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10-week South America trip - need itinerary help

10-week South America trip - need itinerary help

Old Mar 17th, 2022, 10:18 AM
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10-week South America trip - need itinerary help

My husband and I (64 and 65) are just starting to plan for an extended South American trip from mid-January to late March/early April 2023 (dates are fairly flexible). We have both been to Buenos Aires and Patagonia, and I've been to Peru. There are so many remaining choices that we're feeling overwhelmed!

We are budget (not dorm-style, though) to mid-range travelers and enjoy light hiking, beautiful scenery, and small towns more than big cities. We definitely want to go to Chile and Argentina, especially the Salta area and perhaps also the Lakes District. Other interests include the Galapagos and Easter Island - both of which would be splurges - as well as Iguazu Falls and perhaps Rio. We enjoyed Buenos Aires but didn't love it (victim to the mustard scam) and don't feel like we need to spend much, if any, time there. I'm somewhat tempted by a visit to the Amazon but terrified of snakes and the thought of seeing an anaconda or other snakes is probably enough to keep me from doing that. We would do an open jaws flight starting in ? (Santiago? Quito? La Paz?) and ending in Rio. (Or we could go the other direction depending on which would be better for the weather - we know it will be rainy season west of the Andes.). Oh, and hubby is worried about altitude sickness - he had problems on a skiing trip a number of years ago in Colorado (9600 feet, 2900 meters), so he's hesitant to spend time in some of the Andes areas.

So, with that background, we'd appreciate your thoughts to help in selecting "the best" stops (I realize that's highly subjective!) so we can begin narrowing things down.
Those of you who have traveled a lot in South America - what are some of your favorites? Can you give us a feel for what we'd miss by skipping Colombia, for instance? And we're debating Peru - I've been there, hubby is worried about the altitude, but he would (of course!) like to see Machu Picchu.

A skeleton of the trip might look something like this:

- Ecuador/Galapagos - 1 to 2 weeks
- Santiago - 1 week (including day trips?). - possibly Easter Island - maybe 4-5 days
- Salta/Jujuy area - 2-3 weeks (would rent a car) - if we visit Salinas Grandes while in this area, could skip Salar de Ayuni in Bolivia and Salar de Uyuni in Chile - are they redundant?
- Lake District: 2-3 weeks (rent car?) Bariloche, San Martin de Los Andes, Pucon, Puerto Varas - is this worth this amount of time? Or would you recommend switching the out for something different, like Bolivia (if we decided to try the altitude)?
- Iguazu Falls - 3 nights
- Rio - 3 days? Other must-sees in Brazil if we decided to lengthen our trip?

I know this is very vague at this point and we need to keep reading for ourselves, but we'd love any thoughts you might have at this point.

Thanks!
Karen and Tom


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Old Mar 17th, 2022, 04:57 PM
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Santiago isn't all that interesting, IMO. It can also get unpleasantly hot in the austral summer, when you are going.

As far as the Salar de Uyuni, that is at quite a high altitude. (12,000 feet!). La Paz as in Bolivia is also at high altitude, higher even than Cusco. One of the world's highest capitals. So if you are thinking of Bolivia and the high altiplano, you could also for sure look at Machu Picchu.

Take care to acclimate and consider diamox for a few days before flying in to Cusco, and going straight to Ollantaytambo for the first night. You really don't even need to sleep in Cusco if altitude is a concern. Your timing isn't great though, as January-March is usually rainy season in the Peruvian Andes.

I liked the Galapagos, find a small ship (16 passenger is typical and a 7-night itinerary with maybe a day or two before in Puerto Ayora.) It doesn't have to be a big splurge. I have recommended Cometa Travel which owns the yacht Angelito.

I think it is just as easy to fly into Lima and work from there.

Quito is a slightly problematic airport, having strong winds in the afternoons which often causes flights to be delayed. Altitude is a bit above 9000 feet, also.

