Argentina or Ecuador
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Feb 25, 2013 2:19 PM Last Post By: marksoc
Feb 16, 2013 3:43 AM
We are planning a trip to South America and have narrowed our options down to Argentina or Ecuador. We are a family of 4 ("children" 15 and 18) and will have just over a month (July-August). We usually travel with either our own or a rented vehicle and over the past years have visited (and loved) South Africa, Namibia, Iceland, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Morocco.
Our total budget would not exceed 12,000 euros (including flights).
Ecuador would present the advantages of being cheaper and more "compact" or diverse, but from what I can gather travelling around is more complicated, security on buses seems to be an issue and we would also need to take anti-malari pills. If we went for Argentina we would probably limit ourselves to the north (despite the allure of Patagonia) and would need to decide whether to rent a car or use the buses.
I'm not sure whether to post this on the general South America thread? Argentina? Ecuador? Both??? Please advise.
I would be very grateful for any thoughts on the choice between the two countries.
Feb 16, 2013 7:05 AM
Feb 16, 2013 8:15 AM
Feb 16, 2013 8:28 AM
3I would pick Ecuador, largely cause it´s compact. You´d get more time with your feet on the ground, and less time bussing around. Plus it´s an amazing country.
If the Malaria pills are an issue, you could stick to the mountains (and I think the southern coast is okay... but not sure). The middle spine of the country (ie. the mountains) are the best part in my opinion. I think bus security is fine if you stick to day buses. Just don´t present easy opportunities and you should be fine (ie. don´t use the overhead storage where you can´t actually see your stuff.)
I´ve put 7 months worth of travel into Ecuador and still have not seen everything I want to, so running out of stuff is not a concern, I really don´t think the side trip to Peru would even be necessary, you´ll likely be bummed at all the stuff you can´t fit in with only a month. Once you get down here, you realize it´s much larger than it seems on a map.
It also depends what you want, Argentina is a more developed country with a closer to European feel and Ecuador has far more native culture, amazing markets - it´s more exotic.
Feb 16, 2013 8:48 AM
4The days of Pablo Escobar and tourists being kidnapped is a LONG time ago so there's no need to be bold for Colombia, simply use the very same common sense that you would anywhere in Latin America. In fact I'd say Ecuador is more dangerous for tourists now than Colombia is... you might want to do a little more research, just for fun... it's an incredible country...
Feb 16, 2013 10:38 AM
Feb 16, 2013 1:37 PM
6Agree that Colombia is no more dangerous than Ecuador, and personally I preferred it. If Ecuador appeals to you though, go for it. Getting around on buses is easy and as #3 says, fine if you're sensible.
Northern Argentina is also great, though Argentina is very expensive now. Buses in particular are quite pricey, and it might be more cost-effective to hire a car if there are 4 of you.
Feb 17, 2013 2:02 AM
7Thanks Yamthrower (fascinating pseudo!) and Joolz2. Our original plan was to hire a car in Argentina for cost reasons and also because getting to many places without our own transport looked very complicated. Reading all the scare stories about how terrible Argentinian driving is, put me off a little. As I don't know South America at all (and my husband hasn't been for 25 years) it's difficult to make informed judgements and not get paranoid. We've been to several countries where security and driving were supposed to be issues but it's never been a problem. I probably need to do some more homework before making a choice. Unless of course somebody comes up with another ideal country!!
Feb 17, 2013 7:37 AM
8If I had to pick one country in S America, I'd go for Peru, but I assume you have your reasons why Ecuador and Argentina appeal more.
I didn't think Argentinian driving was too bad; one thing to watch out for though is that there were petrol shortages when we were there and petrol stations sometimes ran out of petrol, so don't let your tank get too low, especially in more remote areas.
Feb 21, 2013 11:31 AM
9I would pick up Argentina. North and central parts are great at that time of the year and it is easy to drive at that parts. You could hire a car in Cordoba (Buenos Aires is a nightmare and unsafe) and drive las Sierras around , Mendoza, San Juan, Catamarca, Tucuman, Salta and Jujuy and back to Cordoba. Or you could take buses and only hire cars locally around Salta which is amazing and Cordoba including Ischigualasto and Tambalaya. Iguazu and esteros del Ibera are also good options at that time of the year but better with buses
Feb 25, 2013 2:16 PM
10"when we were there and petrol stations sometimes ran out of petrol"
Since YPF was taken from Repsol this is not an issue anymore. It seems that Repsol was hoarding petrol for some obscure deals. Nowadays there is always petrol (outside some very special vacation days when everybody goes to the gas station at the same time).
Feb 25, 2013 2:19 PM
11And of course, the Argentinean NorthWest would be very interesting to you, since you have the Puna (high altitude, dry, traditional andean culture, outstanding scenery), and it is near the Bolivian south (Uyuni salt flat). A jump to the North East would give you Iguazu Falls, the mightiest of them all, surrounded by subtropical forest.
But you will be far from any beach, so different countries, different stuff.
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