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Planning suggestions

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Hi all,
My wife and i are looking to spend the first 5 months (jan to may) 2013 in south and Central America (flying in from London) and would love to hear any recommendations, especially in a sensible order to travel as we are both a little travel rusty and this will be our first trip to the Americas.
I love the idea of Peru and the amazon as well as Costa Rica but apart from that flexible and open to suggestions. I'd really like to volunteer as much as possible and love the great outdoors so not so big on cities.

Although I'm feeling my age (or worse, someone olders age) backpacking is still an option. Budget is Not yet fixed but minus flights we would have perhaps £1000 per month between us.

Any ideas

Many thanks and good travelling

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