I really do like Colombia, especially Medellin (under 5,000 feet) and the coffee area. Weather is okay in January/February. If going to the outlying villages you need to plan around the school holidays. Bogota is a bit grittier (and higher elevation) but still fantastic. Cartagena was just too hot for me but maybe for you, the timing is better.

Last edited by mlgb; Mar 17th, 2022 at 05:06 PM.
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Old Mar 20th, 2022, 01:05 AM
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My wife and I have spent a lot of time travelling in South America for extended periods and have made a LOT of mistakes and hopefully have learnt a lot from those mistakes. Some of those travels are covered in our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com

With regards to your specific questions and destinations I would make the following comments.

Weather

South America is vast with very diverse weather patterns. Jan to April is the rainy season in much of the Andes. Travel can be problematic in some places and the lack of blue skies can take the shine of the normally stupendous mountain views. Can be a good time for Patagonia though. If this is important to you then do check out the weather patterns for each country.

Altitude

People only have problems with altitude when they ascend to quickly. Some excellent info on how to deal with altitude issues @ https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/altitude-sickness/ Basically ascend slowly. If you can’t then ask your doctors re a script for Acetazolamide which can help with the adjustment. Most people will achieve reason acclimatisation after two or three days. Once acclimatised that will stay with you for a week or so. Easier said than done in some countries so plan accordingly.

Transport

Getting from country to country and around each country will involve a lot of planning. We have travelled throughout the continent mostly by bus. Quality and safety vary tremendously. In Argentina and Peru the bus systems are excellent. In Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador they are pretty grim. A week into a three month trip around Colombia we saw so many RTA and were actually involved in two that we decided to fly wherever possible for the rest of our trip. I generally use www.Rome2rio.com as an initial planning tool.

Accomodation

I try to keep flexible when booking accommodation and generally use booking.com or Expedia to book cancellable accomodation just in case our plans change along the way ( which they always do). Like you, we tend towards budget to mid range accommodation which is plentiful in South America

Packing

Travel light! Carrying large cases , unpacking and packing soon becomes tedious. We travel with carryon bags only and have done so for years. My packing list and that of my wife’s can be found here https://accidentalnomads.com/category/travel-tips/

Planning a route

Having worked with spreadsheets all my life I find them an essential planning tool and for keeping track of a trip. Two approaches to planning this. "Top down" i.e. choose the countries you want to see and then identify what you want to see and do in those countries OR "bottom up" identify what sights you want to see and then work them into the trip. No one way is perfect.

A few comments on your skeleton trip.
  1. 10 days would be a good a,punt of time for NW Argentina. You can do a sort of figure 8 loop from Salta. Salta-Cachi-Cafayate and then Salta - Purmamarca-Huamhuaca- Salta. Salinas Grande is a half day trip from Purmamarca so definitely include it.
  2. you could fly between Salta and Iguazu. Depending upon flight timings you would only really need 2 nights to see both sides of the falls though 3 nights would be more relaxed
  3. The Lake District is beautiful and it would be a good time of year. But it is in the opposite direction for a lot of the other stuff you mention. We met and Italian couple in San Martin and rented a car with them to drive down through the seven lakes area and then on to Bariloche and eventually to Peninsula Valdes to see the whales
  4. We got to San Martin by crossing the border by bus from Pucon. Also beautiful.
  5. I am with mlgb re Santiago and found it pretty boring by comparison with other cities in SA. Valaparaiso, two hours north was definitely worth a few days though.
  6. Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is effectively part of the same geological area as Salinas Grande in Argentina and the Atacama in Chile. But it is not just about the salt flats themselves, there are a whole host of other stunning places on the Bolivian altiplano and you could easily head there by bus from Salta to Tupiza and start a 4 day tour from there and end in Uyuni town and fly on to La Paz. That should work well from an altitude perspective too.

I could go on and on and on.. So many highlights that it would be difficult to pin them all down. For a jungle experience I would take a look at Madidi NP in Bolivia . Way cheaper than Peru or Ecuador.

