Hi all, thanks for opening this - I am looking to arrive in Santiago in March and am aiming to do the Inca during the first week in May (I will book this shortly). I was hoping to see RDJ, Iguazu, BA, Quito (Galapagos), then Lima and Inca.
I was wondering if any of you have any top tips on
- what else to see and
- how best to get around
On the latter point the flights I have been quoted are v expensive but I've read to avoid the trains and I'm thinkingthe bus journeys could take ages between major cities.
All tips v welcome, thanks guys n girls!
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Let me tell you about Brazil
Forget trips by train. the main transportes are bus and train.
You have quite a geographically diverse itinerary - big distances to travel! There are only really 2 ways to travel in South America, by bus or by plane. As you have seen, flights can be expensive, so bus is your best option. There are LOADS of buses out here, operating to all corners of the continent and it is perfectly possible to do your whole trip by bus (apart from the Galapagos of course!). You just need to build in the time for the bus journeys, which can of course take a long time, especially when you are crossing international borders. It would be best for you to get out a big map of South America and try to plan a route taking in everything you want to see. If flights are not an option and time is tight, you may have to consider cutting out some stuff because the distances involved in your current plan are huge.
Good luck with it all!
Funnily enough I was looking at your blog yday and was wondering if I could fit Antartica in following your comments!
I have a number of flgihts as part of my RTW ticket and they look like:
Santiago (2 days)
to BA (3.5 weeks)
to Quito (12 days)
then I have to make my way to Lima (18 days)
to Sao Paulo (6 days)
to Rio (7 days)
The big hole is what to do in the 3.5 weeks I am in BA. I had planned to do a trip to Iguazu and maybe Mar Del Plata and Uruguay. I'm not sure how easy (timewise) it will be to take in Torres del Paine and/or Antarctica?
I look forward to your comments.
For Antarctica you need a good 10 or 11 days for the trip itself as well as getting to and from Ushuaia. If you can afford it, I would say to add it in but that is only because I think it is a place that everyone should visit! Argentina has loads to keep you busy for way more than 3.5 weeks. Iguazu is a must. Uruguay is nice and worth a few days. Within Arg, take a look at Bariloche and Patagonia. El Bolson is really nice with great national parks nearby. El Chalten with Mount Fitzroy and El Calafate with the Perito Mereno glacier are fantastic sights. Any chance you can change that flight from Santiago to BA? I would be tempted to either scrap the flight completely and get to BA overland (Mendoza on the way maybe) or get a flight from Santiago down to Patagonia instead. You could fly to southern Chile and then cross to Argentina and go up from there. The landscape in these countries is simply not to be missed!
On another note, when you doing the Inca Trail? It doesnt quite appear on your itinerary - are you going to Lima and then up to Cusco and then back to Lima?
Hope things are starting to make sense!
Hi Ruth, thanks for your comments I will investigate changing the route I'm sure it's possible for a small fee. Where in a south chile would you recommend flying to? Also, regarding Patagonia and Antarctica did you book these tours in advance or when you got there? I see gap do a combined trip but I've read that for some tours (ie galapagos) it's better to book when you get there.
with regards to Lima I will be heading there from Quito and then I will be getting on an inca tour (starting may 3rd) that takes me to Cuzco first.
I look forward to hearing back.
buses are a great way to see the place, and if your going 8/10 hrs+ in one trip go over night. saves a hostel for the night and most buses (argentina and brazil in particular) it fells like your sleeping in a real bed ("via bariloche" to bariloche are wonderful).
also i didnt spend any time in SP but from all accounts its not the best city to go, dangerous and not to easy on the eye, try a coastal town, florianopolis etc instead???
you cant miss iguazu, the big HI theres meant to be fantastic, but there is also another one about 2 blocks north of the bus station too!
This is only a suggestion, so please don't change a flight just because I tell you to, make sure you think it is the right thing to do too!! Anyway, a nice idea would be to fly down to Puerto Montt (Chile) or Bariloche (Arg) or somewhere near-ish to there. From here you can explore both the Chilean and Argentinian Lake Districts.
Then head further south to explore Patagonia once again in both Chile (e.g. Torres del Paine) and Argentina (e.g. El Chalten and El Calafate). 2 ways to do this - get a 3 day boat down through the Chilean fjords (Navimag) or get a 2 day bus down Ruta 40 in Arg. Both fun in different ways! Or of course take another flight. You could even get all of the way down to Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia (the world's southernmost city). From there, fly to BA or take a few buses, maybe up the east coast of Arg, where you can pop into Trelew (old Welsh town!) and Peninsula Valdes.
We booked Antarctica in advance. Patagonia we did by ourselves - not in a tour. I have heard that it is easy enough to get Galapagos trips when in Quito, but I don't know much about is as didn't make it there.
Hope this helps, Ruth
Hi Ruth thanks for this! From your blog you went on the Lyubov Orlova can you tell me who you booked it with? (if this is allowed on website!) As there is one company that I've found offering this on the dates I can do. I may have to shoot down from BA to Ush and then do the Nat Parks after (due to my timescales from NZ). Do you know about the bus plane routes from the places you mentioned (ie El Chalten, P Montt etc) back to BA?