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Recommendations on SA Trip

Help with travel itenerary in SA - Peru > Bolivia > Chile > Argentina (Southern Patagonia)
14 years ago, February 15th 2006 No: 1 Msg: #4078  
My wife and I are going to be traveling to South America for just over 2 weeks in mid November to early December. We fly in through Lima, Peru and then we can do as we wish. We have 15 open travel days between our arrival/departure flights.

Right now I would like to do a tour of the andes. Here is my breif plan for the trip:

Lima to Cuzco (fly)
Machu Picchu
Cuzco to La Paz (bus/drive?)
La Paz to Arica (drive?)
Arica to Santiago (fly)
Santiago to Mendoza (drive/bus?)
Mendoza to el Calafate (fly)
side trip to el Chalten (bus)
el Calafate to Buenos Aires/Lima (Yikes!)

Do folks think this rough plan do-able, masochistic, or not possible in the time given? We are both 30 and in very good shape. We are also decently experienced travelers (Europe for 7 weeks, among other trips), with experince in high elevation (10-12K mountain climbing).

I have had troubles getting decent descriptions of driving from La Paz to Arica - is this do-able? How many hours would it take?

Any other thoughts on this plan would be greatly appriciated. Thanks. Reply to this

14 years ago, March 1st 2006 No: 2 Msg: #4227  

My wife and I are also about 30 and well traveled too, but not in that good of shape. My wife and I did a tour through South America a few years ago. My wife is from Chile, I am from the States. We would say Boliva is very dangerious no matter what form of transportation you take.

Chile on the other hand, especialy southern chile, is likly a safer place to drive than most of the "developed" countries. Roads are good, police are honest, and the sites are incredible. Places are cheap. If you are looking for mountains, there are plenty, and the national forest are well maintained and safe.

If you have any questions let us know, we do anwser emails.
You can also reach us at our site:
www.allsouthernchile.com Reply to this

14 years ago, March 13th 2006 No: 3 Msg: #4495  
B Posts: 3
Hi there,

I took the bus from Arica to La Paz only a fortnight ago. It´s a beautiful drive through Parque Nacional Sajama and Parque Nacional Lauca. I can´t remember exactly how long it takes, but I´m guessing around 8 hours. You could definitely drive it yourself, and be able to stop for photos along the way (recommended). However, it´s absolutley FREEZING at the border when you have to get out! Reply to this

14 years ago, March 18th 2006 No: 4 Msg: #4564  
Hey guys,

We travelled down through Peru, stopping in Lima, Pucusana, Pisco, Ica, Nasca, Cusco and Puno before we headed into Bolivia. We are now in Potosi, having stopped in Copacobana, La Paz, headed north to Rurrenabaque to visit the jungle, and then coming back south again.

We have done the whole trip via bus. I would imagine that driving here in Bolivia is fine, and only dangerous if you let it be (ie. stopping in dodgy places in the middle of the night). The roads are questionable in places, but the main drags are fine (ie. Puno-Copacobana over the border). However I think you will be cutting your time very short by trying to drive around Bolivia. Why are you planning on going to Arica? You would be better off flying from La Paz to Calama and visiting San Pedro de Atacama, or maybe just flying straight to Santiago?

Also there isn´t that much in La Paz really...is it worth stopping there when you are so short of time? I would recommend spending more time in Cusco as that is really beautiful and much more friendly than La Paz.

BTW Santiago to Mendoza is only 8 hours on bus so if you did that overnight you would save some time.

If you want to see photos have a gander at our blog which might help you make your mind up about where to visit! Personally, I would skip our Arica and La Paz, and then maybe try and get to the south of Chile (Torres del Paine). You can fly from Santiago to Puerto Monte and then you can make your way into Argentina that way!

Hope this helps!!


Reply to this

14 years ago, March 28th 2006 No: 5 Msg: #4733  
Thanks everyone for replying. We are definatly leaning away from driving ourselves.

Our thought on doing the Santiago/Mendoza pass would be to see Aconaconga.

Our flight gets into Lima around 10:30 at night and I noticed there is a flight from Lima to Santiago that leaves at 1:30 am, so we thought it might be a efficient way of going - get south first then work our way back north. Yeah that would be a day and a half of hell travel. Reply to this

14 years ago, March 29th 2006 No: 6 Msg: #4740  

If you really want to see the andes, with lots of volcanos included, you should think about spending a day or two in southern Chile. From Santiago to Temuco it is about a 45 min flight. They are not too expensive, with many daily departures. Around Temuco, you can reach the conguillio national park and the Llaima volcano in about 2 hours. Within about 1 hour, Villarrica lake, the national park, and the Volcano.

Crossing through Bariloche Argentina via Puerto Varas and Ensenada is much more attractive than Santiago- Mendoza. One of the cooler crossings, is to take a boat across lago de todos los santos (right on the boarder), and get on a bus on the arginetina side to finish your trip. The Santaigo-Mendoza crossing is more less just rocks or snow (depending on the time of year), and the mountain is just one of million mountains in this part of the world. Nothing you would want to email around to the family.