Colombia is wonderful but you would need to be very selective I feel. Loved Bogota and Medellin but the true magic of Colombia is really in the smaller towns and village. Maybe consider one of those with side trips out to smaller towns like Jardin,Villa de Lleyva, Barichara etc.

Beware of spreading your time too thinly. An overused expression, but less really can mean more.




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Old Mar 20th, 2022, 05:11 AM
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When I visited SA I went the other way round, flying into Rio and home from Santiago, but I spent most of my time in Patagonia and criss-crossing the Andes. Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador are still my " should visit" list.

I spent three nights for Iguazu and thought that worked well, one day for each side. I flew in from Rio and out to Montevideo via BsAs.

The Lake Country in Argentina is beautiful, as is Puerto Varas. I did that area without a car (actually, the whole trip), doing an organized bus-boat-bus-boat trip between Puerto Varas and Bariloche. I think I used CruceAndino, but looks like there are multiple companies now. Three weeks might be overdoing it, but a lot depends on the weather.

I agree that Valparaiso is a better choice than Santiago - in general I thought the scenery in SA easily outshone the cities.

For my trip go here: Rio to Santiago via Patagonia

Or here with pix (links at the top of the page): https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...-taste-of-rio/
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Old Mar 22nd, 2022, 07:40 AM
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Wow, thanks to all three of you for the fantastic responses. Some initial thoughts...

mlgb: Yes, I think we'd definitely get diamox in advance for any of the higher elevations. I hadn't realized how rainy it will be at that time of year for Machu Picchu, nor was I aware of how windy it is at the Quito airport! It also sounds like we could give Santiago a miss, except as a launch point for the Galapagos. Colombia looks like it would be good during our timeframe weather-wise, so we'll have to consider it, but

crellston: I really like the idea of flying from Iguazu to Salta, doing what you suggest above (maybe renting a car), and then heading to Atacama and/or Uyuni via bus. Or maybe do it in reverse and then fly south (skip Rio?) via Buenos Aires to Bariloche. I think you're right that we need to determine what our priorities are and then map them out in a logical route; I just finished a spreadsheet for our upcoming Alaska road trip this summer . I hadn't thought, though, to plan the trip by first determining either the sights or countries and going from there - good food for thought. My husband said this morning that he'd kind of like to return to El Chalten and/or Torres Del Paine, which we both loved - but that adds a lot more time and would cut into places we haven't yet seen, so we need to think about that. Regarding packing, we do go light - a carry-on bag each, regardless of the length of our trip - although this will be our longest trip ever, so we'll study your packing list for tips. We already use booking.com (and Airbnb), so we'll probably do the same - good to know there are quite a few places in our low-mid-range price level. Do we need to book buses in advance - as in well in advance, or just a few days?

thursdaysd: I had previously read your trip report (before we went to Patagonia in 2018!), but did so again - great report! I like some of the things you did in Chile, especially. We'd like to see more there. One of places I'd like to go is the Marble Caves - not sure how easy it is to get there.

I'm sure I'll be back with more questions as we work out a few more details and put some meat on the skeleton. Thanks again.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2022, 08:52 AM
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We generally found it ok to book buses a few days in advance. If we knew definitely when we would be moving on we would often just book our onward tickets at the bus terminal the we arrived on our incoming bus. We always tried for first class/ejecutivo/VIP class for overnight buses in Peru and Argentina . That way you get a lie flat seat similar to business class on a decent airline on the bottom deck - essential for a good nights sleep. Worth the extra as you save on accommodation costs and arrived refreshed (relatively !) Ordinary class and shorter day buses we often just turned up, chose the best looking/least decrepit bus going where we wanted and bought tickets and went.

That was all pre covid so services and availability like airlines, post pandemic may have changed.
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Old Mar 25th, 2022, 08:12 AM
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This is what always happens (in a good way)! I start planning a trip with a few things things in mind, and when someone mentions something else and I research it, lo and behold - I discover enough ideas for 6 months instead of 2 1/2. LOL. After some research on Colombia, I've decided it's a "can't miss" for us. I had no idea - so thanks, mlgb and crellston.

