South american newby - need advise to make the most out of this immense continent PLEASE ADVISE!!
Stumbled acorss the site by accident - and what a site, so much information i could be on here for hours. Me and my friend are set to fly out on our travels jan 2010, first stop BA. Just wondering if our itineray is realistic, if there is a better way to do it, if we will have enough time and how much money you think we will need...??? I've listed below what we plan to do;
* BA for few days
* make way to iguazu falls
*over to brazil - and get to Rio for the 12th feb for carnival
*Flight or bus to Salvador for few days
*Make way up to Belem, stopping in Fortaleza & Jericoara
* Get on the River boat and travel all the way down to Manaus. (Any one know how long this would take - is it worth doing?)
*Flight from Manaus - Quito - then on to Gallapogus
*Peru - Machu Picchu & the usual shananigans....
*Bolivia - Salt flats etc...
*Chile - Only Santiago then cross back into Argentina
* Visit Mendoza & Cordoba and then make way back to BA
We have four months to do it, however this can be adapted if needs be.... any advise on how much you think we would need?, are we allowing enough time? anything we have missed out - that we cant afford not to do?????
I look forward to hearing from you.
A friend and i are doing a very similar trip. we're in BA until the New Year, then heading to Iguazu, Rio, Salvador, and up the east coast towards Belem before getting the river boat to Manaus. We've got a timescale of beginning of Jan to end of March to do this in, ahead of flying to Colombia early April. 4 months for your entire trip seems optimistic, especially considering you're going to Gallapagos. Having said that, if you've got the money to fly, you've got a much better chance than if you're bussing it.
In terms of cost, we've budgeted about £5k for an 8month trip. From what I've heard, you're talking about $1 for every 20 miles on the bus as a rough guide to overground travel costs. Obviously Brazil in Carnival season is about 3 times more expensive for accommodation etc than normal. I think Gallapagos can be pretty pricey too. frommers.com is pretty useful for providing info on potential costs.
BA to Iguazu is about a 20hr bus ride.
Belem to Manaus is about 3/4 days - apparently an awesome journey.
Is Chile worth including if you're only doing Santiago? Rumours are it's not all that. On the other hand, have you considered Colombia? Supposedly amazing; you might regret not throwing it into the itinerary.
If going to Chile from Bolivia, you have to include the Atacama Desert - an amazing place. Santiago is a nice city, though not as good as BA.
Colombia is indeed a lovely country, but would be quite off the track of the original plan. Also, the best bits are in the north of the country in my opinion.
Happy to help more and please do check out my blogs for some inspiration!
I did a couple of days over to Santiago, to and from Mendoza and it was worth it.
In that time frame, you'll really have to travel hard, by which I mean overnight buses from place to place, getting all your sleep on the bus.
Booking flights can really make your time frame very rigid, while planning on taking buses can give you a bit more freedom to stay in places you like for longer and leave places you don't like.
I agree Colombia is great, but it is an extra flight in and out to get there, well worth it if you've got the cash. A lot better than Santiago and central Argentina in my opinion, and just as safe.
Places like Cordoba and Mendoza are nice relaxed places if you've got a week or so in each, but you might want to stay in one for a week, while spending only a couple of days in the other if you're running out of time. Rather than doing 3-4 days in each.
Allow 2 weeks for Bolivia, 3 for Peru, including travel times, unless you plan long stays in a certain place.
I would recommend doing the 3 day Salt Flat tour from Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile (Expect to pay around $110). San Pedro is an incredible place and well worth a few days visit. But bring enough cash with you as the cash machines are very unreliable there. From San Pedro you can cross into Argentina to Salta which is a nice city, but the landscape around it is breathtaking. Two days spent driving around to Cachi and Cafayate are definitely worth the time.
Santiago is ok, but it is a 24 hour bus journey from San Pedro and really isnt worth your time. But if you do go to Santiago, stop off at Vina del Mar and Valparaiso on your way.
From Salta you can then get a bus to Mendoza and do the bikes and wines tour, where you spend the day cycling around up to 12 vineyards drinking some amazing wines. Its easy to then get a bus to Cordoba and BA from there.
Machu Pichu will take you about 4 days if you do the inca trail trek. Other than that, Cusco is worth staying in for a couple of days, especially to aclimatise before doing the inca trail. Lima is nothing special. But from Lima you can visit Ica (for sandboarding) and the Nazca lines on your way to Cusco. From Cusco, Arequip is a city definately worth going to if you have time and so to is Colca Canyon. You can take the bus from Cusco La Paz which will take around a day of traveling. From La Paz you can either take a 12 hour bus to uyuni or go via Potosi to see the mines.