SA - Dec, Jan & Feb
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Oct 11, 2012 1:04 PM Last Post By: trent84
Oct 11, 2012 2:47 AM
SA - Dec, Jan & FebI have set the wheels into motion for my SA trip. I have bought flights from Cape Town to Buenos Aires. Spending a week over New Years there. Leaving for Cuzco, via Santiago and Lima (spending a few days in each).
What I then have left to do (and have queries surrounding):
1. Booking a trip up Macchu Picchu. I want to see the site, as well as climb Huayna Picchu. What is the best valued-for-money company to do it through? Ideally I’d want it cheap, but as I have no idea when I’d be back, I’d have to make my trip worthwhile.
2. Busses: I want to bus through Bolivia to Iguazu Falls. I have not seen a site showing what these busses would cost. I’d like to visit La Paz, the salt pan, lake Titicaca, the death road and possibly a live volcano? I’ll be travelling in Jan, so I know it’s the rainy season. But any tips on bus routes? Other possible attractions? I am interested in spending some time there and taking in the culture.
3. Iguazu Falls, I plan on spending at least 2 days there, so visiting both sides
4. Sao Paulo and Rio. Getting there from falls, either by plane or bus (depending on how the finances look at that stage). Planning on going to Carnival in Rio. Any tips on what the best hostel is/would be?
5. If fly back to Cape Town on 16 Feb.
I know that it’s lots of questions, but if anyone can help in any of the points it would be appreciated.
Oct 11, 2012 5:17 AM
1Alright mate. I was in that neck of the woods Jaanuary and February this year, you really shouldn't have a problem if you don't book far in advance for Machu Picchu. How are you planning on getting there? A trek or the train? If you get the train like we did you will be fine booking the train you want a few days in advance. Cheapest way from Cusco is to get the bus to Ollantay the day before your visit, get the train from there to Aguas Callientes and stay the night there, get up early and bus it up to the sight at dawn. After you visit get an early evening train back to Ollantay. You should have no problem booking your train and entrancec tickets in Cusco a few days before. There is a cheaper way of doing the trip to Machu Picchu via Hydroelectrica but I don't know the details, someone else on here will be able to help.
Regarding the buses, I found it best to pop in to the bus station the day before in Peru, in Bolivia you had to go to the bus station on the day of travel. Most of the bus companies don't have a website but as I said, at this time of year you shouldn't have a problem.
If you want to see Lake Titicaca it is easy to get a bus from Cusco down to Puno. You can see the lake from there but I don't rate Puno myself, bit of a dump. From Puno it is easy to get a bus to Copacabana in Bolivia and visit the lake from there. From Copacabana it is again easy to get a bus to La Paz (You have to get off the bus after an hour or so where you cross the straights of Tiquina, your bus gets put on a raft and you meet it on the other side).
In La Paz there are loads of travel agents offering bike trips on the death road, have a search on the forum for peoples recomendations. From La Paz there are loads of buses down to the Salar and there are active volcanoes in that area. You may want to check out Sucre and Potosi on your way down there, both are very interesting.
Have a great trip.
Oct 11, 2012 6:44 AM
2Thanks a lot.
I plan on flying in to Cusco and acclimatising there, for a day or 2.
You've helped a lot
Oct 11, 2012 1:04 PM
3You will probably need more than a day or two. Soroche can be an absolute beast. And you should play it by ear. But if doing a trek, give it at least 3-4 days. And hey, those 3 or 4 days can be spent exploring the Sacred Valley and Cusco.
As far as companies and costs. If you want to keep costs down, book your tour in Cusco on arrival. Most trips will cost from 100-200 USD (depending on the duration). The one day ones cost cheaper but you can get 4 day treks like the Salkantay and Jungle Trail for 200 USD for 4 days. And that includes it all. You are in luck, that its not 'peak' season. So it won't be difficult to book the MP ticket and also the Huayna Picchu ticket (it needs to be brought too).
If you want to do it cheaply. A good adventure is to bus to Santa Teresa and its nearby Hidroelectric station (bus is only a few soles), then walk to Aguas Caliente (itll take about 3 hours). Stay at a cheap posada/hostel. And get up at the crack of dawn to either a) catch a bus or b) walk to the top. Or you can catch a bus to KM82 (where the Inca Trail starts) and then walk the train tracks from there to Aguas Caliente. If you want, you can catch a train back (I'd suggest the late 9:30pm train as this gives you time to explore MP all day). The train stops at Ollantaytambo, where you get off and find a minibus to Cusco.
Buses can also change their times and prices fairly regularly (I was looking before at buses to Iguazu - I paid 400 pesos for a bus in Jan this year. And now its 620 pesos - an extra 50 dollars). I would say the best route would be to go through Paraguay or Northern Argentina to Iguazu.
Definitely catch a flight from Iguauz to wherever. Though Sao Paulo might be a let down to some. Its a huge mega city. But it is fun and does have some good nightlife. If you want beaches - I would do a quick detour to Rio via Paraty and Ilha Grande.
As for Rio Hostels (book them now for Carnaval). There are heaps. And it really depends on what you want. Do you want a hostel near the Sambrodrome? or Near Lapa? Or do you want a quick stroll to the beach to get over that hangover? Ipanema and Leblon are the best neighbourhoods, followed by botofogo and flamengo. Copa is ok but its fairly dodgy at times. Santa Teresa is a cool bohemian quarter but its far from the beach. Lapa is where the nigthtlife is.
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