to 4,000m. And even if you aren't sleeping at that level, its still nice to be acclimitised. A few days in Cusco should help. Plus Cusco has a few great places to visit.
Jul 10, 2012 7:01 PM
7Nobody is arguing against acclimatizing in Cuzco ( hence "after Cusco.." ) My personal rule in the Himalayas is not to go higher the first three nights after arriving at 3000+ , the same should be ample for most people in this case.
"But you also climb up to 4,000m"
...daytime , which helps you acclimatize better : climb high , sleep low .
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