Here's what I'm thinking at this point:

Colombia: 2 weeks (maybe 3)? Is Cartegena worth it? If so, we'd plan on Cartegena, Bogota, Salento, and Medellin with side trip to Guatape. And maybe one more small towns? We definitely love small towns more than big cities. Probably won't do Tayrona National Park (not really beach people).

Ecuador: 1 week. Fly from Bogota to Guayaquil for Galapagos cruise. Will we regret not seeing Quito or doing more on the mainland in Ecuador?

The other things still on the "must-do" list are Salta/Jujuy (1-2 weeks) and Iguazu. Then maybe the Lake District or even southern Patagonia (again). And maybe end in Rio - after Iguazu? Still not sure whether to include Uluyni.

Also not sure how to order these stops. Still undecided about Easter Island, which would presumably mean incorporating Santiago.

Would like to at least decide on the arrival/departure cities so I could play with the route in between.

Any additional thoughts for us?

Last edited by althom1122; Mar 25th, 2022 at 08:26 AM. Reason: Left out something.
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Old Mar 25th, 2022, 08:26 AM
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I would put Iguazu at the end and fly back from either BsAs or Rio. If you pick BsAs you could visit Uruguay as well...

Colombia is definitely on my "should visit" list.
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Old Mar 25th, 2022, 08:37 AM
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From Bogota, Villa de Lleyva. Some other tourists got off in Tunja, which is nearby, but I didn't. Villa de Lleyva is popular with Bogota residents.

From Medellin, Jardin.

Old town Cartagena is picturesque in a Pirates of the Caribbean way. It is a bit out of the way if you aren't also going to visit other coastal areas. I think it depends on your tolerance for the weather. MIne is low, I don't like hot and humid. It also gets a lot of cruise ship traffic at some times of the year. That can be a good thing, since they close off the downtown to vehicles and security is high. crellston would have better input since I did not overnight there.

Depending on how flights work out for Ecuador I think Quito is worth a day or two.

I took the bus/minivans between Bogota and VdL, and between M and Jardin. (No flight options for those). Some Spanish and a lot of patience is helpful. Flights were often delayed even pre-pandemic. I do not know how reliable intercity flights are in Colombia at present. Several of the South American airlines filed for bankruptcy, good news is that Avianca is up at present.
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Old Mar 25th, 2022, 09:14 AM
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Absolutely loved Colombia and fully intended to return there but you know what got in the way! We spent a couple of months there which is documented here @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/colombia/ our route is covered there pretty much in chronological order. We covered a lot of ground but did stay in a couple of places for much longer than intended.

Loved both Bogota and Medellin but upon reflection, I think Bogota won out. From those two cities it is pretty straightforward forward to visit some really nice small towns. From Bogota, I would take a look at Villa de Lleyva which is only a few hours away by bus. Barichara is stunning but a bit further. From Medellin I would definitely include Salento & the Cocora Valley and Jardin.

Cartagena is a difficult one. On the one hand it is very picturesque, on the other, it will be heaving with tourists especially if you are there when a cruise ship is in port.Some nice museums and colonial architecture. We did a side trip from there to Mompox which was difficult to get to as there were no buses but it was really like stepping back in time. If you are into wildlife the boat trip into the wetlands was incredible. Cartagena is however a bit out on a limb and I think, with the time you have allocated, I would possibly skip it.

Uyuni and indeed Bolivia generally could be missed out. NW Argentina has similar landscapes to the Bolivian altiplano but is nowhere near as isolated. I am sure you would be hugely impressed with Salina Grande until, as we did , we saw Salar de Uyuni. You probably don’t need to do both and, to an extent, there would be some duplication.

We have tended to go for open jaw tickets to avoid back tracking as far as possible. From London that has usually meant flying into and out of Lima, Buenos Aires as there were always more and cheaper options for us. It is probably a lot different from the US. We always prefer to go overland where possible and structure our itinerary accordingly. That is probably a lot more difficult to day than it was a couple of years ago. If you like I could probably find some of our routes on a spreadsheet somewhere . Let me know if you would find them helpful.