If you do the Santiago to Mendoza trip, it is better to take a bus through the crossing. The Chilean-Argentinian border, "Paso Los Libertadores". Buses in Chile are first class, comfortable, clean, and very cheap. The road is mostly switch backs (something like 100 or more), and better to let the drivers that do it everyday handle them. The best is turbus. You can check prices and schedulle on their site at: http://www.turbus.com/html/noti_taschoapainter.html

Santiago and Mendoza, being just big cities, probably will add little to nothing to your Latin America trip. Mendoza is mostly a shopping mall for Chilean's to visit on the weekends. Nice place, but mostly a place designed for shopping, lunch or dinner, and then get on the bus back to Santiago. Bariloche, in the south really looks more like aspen Colorado overlooking a lake with ski resorts, yet still has a fair amount of places to shop.

For flights inside Chile, www.lan.com

More info on the south, our site, www.allsouthernchile.com

Any information you might need about Chile, Mendoza or Peru, please feel free to contact us. We have done all of these at some point.

Best regards,

Charles and Zandra
editor @ allsouthernchile.com Reply to this

14 years ago, April 13th 2006 No: 7 Msg: #5048  
B Posts: 73
Hi Chris. I just returned from SA about a week and a half ago. I also was there for 2 weeks, but spent the whole time in Peru so I can't speak to Chile, but I certainly would be happy to give some recommendations about Peru and the whole Cuzco/Machu Picchu part of your trip. Were you going to take the train to Machu Picchu, or hike the trail?

I would DEFINITELY recommend doing the hike if you can spare the 4 days to do it (or you could look into doing the 2-day version which starts much later on The Trail). I'd bag Lima and get out to Cuzco as soon as possible after you arrive in Peru... Lima's fun for about a day, but after that, there's really no reason to stay there...not when there are places like Cuzco out there!

The Inca Trail was really unlike anything I've ever done before and the total highlight of my trip. One of the best parts about it is you have the chance to see many other Inca ruins along the way that you can't see any other way, and they are SO worth it. You guys are about my age (I'm 32) and if you're in moderately good shape, you should have no trouble completely the hike.

Honestly, the Inca Trail I think would be the one thing I'd take up a chunk of time doing, if you can find a way to work it into your itinerary. Personally, I'm planning to return to SA in the future at some point and spend some time in Argentina (Patagonia) & Chile so if you're going to blog your trip, I'll be interested to read what you think of wherever you end up going.

If you want to know more, you can read my blog from The Trail: A Walk in the Cloud Forest - or if you'd like any hotel recommendations, etc. I'll be happy to give you the names of the places where we stayed which were pretty nice and EXTREMELY reasonable (we're talking $50/night tops). Reply to this

14 years ago, May 4th 2006 No: 8 Msg: #5510  
Hi Deborah and friends, I will be going to Peru with my wife for a week at end of this month (7 days). I will fly in and out of Cuzco. The only thing I have is plane tickets. I think I only have time for either Lake Titicaca or Inca Trail. Which do you recommend? Where can I find information on the 2-day version of Inca Trail? I am very interested in it. What are the must visit places? Do you recommend booking rooms in advanced? And hotel recommendations? Should I join a tour group?
Reply to this

14 years ago, June 2nd 2006 No: 9 Msg: #6001  
B Posts: 73
Hi Andrew. I'm sure you're probably already on your trip by now in which case, hope you guys are having a blast!! IF it's not too late (or if there are others who have the same question) I would recommend just doing the Inca Trail if you have to choose between the two. Lake Titicaca was nice to see, and just one of those things for me that I felt like I should at least go there so I could say that I'd done it, but the REAL trip was the Inca Trail which was just too awesome for words (although you can read my attempt at putting it into words if you want to go through my blogs from the trek). That's my two cents overall. I would also recommend booking in advance in Cusco as it gets so busy with backpackers, hikers, etc. I think the place we stayed was called the Colonial Hotel (or similar) in Cusco - if you stay there, ask for a room on the 4th floor if you can get it. It's a bit tough going up and down the stairs (but good practice if you're doing the trail) but the 4th Floor rooms have balconys. Tour group-wise, I would recommend one. Not necessarily some big group, but if you do the trail, you have to have a guide anyway, and I think doing the trail w/other people made it more enjoyable - of course it depends on the people and we happened to have a great group! Anyway, hope you guys have a great time (I'm sure you will) and will be anxious to hear about it when you return so make sure you post some blogs & pics!! Reply to this

14 years ago, June 23rd 2006 No: 10 Msg: #6304  
Hai, friend... Reply to this

14 years ago, October 25th 2006 No: 11 Msg: #8134  
Hi I'm from Argentina, if you interested in that post please sende me a mesj: http://www.travelblog.org/Forum/Threads/2598-1.html

About your trip I visited all places you plan to trip I think 15 days its too tight tripnear masochistic LOL, I think you want to treek in mountains...this are my suggestions

Machu Picchu 4 days inca trail is the best, no forget medicines for basic injuries and hatches and hot, think that 4 days you are in the middle of Andes and not have medical assistance, and the only way is walking.

Santiago- Mendoza by bus is better!

Calafate 1 day to visit Glaciar Perito Moreno and boat excursion, and try to sleep in Chalten in same day, and 4 days of excelent treeking there! think to take your own camp! its difficult to rent one in Chalten, or buy one in Santiago because is cheaper than Argentina.

You can visit may blog http://www.travelblog.org/Forum/Threads/2598-1.html for more data or send me questions at hernan.hauri@gmail.com
Hernan Reply to this

14 years ago, January 29th 2007 No: 12 Msg: #10323  
N Posts: 2
To TravelRacoon I believe you were mentioning about ACONACONGA if travelling from Santiago to Mendoza.
What is it and where?? How much time should we spend there??
Reply to this

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