Travel to South America (Chile&Peru-maybe Bolivia)
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Nov 27, 2012 11:05 AM Last Post By: Asi60
Nov 2, 2012 8:07 AM
I am going to south America for 4 weeks, I will go to Santiago middle of January 2013 and come back after 4 weeks from Lima.
In fact it is my first trip to south America and such an exotic place like that. To be honest I have no clue how should I start. At first I wanted to visit chile, Bolivia and Peru, but after searching a lot, I realized that 4 weeks is very short for all three!!
I also found out that one can only go to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail and places around that area by tours which looks to me a bit expensive. Is it true?
Can some body give me some hints how to organise my trip? Should I use the tours for 4 weeks!!! Or I can make it by myself?
I appreciate any help!
Thank you so much in advance for your time,
Edited by: Asi60
Edited by: Asi60
Nov 2, 2012 8:29 AM
1Four weeks is quite a short time indeed, but it's not two weeks. So, that's not so bad.
I'd allocate one week upto ten days for Bolivia and the rest of the time for southern Peru and travel between places. The distances are very long so you'll need a few days for travel only, each way.
Having that little time, I'd skip most of Chile and see only Santiago and Valparaiso in a couple of days. Valparaiso is just a couple of hours by bus.
Inca trail and Machu Picchu practically are always done with tours. That doesn't mean it will cost you an arm and a leg. There're other options, like Salkantay trail (5 days/4 nights), finishing in Aguas Calientes, which is the base for visits to MP. You can do it on the cheap, if you book in Cuzco, after you arrive, not online. It should be around US$ 200 plus entranc fee to MP and return train ticket to Cuzco. Tours are available on short notice, and in the meantime you get acclimatised to high altitude and visit Sacred Valley.
Another place to visit in southern Peru is Arequipa, with a tour to Colca Canyon. Arequipa would be your first stop in Peru, if you enter the country via Arica/Tacna.
For Bolivia there won't be much time left, after Peru. Anyway, you should have enough time for La Paz and Salar de Uyuni, before you'd return to Chile, and via San Pedro de Atacama back to Santiago. Alternatively, you can go by bus to Salta (Argentina) and proceed south to Mendoza, and from there back to Santiago.
It will be a bit rushed but perfectly doable.
Nov 3, 2012 1:08 AM
2Bolivia is my favourite country in South America - cheap and lots of variety for tourists. Agree with the above post that you could spend most of your 4 weeks in Peru/Bolivia and the itinerary suggested makes sense. You could do something like:
San Pedro de Atacama
Salar de Uyuni
Macchu Piccu (on;y need to book Inca Trail ahead, can arrange other trips there from Cuzco)
I've done this trip before, it was excellent and you can find more information underneath.
Nov 17, 2012 2:25 AM
3thank you so much, it was very helpful to read your comments and also the "my worldwide travel itineraries".
as you said I will not reserve my trip to inca trial online and I guess I still will have a chance to get a tour on arrival. The other point is due to my travel dates I have to be quick to get there before end ofJanuary because the route is closed in february which means that I have to spend little time in Chile (as you said only Santiago) and spend the rest of the time in peru and Bolivia.
At the moment i have not checked for my timing,the distances between cities to be realistic in my schedule, but I realized yiu had some comments in you itinereries.
I also dont know whether I need to reserve Hotel, Hostal or any thing in advance or it will be easy and nice on arrival and maybe by locals! which should very exciting!
the other question is, how will be this time a year, should I expect heavy rains(hopefully not), or should take some special things with me!
now I am busy with visa for these countries, and it seems I need many documents, e.g. health certificate, vaccination of 5-6 diseases!, criminal report!,hotel reservation,...
I would like you say thank you to both of you for your very helpfull comments,
In fact I am a bit worried, because every one tell me that it is not a good idea to go there! but I sure iF I can make a good plan it wil be a great trip:)
Edited by: Asi60
Nov 17, 2012 10:00 AM
This needs to be clarified-
The route that is closed in Feb isn't Salkantay trail, that I recommended. It's the classic Inka trail that I don't recommend for various reasons (too crowded and too expensive for no good reason).
You don't need to book anything in advance - neither accommodation nor tours. If you're not too picky you'll always find a hostel at a price and standard that will be acceptable.
Nov 17, 2012 11:02 AM
5very good, it helps me alot to know that I can get a good offer on arrivel. Then I can simply concentrate on a good an ideal trip plan.
I will come back when I manage to plan my trip and get your advice on it. in the meanwhile if you remember some other helpfull comment I appreciate it.
Thank you sooooooo much.
Nov 18, 2012 12:28 AM
Nov 26, 2012 11:39 AM
I have two questions,
first is it serious to have several vaccinations? I mean it is written for many countries as well, but for example for the country which come from ,it is also stated that it is necessary but it is nonsense in my opinion. About south america, should I take it serious? If yes what do you suggest for vaccination?
also is better that i bring my sleep bag and this kind of thing with me? if yes what other things are neccessary to provide, I have to buy now.
Thank you guys for your kind help.
Nov 26, 2012 1:22 PM
8Opinions on vaccinations are divided.
Some will get vaccinated against yellow fever, hepatitisB, or take malaria tablets. Others don't take any vaccines and are fine, even travelling extensively and not only to typical tourists destinations.
You're going to the most popular places, where there's no risk or it's minimal, not higher where you live.
Nov 26, 2012 3:28 PM
9I've always taken vaccines plus malaria tablets and have been fine. A close family member is a travel nurse and she gives me lots of advice. The only thing she's advised me to be careful about is taking malaria tablets over a prolongued period (6+ months) as they can cause some liver damage but I've still done this as the alternative of repeated malaria attacks (despite the low risk) is something I've chosen to avoid. Many people don't take malaria tablets not because of the risk of malaria but because of the side effects. Malarone has the least side effects but is the most expensive. I take doxycycline because it's cheaper and I'm lucky to not get side effects from it. Oh, and the yellow fever vaccination is worth getting as some borders request to see this, including Brazil in the past.
Lastly, but more importantly, please see your local doctor for advice and listen to what they say and not me or some other unknown on the internet.
Nov 26, 2012 3:47 PM
that's not the best advice.
1. Local doctors know very little about the places you're going to visit.
2. They want to write you a bil. That's what makes their living.
Nov 27, 2012 5:10 AM
Nov 27, 2012 8:27 AM
12Yes, doctors are qualified but not in world travel. You can ask your doc a few specific questions about the area that you want to visit and you'll see what they know. They follow general guidelines and application of vaccines isn't a rocket science.
In some specific situations you may need to get more qualified info at Institute for Tropical Medicine.
Nov 27, 2012 11:05 AM
13wow, thank you so much guys, I think I understood your very helpful comments. I understand you point of views. one has to combine both of these views, of cours doctors are experts but they dont know all the areas, may be there are some parts which are in higher risks but the rest of main cities are fine, and on the other hand one has to be careful and not to be too easy going. Now with these hints in mind I will also see what my doctor will recommend:)
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