Looking at the places you have mentioned so far, I would have though north to south, maybe into Bogota and out of Buenos Aires or Rio would be most convenient.

I can take or leave Quito. Strange as we spent two months there learning Spanish! There are some iconic sights close by. Cotopaxi, Quilatoa , Otavalo which make it a good base. Plenty of the rplaces in Ecuador worth seeing but I guess it is all about priorities.



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Old Mar 27th, 2022, 11:02 AM
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Re Galapagos, there are nonstop flights from both Quito and Guayaquil to Baltra. Just depends on how it would hook up with Bogota, which would probably be the best prior location if you are not going to Lima Peru. I would spend at least one night prior to the local flight in one of those connecting cities. It's just too risky to do it all in one go. When I flew Lima to Quito, the people with Galapagos cruises were panicking when we were diverted to Cali for 6 hours. The locals told us it happened all the time, that after dark, the winds die down and luckily there were seats for everyone with diverted flights (there were at least two). I haven't been to Cali other than the airport, or to Guayaquil so no first hand advice.

Really, any time you plan to travel between locations (whether by bus or plane) add in a night to reduce stress and avoid missing anything prebooked.

Last edited by mlgb; Mar 27th, 2022 at 11:34 AM.
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Old Apr 1st, 2022, 05:51 AM
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Hi, what a great decision this trip to South America! I have traveled, but not that much.

What I do know is that Buenos Aires is not just the Puente de la Mujer, the old town and so on. Whenever I can I recommend going to the countryside, and add to the experience the Polo Argentina.

Argentina Polo Day is one of the places I fell in love with and I consider it a unique experience, for anyone.

Best regards, and may this trip go well!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2022, 08:25 AM
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Thanks so much for all the additional comments. I've spent some time working a bit more on the itinerary and adding Colombia. See what you think of this:

Week 1: Medellin

Medellin - can fly direct from Orlando; will probably skip Cartagena – about a week in and around Medellin

- Day trip(s) to Guatape and/or Santa Fe de Antioquia - which is better? Is Guatape worthwhile even if we don’t climb the rock? (750 steps would be difficult given my back issues)


Week 2: Coffee region

Bus to Jardin – 2-3 nights (maybe taxi to Jerico?)

Bus or arrange driver (how to do so?) to Salento (from Jardin or Jerico) – about 4 nights in Salento area



Week 3: Bogota

Fly to Bogota (from Pereiro or another airport in the Salento area, depending on schedule/cost/convenience) – spend 2-3 days in Bogota, then possible side trips

- Villa de Leyva - bus from Bogota – 1-2 nights

- Barichara - bus from Villa de Leyva to San Gil, then bus to Barichara? Better to get a driver/taxi – 2 nights? Worthwhile given other small towns we’ll have seen?

Might be interested in Guadalupe & Quebrada Las Gachas if we can work out the connections. Would like to try parasailing somewhere on the trip – need to decide where (San Gil?).

Back to Bogota.


Week 4: Galapagos

Fly to Quito or Guayaquil – spend night, then to Galapagos (have decided to do a cruise)

On the way back, would consider a day trip from Quito if we decide to stay in this area longer (Cotopaxi, Quilatoa, Otavalo)


Week 5: Easter Island

Fly Quito to Santiago – spend a couple of days

Easter Island – 4 days (maybe – still not decided on this)


Week 6 and 7: Lake District

Fly Santiago to Pucon or Pueurto Montt, rent car – visit Lake District and Chiloe Island. Still need to work on this part. Thursday, I noticed you did it using a combo of bus/boats. If we have a rental car, what would you suggest for the area?


