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Itinerary help

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Hello, after my previous post, I've done some more research, but still need help with my itinerary. I'm doing a one month (15 Dec - 15 Jan) south America trip with my father.

Things I wanted to know - best place to celebrate new years there. Any place to find travel groups/backpackers who will be having similar itineraries.

As it goes for my itinerary, I'll start with Ecuador.

Ecuador' - (8-10 days)
Galapagos Islands. (3/4)
Banos (swing at the end of the world), (2)
Otavalo market, (1)
Quilotoa (Andean crater lake hike)??
Cotopaxi volcano, (1)
Quito. (1)

Next will be Peru. Not sure how many days it will require. Want to explore the Amazon here, Macchu Picchu, as well as the cultural and local aspects of the city. I'll be glad if anyone can help here. Staying in Lima, Miraflores and Cusco seem like good options.

Apart from that, want to visit Bolivia in 3-4 days. I'll just visit the Salar de Uyuni, and Lake Titicaca in that time.

Dropping Brazil and Argentina as days are less, but can I accommodate Easter Islands, or say Venezuela (the waterfalls there are lit) in the meantime. I have 9 days in Ecuador, 4 in Bolivia. If I manage Peru in say 8 days, I'll still have 7-9 days left in my itinerary. Which is the place to go? All tips and advice welcome.

Thank you so much in advance :)

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    Hi neeljoshi, it would be much better for you and everyone replying if you asked additional question on your original post. That way everyone can see what has been asked and answered previously.

    As has been mentioned on your other post, you are trying to fit way too much inonthebtim eyounave available. Every time you move location you are effectively writing off the best part of a day travelling.

    I would start by getting a decent guide book, looking at a map and working out how long it is going to take to get from A to B.

    E.g. In Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands would involve flying south to Guayacil and then a boat from there and probably flying back to Quito.

    Otavalo is 2-4 hours north of Quito by bus. Banos is about the same South. You could get a direct bus from Otavalo to the highway outside of Latacunga (for Quilatoa and Cotopaxi) . Cotopaxi is a half day your from Latacunga, Quilatoa is best done overnight to get the best views of the lake. Do note that getting there takes 2 plus hours but, unless things have changed since I was there, getting a bus back can be problematic!

    Peru can take as long as you want. We have spent over six months there over the years and still have more etc see. You are seriously shortchanging Peru in 8 days.

    If it were me, I would seriously consider dropping Ecuador and spending the whole month split between Peru and Bolivia but before your do much more, I would check out the weather at that time of year in th various places you are considering.

    Here is a link to our blog from a few years ago detailing our time in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia etc in 2013 http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/candcthai/6/tpod.html

    There is some more recent stuff from our travels last year @ https://accidentalnomads.com just click on the destination tab for the appropriate country.

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    Thank you so much for your advice, will definitely consider it. Travelling from one place to another will waste a lot of time, and that doesn't make much sense, since lack of time is the issue here.

    I'm primarily interested in Peru and Ecuador, so maybe I can drop Bolivia. Or just spend 3-4 days at the end there to visit the important places like Salar de Uyuni, La Paz, Lake Titicaca. Sure, I won't get the hang of the country or the culture at all, but Salar de Uyuni is a place I'm dying to see. So it will be like 11 days in Ecuador, 14 in Peru, 4 in Bolivia.

    1. Can you tell me which would be the best location to spend New Years?
    2. Is there someplace I can find and connect with travelers and backpackers who will follow similar itineraries? (V imp)
    3. Is there going to be any cultural festival around these countries in that time, so we can include that in our itinerary?
    4. Can you recommend places to visit in Peru? (I was thinking of Macchu Picchu (not the Inca trail), Cusco, Colca Canyon, Huacachina, and then living in the cities for a few days like Miraflores, Lima, or Arequipa. Any help with the cities to visit, and how to plan them is welcome.

    Thank you so much for your valuable time, this is really proving fruitful to me! :)

  • Report Abuse

    I have only been to Ecuador, so I can't speak on Peru or Bolivia.

    There are a lot of New Years festivities in Ecuador. I suggest doing a search for that. Personally we were there in February and March during Carnival. I find the festivals to be disruptive to travel, but that's just me.

    Suggestions for 11 day Ecuador itinerary:
    Day 1: Arrive in Quito
    Day 2-5: Galapagos and return to Quito
    Day 6: Explore Quito
    Day 7: Quito and then bus to Latacunga
    Day 8-9: Cotopaxi and Quilotoa, bus to Banos
    Day 10-11: Banos, bus back to Quito

    That still seams too tight to me and you're missing Otavalo.

    Suggestion: Leave off the Galapagos so you have more time to see the mainland.
    OR leave off Banos, enjoy the Galapagos and stay closer to Quito. Otavalo, Quilotoa, and Cotopaxi are all possibly day trips from Quito or they could be simple one night stays.

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    Or leave off Cotopaxi and Quilotoa and do Otavalo and Lake Cuicocha (two days including travel).

    Banos two days including travel. A lot of people don't really spend more than a day in Quito.

    Re Quito, depending on time of day and weather it can take an hour to go between the airport and town. Plus is you are using the buses, it can take an hour to get from one end of Quito to the other end where the bus station is located (for Otavalo it's in the north, for Banos/Latacunga it would be at the south).

    So with a tight itinerary and if budget isn't an issue, it often pays to arrange a private transfer leaving directly from the airport to another location. Typically a private transfer is going to runs bout $100 USD.


    Four days for Galapagos is too short IMO. If you are on a budget and can't spend at least a week I might not do it. In fact I might drop Ecuador if that is the case.

    Fop Galapagos, be aware that your arrival day will get you only half a day worth of touring and the departure day only a few hours. If you decide Galapagos is a priority, I had a good time on Angelito, I like their Itinerary A (8 days) but they do split that one into a 5 day leg and a 4 day leg. You would want to work your Ecuador leg around whatever dates you can get in Galapagos.

    http://www.angelitogalapagos.com/web/islands.php?c=172

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