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6 weeks to travel South America.... Help!

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Hi all,

My friend and I have 6 weeks off from mid December into January and we've always wanted to do South America and it seems like the perfect time for us both.

We want to maximise our time & we don't like to go at a slow pace. We're more than happy staying somewhere for 3-4 days exploring and then moving on to the next. So if you're thinking "you want to do too much" we do like moving around.

We want to do Rio, Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Lima (and Machu Picchu) but organising it all seems like such a huge task. She also wants to do the Galapagos Islands, but I'm not sure about time & money. Just wandering what peoples opinions were for the best travel itinerary? We LOVE food & wine, markets, hikes & walks. A bit of everything really! We would also appreciate any recommendations for travelling around (if it cuts time & it's not TOO expensive we're happy to fly between countries) and if there are small towns worth going to for an experience. All suggestions are welcome suggestions :)

We're coming from Melbourne, Australia, just in case that makes a difference.

Thanks

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