Week 8: Atacama and Uyuni

Fly back to Santiago, then head to Atacama area – looking into private or semi-private tours in area; don’t want to be crowded with a half a dozen others in a car or 4x4, but we need to maintain a reasonable budget. Recommendations on finding a tour? Our Spanish is minimal (I’m working on mine but only know a little – hubby has none). Will be sure to get altitude sickness prescription in advance. I just can't pass on this area - it looks so gorgeous and different from anywhere we've ever been and, as we are getting older, I'm afraid this might be our last opportunity.



Weeks 9-10: Northern Argentina

Probably take bus from Atacama to Salta; rent car for driving trip in Salta/Jujuy region. Would consider flying if we could get a cheap flight.


Week 11: Iguazu and Rio

From Salta, fly to Iguazu - 2 days

Then fly to Rio – 3-4 days

Suggestions for day trips before we leave Brazil for home?


Fly back to Orlando from Rio.

I've actually got 11 weeks here – we don’t want to rush, so if this is too much, let me know. We may cut Easter Island given the expense. I'd like to be able to be somewhat flexible but am concerned that booking for internal South American flights may need to be done well in advance in order to get reasonable prices. Thoughts on how much we should “nail down” and how much we should leave open? What do you all think of this rough itinerary? We’ll likely use booking.com for most if not all of our hotels - for those, we’ll probably book well in advance since we can easily change them with free cancellation. Will probably book our airfare to Medellin and home from Rio soon. Looking to leave here around the second week of January and staying through March.

Last edited by althom1122; Apr 2nd, 2022 at 08:33 AM. Reason: To fix mistakes.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2022, 11:26 AM
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I was underwhelmed by Chiloe, but it might be better with a car. Apparently the drive from Puerto Montt to Bariloche is about 200 miles, but I really, really enjoyed the bus and boat trip,and the hotel in Puella.

My day trip from Rio was Petropolis - liked the town, not the tour. However, it was hit by bad floods and mudslides recently. Have you been to Rio? If you have, I'd suggest Uruguay and flying home from BsAs.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2022, 01:00 PM
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A few thoughts on the places we have visited.

I cant argue with any of the places you have chosen in Colombia but I would strongly recommend sitting down with rome2rio or similar to double check the viability and timings of the bus and plane journeys. It is not always possible to get the full picture on line as many bus lines dont seem to always show up. we found ourselves just turning up at bus terminals and hoping for the. Accommodation providers can be a great source of info and reasonable Spanish will be a great advantage though is is entirely possible to get along with google translate. Expect to have to change buses several times.

Taxis can be a viable alternative in some cases for longer or inconvenient trips as they can save a lot of time waiting for connections etc. Salento to Jardin is a good example.

You may as well get the bus

If you can , try to hit places like Villa de Lleva and Barichara on weekends. beautiful as the are, they do tend to close up restaurants mid week.

San Gil is definitely the place for all sorts of adventure sports. We planned some stuff there but the floods we experienced there put paid to that!

Cotopaxi, Quilatoa & Otavalo are all worth seeing but only Cotopaxi is viable as a day trip from Quito. Quilatoa can be done with and overnight (just) but Otavalo is really a two night trip.

I think most tours going from the Atacama to Uyuni will be private but effectively you just pay for all the seats in the jeep. I have only done the tour from Tupiza which is the less travelled route and you see fare fewer jeeps than from Uyuni . Both times we used Tupiza Tours who I know do trips ending in SPdeA but not sure about the other way around. La Torre are another good operator in Tupiza. It may be worth contacting Ruta Verde a dutch owned operator who are very good and I think do operated from SPdeA. Those outfits are more expensive but IMO that tour is worth spending a little extra as you really do get what you pay for and some of the operators in Uyuni have terrible reputations - packing 7 people into a jeep etc. Not good!

I am not sure if there are tours to Uyuni that start and end in SPdeA but some of those above should be able to do something. most seem to start and end in Uyuni or start in Uyuni and end in SPdeA

As you are operating on a budget it is worth pointing out that SPdeA is very expensive and I imagine the tours prices will reflect this.

Two weeks in NW Argentina will allow plenty of time to explore the north and south loops and spend time in Salta city. The bus takes around 8 hours from SPdeA to Salta.To fly you would have to get the bus to Calama and fly from there. By the time you factor in check in times as well I dont think you will save much time.Plus teh bus ride is pretty scenic!

​​​​​​​One supplementary though. unless you particularly want to see Quito etc. you may find more options flying in to Guayaquil which is where you will fly to Galapagos.




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Old Apr 12th, 2022, 04:42 AM
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It's real! Booked our flight to Colombia for January 18. Got an inexpensive flight on Copa from Orlando to Medellin with a brief stop in Panama. We'll be in Colombia early afternoon! It was too soon to book the return flight, so I'll do that later, but we got such a good deal on the one-way flight that I didn't want to wait. Now weI can start really filling in the details and even begin some Booking.com reservations. SOOOO excited!
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Old Apr 12th, 2022, 05:20 AM
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Wow! Exciting times for you! Get on with that planning!
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Old Apr 12th, 2022, 06:02 AM
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Super! Looking forward to the TR 😉
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Old Apr 22nd, 2022, 07:56 AM
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A few questions as the planning continues. I'm struggling with how much to nail down in terms of the itinerary and how much to keep flexible.

- For example, how far in advance should we book flights (for instance, Bogota to Quito, or Santiago to Puerto Montt) if we want to get a good price? Do prices go up dramatically as the date draws near?

- Also, suggestions for how long to spend in some of the smaller towns? We were thinking 5 nights for Jerico (sounds fascinating!), 5 in Salento (too many?), but just three in Villa de Leyva, two in San Gil, and three in Barichara. Does that make sense?

- For the Galapagos, how far in advance do we need to book? Again, we want to make sure we get what we want, at a reasonable price, but booking now, for example, locks us in to specific dates. Has anyone else found that to be problematic?

- I'm really torn about an Amazon cruise in Brazil. Would love to see SOME of the wildlife and the river itself (especially the meeting of the waters), but am quite terrified of snakes. I wouldn't dare go on a night walking tour - but other than that, how likely is it that we'd see snakes? (Probably a ridiculous question when discussing the Amazon rainforest!)

(Lastly - should I post individual questions like these in separate posts to get more traffic?)
althom1122 is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2022, 12:51 PM
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"how far in advance should we book flights” An almost impossible question to answer these days with so many being cancelled or on restricted schedules. I would be more concerned about getting flights on the dates you want more than the price. In “normal” times the sweet spot always used to be 3 -4 months out. For BOG to QUI I would probably still go with that, if not sooner. The exception was in Colombia where we were booking flights just a few days in advance and it didn’t seem to make much difference.

"how long to spend in some of the smaller towns?” I dont think we went to Jericho (at least not that one!) but we spent 5 days in Salento (about right) 10 days in Villa de Lleva (way too much but we needed some down time and I had flu!) 3 would be about right (NB try to make it over weekend as it is dead mid week). @ is ok for San Gil unless you are there for teh adventure sports when you may need more (not my favourite place). , 3 for Barichara is about right (again make it a weekend if you can)

Galapagos, how far in advance do we need to book? We didn’t actually make it there, but if you want a specific cruise on a specific date, I would do it sooner , rather than later especially now when there is a lot of pent up demand. That said when we spent a few months in Quito we did think about it and there was plenty of availability , lats minute if you weren’t to choosy.

How likely are you to see snakes? Not ridiculous at all. I have spent a lot of time in various rainforests around the world including the Amazon but have very rarely seen a snake. They are all around of course , but are more afraid or humans that you are of them and will disappear long before you see them (usually!). We did a few night hikes in the Bolivian jungle and they are amazing. IME it is then that you are more likely to see wildlife at dawn and dusk.


Individual or separate questions? I dont think it makes much difference. People will answer or not if they can. The problem is that these forums don"t get much traffic anymore. I post a lot on the Tripadvisor forums and there is a lot more activity there and some very knowledgeable people participating (OK and some that are not quite so knowledgeable and/or trying to sell your something .



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